5 IoT innovations that will change your life

The annual CES get-together in Las Vegas always shows where technology is headed and it is no surprise that IoT was top of mind for CES 2020 exhibitors. Here we look at the top IoT innovations from this year’s show.

1.  Modular farm for the smart city

Planty Cube was one of the top IoT innovations on view at CES 2020, winning an innovation award in the smart cities category.

Conceived by South Korea’s n.thing, Planty Cube is a 40ft container that has been reimagined as a modular vegetable farm. IoT devices in the container monitor environmental factors such as temperature and humidity, and control feeding and watering.

Vertical farms, where crops are grown in layers, are an increasingly popular way to feed urban populations. Planty Cube’s modular approach means such farms can easily scale as demand grows for their produce. The company says the technique can increase yield up to ten times and grown locally can help reduce carbon emissions.

Crops grown in Planty Cube have the advantage of being free from harmful substances as they are cultivated in a non-agrochemical environment and can be eaten without washing.

IoT home security2. Home security for the sharing economy

Another of the top IoT innovations revealed at CES taps into the unstoppable rise of the sharing economy and short-term rentals in particular. Igloohome announced the Smart Mortise 2+ lock which works with a mobile app to generate unique PIN codes to let people access properties in real time without a physical key.

The technology used means smart home owners can create time-sensitive PIN codes with start and end times to ensure their property is secured after each renter departs.

Users can also unlock the Smart Mortise 2+ with a high-security fingerprint ID using a concealed biometric sensor, Bluetooth keys and RFID (radio-frequency identification) devices.

Owners can access activity logs which show dates and times of visitor access. Smart Mortise 2+ also features keypad security lockout, a panic exit system, child and pet safety function, fire and tamper alarms, and auto-relock.

3. Intelligent gardens for smart homes

Another of the top IoT innovations that turned heads at CES 2020 was the Agrove, a personal smart garden for growing your own produce.

The Agrove has sensors which detect the microclimate specific to each urban environment and proposes plant varieties to grow. An app then gives advice on how to plant and maintain the plants. Watering is fully automated and the application predicts the doses of water to be released according to the humidity level and needs of the plant.

Agrove founder Quentin Rousselot, a farmer’s son, came up with the idea after moving to the city and being surprised by the difficulty of finding tasty fruit and vegetables at a reasonable price.

He says: “To simplify maintenance as much as possible, I had the idea of putting technology at the service of my vegetable garden by integrating all the knowledge of experts in a mobile application and creating a vertical, modular and intelligent planter.”

4. Track your stuff anywhereIoT tracking items

Over the course of our lives, we lose an average of 200,000 things, according to technology company Innowave. Their answer, unveiled at CES, is the LEAP, a tiny, multi-sensor wearable device that uses a range of different tracking technologies to make sure you don’t misplace stuff ever again.

The LEAP is 42mm in diameter, 11.5mm thick, weighs 22gm and is water resistant. It can be tracked through 5G mobile networks, but also using direct communication with the Globalstar satellite network, so belongings can be tracked even in the most remote locations. It has very low power requirements and can last for months on a single charge.

The device can be used to see the last time an object moved and whether it has gone into or out of a specified area known as a geofence. Suggested use-cases include tracking vehicles, expensive equipment, children and pets.

IoT missed parcels5. No more missed packages

Online shopping continues to increase and with it the number of “while you were out” cards. Go Nok Nok, one of the top IoT innovations showcased at CES, aims to cut down on the number of missed deliveries and reduce the problem of stolen packages. A recent C+R Research study showed that more than one in three US online shoppers have had packages stolen from their doorsteps.

Go Nok Nok is like a sophisticated cat flap with an integrated video camera and two-way speaker. When a courier presses your doorbell, you are notified in real time on your smartphone or Alexa device, allowing you to unlock the flap remotely.

The software also has an integrated label scanner. The courier shows the label to the camera and, if the app recognises the package is for you, it will unlock the flap automatically.

Company founder Rez Gachcar says the Go Nok Nok is also useful for vulnerable and elderly people who do not wish to open their front doors.