One very interesting possibility with the Internet of Things is to make things visible that are usually not. Such an example is electricity, which is omnipresent in our lives, but still is not something we can see. One important aspect of electricity is it’s price, and that is also not visible in any easy way. Since most energy markets are open and prices vary over time, it could be profitable to keep track of prices, so that you can optimize your use of energy, e.g. wash the clothes when the price for electricity is low. More importantly, this kind of behavior will actually help the energy suppliers as the load on the grid is evened out over time. This in turn will have an impact on overall energy use.
The problem is that prices are not easily visible, and it’s a bit cumbersome to keep track of the suppliers web site or even their app. That’s where the Internet of Things can help, like putting a connected smart light in each home that change color to reflect the price variations. Then the whole family (even small children) can get a sense of the current price, and even more interesting, it builds a general awareness of energy use, which is increasingly important in these times of global warming.
Here is a video on how such a device can be put together.