Holiday Gift Guide: Connected Devices

By Joe Andrews December 12, 2014

Looking for the perfect holiday gift? There are lots of cool consumer tech products out there, but this year consider giving a gift that improves health, provides security and peace of mind. Part of the trend of Internet of Things (IoT), our recommended gifts are devices that deliver ongoing value to your loved ones through the use of data and connected services.

And be sure to check out the recent webinar with Forrester, Qualcomm and Zuora.  It’s full of practical guidance for technology vendors on how to develop your connected device strategy and monetize the Internet of Things.

Jawbone Up24 (Wearables / fitness)

There are a few fitness tracking wearable devices out there, but Jawbone’s Up devices take a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle — providing real-time suggestions & intelligent insights into managing your weight, sleep, & overall fitness. Track your exercise, diet and sleep activity. Wake up feeling refreshed with Smart Alarm™, or receive an Idle Alert™ — a gentle vibration at the wrist — when you’ve been sitting too long. $129.99.

Adidas micoach Smart Ball (Fitness)

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Connected homes, cars, and now sports balls? The Adidas micoach smart ball tracks your kick stats like ball speed, spin, trajectory and strike point so you can train like a pro and bend it like Beckham. The mobile app connects to all the data and provides real-time coaching tips. $200.

Don’t play soccer or football? Try the 94fifty smart basketball.

Tagg Pet Tracker (Wearables / pet tracking)

Tagg Pet Tracker

Tagg Pet Tracker

Tagg is a GPS device that attaches to your dog’s collar — it allows you to define a safe zone around your home and instantly receive text and email alerts when your pet leaves that zone. You can map your dog’s location, track their daily exercise, and monitor their temperature to see if they’re being exposed to heat or cold. Tagg will even give you driving directions to help track down a dog on the lam. From $89.99.

Swann Security (Connected home / security)

Swann bills itself as the number one brand in “DIY” surveillance. Rather than offering a single discrete line of home security products, Swann has a wide range home security systems to suit every budget, whether for home or business. Swann started in a basement in Melbourne in 1987, and now they have a presence in over 40 countries with products in Fry’s Electronics, Best Buy, Walmart, RadioShack and Costco. They’ve evolved from selling cameras and alarm systems to becoming a fully integrated cloud-based personal security solution. From $99.99.

Dropcam Pro (Connected home / security)

Dropcam Pro

Lots of people already know about the amazing Nest smart thermostats, but the company’s big news this year was its acquisition of Dropcam. The Dropcam camera streams HD video live to your computer, phone or tablet and stores the footage in the cloud. And it sends you alerts when there’s motion. It also works with Nest so it can automatically turn on alerts when you set your Nest Thermostat to “Away” or save a clip if Nest Protect detects smoke or carbon monoxide. And best of all they’re offering free gift-wrapping for the holidays. From $199.99.

SmartThings (Connected Home / security)

SmartThings is a system for your connected home that includes a wireless hub and a wide range of devices to connect to it, including sensors, thermostats, lights, outlets, door locks, and security cameras like Dropcam. All the devices operate on the compatible Z-wave protocol. The mobile app lets you manage the devices remotely for complete control of your connected home. The hub starts at $99 with devices and accessories starting at $31.

Connect America (Health and safety)

Get peace of mind for your elderly parent or grandparent. Connect America provides common sense security and safety solutions for older adults who wish to continue to live an independent life at home. Their 2-way interactive emergency monitoring device is coupled with equipment that is designed for reliability, function and ease of use. In the event of a medical emergency, their operators can make direct connections with their client. From $29.99 /mo.

Amazon TV Fire Stick (Video on Demand)

feature-hero-v2For under forty bucks, turn your TV into a smart device, with access to subscription based streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Spotify, Pandora and YouTube. HBO Go is slated to be added next year. This is such a cool gift that we’ve included it in our list despite it not being exactly an Internet of Things device. It comes with a remote, voice control and a free 30-day trial to Amazon Prime service. A no-brainer gift at $39.

The Neat Company (Document management)

Neat transforms your digital and paper documents into useful, organized information. Their integrated system of software, hardware, cloud service, and mobile apps makes it easy to acquire, search, share, and access your most important information – anywhere, anytime.  Get control of important information by quickly capturing documents regardless of their original sources, and making them organized, searchable, and at hand when they’re needed. Work more efficiently by unlocking information to easily use for reports, share with others, and feed to other programs. From $179.95.

Metromile (Connected car / insurance)

Metromile Device

Billed as “kind of like a Fitness monitor for your car,” their Metromile device allows drivers to pay auto-insurance by the mile. The device fits in the diagnostic port just below the dash and tracks a user’s mileage and other driving stats, while also monitoring the engine’s health. MetroMile is popular with urban drivers who often drive much less than their suburban or rural counterparts, and their research shows that users save an average of $400 a year on their auto insurance. App and device are free and insurance rates vary by usage.

Webinar: Monetizing Connected Devices with Recurring Revenue Services