Think the Internet of Things is just for appliances around the home? Think again! As our smart bikini concept shows, IoT is set to land everywhere...

It happens to most of at least once every year: we get out into the Great British summer and totally forget to apply any suntan lotion until it’s too late, leaving us lobster-red by the day’s end. In fact, a recent YouGov survey across Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK showed that almost half of Europeans (48%) often forget to apply sunscreen at all.

Wouldn’t it be nice if something could keep track of those harmful UV rays and remind you to slap on the factor 30? Time to say hello to the ‘Smart Summer’ swimwear concept– a bikini, swim shorts and kids sun hat…

The IoT Crowd

The Internet of Things (or IoT) – which brings smart connectivity to appliances, clothing, household items and everything in-between – is already huge news, and something we’ve covered before here on Vodafone Social but its influence in all of our lives is only set to grow as the technology involved becomes ever more accessible and cheap.

SmartSummer 2

To prove it, we’ve been beavering away behind closed doors on a concept range of amazing IoT summer accessories – just for fun, so you won’t be seeing them in stores anytime soon. Like our signal-boosting umbrella from years past, our proof-of-concept swimwear, sun hat and luggage all contain tiny internet-connected components that make them much smarter than the average holiday gear.

So how does it work, and what can they do? It’s pretty ingenious stuff. The concept of the ‘Smart Summer’ bikini, shorts and sun hat is that they all house tiny UV sensors, which keep tabs on the sun’s movements and, in correlation with your skin type, alert the wearer (or parent, in the hat’s case) that it’s time to reapply the sunscreen via a mobile app notification. On top of that, the children’s hat will also alert parents when they wander off beyond a pre-selected range. Smart stuff!

SmartSummer 3

Next up we have the ‘Smart Summer’ suitcase concept, which could well solve the decades-old problem of losing your luggage at the airport once and for all. It’s got super low-power Vodafone IoT hardware built in that’ll let you track the case down either via a ‘hotter/colder’ meter on your phone, or via GPS on a map if it ends up too far away/in the wrong country!

SmartSummer 1

The whole Smart Summer concept range has a battery life of roughly a week, but similar products in the future may boast a battery life of up to 10 years on a single charge! That’s according to Vodafone’s IoT guru Erik Brenneis, who says that this concept kit “illustrates how the Internet of Things has the potential to reshape every aspect of our daily lives.”

And in the meantime? If you’re looking to try get your IoT fix now, you can – in lots of different ways…

Get yourself connected

Our ‘Smart Summer’ IoT range may be in the proof-of-concept stage, but they’re far from the only everyday items to be imbued with an internet connection in recent years. In fact, you don’t have to look very far to see a plethora of smart appliances, clothing, and accessories that reap the benefits of being connected. Here are a few of our favourites:

ikettleiKettle
For those times when trudging to the kettle is just a bit too much effort, there’s always the wonder of IoT. This connected kettle can be set to boil (and to any temperature you like) from your phone, either on the fly or at a set time in the morning. It’ll even ask if you want to stick a brew on when you arrive home. Now if only we could get someone to actually make the tea.

thermos smart lidThermos Smart Lid
How much water should you drink every day? And how much have you had so far? This smart bottle from Thermos will be able to show you. Fill it up and sensors inside will be able to tell how much you’ve washed down, with a bespoke app for keeping track of your hydration targets – and even Fitbit integration.

coalition backpackCo.Alition backpack
A lot of tech-centric backpacks these days boast charging banks to keep your devices topped up on the move, but very few offer a wireless hard drive built right into the design. Co.Alition’s range does just that, offering your very own networked storage solution, which lets you upload photos and videos to your rucksack on the fly.

Tshirt-OSTshirtOS
It’s only in the prototype stages at the minute, but TshirtOS is making waves at tech shows around the world thanks to its simple premise and cool execution. What is it? A durable, washable, rechargeable tee that can be programmed to say anything you like via LED lights. Perfect for those days when you wish someone or something could do your talking for you.

More IoT… Want to know how to automate almost every part of your day? Check out our list of the best apps that’ll do the hard work for you.