Another much-talked about facet of the connected home is today's wide range of security systems. As someone who can't help but worry about whether there has been intruders in my home while i'm away, a gift such as the Canary home security system would be one received with gratitude.
The security system is equipped with a 1080p HD camera -- capable of decent night vision, a rarity in the current market -- motion sensors and an accompanying app which will notify you if a presence is detected. Interestingly, the device also has a siren -- useful if you need to scare someone off.
Flic can make a great gift for someone looking to dip a toe into the world of connected homes. The wireless button can be stuck on any surface or worn via a clip, connecting to your smartphone via Bluetooth and other devices as a way to control them. Based on the "if this, then that" protocol, flic can be used to change your light settings, turn on your IoT kettle, let a friend know you're back home or sent tweets -- among many other users -- through simply clicking the button once, twice, or by holding it down.
If you're going to deck out a house with Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices, you might as well start at the front.
A novel gift to be sure, but certainly one which acts as a talking point as well as something a recipient would appreciate if they prefer to know who is at the door ahead of time is the SkyBell, now available in HD format. The connected home doorbell comes in either a bronze or silver finish and connects up to your Wi-Fi network and mobile devices -- so if you can't get to the door immediately or want to know who's calling, you can tap into the doorbell's inbuilt camera beforehand. You can also communicate with your visitor through your phone, so if you're not in, you can let them know personally.
If you've done some research into the connected home, you're likely to have heard of the Philips Hue lighting range, a top-end range of lighting solutions which utilize mobile technology and LEDs to create different levels of ambience and moods in your home.
Not only can you control your lights away from home to deter intruders, but the lighting can reflect your music choices, act as an alarm for notifications, or sync with movies to heighten the overall effect.
However, you get what you pay for and Hue is not a cheap gift. For a less expensive alternative, consider the Playbulb smart home lighting range.
Connected homes can be far more than singular, separated smart devices. The Amazon Echo, for example, can be used to summon the voice-activated assistant Alexa to control a variety of IoT devices, including Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink. Think of Echo as an upgraded Siri or Cortana capable of not only providing information for any questions you have, but also able to control your devices whether you ask her to dim your lights, start up your music list or continue listening to your audiobooks.
The first time I saw the iKettle, I don't mind admitting I turned my nose up at it as a frivolous but pretty pointless product that would die in the throes of its waning novelty after a month or so.
However, as someone that is by nature a night owl and curses mornings on a daily basis -- unless it's the weekend, of course -- I've since grown to enjoy the product, which lets you schedule your morning brew to be ready for you as you're emerging from your nest of warmth and enduring the pain of cold floor shock.
Connect it up to an accompanying mobile app, define when you want a brew freshly ready for you and enjoy. If your other half or a family member would enjoy a steaming cup ready and waiting every morning, this can make a great gift (although sadly it won't deliver your cup to bed.)
Nest Protect, part of a range which also includes a themostat, is a smart home appliance which could be an interesting gift for those interested in dipping a toe into the world of Internet of Things devices.
The smart device alerts you immediately through a smartphone if smoke is detected -- or you need to replace the batteries -- and tells you where it is in your home. Another interesting facet is a way to deal with false alarms; instead of frantically waving a tea towel in front of it, you can simply mute Nest through your mobile device.