All I want for Christmas is secure IoT gifts!

Last updated: 19 December 2019

The holiday season is upon us once more, and in that last-minute scramble to find presents for your loved ones, you may be searching for some more slightly left field ideas. Well, fear not! Our Internet of Things (IoT) gift guide might just be able to help you out. And, if you are worried about how to properly secure these devices, we have also put together a practical guide to help you out.

2019 saw another stellar year for the development of connected objects, including everything from smart forks that vibrate when they sense you’re eating too fast, to smart bed legs that detect and capture bed bugs. We picked our favorite three that just might inspire a purchase, or two!

Smart Pet Feeder

If you have pets you may understand the disappointment of going to the vet only to be told your beloved companion needs to go on a diet. Luckily, the IoT has provided plenty of solutions to help you from overfeeding them. Automatic pet feeders are able to set personalized portion sizes and dispense food on a schedule you set, giving you peace of mind that your pet will be fed, even if you are running late. Perhaps most importantly, the system will send an alert to your phone when your pet’s been fed, or if you need to fill it up with more food.

Some smart pet feeders also come with additional features such as a two-way pet camera to hear and speak to your pet, alerts if your dog is excessively barking and give you the ability to fire treats out of the device through an app on your smartphone.

IoT for pets really seems to have taken off in 2019. Besides feeders, there are many ideas emerging wireless devices for your pet such as, smart collars, play toys, and activity/environment trackers for your dog or cat. These wearables for furry friends benefit from mobility cellular IoT modules, which are designed to connect wherever your pet roams off to!

Smart Mattress

These days there are many ways to track the amount of sleep you are getting, including popular apps that monitor your breathing and wearables that record information based on your sleeping heart rate. Nonetheless, there may be no better object suited for the job than the bed itself. Throughout the night, the bed senses your every move and can adjust the firmness of the mattress, accordingly, meaning that if you move onto your side, it’ll adjust to provide more cushioning. What’s more, every morning, the bed shows you how well you’re sleeping based on metrics such as your average heart rate, breathing and movement throughout the night.

And, if that wasn’t enough, the mattress can pre-warm each side of the bed, tilt your body upwards in order raise your head – relieving mild snoring at night and improving your posture in bed when reading or watching TV.

Smart Fitness Mirror

If you are looking for a solution that makes your home workouts better, or if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get more active, look no further than the latest fitness innovation – a smart mirror. The device uses a two-way camera and audio system to stream personal trainers who can lead you through a variety of exercise sessions. During the workout, members will see their instructor on the screen, their own reflection and their biometric data, such as their heart rate.

Additionally, the smart mirror includes an algorithm that tracks your achievements and recovery time. This technology then keeps a record of your personal bests without you having to worry about them.

Securing your IoT devices

It is no secret that despite all the benefits of smart home products, they are also prone to hacking. The reason for this is that many IoT devices come with default settings and passwords, which many cybercriminals will already know. To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of an IoT device hack, it is imperative that you change this password to one that is strong and secure. Our recommendation is to use a variety of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, symbols and to make sure the password cannot be linked to any of your personal information, like your children’s names.

As is the case with the device’s password, it is also important to understand the object’s default settings and change them where appropriate. For instance, a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) feature helps IoT gadgets discover and connect to other network devices. However, this setting also serves as a gateway for hackers to infiltrate your devices and network.

Finally, you will need to make sure your software is up to date in order to keep your devices secure and reduce your risk of a cyberattack. This can be done with relative ease as manufacturers are always releasing new patches for the latest vulnerabilities as and when they are discovered. However, you should make it a habit to check for updates on a regular basis to avoid being caught out.

That concludes this year’s IoT Christmas blog. We hoped you enjoyed learning about some of 2019’s IoT innovations and how to keep them secure. Let us know if you have any other cool IoT-gift ideas that we haven’t included by tweeting us at @GemaltoIoT

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