Electric toothbrushes. Digital thermostats. Washing machines. These typical department store objects are no longer just things – they are now part of the rapidly growing technological sector fondly referred to as the “Internet of Things,” or IoT. And as the technology world gathers this week in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, the IoT has taken front and center stage.
In short, the IoT refers to physical objects that have a digital presence on the Internet. Connecting via Bluetooth or a home Wi-Fi network for example, appliances are able to seamlessly upload information and data about their usage to give users a better understanding of usage patterns and efficiency.
Take for example, the toothbrush. While it has gone largely unchanged for decades, Paris-based company Kolibree has announced what it calls the world’s first connected electric toothbrush. Connected wirelessly via Bluetooth and paired with a mobile app, the Kolibree smart toothbrush records every stroke, and delivers stats to users letting them know when they’ve brushed enough, when “hard-to-brush” areas have been reached, and information about how to improve brushing habits.
However, dentists aren’t the only ones who can get excited about devices transitioning into the IoT. Since arriving yesterday at CES, I’ve seen a multitude of devices such as heart rate monitoring headphones, tennis rackets, and even CrockPot slow cookers that use wireless technology to connect users to their devices like never before.
Could it be that the IoT is ringing in a completely new era in tech? It’s safe to say that CES is no longer limited to OEMs showing off faster processers and high-definition displays. Rather, companies are now using these connected devices to appeal to just about everyone – or, at least everyone who uses a toothbrush.