IoT — or the Internet of Things — is definitely here to stay. It may seem slow in the moment, but IoT has rapidly taken over our homes, schools, healthcare and workplaces. And over the next few years, there definitely will be more improvements.
Many people like myself ask, should I invest in IoT products? It seems like they're always coming out with new ideas and innovations everyday that any product I do buy will be outdated in a couple months.
Even if this is true, IoT is continuously building on itself — take the smartphone for example. Even though most of the world has smartphones now, people were hesitant to buy it at first. Now, it's the basis for connected devices — you can control your house lights, garage, pet feeders and more with your smartphone.
If you're still hesitant, here are other reasons why you should invest in IoT devices.
If you're a student
Students are the future of IoT products — Generation Z kids were the first to actually grow up always having modern technology. Whether you're a college student, stuck in high school or teaching as an educator, IoT devices can help you.
Take your dorm for instance — items like smart plugs and home cameras allow you to control what happens in your room from anywhere. In everyday life, connecting tablets and laptops to your school's network can help keep you updated too.
If you love to travel
Traveling gadgets have been prevalent since basically forever — however, we're now moving away from neck pillows and ear plugs. Get your hands on smart devices like the portable scanners — for the workaholic — smart suitcases and dual SIM smartphones for the ultimate relaxing vacation.
Take a beach vacation for example — relax by the water with a waterproof reader or play ball in the water with a connected speaker.
If you're into fashion
Although this portion of IoT hasn't been thoroughly researched yet, there have been some pretty big improvements. Take the Anrealage Monte Z shoes — with a smartphone and AR, you can put designs onto your sneakers.
Some brands even let you virtually try on their clothing while others are working on wearable tech and multi-functioning connected accessories.
If you have pets
Yes, IoT devices can even help your pets — in this case, mostly cats and dogs. With products such as smart dog collars and trackers, you won't ever lose your dog again. Smart feeders and pet players can also take care of your pet when you're away — with a tap of your smartphone.
If you own a home
Obviously, smart homes are all the craze now — why get up and do something when you can be efficient and have it automated?
Your kitchen for example — smart refrigerators can help you keep track of your food or automatically reorder groceries while smart forks, cookers and coffee makers make your life easier with scheduling and automatic services.
If you have a car
Cars are the next big step in IoT development — even though we have a few self-driving and connected cars on the road, we still haven't even fully switched over to electric yet. Funding and supporting research in this emerging market will help us convert faster.
As you're reading this article, researchers and professionals are making and testing automated and connected vehicles in a fake Michigan city called Mcity. Even though there are limited options on the market right now — especially affordable ones — more are soon to come.
After all these uses, I'd say investing in IoT products is a pretty good decision. Even though you don't particularly care about the movement, getting left behind could be pretty inconvenience in both your professional and personal life.
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- 20 Crazy Connected IoT Products At CES 2017 - Page: 1 | CRN ›
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- Capital OneVoice: 8 Internet Of Things Products Making Life Safer ›
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- Thingsberry - List of Internet of things (Iot) Products. ›
- Internet of Things Devices, Applications & Examples - Business Insider ›
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- Internet of Things Product Selector | DigiKey Electronics ›
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.