Internet of Things shines bright this holiday season with unique gift ideas

Tech finds its way onto our patios and yoga mats, into our coffee mugs and beds

The beauty – some might call it the audacity – of the Internet of Things is its no-holds-barred approach to infusing tech into every conceivable object. And at no time of year does its steady progress shine more brightly than during the holidays.

Who knew yoga mats and fire pits could be smart? For the 2018 holidays, even these once-humble items have gone high-tech. Here’s a closer look at those and some other potential IoT gifts that should work just fine with your Viasat Internet service:

The BioLite Fire Pit is small enough to fit on most apartment patios, and this little workhorse burns real wood while suppressing smoke and sparks. You get the warmth, smell, look and inimitable snap of a campfire without the smelly, and sometimes scary byproducts.

What makes it smart? The Bluetooth app that lets you adjust the size of the flames. Assembling the S’mores is still all on you.


When you’re ready to return from downward-dog pose, The Fit self-rolling smart yoga mat perfectly rolls itself back into a neat, easy-to-carry package.

What makes it smart? You can link it to a Wi-Fi speaker and work out to the included yoga sessions. It’s also longer and thicker than most yoga mats.


If your golf game could use a little tech boost, check out the Bushnell Phantom, a tiny GPS that gives wireless course updates and displays course distances and hazards. It’s preloaded with information on 36,000 courses in 30-plus countries. Lightweight and magnetic, it’s an unobtrusive way to easily navigate new course and potentially shave a few strokes off your score.


The Ember Travel Mug  might be just the ticket for the coffee connoisseur with the colossal commute. This smart drinking device lets you set your drinking temperature, then holds it steady for the long haul.

What makes it smart? You can use the Ember app to know when your drink has reached your preferred temperature.

Not sure it’s worth the $150 price tag? Wait’ll you hear about the lid. Ember says it has a “perfect lip interface and a 360-degree drinking experience.” For those among us that have spent a lifetime seeking the “perfect lip interface,” this cup’s a bargain!


If you haven’t yet jumped on board the Instant Pot bandwagon, there’s  The Instant Pot Smart WiFi Pressure Cooker.

What makes it smart? This IP connects to Wi-Fi, so when it’s chow time, you get a virtual dinner bell in alert form. You can also monitor and adjust your meal’s progress from anywhere. The app also has 750 preprogrammed recipes. The pot still does all the things it’s always done so well – namely cooking tender meats, beans, lentils and other typically time-intensive entrees in an hour or less.


Even sleep gets the IoT treatment this year. The Philips Somneo sleep and wake-up light is designed to help your brain get back what your late-night Facebook habit has taken away.

This nightstand-sized light with a very space-aged design simulates sunrise and sunset to gently ease you into a natural sleep pattern. Use the breathing and relaxation exercises to further decompress. When it’s time to rise, this super-smart sleeping partner will play the natural sounds, music or radio station of your choosing.

What makes it smart? Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to access all features on settings through an app.

Like most smart devices, all of these should easily connect via your router or Viasat wireless gateway. Just make sure you have the password ready and for tips on managing data on these, take a look at this article as well.

Jane Reuter
About Jane Reuter 70 Articles
Jane Reuter writes from the heart. Having spent years as a newspaper journalist, she knows a well-written story is never forgotten. It’s personal. It connects. It makes an impact. As a Viasat content specialist, Jane seeks to take her readers on a journey, making her stories interactive, personal and engaging.