Smart Connected Innovations Make the Holidays Better!

How we spend the holidays today is very different from how we spent them twenty (or even ten) years ago. Have you ever stopped for a moment to consider the stunning innovations that have been so transformational to our collective experience, and how alien our actions would appear to someone visiting from 1990? Let’s take a look:


The day after Thanksgiving has become a shopping nightmare – it may offer exceptional savings, but it comes with a side of danger. Enter Cyber Monday, with deals rivaling those found in stores for a fraction of the time and no physical risk. With endless sites offering uncommon and unique gift ideas from the furthest reaches of the world, your only concern (beyond helping someone from an impoverished land) is saving enough time for shipping.

Even hunting down items at local stores for last minute must haves takes minutes instead of days. We take all of this granted though, as wish lists test price boundaries and capture our attention.

Think what Santa goes through now to get 3D pens, virtual reality headsets, drones and other asked for smart connected experiences that now replace puzzles, bicycles and even wired gaming consoles. And we have kids no longer listening to the radio to hear where Santa is – they can track him on an app. Santa calling? That’s so 2010. Instead, they watch a personalized video of Santa reviewing their year in pictures and see him “caught” delivering gifts under their very tree!

But holidays aren’t just about gifts, naturally. For many of us, they’re about food!


Premade, gourmet meals have been around for a while, but now you can get them last minute with an Uber Eats driver picking up and delivering orders. Or you can order ingredients from appetizer to dessert with nearly foolproof cooking instructions from services that keep track of your family’s food preferences. Even the DIY folks have innovations like Siri to rely on for recipes and such. Or their Samsung Smart Fridge to manage family schedules, organize and order ingredients to assist with meal prepping. And the products to cook food have evolved as well, with smart tech that will turn itself on and off and will one day require only verbal instructions and access to ingredients. Sound unlikely? We’re already moving quickly toward that – take “Stem” for example.

Stem is an IoT smart connected system born from the Connected Cocktail Project. “It’s hardware, software, and a service. It is an app, a cloud application, and a set of “smart caps” that live on top of your liquor bottles.” It helps people select, serve and shake cocktails like a mixologist, but at home. It knows what you have on hand and what you like, so it uses that information to help you discover new drinks, even having ingredients delivered to your door. All that’s needed beyond that is an AI robot, like Sophia, to put it all together for you, but she’ll probably be too busy conquering humanity.

And another cocktail for the holidays is Margaritaville’s Frozen Concoction Maker for restaurant-quality frozen drinks, with transparent ice-making chambers “to recreate the excitement of a bar-made drink.” The precision choreography of shaving the ice and blending the ingredients makes the frozen concoction maker irresistible to those fond of hosting parties – and it also creates a convenient and loud distraction to drown out any political debates your in-laws may start.


Comparing prices isn’t new and may not feel transformational, but finding, comparing and booking travel as you wait for the train really is the stuff of 70’s SciFi. And being able to Facetime relatives that live far away is an innovation we certainly take for granted, with holographic capabilities headed our way. Imagine talking to Uncle Jayden like he’s sitting in the room, only to have his likeness slowly disappear at the end of the “call.” Or to see someone impatiently “waiting on hold” as they try to reach you when you’re busy. That’s a pretty significant leap from a busy signal!

And when relatives do come to visit, will they be staying in your connected and carbon-positive home (coming soon) or at an Airbnb? Will they be able to upload their wake-up times, coffee preferences and even shower temps to a variety of connected devices? It’s likely. Wherever they’re staying, once they arrive at your home, after using Waze to navigate the best way to navigate local traffic, they’ll be delighted by those programmable lights you set to activate when sensing motion, from your smartphone, which is being charged by your pants or some other wireless source. And then your iPad will be fully charged as well, to watch the football game under the table so you don’t disturb anyone and can appear to be paying attention to Aunt Ruth’s podiatrist story.

Some of that may not feel like an improvement over what we have today, but it’s a definite shift in how we do things – yet it’s nothing compared to what’s in store, with the smart connected experiences we’re exploring and designing today. IoT and the augmented reality offer possibilities we’ve yet to imagine.

And with that in mind, if your grandfather seems a bit befuddled by the things you take for granted as you sit around the dinner table discussing the latest technological advancements this holiday season, consider the learning curve for anyone who hasn’t been consistently digitally active. It’s pretty steep. And the transition from physical to digital continues to accelerate in every category. But you could show granddad the new “Firefly” concept to help people age at home – and he just may be impressed and relieved to know this is possible.

Be sure to keep up to date on the latest smart connected innovations – or reach out with any questions about ways smart connected can improve your life and your company’s future down the line. We’re happy to help!


Gretchen Hoffman

Posted By: 

Gretchen Hoffman

VP Marketing