IoT? It's at home with you

Everyone is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). This year's CES showcased several IoT-enabled devices - from refrigerators to security systems - which put your phone at the centre of the universe. While we may still not have access to many of those products, machine-to-machine communication is, in fact, happening all around you. And you may not even realise it. A look at a few common applications in a modern household:

FRONT PORCH IP-ENABLED CAMERAS

These cameras are wireless and can record videos either to the cloud or stream to your phone via an IP address. Thus you can connect from anywhere in the world. Equipped with motion sensors, some can also email you if some suspicious activity takes place. Solutions are available from brands such as Axis, Royace and TP-Link, among others.

Price: Rs 2,350 onwards

MULTI-ROOM SOUND SOLUTIONS

We love carrying our music around, as is proved by the popularity of personal music players. But there's more to it than just that; what if the music followed us as we moved around in our house? Enter multi-room speakers. One can then play a song on one's phone and this can be streamed to all connected speakers in the house. One can either buy several speakers from manufacturers such as Sonos at one go, or buy one and then keep adding speakers which support the same protocol. Options are available from Bose and LG, among others. One can also connect the Chromecast Audio to existing speakers.

Price: Rs 19, 013 onwards for speakers; Rs 3,399 for Chromecast Audio

GAMING CONSOLE/ MEDIA HUB

We love our PlayStations and Xboxes. But there's more to them than just gaming; in fact, both Sony and Microsoft position their solutions as the centre of your entertainment world. These consoles are not only efficient streamers, they can play audio/video files of various formats. And they also have dedicated apps which enhance the experience. In fact, if you have a PC running Windows 10, you can stream games from the Xbox One!

Price: Rs 34,990 onwards

LIVING ROOM STREAMING DEVICES

Most of us use streaming apps to access the media, with the number of streaming services going up every day. There are several streaming devices available - from ones which make a "dumb" TV smart to others which add wireless connectivity to stereo systems. And not just streaming apps, one can also mirror one's phone on the TV/stereo, giving one access to all media stored on the portable device. Google's Chromecast is one of the most popular solutions.

Price: Rs 3,399 onwards

NETWORK STORAGE

With good quality cameras on phones, chances are our devices are choc-a-bloc with media. But it's possible to back all that up automatically; or create a central repository of media. To back up, one can invest in readymade solutions such as the Sandisk Connect wireless stick, which looks like a flash drive, but along with the help of an app one can make backups automated and wireless; it can also stream to other devices via its built-in Wi-Fi. The other option is to invest in a network attached storage (NAS) drive, such as the ones from WD. I use a WD MyCloud at home. Using the app on my phone, I am able to back up wirelessly and automatically whenever I log in to the network; besides, it holds all my media, which can be streamed to any connected device in the house.

Price: Rs 9,000 onwards

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