What Is Your Favorite Non Security IoT Device?

While IPVM focuses on security related IoT devices - Nestcam, Lockitron for example - the world of IoT products is really prolific right now and there's a good chance you have seen some good ones.

The best IoT device I have experienced so far is Rachio's IRO. It essentially is a water sprinkler controller that you can access via an app, and the key value prop is that it pulls data from nearby government weather stations, so if it is raining it skips watering and so on:

While the world is full of 'IoT junk' that fails to deliver on performance claims, Rachio is even a rarer breed: it's a great product that began life as a crowdfunded project.

From install to operation, the product really is solid. In my case, the Iro is vastly better than the device it replaced. The company is both smart and serious in terms of design and support, a rare thing in the startup IoT world! As a result, there is quite the number of Rachio fanbois out there.

What about you? What does your non-security 'IoT Wall of Fame' look like? Any products to avoid?


My favorite IoT device is Sonos, hands down. I have four, and I'll be getting more at some point. Setup was easy. Performance has been solid aside from wifi issues which were more my router's fault than theirs, and it just works when I want it to. I went from not really listening to music to constantly listening, and walking through the entire house with the same music or program on is pretty great.

Runner up: the Ecobee thermostat (I have a Smart Si, but the 3 looks nice). It's like Nest, except completely unknown. It has been 100% available, setup was easy, and it just sits on my wall doing its job. Plus Smartthings and IFTTT integration, which Nest is more limited on. Plus it's cheaper. I saved nearly the cost of the thermostat ($130 refurb'd) on fuel in a year.

The worst is the Wink Hub. This article pretty much sums up my experiences with it... except I had my hands on it six months earlier and I'd hoped they'd have fixed the issues I had, but the author went through the same thing I did. Luckily most of the devices are supported in Smartthings, which has been much more reliable.

When did you give up on Wink? I've only had it for 6 months or so, but I've been happy so far. The few annoying things have seemingly gotten better. I have thought of switching to SmartThings, but don't have a compelling reason to switch, especially if things continue to improve.

1. Their own GE/Quirky Zigbee bulbs took about 5 tries to pair. Some would tell me they were paired but then I'd end up having to reset them and do it again.

2. Once they did pair, the delay between a command and it happening was routinely greater than 2-3 seconds.

3. Once, after a power outage, I had to re-pair every bulb.

4. The robots are incredibly limited and trying to make them do what I wanted would've been a waste of my time.

5. Controlling groups of devices was a pain in the ass.

6. No fine grained control of light levels, only sliders with no numeric indication. How silly is that?

7. I've got a Pivot Power Genius integrated to SmartThings via IFTTT and it works faster than Wink's own app. The Quirky bulbs are more responsive integrated directly to ST than they ever were on the Wink hub.

All of the above just led to it seeming really half baked. I'm not exactly an unskilled consumer, but the thing just doesn't work right.

While I don't have personal experience with it yet, the Amazon Dash concepts just screams "IoT" to me. I think becuase it's a true realization of the very cheap-to-the-point-of-being-practically-disposable concept that is part of IoT.

Amazon 'Dash' Button

Closer to home in our security-related industry, Dropcam was taking preorders for Tabs which where a small bluetooth motion sensor device you could place on or stick to something you wanted to be alerted about when it moved.

I saw that button before, but frankly I thought it was an April Fools joke when it was announced and I'm surprised to see it is indeed real!

I need a button that turns off all the lights in the house, turns the thermostat to a reasonable temperature, and tells the entire house it's time to play the quiet game. I'd pay $50 for such a thing immediately.

Guys, you'll owe me one if you put this under the tree this year for your partner:A Smart Heated Mattress Cover.

Luna Smart Mattress Cover

  • It can track your sleep patterns like a fitbit (without having to wear anything)
  • It can wake you up at the best point in your REM cycle so you feel less groggy
  • It integrates with other IoT devices so the house can shut itself down by simply climbing into bed, and likewise turn stuff on when you get up.
  • It has individual heating for each side of the bed.

That's pretty interesting. Don't know if it's crazy or great. I guess it depends how well it works.

As for going under the tree, I wouldn't get my hopes up:

"We’re planning to start shipping Luna to our first-wave (backers who pre-ordered Luna before 3/27/2015) of crowdfunding supporters in November 2015. For our second-wave (backers who pre-ordered Luna on or after 3/27/2015) of crowdfunding supporters, we’re planning on shipping Luna by February 2016. Actual ship dates may vary. The Luna Team will keep you updated on the ship date of your unit."

Aw shoot. I hadn't checked in on this in awhile, so I was hoping they'd be ready to start shipping this holiday season. I am not a first-wave backer (or any wave backer).

Hi Brian, as with you, my favorite IoT device is an irrigation controller which connects to the Internet via WiFi so it can pull data from nearby government and personal weather stations. The one I purchased is made by Hydrawise. In addition to the features you have described, there is also an optional flow meter which I would recommend. It's very useful because it measures how much water is being used and can send you alerts if the water volume drops below or rises above the expected volume of water.

After purchasing a Hydrawise controller and flow meter in 2012, I went overseas for a month during a very hot summer. If the watering system didn't work properly, a lot of my garden would have died while I was away.

A week after going overseas, I started receiving email alerts from the controller to say one of my watering zones was using an unusually high volume of water. I suspected they were bogus alerts but phoned the watering system installer company anyway. They found a burst pipe connection which was losing a lot of water. This was a fault with the installation of the pipes and nothing to do with the controller. I was happy because the Hydrawise controller had proved itself to be a smart controller. It not only saved me from using an excessive volume of water but fixing the leaking pipe connector ensured the garden received the water which it desperately needed. Hydrawise have had several generations of irrigation controllers since the one I bought and are used for residential and industrial watering systems.

This isnt an IoT device but I got this clock for my 3 year old, it turns green at 7AM. That's when its time to get up. He's not to get out of bed before 7AM and come to our room and yell, "Time to wake up!"

But I also love my z-wave devices in my home (they are connected to my DMP alarm system). Almost every light switch and small appliance are in the z-wave network. When my wife drives away from the house, all the lights go off, doors lock, thermostats adjust and alarm arms. With two kids it's hard for her to remember to do all of that. I also have my kids AC and Heater on a schedule so it go's on when they're naping and off when they're awake. Believe it or not, I have seen my electric and oil bills reduced by about 30%.

Geared more towards education but this really cool.

http://littlebits.cc/

Does anyone have experience with Bloomsky?

I too am beginning to take particular notice of IoT devices. IMO, it represents a shift in how we will live going forward, and we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. I liken this to the introduction of modems. I do have one question that continues to bother

I do have one question that continues to nag at me though. Up until now it has largely been a source of amusement for hobbyist. Now it is getting far more serious. Arduino recently had 42 million website visits from returning members in one three-month period. Those numbers get people's attention. Few if any of these devices that I have seen are UL listed and UL is starting to take notice. What, if any, threat does the lack of UL certification or their interest in certification represent to the continued development and deployment? Does using these devices or reselling something not UL listed bother anyone??

FTC Report

UL Standards on the way

UL Webinar Series

(Edit) Realized the title was for non security, but if you search, these boards will do many home automation projects which is actually how the Rachio started.

I would have to say the Arduino Ethernet Board. After building the RFID Theif (Part of Black Hat 2014) I have become obsessed with the Arduino boards. I built this not to steal credentials, but as an easy way to identify potential customer card bit parities and hexadecimals. This way, if they want to switch access control systems, but keep their cards, I can easily identify:

1. If their current cards will work with what I quoted or if they are stuck with one brand of reader.

2. If it will work, I can then find the custom config for each card type quickly, easily, and import it into my access control system.

I did modify the original design slightly. Instead of building two devices for 125 KHz and 13.56 MHz, I used a HID Multiclass reader, (2) 9V batteries instead of the AAs, and modded an old random case to house everything. Below are a few pics of it before I did the modifications.

Test Build