10 Days of IoT Devices for the Holidays:
It’s happening– a world where we control everyday items in the palm of our hands and sound of our voice is finally here. From a fridge that lets you know you’re out of milk to finding your keys with an app, here are 10 days of smart products you need for this holiday season.
1) Samsung Smart Fridge
The first on our list for IoT Devices for the Holidays, is the Samsung Smart Fridge, there isn’t much it can’t do. With voice activation you can add items to your shopping list and check what you’re out of. In addition, while you are at the store, you can check the inside of your fridge from any mobile device with it’s 3 built in cameras. For home entertainment, this fridge can even stream music and television while connected to other smart devices.
2) Wemo Smart Crockpot
The holidays are times for good food and good times. On day 2 of IoT Devices for the Holidays, make sure your meals come out just right with the Wemo smart crock pot. It connects to a mobile application where you can adjust cooks times and temperatures even when you’re not home. You can program customized cook settings and come home to a meal made just right, every time.
With day 3 of IoT Devices for the Holidays, cooking just got a lot easier and way more fun. Smartypans is a smart cooking pan that comes with an interactive mobile application. It allows you to adjust temperature, track weight and other measurements as you cook. But it gets better, you can even speak and create recipes as you go, and send over to friends and family to share your masterpieces with step by step instructions.
Everything is a little more hectic during the holidays, but with day 4 of IoT Devices for the Holidays, losing your necessities is no longer a worry. Tiles can be place on keychains, inside a wallet or on anything else you can’t lose, but always misplace. From the mobile app, you can sound an alarm when you’ve misplaced it, and even track your items in the world’s largest lost and found network.
5) Behmor Coffee Maker
There is nothing better than a nice cup of hot coffee on a chilly morning during the holidays. Day 5 of IoT Devices for the Holidays takes care of it for you. With the Behmor smart coffee maker, you can control the timer with their mobile app and adjust temperature and pre-soak settings. You will even gain access to recipes and other personalized settings.
6) LIFX Smart Lights
On day 6 of IoT Devices for the Holidays, set the mood with color changing lights from LIFX . Control from any mobile device - red lights for the holidays or dimmed lights for movie time. Transform your space with over 16 million colors and create personalized home automation settings. You can even set wakeup and nighttime shifts for your desired times.
7) Kala Ukelele
Bring the holiday cheer on day 7 of IoT Devices for the Holidays this season with the Kala Ukulele. Get access to their mobile app that helps players of all levels. It listens as you play and provides feedback. You will also have access to thousands of songs and tutorials.
Stay on top of your health on day 8 of IoT Devices for the Holidays with HAPIfork, a connected smart fork that lets you adopt healthy eating habits. With a connected mobile device, it makes sure you eat at the right time and eat at the right pace. You can even follow a coaching program and share with the community.
9) Hoist Indoor Cycle Bike
Keep off the holiday treats on day 9 of IoT Devices for the Holidays. The Hoist Indoor Cycle bike keeps you on top of your fitness, and tracks it in the palm of your hand. The mobile application connected to the indoor cycle bike, allows you to track workout data including setting personal records. You can track total calories burned, max speed, and tons of other great data. It also features a rich data display with interactive graphs.
10) Kholer Numi Smart Toilet
It’s day 10 of IoT Devices for the Holidays, here's something you didn’t know you needed to improve your bathroom, the Kholer Numi smart toilet. With Kholer Konnect, you can fine-tune every aspect of your toilet experience. From heated seats to foot warmers and automated ambient colored lighting. This will keep you and the family content with your bathroom experiences this holiday season and beyond.
Implications of Machine Learning for Mobile Applications
An aspect of artificial intelligence (AI) research, machine learning is focused on the process by which computers improve at performing tasks by exposure to data rather than by specific programming. Algorithms are constructed to allow the machine to collect and analyze data, comparing large numbers of examples to discover patterns. This allows the machine to draw conclusions and learn from its accumulated experience in order to predict results in new data. The result? “Instead of people writing software, we have data writing software,” says Jen-Hsun Huang, Chief Executive of NVIDIA, a firm that makes chips for AI systems.
This hasn’t only led to change in research and software development, but also to the daily lives of people across the planet. Read on to discover the greatest implications of machine learning for mobile applications.
AI is already a part of our day-to-day experience. Over the past decade or two, consumers have become accustomed to seeing the results of machine learning in the form of recommendations from online retailers, or music streaming and video services based on the user’s previous searches, purchases, and ratings. Machine learning is used for many other commonplace applications such as search engines, identifying and blocking spam email, detecting text in a foreign language and providing a translation, or recognizing unusual activity to detect potential credit card fraud. The progress made in this area provides a foundation for advanced uses of the technology, from revolutionary self-driving cars and drones to medical diagnostics, legal research, and financial advising.
In December 2016, Bank of America Merrill Lynch published Robot Revolution – Global Robot & AI Primer with the goal of “setting out the challenges and opportunities offered by robots and AI.” The paper outlines the potential economic effects that may result from the increasing use of robots and AI, as well as possible investment opportunities. It demonstrates the massive scale of AI’s influence and projected growth over the next several years. They estimate that by 2020, the AI and robotics market will expand to $153 billion, up from $58 billion in 2014.
The Internet of Things, which includes physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items which are connected to and can exchange information over the internet, will play a big part in this. While some of this market consists of industrial uses for AI and robotics, a significant portion of the market is expected to be made up of business, home, and personal uses like mobile applications.
A Pocket Full of AI
Neural networks are designed to mimic the structure and function of neurons and their connections in the human brain. They are used in many familiar applications that rely on machine learning such as voice recognition software, Facebook’s facial recognition software for photo tagging, and Snapchat lenses, to name but a few. Until recently, machine learning relied on massive computing power, which required a connection to a server with enough energy to handle the load. Mobile applications have been limited by this need to use cloud-based servers in order to function. However, new technology is beginning to change this.
In 2016, researchers at MIT announced that they had designed a new chip to implement neural networks that is 10 times more efficient than existing mobile processors. This will allow mobile devices to run AI algorithms internally without connecting to the internet. The offline process saves time and energy and means much more powerful apps can be created to use on mobile devices. Speech recognition and language translation applications are already being developed, with other types of apps sure to follow.
Once machine learning applications no longer have to connect to the internet to function, the variety and utility of available apps is likely to expand rapidly. An examination by Deloitte University Press concluded that machine learning applications will soon be found in every industry, and will feature one or more of the following capabilities:
An analysis or diagnosis of sensory data
Perceptual interfaces or interactivity
Navigation and motion control
These new apps could include personal health monitoring, augmented and virtual reality, drone piloting, presentation capabilities, and more. The ability to provide personalized information to an individual while navigating a city street, retail store, airport or museum will surely be of interest to advertisers or the curators of such spaces.
Progress in machine learning is made thick and fast, so it’s never too early to start considering new applications that could enhance your life and business.
Developing Accessible Apps
Modern technology doesn’t automatically make life easier for everyone. Computer software and apps can present unique challenges to people living with disabilities.
Vision impairment, hearing difficulties, mobility impairment, or cognitive disabilities all make navigating today’s digital apps difficult, or impossible.
As a technological innovator, you shouldn’t be willing to leave anyone in the dust. The nature of technology is not to power ahead for those who can use it and forget those who can’t, but to adapt and invent ways to allow all people to benefit from digital advancements.
The job of a good UI/UX developer is to create a product that makes the user’s experience easier – that goes for all types of users. A touch of clear design can go a long way.
Is It Worthwhile to Design for Accessibility?
The short answer is, if you don’t design for accessibility, you’re stunting your app’s ability to grow. The World Bank estimates that 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that number is closer to 20% in the US. That’s a huge segment of the market that could benefit from improved accessibility.
The government is increasingly recognizing this, and encouraging action to accommodate it. Congress has introduced legislation in a range of areas aimed at improving accessibility to products and services for people living with disabilities, and some of that includes computer software and apps. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and its 2008 amendments specifies that public programs and services — including information technology — have to be accessible to people living with disabilities, and provide “effective communication” of their content and information.
As the population ages, accessibility will only become more important. If you stay ahead of the curve and build this into your app from the start, you’ll have a more ethical product with more lasting power.
Ways to Improve Your App’s Accessibility
Improving accessibility doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of guides out there like these ones by Android and Salesforce that can help you get a full understanding of what your app design must include to be successful.
For visual impairments, increased size or contrast text can go a long way in making content easier to read. If you’re targeting an older demographic especially, making the text in your app easy to read should be a goal. Using bolding or italics, instead of just color, to highlight important phrases ensures someone with a vision impairment doesn’t miss important content. Adding captions to audio or video allows people with hearing impairments to access and understand all content.
More complex solutions can include formatting web and app content so that programs like Android’s Text-to-Speech can easily read the content aloud to users.
Truly stellar accessibility will take more detailed design, such as ensuring your online forms are properly identified so that keyboard-only and voice-only computer users can still use them. Or, it can mean relocating menu items to places where they can be easily found for these users. If you have to hover the mouse over an item to see the actionable items, visual-only users might not even realize it’s there. This is where an experienced app developer can be a great resource to help you address potential user roadblocks you hadn’t even considered.
Testing your product often and thoroughly can help identify where your accessibility issues lie, and allow your development team to innovate strong solutions.
When you make your product more accessible, it will reach more people. You can start to access some of the 20% of the American population living with a disability, who might not otherwise interact with your app. As more technologies are developed for people living with disabilities to navigate computers and apps, there will be more opportunities to develop strong, accessible app design. The field is only growing.
When you design software to be more accessible, it’s useful for other purposes as well. Take, for example, captioning video content for people with hearing difficulties has became useful even for people without hearing impairments. Thanks to captioning, video can be watched by people who need to watch sound-free, or for those who don’t understand the video’s native language very well.
Similarly, voice control features can be extremely useful for someone with mobility issues, but have the added side effect of assisting someone who’s got his hands full trying to cook dinner.
Ultimately, constraint breeds creativity. When you’re required to work within stricter guidelines, you’re forced to adapt your design to fit – and often, you end up with something better than you had originally planned. At Barefoot Solutions, we embrace the creative challenges of accessible design; each challenge is a new opportunity to make your app even better for your users.