The phrase “the Internet of Things” or IoT refers to a future where everyday items in your home are connected to the internet and able to interact with us and each other in the online space.
Here in Zimbabwe we are used to getting a bit of a raw deal when it comes to support for the latest technology, but in the case of the IoT there are a number of things we are able to do to take advantage of the latest advances.
We are going to be producing a weekly review of a number of gadgets that are part of the IoT revolution and exploring their usefulness and practicality from a Zimbabwean perspective. We will begin with the Logitech Harmony Smart Control.
It will allow you to have one Remote to control your DStv decoder, TV, Home Theatre, lights alarm system etc. We will take a practical look at what sort of vale we can derive from this within the Zimbabwean context.
We will also take a look at home security and look at home surveillance systems such as the Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi wireless video monitoring camera which allows you to monitor your home from your iPhone or Android smart phone and save footage to the cloud.
We will also review the SmartThings Smart Home Starter Kit which allows you to detect when doors or windows are opened, turn on lights and appliances, and a whole host of other features we will discuss in greater detail.
The next aspect we will look at is what the future of television consumption is likely to look like. We have reported on several video on demand and streaming media services but we will look at the established international options for “cutting the cord” (moving away from traditional broadcast media) and we will focus of services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Instant video. For our review we will compare the two most popular options internationally Apple TV and the Roku Player
Finally we will also look at lighting control with the Philips Hue smart lighting system and the Sonos wireless audio system.
We are also keeping an eye out for the August smart lock, and would like to do a review once in becomes commercially available.
Last but certainly not least we will do a Zimbabwean review of the Xbox One which recently launched in South Africa. The Xbox One has positioned itself as an all-in-one home media hub, and we are keen to see how this will play out in the local environment.
Before we get bombarded in the comments section, we are aware that there are a number of lower cost alternatives to achieve some of the same results but we approached this from the perspective of achieving the maximum integration (Having all these things come together to form one smart house) and also highlighting the best of breed solutions.
Of course it goes without saying that the most important issue in discussing the internet of things is the internet. For our reviews we will be using a 1MB Umax Wimax connection.
Ideally for the streaming services or continuous recording of surveillance footage to the cloud you would want a higher speed uncapped service, but after over a year since ZOL dug up my driveway and a year of begging them to take my money, I’m reconciled to the fact that I am unlikely to see fibre in my lifetime.
We hope you will follow this series in the weeks to come as we explore just how close we here in Zimbabwe are to living in our version of the Science fiction fantasy house of the future.
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