You're not alone if you've heard about the internet of things (IoT) and then wondered what the excitement was all about. The simplest definition of IoT is that it is a combination of software and networking that connects your devices to each other. Cisco estimates that over 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020.
A few examples of IoT in action are cars that have sensors and are connected to the Internet, a home thermostat that you can program from your smartphone, or a wearable device that tracks your activity and reports it to an app. The brands that you may recognize from those examples are OnStar, Nest, and Fitbit. They all deliver a seamless, connected experience, using hardware and software and generate almost limitless amounts of data.
As property owners and homeowners, the team at Alert Labs thought about the potential to use the IoT to help protect properties better and spend less on utilities. We looked at existing products - but none could do what we needed. The systems available relied on Wi-Fi networks that would not work during a power outage. The sensors themselves were difficult to install. Lastly, there was no easy way to know what was happening in your home.
To solve this problem, we have built sensors that monitor your water meter, sump pump, water softener, furnace, and even sensors for flood detection. We think of our solution as Fitbit for your basement.
We kept installation simple, which means no tools are required and it takes less than two minutes. It’s easy to register your sensors online on our portal and the Alert Labs app is very intuitive and fun to use. Our sensors tell you what’s happening in your water system - in simple, everyday language.
One of the features we're especially proud of is how our sensors connect to the internet. As I mentioned earlier, most sensors rely on your home Wi-Fi connection. This is problematic is two major ways. First, if you want to monitor the water system in your cottage and it has no or seasonal Wi-Fi access then the system just won't work for you. Second, if your power goes out due to a storm - your Wi-Fi network will be unavailable and render your sensors useless.
Our Alert Labs sensors use ultra low power 3G radios to connect to the internet. They're designed to work for years and once you turn them on and plug them in, you're connected. No pairing, no charging - just set them up and your home is protected.
There's so much about our products that I'm excited to share with you here on our blog. In our next post, we'll share why tracking water usage is so important to municipalities and homeowners.