Posted on Monday, December 22, 2014Blog written by Rob Swenson
I don’t mind going to malls or department stores to shop and watch people during the busy holiday shopping season. However, my pre-Christmas outings to bricks-and-mortar stores often result in me ignoring my gift list and impulse-buying for myself.
I’ve avoided counterproductive ventures like that so far this year. Most of my window shopping has been online. Shopping on a computer is easy and increasingly relevant, considering trends such as the rapid advancement of the Internet of Things, or IoT - which refers to the connection of everyday devices to the Internet.
With help from broadband connectivity from companies such as SDN Communications, devices such as personal fitness bracelets and thermostat settings in houses can be linked your computer or mobile device.
I’ve come across some cool gadgets during my Internet cruising. My colleagues at SDN also have made me aware of some useful devices.
One of my favorite little findings was the Banana Phone Case. I probably wouldn’t use one – too hard to carry around - but it’s a fun product. It’s yellow, shaped like a banana and designed to hold an iPhone. I saw a Chinese model available on eBay for $12.99.
I also got a chuckle out of USB flash drives that are shaped like hamburgers, fish and other odd shapes.
Here is a suggestion to keep in mind for the future. A French company supposedly is working on a process in which the screen of your mobile phone could be projected onto your wrist - the Cicret (pronounced "Secret"). The projected image would even be sensitive to touch commands. That means, I guess, that you will be able to cruise the Internet in a swimming pool without the risk of dropping your phone into the water. Take a look at the concept video.
If you’re looking for devices that exist and can be tied into Internet, here are some other ideas:
- EyeLock Myris. This is a handheld-device that takes a photo of your eye. It’s designed to provide secure access to password-protected information. Your passwords get programmed into the device so that you no longer have to write them down. It sells online for about $279.
- Tile. These little tracking devices could help the absent-minded as well as offer appeal to techies. Stick one of these stamp-sized gadgets on your bike or laptop, or put one in your purse or backpack, and you can track the item if it gets lost or stolen. The location can be tracked on devices such as iPhones. A pack of four Tiles sells for $70.
- Fitness trackers, such as Fitbit wristbands, aren’t new but they appear to be getting better. The Fitbit Flex, for example, will track your steps, the calories you burn and distances you travel. It will even measure and record the quality of your sleep. Prices start at about $100.
- Home automation. Vendors such as Clear2there can provide remotely controlled video surveillance for businesses and homes. Activity in selected areas can be monitored from a distance, doors can be locked or unlocked from a distance, and thermostat settings can be adjusted. SDN member companies in South Dakota are among the regional providers of Clear2there products and services. Watch the demonstration video.
- Devices that allow people to streamline video from computers to TV screens remain popular this holiday season and have been especially inviting lately in terms of cost. For example, Chromecast, a thumb-sized media-streaming device that plugs into a TV, currently sells for about $35. Amazon has its own device now, the Fire TV Stick.
I’ll probably get some kind of streaming device for myself the next time I’m out people-watching. I’m still considering options, though, so it won’t qualify as an impulse buy.
Enjoy the holiday sales season, no matter if you shop online or offline.