What Is a Smart Device?

We use smart devices every day, but what exactly makes a device smart?

Manuel Silverio

Smart devices play a fundamental role in today’s  Industry 4.0 . They are at the center of the  Internet of Things (IoT) and  smart cities . And yet, when I looked for a definition of ‘smart device’ a few years ago, I couldn’t find much. So I resorted to  creating a new methodological approach for developing a scalable concept of smart devices.

A smart device has three main features: (1) context awareness, (2) autonomous computing and (3) connectivity.

This definition aligns with the main idea of the Internet of Things. In other words, any one thing can become part of the IoT. A chair can become a smart chair if we add a sensor , a tiny bit of computing capabilities and network connectivity.

Read More From Our IoT Experts Why Is IoT Security Important?

Smart Devices Have Context Awareness

Context awareness is a system or system component’s ability to gather information about its environment at any given time and adapt behaviors accordingly. Cameras, microphones and Global Positioning Satellite ( GPS ) receivers, radar and LIDAR sensors are all potential sources of data for context-aware computing. A context-aware system may gather data through these and other sources and respond according to pre-established rules or through computational intelligence.

Smart Devices Have Autonomous Computing

The key aspect of autonomous computing is a device or multiple devices performing tasks autonomously without the direct command of the user. For example, our smartphones make suggestions based on our geolocation or the weather. To accomplish this seemingly simple task, a smartphone needs to be autonomous and use context data to make decisions.

Smart Devices Have Connectivity

Connectivity refers to the ability of a smart device to connect to a data network. Without connectivity, there is no point in a smart device being autonomous and having context awareness. Network connectivity, whether wired or wireless, is a crucial feature that enables a device to be a part of the IoT .

How Do Smart Devices Work?

Smart devices rely on the IoT to connect to sensors. These sensors are attached to objects or other network-connected devices and gather data from their surroundings. Smart devices can then store this data, share it with other smart devices and conduct data analyses to provide insights to users.

If multiple smart devices are connected to the same network, a single platform or device can be used to operate different smart devices. As long as there’s an internet connection , smart devices have the ability to exchange information and communicate with one another, making it easier to send data and monitor devices.

Do Smart Devices Need Humans?

Don’t make the mistake of assuming all smart devices are designed for interacting with humans. If you think that way then you’re only thinking of the most common smart devices, such as smartphones, smart TVs or smartwatches . There are so many more possibilities. A smart device can have direct or indirect interaction with humans. A weather probe, for example, might collect weather data and transmit it to the IoT. Humans will end up using that data of course, but the weather probe did not require any direct interaction with humans.

Do Smart Devices Need to Be Portable?

Does a smart surveillance camera need to be mobile? Remember the three rules: context awareness (it’s a camera, which means it passes the test), autonomous computing (it uses computer vision to recognize particular objects), and network connectivity (it sends a report of the objects it recognizes to a server). In this example, portability is not required.

Read More From Our IoT Experts How IoT Is Launching Customer Experience to the Next Level

Are Autonomous Vehicles Smart Devices?

Yes! Autonomous vehicles comply with the three key criteria needed to make a device smart. It has network connectivity, context awareness (sensors such as GPS, LIDAR and Radar), and autonomous computing.

In the end, a smartphone might be a lot simpler than an autonomous vehicle, but they’re both smart devices.

A few years ago, when I developed the definition of a smart device, I reviewed all the literature and found a major lack of agreement in terminology. I saw everything from ‘ smart mobile device ’ to ‘mobile smart device’ to ‘ smart green IT device ’ — the list goes on. It doesn’t really matter what we call these devices because, in the end, what’s important is we understand what makes a smart device smart.​

Benefits of Smart Devices

From smart homes to autonomous vehicles, smart devices have become a mainstay in various aspects of daily life due to several advantages they offer.

Energy Savings

Smart devices can be designed to turn off automatically when not in use. They can also be programmed to follow scheduled tasks, such as dimming the lights at the end of the day. These actions cut down on excessive energy use and reduce costs in the long run.    

Worker Productivity

Because smart devices can be controlled with a quick click or voice command, they give individuals and businesses more time back in their days. Smart devices can automate repetitive tasks in the workplace as well, freeing up employees to focus on more complex projects.  

Health Monitoring 

Many smart devices come in the form of smartwatches, sensors and other wearables that send health data to medical teams. This way, doctors and healthcare personnel can monitor patients and respond more quickly to health anomalies. 

Security Measures

Companies and homeowners can set up cameras and sensors , allowing them to monitor an office space, home or other area around the clock. And since smart devices can communicate with each other, they can easily share data and send alerts when unusual activity is detected.  

Drawbacks of Smart Devices

Although smart devices can enhance everyday routines and processes, individuals and businesses alike need to consider a few downsides of the technology.

Additional Costs

Installing smart devices, sensors and other accompanying technologies comes with immediate expenses. In addition, not everyone has the resources required to maintain, repair or replace smart devices if they fail to function properly.  

Cyber Threats

The same connections smart devices use to gather and share data can also serve as openings for hackers. If users don’t have the proper security measures in place, their devices could be susceptible to a range of cyber attacks .  

Compatibility Issues 

Different competitors in the smart devices sector often design devices that only work with devices of the same brand. Users who have devices of varying brands may not be able to sync up their devices, limiting their networks and potentially isolating certain devices. 

Reliant on the Internet 

The digital divide makes smart devices pointless for many consumers since 2.6 billion people still don’t have internet access . As for those who can and do use smart devices, automating too many processes can leave them vulnerable if devices break down or get breached.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a smart device.

A smart device is any internet-connected device — wired or wireless — that can compile data from its surroundings, share this data with other devices and perform tasks autonomously.

What is an example of a smart device?

Autonomous vehicles, smartphones and smart thermostats are a few examples of smart devices.

What is the difference between a smart device and a connected device?

The main difference between smart devices and connected devices is their purposes. Connected devices gather and exchange data to provide insights on how to improve systems or make business operations more efficient. Smart devices compile data to find ways to automate processes and perform other tasks that enhance the lives of users.

Recent Expert Contributors Articles

Here’s What You Need to Know About Llama 3

smart devices essay

TED is supported by ads and partners 00:00

What your smart devices know (and share) about you

  • consumerism
  • surveillance

Complete Technology Logo

The pros and cons of smart devices

The pros and cons of smart devices

With the continuous and rapid development of smart devices, it’s easy to imagine a comfortable and convenient future. And it isn’t just consumers who will benefit, either — smart devices can help business owners, expanding their visibility and control over their operations, among other advantages. This is just one-half of the picture, however. In this blog, we look at the benefits and risks of smart devices, especially in the context of cybersecurity.

What are smart devices?

Simply put, a smart device is an electronic gadget or machine that has the ability to interact, connect, and share information with other smart devices. Although smart devices may use technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning , the term has become closely associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) in particular.

IoT refers to the network of physical devices that use sensors to gather data about their environment and share information with each other through the internet. There are billions of devices and machines making up the IoT. These include smartphones, fitness trackers, driverless cars, and even sensor-equipped jet engines, among others.

What are the applications and benefits of smart devices?

Smart devices are still a developing technology, so we have yet to capture the full extent of their benefits. Some of the most readily apparent, however, are:

Greater control and convenience

Imagine arriving at work and finding the office to always be at the perfect temperature. That’s possible with smart thermostats that automatically adjust indoor temperatures. Smart devices can have a more expansive usage as well. For instance, they can be used to ensure that traffic lights match changes in traffic and road conditions throughout the day, minimizing the occurrence of congestion.

Increased productivity and efficiency

Specialized sensors that let you monitor valuable resources, such as inventory, fuel, and available spare parts are among the best examples of efficiency-enhancing smart devices. These can help reduce the occurrence of delays and downtime in your business. They also take the burden of doing mundane tasks off your staff, allowing them to focus on their job.

Improved healthcare

Wearable smart devices, such as fitness trackers and heart and blood pressure monitors, provide accurate and real-time information about a person’s health. These allow physicians to administer appropriate treatments and develop effective strategies to improve patients’ well-being.

What are the disadvantages of smart devices?

Like any technology, smart devices have crucial drawbacks that need to be addressed. These are:

Dependence on power and the internet

Smart devices are electronic, so they obviously need a power supply to function. What’s more, you can only reap a smart device’s full benefits when it’s connected to the internet. As 40% of the world does not have internet coverage , a large chunk of the human population still won’t be able to benefit from it.

High cost and skill requirements

The utility of smart devices comes at a steep price — just compare a conventional and a smart fridge. A regular fridge costs between $1,000 and $2,000 , while a smart model can have a price tag between $2,000 and $4,000.

Additionally, smart devices usually require some level of tech knowledge to operate properly. This can be problematic for older people and those who are not so tech-savvy.

Cybersecurity risks

Perhaps the biggest pitfall of smart devices has to do with cybersecurity. Keep in mind that these electronics collect large volumes of information, some of which are personal and sensitive in nature. For example, your phone contains passwords, your car’s global positioning system monitors your location, and your office security cameras track comings and goings in your company’s premises. These data are essential for smart devices to function properly, but cybercriminals can intercept data transmissions. They can also hack these devices to steal stored data or disrupt their functionality, similar to what happens during distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks .

To prevent malicious actors from hacking into your smart devices, make sure these are equipped with anti-tampering and endpoint protection solutions . You must also implement encryption protocols to ensure that, should hackers be able to infiltrate a smart device or intercept its data, that data will be unreadable.

Smart devices can be a powerful addition to your company’s tech, but make sure to account for their risks prior to adoption. Our specialists at [company_short] can help you identify and address possible blind spots in your cybersecurity to augment your defenses against multiple cyberthreats. Consult with us today .

  • ← Older
  • Next →

Recent Posts

  • The Co-Managed Advantage: How Partnering with an MSP Gives IT Managers a Blueprint for IT Success
  • The Road to Success: How MSPs Help the C-suite’s Growth Agenda
  • Customer-Centric IT: Enhancing User Satisfaction through Co-Managed Partnerships with MSPs
  • 5 Ways MSPs Help C-Suite with the Human Touch in Tech Support
  • 5 Ways a Co-Managed Partnership with an MSP Helps IT Directors with Scaling IT

CompleteTechnology-7Rule-Backup-DisasteRecovery-InnerPageBanner

Illustration of falling person reaching out to a cell phone

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

O ne day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”

Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”

Recommended Reading

A person holds a phone while being backlit through an airplane window

Your Smartphone Reduces Your Brainpower, Even If It's Just Sitting There

A doll house in front of a window showing a real house

How I Demolished My Life

smart devices essay

Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteem

I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.

Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.

At first I presumed these might be blips, but the trends persisted, across several years and a series of national surveys. The changes weren’t just in degree, but in kind. The biggest difference between the Millennials and their predecessors was in how they viewed the world; teens today differ from the Millennials not just in their views but in how they spend their time. The experiences they have every day are radically different from those of the generation that came of age just a few years before them.

What happened in 2012 to cause such dramatic shifts in behavior? It was after the Great Recession, which officially lasted from 2007 to 2009 and had a starker effect on Millennials trying to find a place in a sputtering economy . But it was exactly the moment when the proportion of Americans who owned a smartphone surpassed 50 percent.

T he more I pored over yearly surveys of teen attitudes and behaviors, and the more I talked with young people like Athena, the clearer it became that theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. I call them iGen. Born between 1995 and 2012, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet. The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night. iGen’s oldest members were early adolescents when the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, and high-school students when the iPad entered the scene, in 2010. A 2017 survey of more than 5,000 American teens found that three out of four owned an iPhone.

The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of “screen time.” But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.

To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling. The aim of generational study, however, is not to succumb to nostalgia for the way things used to be; it’s to understand how they are now. Some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both. More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been. They’re markedly less likely to get into a car accident and, having less of a taste for alcohol than their predecessors, are less susceptible to drinking’s attendant ills.

Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

Even when a seismic event—a war, a technological leap, a free concert in the mud—plays an outsize role in shaping a group of young people, no single factor ever defines a generation. Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter. But the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.

I n the early 1970s, the photographer Bill Yates shot a series of portraits at the Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink in Tampa, Florida. In one, a shirtless teen stands with a large bottle of peppermint schnapps stuck in the waistband of his jeans. In another, a boy who looks no older than 12 poses with a cigarette in his mouth. The rink was a place where kids could get away from their parents and inhabit a world of their own, a world where they could drink, smoke, and make out in the backs of their cars. In stark black-and-white, the adolescent Boomers gaze at Yates’s camera with the self-confidence born of making your own choices—even if, perhaps especially if, your parents wouldn’t think they were the right ones.

Fifteen years later, during my own teenage years as a member of Generation X, smoking had lost some of its romance, but independence was definitely still in. My friends and I plotted to get our driver’s license as soon as we could, making DMV appointments for the day we turned 16 and using our newfound freedom to escape the confines of our suburban neighborhood. Asked by our parents, “When will you be home?,” we replied, “When do I have to be?”

But the allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens, who are less likely to leave the house without their parents. The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.

Today’s teens are also less likely to date. The initial stage of courtship, which Gen Xers called “liking” (as in “Ooh, he likes you!”), kids now call “talking”—an ironic choice for a generation that prefers texting to actual conversation. After two teens have “talked” for a while, they might start dating. But only about 56 percent of high-school seniors in 2015 went out on dates; for Boomers and Gen Xers, the number was about 85 percent.

The decline in dating tracks with a decline in sexual activity . The drop is the sharpest for ninth-graders, among whom the number of sexually active teens has been cut by almost 40 percent since 1991. The average teen now has had sex for the first time by the spring of 11th grade, a full year later than the average Gen Xer. Fewer teens having sex has contributed to what many see as one of the most positive youth trends in recent years: The teen birth rate hit an all-time low in 2016, down 67 percent since its modern peak, in 1991.

Even driving, a symbol of adolescent freedom inscribed in American popular culture, from Rebel Without a Cause to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off , has lost its appeal for today’s teens. Nearly all Boomer high-school students had their driver’s license by the spring of their senior year; more than one in four teens today still lack one at the end of high school. For some, Mom and Dad are such good chauffeurs that there’s no urgent need to drive. “My parents drove me everywhere and never complained, so I always had rides,” a 21-year-old student in San Diego told me. “I didn’t get my license until my mom told me I had to because she could not keep driving me to school.” She finally got her license six months after her 18th birthday. In conversation after conversation, teens described getting their license as something to be nagged into by their parents—a notion that would have been unthinkable to previous generations.

Independence isn’t free—you need some money in your pocket to pay for gas, or for that bottle of schnapps. In earlier eras, kids worked in great numbers, eager to finance their freedom or prodded by their parents to learn the value of a dollar. But iGen teens aren’t working (or managing their own money) as much. In the late 1970s, 77 percent of high-school seniors worked for pay during the school year; by the mid-2010s, only 55 percent did. The number of eighth-graders who work for pay has been cut in half. These declines accelerated during the Great Recession, but teen employment has not bounced back, even though job availability has.

Of course, putting off the responsibilities of adulthood is not an iGen innovation. Gen Xers, in the 1990s, were the first to postpone the traditional markers of adulthood. Young Gen Xers were just about as likely to drive, drink alcohol, and date as young Boomers had been, and more likely to have sex and get pregnant as teens. But as they left their teenage years behind, Gen Xers married and started careers later than their Boomer predecessors had.

Gen X managed to stretch adolescence beyond all previous limits: Its members started becoming adults earlier and finished becoming adults later. Beginning with Millennials and continuing with iGen, adolescence is contracting again—but only because its onset is being delayed. Across a range of behaviors—drinking, dating, spending time unsupervised— 18-year-olds now act more like 15-year-olds used to, and 15-year-olds more like 13-year-olds. Childhood now stretches well into high school.

Why are today’s teens waiting longer to take on both the responsibilities and the pleasures of adulthood? Shifts in the economy, and parenting, certainly play a role. In an information economy that rewards higher education more than early work history, parents may be inclined to encourage their kids to stay home and study rather than to get a part-time job. Teens, in turn, seem to be content with this homebody arrangement—not because they’re so studious, but because their social life is lived on their phone. They don’t need to leave home to spend time with their friends.

If today’s teens were a generation of grinds, we’d see that in the data. But eighth-, 10th-, and 12th-graders in the 2010s actually spend less time on homework than Gen X teens did in the early 1990s. (High-school seniors headed for four-year colleges spend about the same amount of time on homework as their predecessors did.) The time that seniors spend on activities such as student clubs and sports and exercise has changed little in recent years. Combined with the decline in working for pay, this means iGen teens have more leisure time than Gen X teens did, not less.

So what are they doing with all that time? They are on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed.

smart devices essay

O ne of the ironies of iGen life is that despite spending far more time under the same roof as their parents, today’s teens can hardly be said to be closer to their mothers and fathers than their predecessors were. “I’ve seen my friends with their families—they don’t talk to them,” Athena told me. “They just say ‘Okay, okay, whatever’ while they’re on their phones. They don’t pay attention to their family.” Like her peers, Athena is an expert at tuning out her parents so she can focus on her phone. She spent much of her summer keeping up with friends, but nearly all of it was over text or Snapchat. “I’ve been on my phone more than I’ve been with actual people,” she said. “My bed has, like, an imprint of my body.”

In this, too, she is typical. The number of teens who get together with their friends nearly every day dropped by more than 40 percent from 2000 to 2015; the decline has been especially steep recently. It’s not only a matter of fewer kids partying; fewer kids are spending time simply hanging out. That’s something most teens used to do: nerds and jocks, poor kids and rich kids, C students and A students. The roller rink, the basketball court, the town pool, the local necking spot—they’ve all been replaced by virtual spaces accessed through apps and the web.

You might expect that teens spend so much time in these new spaces because it makes them happy, but most data suggest that it does not. The Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and designed to be nationally representative, has asked 12th-graders more than 1,000 questions every year since 1975 and queried eighth- and 10th-graders since 1991. The survey asks teens how happy they are and also how much of their leisure time they spend on various activities, including nonscreen activities such as in-person social interaction and exercise, and, in recent years, screen activities such as using social media, texting, and browsing the web. The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.

There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness. Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media. Admittedly, 10 hours a week is a lot. But those who spend six to nine hours a week on social media are still 47 percent more likely to say they are unhappy than those who use social media even less. The opposite is true of in-person interactions. Those who spend an above-average amount of time with their friends in person are 20 percent less likely to say they’re unhappy than those who hang out for a below-average amount of time.

If you were going to give advice for a happy adolescence based on this survey, it would be straightforward: Put down the phone, turn off the laptop, and do something—anything—that does not involve a screen. Of course, these analyses don’t unequivocally prove that screen time causes unhappiness; it’s possible that unhappy teens spend more time online. But recent research suggests that screen time, in particular social-media use, does indeed cause unhappiness. One study asked college students with a Facebook page to complete short surveys on their phone over the course of two weeks. They’d get a text message with a link five times a day, and report on their mood and how much they’d used Facebook. The more they’d used Facebook, the unhappier they felt, but feeling unhappy did not subsequently lead to more Facebook use.

Social-networking sites like Facebook promise to connect us to friends. But the portrait of iGen teens emerging from the data is one of a lonely, dislocated generation. Teens who visit social-networking sites every day but see their friends in person less frequently are the most likely to agree with the statements “A lot of times I feel lonely,” “I often feel left out of things,” and “I often wish I had more good friends.” Teens’ feelings of loneliness spiked in 2013 and have remained high since.

This doesn’t always mean that, on an individual level, kids who spend more time online are lonelier than kids who spend less time online. Teens who spend more time on social media also spend more time with their friends in person, on average—highly social teens are more social in both venues, and less social teens are less so. But at the generational level, when teens spend more time on smartphones and less time on in-person social interactions, loneliness is more common.

So is depression. Once again, the effect of screen activities is unmistakable: The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression. Eighth-graders who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of depression by 27 percent, while those who play sports, go to religious services, or even do homework more than the average teen cut their risk significantly.

Teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, such as making a suicide plan. (That’s much more than the risk related to, say, watching TV.) One piece of data that indirectly but stunningly captures kids’ growing isolation, for good and for bad: Since 2007, the homicide rate among teens has declined, but the suicide rate has increased. As teens have started spending less time together, they have become less likely to kill one another, and more likely to kill themselves. In 2011, for the first time in 24 years, the teen suicide rate was higher than the teen homicide rate.

Depression and suicide have many causes; too much technology is clearly not the only one. And the teen suicide rate was even higher in the 1990s, long before smartphones existed. Then again, about four times as many Americans now take antidepressants, which are often effective in treating severe depression, the type most strongly linked to suicide.

W hat’s the connection between smartphones and the apparent psychological distress this generation is experiencing? For all their power to link kids day and night, social media also exacerbate the age-old teen concern about being left out. Today’s teens may go to fewer parties and spend less time together in person, but when they do congregate, they document their hangouts relentlessly—on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook. Those not invited to come along are keenly aware of it. Accordingly, the number of teens who feel left out has reached all-time highs across age groups. Like the increase in loneliness, the upswing in feeling left out has been swift and significant.

This trend has been especially steep among girls. Forty-eight percent more girls said they often felt left out in 2015 than in 2010, compared with 27 percent more boys. Girls use social media more often, giving them additional opportunities to feel excluded and lonely when they see their friends or classmates getting together without them. Social media levy a psychic tax on the teen doing the posting as well, as she anxiously awaits the affirmation of comments and likes. When Athena posts pictures to Instagram, she told me, “I’m nervous about what people think and are going to say. It sometimes bugs me when I don’t get a certain amount of likes on a picture.”

Girls have also borne the brunt of the rise in depressive symptoms among today’s teens. Boys’ depressive symptoms increased by 21 percent from 2012 to 2015, while girls’ increased by 50 percent—more than twice as much. The rise in suicide, too, is more pronounced among girls. Although the rate increased for both sexes, three times as many 12-to-14-year-old girls killed themselves in 2015 as in 2007, compared with twice as many boys. The suicide rate is still higher for boys, in part because they use more-lethal methods, but girls are beginning to close the gap.

These more dire consequences for teenage girls could also be rooted in the fact that they’re more likely to experience cyberbullying. Boys tend to bully one another physically, while girls are more likely to do so by undermining a victim’s social status or relationships. Social media give middle- and high-school girls a platform on which to carry out the style of aggression they favor, ostracizing and excluding other girls around the clock.

Social-media companies are of course aware of these problems, and to one degree or another have endeavored to prevent cyberbullying. But their various motivations are, to say the least, complex. A recently leaked Facebook document indicated that the company had been touting to advertisers its ability to determine teens’ emotional state based on their on-site behavior, and even to pinpoint “moments when young people need a confidence boost.” Facebook acknowledged that the document was real, but denied that it offers “tools to target people based on their emotional state.”

smart devices essay

I n July 2014, a 13-year-old girl in North Texas woke to the smell of something burning. Her phone had overheated and melted into the sheets. National news outlets picked up the story, stoking readers’ fears that their cellphone might spontaneously combust. To me, however, the flaming cellphone wasn’t the only surprising aspect of the story. Why , I wondered, would anyone sleep with her phone beside her in bed? It’s not as though you can surf the web while you’re sleeping. And who could slumber deeply inches from a buzzing phone?

Curious, I asked my undergraduate students at San Diego State University what they do with their phone while they sleep. Their answers were a profile in obsession. Nearly all slept with their phone, putting it under their pillow, on the mattress, or at the very least within arm’s reach of the bed. They checked social media right before they went to sleep, and reached for their phone as soon as they woke up in the morning (they had to—all of them used it as their alarm clock). Their phone was the last thing they saw before they went to sleep and the first thing they saw when they woke up. If they woke in the middle of the night, they often ended up looking at their phone. Some used the language of addiction. “I know I shouldn’t, but I just can’t help it,” one said about looking at her phone while in bed. Others saw their phone as an extension of their body—or even like a lover: “Having my phone closer to me while I’m sleeping is a comfort.”

It may be a comfort, but the smartphone is cutting into teens’ sleep: Many now sleep less than seven hours most nights. Sleep experts say that teens should get about nine hours of sleep a night; a teen who is getting less than seven hours a night is significantly sleep deprived. Fifty-seven percent more teens were sleep deprived in 2015 than in 1991. In just the four years from 2012 to 2015, 22 percent more teens failed to get seven hours of sleep.

The increase is suspiciously timed, once again starting around when most teens got a smartphone. Two national surveys show that teens who spend three or more hours a day on electronic devices are 28 percent more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep than those who spend fewer than three hours, and teens who visit social-media sites every day are 19 percent more likely to be sleep deprived. A meta-analysis of studies on electronic-device use among children found similar results: Children who use a media device right before bed are more likely to sleep less than they should, more likely to sleep poorly, and more than twice as likely to be sleepy during the day.

Electronic devices and social media seem to have an especially strong ability to disrupt sleep. Teens who read books and magazines more often than the average are actually slightly less likely to be sleep deprived—either reading lulls them to sleep, or they can put the book down at bedtime. Watching TV for several hours a day is only weakly linked to sleeping less. But the allure of the smartphone is often too much to resist.

Sleep deprivation is linked to myriad issues, including compromised thinking and reasoning, susceptibility to illness, weight gain, and high blood pressure. It also affects mood: People who don’t sleep enough are prone to depression and anxiety. Again, it’s difficult to trace the precise paths of causation. Smartphones could be causing lack of sleep, which leads to depression, or the phones could be causing depression, which leads to lack of sleep. Or some other factor could be causing both depression and sleep deprivation to rise. But the smartphone, its blue light glowing in the dark, is likely playing a nefarious role.

T he correlations between depression and smartphone use are strong enough to suggest that more parents should be telling their kids to put down their phone. As the technology writer Nick Bilton has reported, it’s a policy some Silicon Valley executives follow. Even Steve Jobs limited his kids’ use of the devices he brought into the world.

What’s at stake isn’t just how kids experience adolescence. The constant presence of smartphones is likely to affect them well into adulthood. Among people who suffer an episode of depression, at least half become depressed again later in life. Adolescence is a key time for developing social skills; as teens spend less time with their friends face-to-face, they have fewer opportunities to practice them. In the next decade, we may see more adults who know just the right emoji for a situation, but not the right facial expression.

I realize that restricting technology might be an unrealistic demand to impose on a generation of kids so accustomed to being wired at all times. My three daughters were born in 2006, 2009, and 2012. They’re not yet old enough to display the traits of iGen teens, but I have already witnessed firsthand just how ingrained new media are in their young lives. I’ve observed my toddler, barely old enough to walk, confidently swiping her way through an iPad. I’ve experienced my 6-year-old asking for her own cellphone. I’ve overheard my 9-year-old discussing the latest app to sweep the fourth grade. Prying the phone out of our kids’ hands will be difficult, even more so than the quixotic efforts of my parents’ generation to get their kids to turn off MTV and get some fresh air. But more seems to be at stake in urging teens to use their phone responsibly, and there are benefits to be gained even if all we instill in our children is the importance of moderation. Significant effects on both mental health and sleep time appear after two or more hours a day on electronic devices. The average teen spends about two and a half hours a day on electronic devices. Some mild boundary-setting could keep kids from falling into harmful habits.

In my conversations with teens, I saw hopeful signs that kids themselves are beginning to link some of their troubles to their ever-present phone. Athena told me that when she does spend time with her friends in person, they are often looking at their device instead of at her. “I’m trying to talk to them about something, and they don’t actually look at my face,” she said. “They’re looking at their phone, or they’re looking at their Apple Watch.” “What does that feel like, when you’re trying to talk to somebody face-to-face and they’re not looking at you?,” I asked. “It kind of hurts,” she said. “It hurts. I know my parents’ generation didn’t do that. I could be talking about something super important to me, and they wouldn’t even be listening.”

Once, she told me, she was hanging out with a friend who was texting her boyfriend. “I was trying to talk to her about my family, and what was going on, and she was like, ‘Uh-huh, yeah, whatever.’ So I took her phone out of her hands and I threw it at my wall.”

I couldn’t help laughing. “You play volleyball,” I said. “Do you have a pretty good arm?” “Yep,” she replied.

This article has been adapted from Jean M. Twenge's forthcoming book, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the Rest of Us .

What Is a “Smart” Device?

  • First Online: 07 June 2018

Cite this chapter

smart devices essay

  • Parul Ichhpujani 4 &
  • Sahil Thakur 4  

Part of the book series: Current Practices in Ophthalmology ((CUPROP))

472 Accesses

1 Citations

A smart device is an electronic device, connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, near-field communication (NFC), Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, etc. that have the ability to operate interactively and autonomously. Currently available smart devices include smartphones, tablets and phablets, smart bands, smart watches and smart key chains. Most commonly used among the smart devices are the smartphones.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
  • Durable hardcover edition

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Nasser FB, Trevena L. There’s an app for that: a guide for healthcare practitioners and researchers on smartphone technology. Online J Public Health Inform. 2015;7(2):e218.

Google Scholar  

Ericsson Mobility Report 2016 [cited 2017]. https://www.ericsson.com/mobility-report

Nesaratnam N, Thomas PBM, Kirollos R, Vingrys AJ, Kong GYX, Martin KR. Tablets at the bedside—iPad-based visual field test used in the diagnosis of Intrasellar Haemangiopericytoma: a case report. BMC Ophthalmol. 2017;17(1):53.

Article   PubMed   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

Rosen PN, Boer ER, Barbosa Gracitelli CP, Abe RY, Diniz-Filho A, Marvasti A, et al. Visual performance assessment using a mobile platform. Investig Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56(7):3177.

Holmes JM, Manh VM, Lazar EL, Beck RW, Birch EE, Kraker RT, et al. Effect of a Binocular iPad Game vs Part-Time Patching in children aged 5 to 12 years with amblyopia: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134(12):1391–400.

O’Connor P, Byrne D, Butt M, Offiah G, Lydon S, Mc Inerney K, et al. Interns and their smartphones: use for clinical practice. Postgrad Med J. 2014;90(1060):75–9.

Article   PubMed   Google Scholar  

Payne KFB, Wharrad H, Watts K. Smartphone and medical related App use among medical students and junior doctors in the United Kingdom (UK): a regional survey. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2012;12(1):121.

Katz-Sidlow RJ, Ludwig A, Miller S, Sidlow R. Smartphone use during inpatient attending rounds: prevalence, patterns and potential for distraction. J Hosp Med. 2012;7(8):595–9.

Zvornicanin E, Zvornicanin J, Hadziefendic B. The use of smart phones in ophthalmology. Acta Inform Med. 2014;22(3):206–9.

Chhablani J, Kaja S, Shah VA. Smartphones in ophthalmology. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2012;60(2):127–31.

Bastawrous A. Smartphone fundoscopy. Ophthalmology. 2012;119(2):432–3.e2.

Bastawrous A, Giardini ME, Bolster NM, Peto T, Shah N, Livingstone IA, et al. Clinical validation of a smartphone-based adapter for optic disc imaging in Kenya. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134(2):151–8.

Johnson AC, El Hajj SC, Perret JN, Caffery TS, Jones GN, Musso MW. Smartphones in medicine: emerging practices in an academic medical center. J Med Syst. 2015;39(1):164.

Natarajan S, Nair AG. Outsmarted by the smartphone! Indian J Ophthalmol. 2015;63(10):757–8.

Zakai S, Mashat A, Abumohssin A, Samarkandi A, Almaghrabi B, Barradah H, et al. Bacterial contamination of cell phones of medical students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. J Microsc Ultrastruct. 2016;4(3):143–6.

Furdova A, Furdova A, Krcmery V. Our experience with smartphone and spherical lens for the eye fundus examination during humanitarian project in Africa. Int J Ophthalmol. 2017;10(1):157–60.

PubMed   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

Bolster NM, Giardini ME, Bastawrous A. The diabetic retinopathy screening workflow: potential for smartphone imaging. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2015;10(2):318–24.

Webb K, Bullock A, Dimond R, Stacey M. Can a mobile app improve the quality of patient care provided by trainee doctors? Analysis of trainees’ case reports. BMJ Open. 2016;6(9):e013075.

Dimond R, Bullock A, Lovatt J, Stacey M. Mobile learning devices in the workplace: ‘as much a part of the junior doctors’ kit as a stethoscope’? BMC Med Educ. 2016;16(1):207.

Download references

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, India

Parul Ichhpujani & Sahil Thakur

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this chapter

Ichhpujani, P., Thakur, S. (2018). What Is a “Smart” Device?. In: Smart Resources in Ophthalmology. Current Practices in Ophthalmology. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0140-7_1

Download citation

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0140-7_1

Published : 07 June 2018

Publisher Name : Springer, Singapore

Print ISBN : 978-981-13-0139-1

Online ISBN : 978-981-13-0140-7

eBook Packages : Medicine Medicine (R0)

Share this chapter

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Publish with us

Policies and ethics

  • Find a journal
  • Track your research
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Therapy Center
  • When To See a Therapist
  • Types of Therapy
  • Best Online Therapy
  • Best Couples Therapy
  • Best Family Therapy
  • Managing Stress
  • Sleep and Dreaming
  • Understanding Emotions
  • Self-Improvement
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Student Resources
  • Personality Types
  • Guided Meditations
  • Verywell Mind Insights
  • 2024 Verywell Mind 25
  • Mental Health in the Classroom
  • Editorial Process
  • Meet Our Review Board
  • Crisis Support

How Your Cell Phone Might Affect Your Brain

Research suggests smartphones impact the brain in a variety of ways

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

smart devices essay

Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania.

smart devices essay

praetorianphoto / Getty Images  

  • Reduced Cognitive Ability
  • Worse Social and Emotional Skills
  • Disrupted Sleep
  • Mental Laziness
  • How to Protect Your Brain

We use our phones for many things, from making business calls to checking our email to communicating with friends and loved ones. Our phones have become an inextricable part of our lives. But does this reliance on smartphones have any impact on our brains?

Some recent research indicates that it might. Experts suggest that all of this phone use might affect our social and emotional regulation skills, disrupt our sleep, and turn us into lazy thinkers.

Kids are also using these devices more and more, which has led experts to question the possible long-term effects on development. One study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that the amount of time kids spend staring at digital screens rose 52% over a three-year period.

How this might affect development remains to be seen. However, it is a question of interest for healthcare practitioners, mental health professionals, educators, parents, and anyone who uses a smartphone regularly.

At a Glance

If you're like most people, you use your phone for everything from talking to friends to managing your money to even doing your job. Unfortunately, some experts think this reliance might actually be taking a toll on our brains. Some negative effects that might happen include changes in cognitive ability, problems with social or emotional skills, problems sleeping, and mental laziness. While it's not likely (or realistic) for people to forgo their phones, their are some things we can do to protect our brains from these damaging effects.

Phone Use Can Negatively Affect Cognitive Ability

Recent research suggests that smartphone usage does indeed affect the brain. Remember, however, that such research is still in the early stages. While we know a bit more about some of the short-term effects, the long-term effects remain to be seen. 

Changes in Brain Chemistry

Some evidence indicates that using mobile phones might lead to chemical changes in the brain. In one study presented to the Radiological Society of North America, researchers found that young people with a so-called internet and smartphone addiction actually demonstrated imbalances in brain chemistry compared to a control group.

Such changes might help explain why some people develop technology addictions, and why others find it so tough to be without their phones .

Reduced Cognitive Capacity

One well-known study in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research found that cognitive capacity was significantly reduced whenever a smartphone is within reach, even when the phone is off.

Researchers dubbed this effect the "brain drain hypothesis." Essentially, we are less likely to rely on our own cognitive resources if we know an information source is readily available.

A more recent meta-analysis also found that the presence of a smartphone was associated with decreases in working memory. This is consistent with earlier results, but the newer analysis indicates that the magnitude of this effect might not be as pronounced as previously believed.

One factor that researchers think might play a part in how strongly people are affected by this: FOMO, or the fear of missing out . Being distracted by our phones suggests that we are always, on some level, thinking about what is happening in the online world—and what we might be missing when we aren't using our phones.

In other words, if you always feel a nagging sense that you're missing out on a text, news story, or celebrity gossip, keeping your phone visible while you work might be a bad idea. Consider turning it off and putting it in another room when you need to get stuff done.

Worse Reading Comprehension

You've probably noticed that how you read online text differs from how you read the printed page. For many of us, it's common to skim online articles or skip around the page to find key points. But this isn't the only difference. Some evidence indicates that we understand less of what we read online than what we do in print.

One 2020 study found that reading on an electronic device such as a smartphone results in lower reading comprehension.

The exact reasons for this are unclear, but researchers have found that people sigh less often when reading on a smartphone. This impact on respiration is also associated with excess activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex and reduced reading comprehension.

Phone Affects Social-Emotional Skills

In the commentary appearing in the journal Pediatrics , researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine took a closer look at the available literature on smartphone and iPad use among very young children.  

Using such devices to entertain or pacify children, they warn, might have a detrimental effect on their social and emotional development.

The concern, researchers suggest is that kids will not develop their own internal self-regulation mechanisms if they always rely on being distracted by a digital device.

The experts suggest that hands-on activities and those involving direct human interaction are superior to interactive screen games. The use of mobile devices becomes especially problematic when such devices replace hands-on activities that help develop visual-motor and sensorimotor skills.

There are still many unknowns about how the use of mobile devices influences child development. What concerns many experts, however, is whether the overuse of smartphones and tablets might interfere with developing social and problem-solving skills better acquired during unstructured play with interaction with peers.

Phone Use May Lead to Disrupted Sleep

Using your smartphone or tablet at bedtime might be interfering with your sleep, and not because you’re staying up late to check your email, scrolling through your social media feeds, or playing a game of online trivia.

Sleep experts warn that the type of light emitted from your mobile device’s screen might just be messing up your sleep cycle, even after you turn off your device.

In a study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences , a dozen adult participants were asked to either read on an iPad for four hours each night before bed or read printed books in dim lighting. After five consecutive nights, the two groups switched.

What the researchers discovered was that those who had read on an iPad before bedtime displayed a reduction in levels of melatonin , a hormone that increases throughout the evening and induces sleepiness. It also took these participants longer to fall asleep, and they experienced less REM sleep throughout the night.

The culprit? The type of blue light emitted by most mobile devices. The cells at the back of the eyes contain a light-sensitive protein that picks up specific wavelengths of light. These light-sensitive cells then send signals to the brain's "clock, " which regulates circadian rhythms.

Typically, blue light peaks in the morning, signaling your body to wake up for the day. Red light increases in the evening, signaling it is time to wind down and go to bed. By interrupting this natural cycle with the blue light emitted by mobile devices, the normal sleep-wake cycles are thrown out of whack.

These sleep interruptions can hurt your brain and mental health. Poor sleep is associated with various mental health problems , including mood changes, stress, anxiety, depression, and brain fog .

The next time you’re tempted to play with your mobile device in bed, think about the possible effect this might have on your brain and your sleep and consider picking up a paperback book instead.

Our Phones Might Be Making Us Mentally Lazy

Mobile devices don't just offer distraction—we also rely on them to provide information. We no longer have to memorize phone numbers or keep a Rolodex on our desks—all that information is conveniently stored on our phone’s contact list.

Instead of mulling over questions you might have about the world around you, you can just grab your phone and Google the answers. Instead of trying to remember appointments, meetings, or dates, you simply rely on an iPhone app to remind you of what you need to accomplish each day.

And some experts warn that this over-reliance on your mobile device for all the answers might lead to mental laziness. One study has found that there is a link between relying on a smartphone and mental laziness.

Smartphones don't necessarily turn people from deep thinkers into lazy thinkers, but the research does suggest that people who are naturally intuitive thinkers—or those who act based on instinct and emotions—tend to rely on their phones more frequently.

Researchers suggest that this can interfere with analytical and logical thinking. Some even wonder if using our phones too much might contribute to decreased intelligence.

Clearly, much more research is needed. Experts warn, however, that the use of mobile devices has far out-paced the available research on the subject. Scientists and doctors are just beginning to understand the potential short-term (and long-term) effects of smartphone use on the brain.

Mobile devices are bound to have their detriments, but the researchers also suggest that we have yet to fully understand how they might benefit the brain.

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares effective ways to reduce screen time.

Follow Now :  Apple Podcasts  /  Spotify  /  Google Podcasts

So What Can You Do to Protect Your Brain?

Even though we might know that our phones might negatively affect our brains, the reality is that we need them. For many, they are a connection to information, resources, tools, and communication that are essential for daily life.

What we can do is work on becoming more intentional about how we use and interact with our phones. Strategies that can help:

Build Awareness

We need to know what we are dealing with before we can take steps to address it. This means tracking and assessing how much you are using your phone.

What are you using it for? What's your average daily screen time? Do you use your phone to soothe difficult emotions or avoid important tasks? Answering such questions can give you insight into problems you might want to address. 

Consider Setting Limits

Setting specific limits on your phone use can be helpful. It's important to be purposeful about your mobile phone use, but you should also consider what works for you.

For some people, this might involve removing certain apps from their phones. Others may find it helpful to use apps or phone settings to control how long they use certain apps or websites each day.

Some people find that it is helpful to have phone-free times or even entire days. For example, you might decide you won't use your phone after 7 PM or on Saturdays so you can fully focus on the other people in your life.

What This Means For You

While experts are beginning to get a clearer picture of the effects of cell phone on our brains, the reality is that there is still a lot that we don't know. The best thing you can do is consider some of these possible effects and take steps to be more intentional when using your phone. Give yourself breaks, set limits if you need to, and make sure that you aren't relying on tech devices to replace real-world connections.

Madigan S, Eirich R, Pador P, McArthur BA, Neville RD. Assessment of changes in child and adolescent screen time during the covid-19 pandemic: a systematic review and meta-analysis . JAMA Pediatr . 2022;176(12):1188. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.4116

Radiology Society of North America. Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain . November 2017.

Ward AF, Duke K, Gneezy A, Box MW. Brain drain: The mere presence of one's own smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity . Journal of the Association for Consumer Research . 2017;2(2):140-154. doi:10.1086/691462

Parry DA. Does the mere presence of a smartphone impact cognitive performance? A meta-analysis of the 'brain drain effect .' PsyArXiv ; 2022. doi:10.31234/osf.io/tnyda

Scientific American. Is your phone actually draining your brain ?

Honma M, Masaoka Y, Iizuka N, et al. Reading on a smartphone affects sigh generation, brain activity, and comprehension . Sci Rep . 2022;12(1):1589. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-05605-0

Radesky JS, Schumacher J, Zuckerman B. Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad, and the unknown . Pediatrics . 2015;135(1):1-3. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2251

Chang AM, Aeschbach D, Duffy JF, Czeisler CA.  Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness . Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A . 2015;112(4):1232-1237. doi:10.1073/pnas.1418490112

Scott AJ, Webb TL, Rowse G.  Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? . A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomised controlled trials.  BMJ Open . 2017;7(9):e016873. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016873

Barr N, Pennycook G, Stolz JA, Fugelsang JA.  The brain in your pocket: Evidence that smartphones are used to supplant thinking . Computers in Human Behavior . 2015;48:473-480. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.02.029

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Resilient Educator logo

ChatGPT for Teachers

Trauma-informed practices in schools, teacher well-being, cultivating diversity, equity, & inclusion, integrating technology in the classroom, social-emotional development, covid-19 resources, invest in resilience: summer toolkit, civics & resilience, all toolkits, degree programs, trauma-informed professional development, teacher licensure & certification, how to become - career information, classroom management, instructional design, lifestyle & self-care, online higher ed teaching, current events, debating the use of digital devices in the classroom.

Debating the Use of Digital Devices in the Classroom

While many parents allow children free reign of the internet at home, it’s a common debate in education circles on how —and if —digital devices should be allowed at school.

Supporters of technology in the classroom say that using laptops, tablets, and cellphones in the classroom can keep students engaged. Technology is what they know. Most students today don’t even remember a time without the internet.

But critics say it’s yet another distraction in the classroom. From social media to texting, allowing digital devices could hinder a student’s performance in the classroom.

Read on to discover the main arguments surrounding the global debate on digital devices and their place in our schools.

Supporters of technology in the classroom say that using laptops, tablets, and cellphones in the classroom can keep students engaged. Technology is what they know. Most students today don’t even remember a time without the internet.  But critics say it’s yet another distraction in the classroom. From social media to texting, allowing digital devices could hinder a student’s performance in the classroom.

Pros of digital devices in the classroom

  • Peace of mind:  Cellphones and smartphones can offer parents a little more peace of mind when their children are at school. Parents know that in an emergency the student can contact them, or vice versa. In addition, more and more cellphones and smartphones contain GPS devices that can be tracked if necessary.
  • Instant answers:  Access to the internet provides instant answers for the curious. This is the search-and-learn environment kids are involved in today. Now, when they want to know “Why do leaves change color,” they are only a search away from an answer. This also gives students the ability to get an answer to a question they may feel uncomfortable asking in class. If a teacher uses a term they don’t understand, they can find the answer discretely, and without interrupting the class.
  • Wider access to information:  With internet access, children can be exposed to a world of creative ideas outside of their bubble. They can learn other languages, teach themselves how to draw, knit, or play chess. They have access to an endless array of options available to help them learn, and gain skills they might not otherwise be exposed to. All of this can be accomplished through a  smartphone, which can be a valuable learning tool , if used correctly.
  • Access to video:  Electronic devices in the classroom can enhance the learning experience by providing instant video access. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is not just something to read about. Man’s first step on the moon, early flight, presidential speeches, bridges being built—they all are made more real and easier to digest in the form of instant video availability.
  • Wide range of music available:  Sure, you might think of kids listening to their pop, hip-hop, and rap music on digital devices, but remember that all music is available. This gives students access to classical, jazz, big band, and early rock ‘n’ roll. Students could have the opportunity to compare and discuss the differences in these styles in a way that is familiar to them.
  • Social learning: Social media can have a negative connotation when you link it to kids. However, there can be an educational aspect. Social learning is a great way for students to share information, thoughts, and ideas on a subject. Properly focused, quieter, and shyer students may blossom in a social learning situation made possible by digital devices.
  • Teacher advancement:  Finding ways to effectively utilize digital devices in the classroom provides teachers with an opportunity to advance their skillset and grow with their students. Many teachers are taking their digital literacy to the next level by earning an  master’s degree in education technology .

Cons of digital devices in the classroom

  • Harmful effects of digital devices:  There are concerns from the EPA about long-term exposure to wireless devices and computer screens . While there is no direct evidence of harmful effects, the EPA discourages too much exposure for students who have video screens in front of their faces or computers in their laps. If students frequently use these devices at home, additional exposure at school could be viewed as harmful.
  • Inappropriate materials:  While schools can limit the availability of websites that can be viewed on their network, students may find links that slipped through the system. There will also be times that students will not be accessing the internet through a monitored network.
  • Distraction from schoolwork:  With the temptation of social media and texting in their hands, students may focus solely on their social life instead of the lesson plan.
  • Child predators:  Child predators are a problem everywhere. Using digital devices at school creates just that much more exposure and potential danger for students.
  • Cyberbulling : This is an increasing issue that’s grown exponentially in recent years. Permitting use of digital devices in the classroom could potentially lead to more of it.
  • Provide a disconnect:  While some believe digital devices make for greater connections for students, there are also those who believe too much time with digital devices disconnects students from face-to-face social activities, family communications, and nature. Digital devices in the classroom could lead to an even greater disconnect.
  • Could widen the gap : Technology spending varies greatly across the nation. Some schools have the means to address the digital divide so that all of their students have access to technology and can improve their technological skills. Meanwhile, other schools still struggle with their computer-to-student ratio and/or lack the means to provide economically disadvantaged students with loaner iPads and other devices so that they can have access to the same tools and resources that their classmates have at school and at home.

Should schools permit digital devices?

Some school districts have seen great improvements by allowing digital devices in the classroom. One thing is clear: if digital devices are permitted, there should be guidelines and rules in place .

Students need to be taught online safety, the use of judgment in determining good quality sources of information, and restraint from personal use in the classroom. In other words, they need to learn all about digital literacy and  digital citizenship .

There are many resources for teaching these concepts, and a great place to start is the International Society for Technology in Education  (ISTE). Their   comprehensive standards  focus on  the skills and qualities students should have in order to be successful in the digital world. ISTE also teamed up with Google and developed an online digital citizenship game called  Interland . It educates kids about digital citizenship in interactive ways. Students learn how to be good digital citizens as well as how to combat hackers, phishers, oversharers, and bullies.

If a school is going to allow and/or encourage the use of digital devices in the classroom, then teachers also need proper support in terms of training, professional development, and curriculum. They can start with curriculum and PD resources such as those provided by   Common Sense Media , but in order to fully utilize them, teachers need time to plan and collaborate. Digital devices should only be used when there are specific goals in mind, focusing on student safety, digital citizenship, critical thinking, collaboration, advancement, and equity.

You may also like to read

  • How to Incorporate Digital Stories in the Classroom
  • Teaching Via Tech: Digital Advancements in the Classroom
  • Google Docs for Teachers: Classroom and Lesson Plan Management
  • Five Skills Online Teachers Need for Classroom Instruction
  • 3 Examples of Innovative Educational Technology
  • How Assistive Learning Technology has Impacted the Disabled

Categorized as: Tips for Teachers and Classroom Resources

Tagged as: Educational Technology ,  Educational Technology Leadership ,  Social Media

  • Master's in Trauma-Informed Education and Car...
  • Degrees and Certificates for Teachers & Educa...
  • Online Associate's Degree Programs in Educati...

what are advantages and disadvantages of using smart devices?

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Writing9 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Include an introduction and conclusion

A conclusion is essential for IELTS writing task 2. It is more important than most people realise. You will be penalised for missing a conclusion in your IELTS essay.

The easiest paragraph to write in an essay is the conclusion paragraph. This is because the paragraph mostly contains information that has already been presented in the essay – it is just the repetition of some information written in the introduction paragraph and supporting paragraphs.

The conclusion paragraph only has 3 sentences:

  • Restatement of thesis
  • Prediction or recommendation

To summarize, a robotic teacher does not have the necessary disciple to properly give instructions to students and actually works to retard the ability of a student to comprehend new lessons. Therefore, it is clear that the idea of running a classroom completely by a machine cannot be supported. After thorough analysis on this subject, it is predicted that the adverse effects of the debate over technology-driven teaching will always be greater than the positive effects, and because of this, classroom teachers will never be substituted for technology.

Start your conclusion with a linking phrase. Here are some examples:

  • In conclusion
  • To conclude
  • To summarize
  • In a nutshell

Discover more tips in The Ultimate Guide to Get a Target Band Score of 7+ » — a book that's free for 🚀 Premium users.

  • Check your IELTS essay »
  • Find essays with the same topic
  • View collections of IELTS Writing Samples
  • Show IELTS Writing Task 2 Topics

It is important for people to take risks, both in their professional lives and their personal lives. Do you think the advantages of taking risks outweigh the disadvantages?

Infqrmal letters: these letters are addressed to someone whom you know personally. begins with: dear betsy, ends with: with love, warm regards example 2: last month you had an overseas holiday with a friendfrom your college. they have just sent you some of your holidayphotos together. in your letter: talk about this letter ashpoints to your trainer.before seeing the sampleanswert - thank them for the holiday and the photos -explain why you didn't write earlier - invite them to come and stay with you at your place.., although families have influence on children’s development, factors outside the home play a bigger part in their lives nowadays. to what extent do you agree or disagree, in some countries levels of health and fitness are decreasing and average weights are increasing. what do you think are the causes of these problems and what are some possible solutions, do you think extra-curricular activities are important in a student’s life” give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience..

When you use links on our website, we may earn a fee.

Best Smart Home Devices 2024

Table of Contents

  • Best Smart Home Devices
  • Things to Consider When Buying
  • How We Chose

In recent years, there have been vast technological improvements to appliances and products we use within our homes everyday. Never before has it been easier and so affordable to transform a traditional home into a smart home.

Using our Internet-connected smartphones, tablets, smart speakers, computers, and smart watches, it’s now possible to remotely control other smart equipment in our homes – from across the room or across the world – in a way that adds convenience and safety to our everyday lives. As you’re about to discover, smart home devices take on many different forms. This roundup is only a small sampling of what’s available. If you’re looking to bring your home into the 21st century easily and affordably, here are some of the very best smart home devices that can help get you started.

  • Best Overall: Brava Glass Smart Oven »
  • Best Budget: Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Plug »
  • Best Smart Small Kitchen Appliance: Keurig K-Cafe Smart »
  • Best Smart Lighting: Philips Hue Starter Kit 4 E26 Smart »
  • Best Smart Door Lock: Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Series »
  • Best Smart Thermostat: Google Nest Thermostat »
  • Best Smart Photo Frame: Muse Frame (21.5-inch)»
  • Best Smart Home Device for Dog Owners: Petcube Bites 2 Lite»
  • Best Smart Window Shades: Smart Standard Honeycomb Shades by Serena»

Best Overall: Brava Glass Smart Oven

smart devices essay

Countertop design

Intuitive mobile app

Extensive pre-programmed recipe collection

Easily helps to prepare entire meals

Best suited to singles or couples, not large families

Whether you consider yourself a skilled home chef or you still haven't figured out how to boil an egg, the Brava Glass Smart Oven can make it easy to prepare gourmet-quality meals quickly, inexpensively, and with no cooking experience. You no longer need to worry about over- or under-cooking your meals.

Not only does this smart countertop device prepare foods two to four times faster than a traditional oven, it’s controlled using a mobile app and emulates eight essential kitchen appliances: It sears, toasts, reheats, bakes, dehydrates, serves as a slow cooker and air fryer, and can act as a warmer draw. It even has three separate cooking zones.

Since the smart technology assists with almost every aspect of the food preparation and cooking process, it’s easy to consistently create restaurant quality meals at home with no previous experience. In fact, Brava’s mobile app offers instant access to more than 6,000 pre-programmed recipes that are simple to follow.

Specifications:

Connectivity: Wi-Fi

Control Methods: Proprietary Apple iPhone or Android smartphone app

Key Features: Serves as eight food preparation appliances

Other Compatible Equipment: None

Best Budget: Wemo Fi-Fi Smart Plug (WSP-100)

smart devices essay

Inexpensive

Easy to set up and operate

Can remotely turn non-smart devices on or off

Plugged-in devices can only be turned on or off, not adjusted in any way (i.e. you can’t switch a fan between a low, medium, or high setting)

Doesn't monitor or track energy consumption

Only works with Apple equipment (Not Android or Windows)

For a non-tech-savvy person looking to begin experimenting with smart home technology, the easiest option is to use one or more inexpensive smart plugs. Each Wemo smart plug, for example, looks like a basic power adapter that plugs into any standard electrical outlet.

You can plug a traditional, non-smart device into the Wemo smart plug. Using a mobile app, it’s then possible to turn that device (such as a lamp or fan) on or off remotely using your smartphone. This can be done from anywhere. Plus, you can easily set up schedules to turn the device on and off at specific times of the day or night.

Connectivity: Wi-Fi and a standard electrical outlet

Control Methods: iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac

Key Features: Remotely turns a non-smart device on or off

Other Compatible Equipment: Apple HomeKit/Home app

Best Smart Small Kitchen Appliance: Keurig K-Cafe Smart

smart devices essay

Supports all K-Cup varieties

Prepares coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos

Multiple beverage customization options

Easy-to-use mobile app

Works best with genuine K-Cups

Requires the same cleaning as a regular coffee maker

Making perfectly prepared coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos at home has never been easier thanks to the Keurig K-Cafe Smart. When you insert a K-Cup into the coffee maker, it knows what type of beverage and blend you selected and adjusts the coffee maker’s settings automatically. You can then choose between six brew sizes and five beverage strengths. K-Cafe Smart can create hot or cold beverages and comes with a hot/cold milk frother.

It’s possible to set up the coffee maker in advance and have it create your favorite coffee beverage at a predefined time, or anytime with a tap on your smartphone’s screen or a voice command. The app maintains an inventory of your K-Cups, monitors which are used, and can automatically reorder your favorite K-Cup selections at a discounted price when you run low.

Control Methods: Apple iPhone or Android smartphone

Key Features: Uses K-Cups to make customizable, hot or cold coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, teas, or hot cocoa

Best Smart Lighting: Philips Hue Starter Kit 4 E26

smart devices essay

Works with the Hue, Google Home, or Apple Home mobile apps

Starter kit can be upgraded with smart light switches, stand-alone light fixtures, and accessories

Select bulb brightness and colors

Create customized functional or ambient lighting in any room

Expensive starter kit

Continuous Internet access is required to control the lights

One of the most popular uses of smart devices in homes is smart lighting. The Philips Hue Starter Kit comes with a required hub that plugs directly into your home’s modem or router. You also get four E26, 75-watt LED light bulbs that screw into any standard light fixture. Using the Hue, Google Home, or Apple Home mobile app, you then have full remote control over the light bulbs. For example, you can select from a million colors, choose each bulb’s brightness, and turn them on or off with on-screen taps or voice commands.

While the Philips Hue smart lighting system is more expensive than many competing products, the Hue light ecosystem is extensive. You can purchase stand-alone smart light fixtures for use indoors or outdoors, as well as individual compatible smart light bulbs, accent lights, and light strips that can all be remotely controlled using the same app. The smart light system can also be expanded with Hue motion sensors, smart light switches, and other optional accessories.

Control Methods: Any Internet connected mobile device, home hub, or smart speaker

Key Features: Fully control all aspects of your home’s lighting by replacing just the bulbs, not the existing light fixtures

Other Compatible Equipment: Works in conjunction with many other smart home devices, mobile devices, home hubs, smart speakers, and popular digital voice assistants (Siri, Google, and Alexa).

Best Smart Door Lock: Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Series

smart devices essay

Durable and secure

Easy to install

All functions controllable from mobile app

Integrates with other smart home security products

Same app can control multiple locks

No Apple HomeKit support

Supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, not 5GHz

By replacing the existing deadbolt lock on your home’s front door with a smart lock, you can remotely lock or unlock the door using an Internet-connected mobile device. There are literally hundreds of smart locks available. We chose the U-Bolt Pro Series because it offers a good value and versatile functionality. It’s also rated IP65 for water and dust resistance and utilizes two-layer 128-bit encryption. Plus, in addition to controlling the lock via a mobile device, you can unlock it using a numeric passcode, fingerprint scan, or a traditional metal key.

You can lock or unlock the door from anywhere in the world, as well as monitor who comes and goes via your smartphone. In addition, you can create temporary passcodes for service providers or others. For example, a housekeeper’s code can be set to only work during the days and times they’re scheduled to clean your home, while a different code that expires after a predetermined date can be provided to a house guest. Installation is DIY with basic tools. A smart lock is a good first step to enhancing your home’s security using smart technology.

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Control Methods: Mobile device, passcode, fingerprint scan, metal key

Key Features: Smartphone can unlock the door automatically as you approach carrying your smartphone, with an on-screen tap, or using a voice command

Other Compatible Equipment: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, SmartThings

Best Smart Thermostat: Google Nest Learning Thermostat

smart devices essay

Saves you money on your heating and AC bill

Programs itself and adapts to your schedule

Controllable from anywhere using your smartphone

Modern design with easy to read color LCD display

Other smart thermostats offer better integration with non-Nest smart home gear

Can’t monitor temperature in multiple rooms unless you add optional Nest Temperature Sensors

There are several reasons to install a smart thermostat in your home. For starters, it makes it easy to control the temperature using your mobile device, smart speaker, or voice commands. Second, a “learning” smart thermostat studies your daily habits and automatically adjusts your home’s temperature accordingly. This can lower your utility bill.

For example, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat determines when you’re home, when you’re asleep, and when you’re at work based on your daily routine. It then automatically adjusts the temperature to an optimal setting. It will lower the heat or air conditioning when you’re not home, but make sure the temperature is to your liking each day when you get home from work. Professional installation is highly recommended.

Control Methods: Mobile devices, home hubs, smart speakers

Key Features: Learns your schedule and adjusts temperature to lower your utility bills

Other Compatible Equipment: Google Home and other Nest smart home equipment

Best Smart Home Device for Dog Owners: Petcube Bites 2 Lite

smart devices essay

1080p resolution camera with night vision and 160-degree field of view

Works with any dog treats (1 inch or smaller)

See and hear your dog, and talk to them remotely

Can be tipped over by a dog if not secured in place

Some features require an ongoing paid subscription

Only cloud-based storage of video content

While dogs are considered members of our families, we often must leave them at home alone. During these times, the Petcube Bites 2 Lite allows you to see and hear your pet via a live video feed on your smartphone’s screen. You can also talk to your dog in real time and remotely toss them treats via the device’s built-in treat dispenser.

The Bites 2 Lite has a built-in motion and bark detector that sends alerts to your phone. It can also record video and save it in the cloud. The 1080p camera has built-in night vision, a 160-degree field of view, and an 8x digital zoom that you can control remotely. The unit itself measures just 5.7 x 3 x 10.6 inches, so it fits on a tabletop, shelf, or counter. It can also be hung on a wall and works with any dry pet treats less than one inch long.

Control Methods: Mobile device

Key Features: Monitor your dog when you’re not at home and remotely dispense treats

Best Smart Window Shades: Smart Standard Honeycomb Shades by Serena

smart devices essay

Easy installation

Multiple color and style options

Quiet motor

Available in custom widths between 19 ⅞ and 96 inches, and lengths up to 120 inches

Required Wi-Fi hub sold separately

Chances are you have shades on your windows that need to be manually raised and lowered one at a time, throughout the day and night. Serena (as well as other well-known window shade and blind manufacturers) now offer smart shades and blinds that can be fully customized. In addition to offering standard and custom sizes, Serena allows you to choose the shade material and color of its Smart Standard Honeycomb Shades. You also get three mounting options.

What makes these shades smart is the proprietary mobile app that lets you remotely raise or lower one or more of them with an on-screen tap or voice command. You can also pre-program the shades to open and close on a specific schedule. Choose between battery powered or hard wired.

Control Methods: Mobile device or optional remote control switch

Key Features: Customized honeycomb blinds that can be raised and lowered remotely

Compatibility with Other Equipment: Apple HomeKit, Lutron Smart Hub, Caseta Smart Hub and Diva Dimmer Kit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Google Home, Smartthings, Sonos, Logitech Harmony, Xfinity Home, IFTTT, Honeywell Home

The Bottom Line

With even the slightest bit of technological know-how, it’s easy to replace the existing appliances, equipment, or devices in your home with “smart” products that can be remotely controlled using your existing smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, smart speaker, or other internet-connected device. To get started, your home must be equipped with Wi-Fi. It’s also important to choose smart products that are compatible with the technology you’re already using.

That said, there are plenty of products to choose from. What’s featured in this roundup is only a small sampling. Smart technologies have infiltrated into all sorts of products, from the Oral-B iO Series 9 toothbrush to MyQ Liftmaster Garage Door Openers and so many other products. Our advice is to pick one product type at a time, such as lighting, home security, or kitchen appliances, as you get started upgrading your home with the latest smart gear that fits your needs and budget.

Things to Consider When Buying Smart Home Devices

What you should look for when choosing specific types of smart home products depends heavily on the product category. For example, smart lighting has different things to consider than smart kitchen appliances.

“For the non tech savvy, the idea of a smart home can be intimidating," says JC Murphy, President of Savant Systems , an independent, Miami-based smart home integration company. "For that reason, something as simple as a smart light bulb is a great place to start. A standard A19 smart light bulb can be screwed in and then easily set up in a manufacturer’s app to control color and on/off. A smart plug is another simple product. It can be plugged into a standard outlet and then any device that is plugged into it can be easily turned on and off while home or away through an app.”

Here’s a closer look at seven things to consider that all smart devices have in common:

What it does: Figure out what a specific smart device does and how it operates.

How it can make your life better: Don’t upgrade existing equipment in your home unless you first determine that replacing it with a smart device will be beneficial. Ask yourself if it will save you money over time or somehow make your life easier.

Compatibility with existing technology: Make sure the smart devices you purchase are compatible with your existing mobile devices, computers, and other smart equipment you’ve already purchased (such as a smart speaker).

Security concerns: Any smart device that connects to the Internet could become a security risk. Take the necessary steps to keep potential hackers from breaching your home network (like setting strong passwords ), and make sure the manufacturer of the smart devices you install have their own security measures. Also, keep your equipment’s firmware and mobile app up to date.

Upgradability and Expandability: Choose smart equipment that's upgradable or expandable so you won’t need to replace it anytime soon. The best smart devices should serve you well for at least five years (potentially much longer).

Brand Name Reputation: In each smart device product category, there are companies with well known and respected, and that offer well-designed and secure products. Support smart device manufacturers that take the security and privacy of their customers seriously and that protect your data.

How We Chose the Best Smart Home Devices

Our contributor consulted with smart home technology specialists, cybersecurity experts, and elder care specialists to compile this roundup of the best smart home devices. These include JC Murphy, President of Savant Systems ; Ron Stoltz, Founder and Owner of Bismarck, ND-based Caves ; and Grayson Milbourne, Security Intelligence Director at OpenText Cybersecurity . With so many options in each product category to choose from, he then narrowed their selection down with more thorough research and some hands-on testing. 

For each smart device featured, our contributor considered its functionality, value, what makes it unique in its category, and how using it can enhance someone’s home life. While you can spend a fortune replacing all of your home’s equipment, appliances, and devices with “smart” gear, you don’t have to. Instead, based on your lifestyle, you can choose areas that will benefit you the most and then find a smart product in that category that fits within your budget.

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

Our contributor is an internationally recognized consumer technology expert who specializes in mobile devices, including how they can be used with smart home devices. He has more than 25 years of experience writing for a wide range of publications and websites. He also has been using smart equipment in his own home since these devices were first introduced.

Smart Home Devices FAQs

You don’t strictly need smart home devices. However, by installing smart appliances, equipment, and devices in your home, you can make various aspects of your home life easier to manage. The impact each smart device has will depend on the type of device and your lifestyle. If being able to remotely control devices in your home with your smartphone or voice commands sounds appealing, smart home devices are needed for that.

With smart lighting, for example, you can remotely control the lights in your home from anywhere using your mobile device or voice commands. And because most smart light packages use color-changing LED bulbs, you can create a specific ambience in a room based on your activity or mood. It’s also possible to create schedules, so specific lights turn themselves on and off automatically, based on your routine. Or with the addition of motion sensors, smart lights can be programmed to automatically turn on when you enter a room. The possibilities are rather limitless – and that’s just with smart lights.

Ron Stoltz, Founder and Owner of Bismarck, ND-based Caves has been installing audio/video and smart home technologies into homes for more than 25 years. He explains, “A smart home device is an electronic gadget or appliance that connects to a home network, allowing users to control and monitor its functions remotely via a smartphone or computer. People invest in them primarily for enhanced convenience, energy savings, and an upgraded living experience, bringing modern technology's efficiencies to daily life.”

How product manufacturers implement smart technology into their products varies greatly. Your goal should be to use smart equipment that can somehow improve your life at home by automating certain tasks, helping to keep you and your family safe, allowing you to easily access information, and accessing smart products remotely using a mobile device or voice commands. What a smart device can actually do depends a lot on the type of product and the ways you can interact with it using technology you already own and use daily.

These days, smart devices tend to be only slightly more expensive than their conventional counterparts. This does vary, however, based on the type of product and the complexity of the technology that’s been added to the smart product to expand its capabilities.

Stoltz adds, “Smart home technology is not just about futuristic living; it's about making daily life more manageable, more secure, and more entertaining.”

Again, this depends on the device. In general, a smart device isn't much more difficult to install than a conventional device of the same type, but a few extra steps are required. For example, you’ll need to connect the smart product to your home’s Wi-Fi. In many cases, you’ll also need to download and install a free, proprietary mobile app to control the smart device from a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch, for example. The mobile app also is used to customize the product's functionality and control it remotely.

Smart device manufacturers have made it easy to set up and install most smart products, often by yourself and with few to no tools. In some cases, smart devices should be professionally installed. This is particularly true for major home appliances, thermostats, and comprehensive smart home security systems, for example.

In general, smart devices connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network wirelessly, although in some cases they rely on Bluetooth as well to interact with your mobile devices and other compatible equipment. Thus, for a smart device to work within your home, you must have a stable and continuous Wi-Fi network in place. Some smart devices also require a separate hub (or bridge) to be connected to your home’s model or Wi-Fi router.

Because smart devices connect to the Internet and many use bluetooth, they can be controlled remotely using several other types of Internet-connected devices. These typically include a compatible smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, smartspeaker, home hub, computer(s), and in some cases the remote control for your smart TV.

If your smart device supports a digital assistant (such as Siri, Google Home, or Amazon Alexa) that your mobile device or smart speaker is also compatible with, you can often control the smart device using simple voice commands, like “Hey Siri, turn on the living room lights to 50 percent brightness,” or “Hey Google, preheat the smart oven to 450-degrees.”

Any device that connects to the Internet or that communicates wirelessly with other equipment can have security vulnerabilities. Stotz adds, “The primary concern is the connectivity of smart devices to your network. If you're operating on an insecure router, your smart devices could be vulnerable to breaches. To mitigate this, it's essential to prioritize network security and regularly update device firmware. Also utilize strong and unique passwords for each device.”

To make your smart devices more secure:

  • Only purchase smart devices made from companies with a strong reputation and that have the ongoing budget to maintain security, especially if the smart device relies on cloud-based storage. 
  • Ensure that anytime the smart device is connected to the Internet, it’s using a password protected, encrypted, and secure connection.
  • Make sure a firewall is installed as part of your home’s Internet service and Wi-Fi network. 
  • As you set up each smart device, immediately change its password from the default setting to something unique, and don't share this password with others.
  • When controlling smart devices via a mobile device that’s connected to a Wi-Fi network (especially a public Wi-Fi network), install a virtual private network on your mobile device(s).

“It is important to understand where data is stored by smart devices," says Grayson Milbourne, Security Intelligence Director at OpenText Cybersecurity . "If cloud storage is offered, that is less secure than devices that keep data locally.”

“The other element to consider is the app itself," he says. "Nearly every smart device has an app that connects and/or controls the device. It’s necessary for consumers to do a bit of investigation into what data is collected by the app, and what happens to data that’s gathered. Also, determine if a smart device’s firmware can be updated. Vulnerabilities are found all the time. If a device cannot update, it could become a risk.”

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

Smartwatches: Developments of Niche Devices Essay

Introduction, the purposes and uses of smartwatches, the problems of smartwatches and how to solve them.

In recent times, the niche of wearable devices has grown tremendously, and it will continue to grow until there is a demand for such technologies. One such wearable device is a smartwatch – a portable gadget intended to be worn on a wrist and aimed to record heart rate and other vital signs. The Pebble watch designers created the first independent smartwatch in 2012 (Rawassizadeh et al., 2015, p. 45). Although it was not the first gadget in the niche of smartwatches because Sony introduced its first device earlier, the Pebble gadget could function independently without being connected to a smartphone. Since then, different companies began to develop their niches of wearables, intending their gadgets either for daily use or for specific purposes. Despite their limited function and other shortages, the smartwatch industry will continue to grow and develop in the next several years.

Nowadays, smartwatches have different functions, but they offer many standard features. Thus, these wearable devices show smartphone notifications, informing their users about messages or incoming calls. They can also display notifications about a user’s current health condition or movement detection. For example, the newest Apple Watch can track a person’s condition after one falls: if a person does not move, the watch assumes they have injuries and alerts authorities on a person’s behalf (Silbert, 2021, para. 7). In addition, different smartwatches support diverse apps, like apps for hiking, diving, sports, and other applications needed to accomplish specific purposes. People also use these devices to manage media playback for them. For example, when users listen to music or watch a video on their smartphone, they can change the volume or tracks on their smartwatch. Moreover, most wearables include a GPS (Global Positioning System) to track a person’s location and receive location-specific alerts (Silbert, 2021, para. 12). These and other smartwatch functions make it a practical and useful device for many people.

Although smartwatches aim to make people’s lives easier and more comfortable, they can also cause headaches for several reasons. The main problem with all smartwatches is a quick battery drain. Modern smartwatches get through a day of normal use, and some devices get up to two-three days (Silbert, 2021, para. 13). Moreover, since the gadgets are linked to smartphones, they can also drain their battery. To solve this problem, the producers of wearable devices recommend disabling some apps, dimming the brightness on the smartwatch, and switching off Bluetooth. However, all these pieces of advice are useless because they will limit the functions of a smartwatch, making it a simple watch without any additional elements.

Another problem that may occur is disjointed and inaccurate voice control. For example, Wear OS users report that their smartwatches are not “triggering the Google Assistant when they should be” (Hill & Jansen, 2022, para. 4). It happens because the device cannot understand some words or hears them wrong. To fix this bug, one should try to use different voice tones and volumes, and if it does not help, one should operate the gadget manually. Some other problems associated with wearable devices are lost connection with a phone, lost data, and trouble with notifications. All these issues can be fixed manually, but they cause inconveniences and take much time to manage the settings. However, if smartwatch companies can make interfaces simpler and fix bugs and battery issues, this business will continue to flourish in the future.

How Will Smartwatches Change, Support, or Extend Current Ways of Doing Things?

Smartwatches make human lives more comfortable and allow for tracking health more effectively. Thus, these small devices encourage people to be more physically active, reminding them when they have been sedentary and providing them with short workouts. Smartwatches will also support those who require frequent medications, allowing patients to adhere to their medication schedule and not forget to take pills. Moreover, parents can track their children’s location and monitor their activities without being invasive. Parents can set up a safe district for their children, and when a child leaves this zone, they will receive a notification. One can see that smartwatches help parents always stay in touch with their children and monitor their position and activities.

Research shows that wearable devices can help prevent stroke and other heart diseases. According to Guo et al. (2019), “a smartwatch strap with single ECG [electrocardiogram] sensor may be a more comfortable method, with 93% sensitivity and 84% specificity of AF [atrial fibrillation] diagnosis” (p. 2366). Another study showed that the participants who used Fitbits or other similar apps walked a higher number of steps, which led to increased weight loss (Massoomi & Handberg, 2019, p. 183). Thus, wearables will change healthcare if they can contact emergency services immediately when some serious changes in a user’s health occur. In such a way, healthcare providers may use the information from smartwatches to track patients’ health and prevent diseases.

Which Group of People Will Benefit Most?

Although all people can use smartwatches, some groups will benefit more. First, smartwatches are a perfect tracking system for parents and children. They are more reliable and convenient than smartphones because they are always on the wrist. If a child or an older person with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other mental problems leaves a safety zone, their relatives or health providers will immediately know about their geolocation.

Moreover, health practitioners will benefit from smartwatches in other ways. For instance, they can use wearables to monitor patients’ health, including heart rhythm, blood pressure, and even oxygen levels. If a patient complains of health problems, a healthcare provider will look through the data they receive from the smartwatch to an app and see whether a patient has deprivation of sleep, heart rate changes, or other issues. Athletes can also benefit from using wearable devices because they can help them measure their exercises and physical load more precisely. Thus, parents, healthcare professionals, and athletes will benefit most from this new technology.

I think that smartwatches are useful and helpful devices that make our lives more comfortable. A smartwatch allows people to answer phone calls without taking a phone in their hands. Moreover, one can pay for their purchases in supermarkets, restaurants, and other public places, which offer contactless payments. I like the possibility of paying with a watch without needing to take up money from a purse. I also enjoy a physical activity tracking function because it encourages me to stay fit and do more exercise. A GPS-tracking system is another important function that should not be ignored. As already mentioned, this function is most valuable for parents and those who have older relatives since it can help them find their close ones when needed.

I believe that smartwatches will continue to succeed, especially if their producers fix all existing bugs and problems. I do not even need to imagine the scenario where I am using this technology because I already use it. I can only imagine sending my health-related data from the smartwatch to my healthcare provider. I do not have such a function in my smartwatch, but if I had, I believe that it would help me improve my health and prevent heart failure in the future.

The main assumption for a smartwatch is that people will wear it while sleeping, exercising, and swimming and feel comfortable with a small touch screen. I agree with this assumption because I think that if one of the main functions of smartwatches is to monitor one’s heart rate and sleep length, people will need to wear them constantly to receive proper reports. As to the small touch screen, I feel comfortable with it, and I think that most people will share this view. Wearable devices should not be big; instead, they should be imperceptible and not distract users from other daily activities. Those who feel uncomfortable with a small size of a smartwatch should think of different devices to monitor their activities and health.

The smartwatch industry is constantly growing and changing, and it will continue to succeed in the future until there is a demand for these wearable devices. Even though these gadgets are not vitally important, they can make human lives more comfortable. Moreover, if all smartwatches have a function of health monitoring and the possibility to send this information to healthcare providers, more and more people will want to wear them. In conclusion, wearables are a part of human life, and they will not die off in the nearest future. Thus, people should get the best out of them and use them for their purposes, improving life quality and health and staying in touch with their loved ones.

Guo, Y., Wang, H., Zhang, H., Liu, T., Liang, Z., Xia, Y., Yan, L., Xing, Y., Shi, H., Li, S., Liu, Y., Liu, F., Feng, M., Chen, Y., & Lip, G.Y. H. (2019). Mobile photoplethysmographic technology to detect atrial fibrillation. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 74 (19), 2365-2375. Web.

Hill, S., & Jansen, M. (2022). The most common Google Wear OS problems and how to fix them. Digital Trends. Web.

Massoomi, M. R., & Handberg, E. M. (2019). Increasing and evolving role of smart devices in modern medicine. European Cardiology Review, 14 (3), 181-186. Web.

Rawassizadeh, R., Price, B. A., & Petre, M. (2015). Wearables: Has the age of smartwatches finally arrived? Communications of the ACM, 58 (1), 45-47. Web.

Silbert, S. (2021). What is a smartwatch and what do they do? Lifewire. Web.

  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2022, December 30). Smartwatches: Developments of Niche Devices. https://ivypanda.com/essays/smartwatches-developments-of-niche-devices/

"Smartwatches: Developments of Niche Devices." IvyPanda , 30 Dec. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/smartwatches-developments-of-niche-devices/.

IvyPanda . (2022) 'Smartwatches: Developments of Niche Devices'. 30 December.

IvyPanda . 2022. "Smartwatches: Developments of Niche Devices." December 30, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/smartwatches-developments-of-niche-devices/.

1. IvyPanda . "Smartwatches: Developments of Niche Devices." December 30, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/smartwatches-developments-of-niche-devices/.

Bibliography

IvyPanda . "Smartwatches: Developments of Niche Devices." December 30, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/smartwatches-developments-of-niche-devices/.

  • Apple Watch Pricing Strategy
  • Wearable Technology and Motivation in Healthcare
  • Fitbit Inc.'s Competitiveness Issues
  • COVID-19 Pandemic in Singapore
  • Future Innovations and Their Role in People’s Life
  • Science and Technology: Impact on Human Life
  • Technology Is an Embedded Agent of Cultural Impact: Critical Review
  • Discussion: Electric Cars and the Future

Essay on Mobile Phone for Students and Children

500+ words essay on mobile phone.

Essay on Mobile Phone: Mobile Phone is often also called “cellular phone”. It is a device mainly used for a voice call. Presently technological advancements have made our life easy. Today, with the help of a mobile phone we can easily talk or video chat with anyone across the globe by just moving our fingers. Today mobile phones are available in various shapes and sizes, having different technical specifications and are used for a number of purposes like – voice calling, video chatting, text messaging or SMS, multimedia messaging, internet browsing, email, video games, and photography. Hence it is called a ‘Smart Phone’. Like every device, the mobile phone also has its pros and cons which we shall discuss now.

essay on mobile phone

Advantages of Mobile Phone

1) Keeps us connected

Now we can be connected to our friends, relatives at any time we want through many apps. Now we can talk video chat with whoever we want, by just operating your mobile phone or smartphone. Apart from this mobile also keeps us updated about the whole world.

2) Day to Day Communicating

Today mobiles phone has made our life so easy for daily life activities. Today, one can assess the live traffic situation on mobile phone and take appropriate decisions to reach on time. Along with it the weather updates, booking a cab and many more.

3) Entertainment for All

With the improvement of mobile technology, the whole entertainment world is now under one roof. Whenever we get bored with routine work or during the breaks, we can listen to music, watch movies, our favorite shows or just watch the video of one’s favorite song.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

4) Managing Office Work

These days mobiles are used for many types of official work From meeting schedules, sending and receiving documents, giving presentations, alarms, job applications, etc. Mobile phones have become an essential device for every working people

5) Mobile Banking

Nowadays mobiles are even used as a wallet for making payments. Money could be transferred almost instantly to friends, relatives or others by using mobile baking in the smartphone. Also, one can easily access his/her account details and know past transactions. So it saves a lot of time and also hassle-free.

Disadvantages of Mobile Phones

1)  Wasting Time

Now day’s people have become addicted to mobiles. Even when we don’t need to mobile we surf the net, play games making a real addict. As mobile phones became smarter, people became dumber.

2) Making Us Non- communicable

Wide usage of mobiles has resulted in less meet and talk more. Now people don’t meet physically rather chat or comment on social media.

3) Loss of Privacy

It is a major concern now of losing one’s privacy because of much mobile usage. Today anyone could easily access the information like where you live, your friends and family, what is your occupation, where is your house, etc; by just easily browsing through your social media account.

4) Money Wastage

As the usefulness of mobiles has increased so their costing. Today people are spending a lot amount of money on buying smartphones, which could rather be spent on more useful things like education, or other useful things in our life.

A mobile phone could both be positive and negative; depending on how a user uses it. As mobiles have become a part of our life so we should use it in a proper way, carefully for our better hassle-free life rather using it improperly and making it a virus in life.

Customize your course in 30 seconds

Which class are you in.

tutor

  • Travelling Essay
  • Picnic Essay
  • Our Country Essay
  • My Parents Essay
  • Essay on Favourite Personality
  • Essay on Memorable Day of My Life
  • Essay on Knowledge is Power
  • Essay on Gurpurab
  • Essay on My Favourite Season
  • Essay on Types of Sports

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Download the App

Google Play

IMAGES

  1. Basic Electricity and Electronic Devices Essay Example

    smart devices essay

  2. Write My Essays Today

    smart devices essay

  3. The Impact of Electronic Devices on Student Performance and Habits Free

    smart devices essay

  4. SMART Technology Free Essay Example

    smart devices essay

  5. Importance of Technology Essay

    smart devices essay

  6. smart device policy

    smart devices essay

VIDEO

  1. 18CS81 IOT- EXPLAIN SMART CITY ARCHITECTURE 8TH SEM THIRD IA

  2. Your Smart Home on your Smartphone

  3. Essay On Smart Phones in English || Aaj Se English Sikhna Start Karien ||

  4. Save your electricity bill with this free enegy machine #shortsviral #shortsvideo #shorts

  5. Peter Drucker’s Five Questions

COMMENTS

  1. What Is a Smart Device?

    A smart device is a wired or wireless context-aware electronic device capable of performing autonomous computing and connecting to other devices for data exchange. A smart device has three main features: (1) context awareness, (2) autonomous computing and (3) connectivity. This definition aligns with the main idea of the Internet of Things.

  2. Making Sense of Smartness in the Context of Smart Devices and Smart

    This research essay proposes a set of usable ideas related to the smartness of systems and devices. That topic is important because the term smart is used increasingly to describe "smart" things (e.g., smart devices, smart systems, smart cities) but often is not defined clearly in that context.

  3. What your smart devices know (and share) about you

    The results were surprising -- and more than a little bit creepy. Learn more about what the data from your smart devices reveals about your sleep schedule, TV binges and even your tooth-brushing habits -- and how tech companies could use it to target and profile you. (This talk contains mature language.)

  4. The pros and cons of smart devices

    Increased productivity and efficiency. Specialized sensors that let you monitor valuable resources, such as inventory, fuel, and available spare parts are among the best examples of efficiency-enhancing smart devices. These can help reduce the occurrence of delays and downtime in your business. They also take the burden of doing mundane tasks ...

  5. PDF What is a smart device?

    In-stead, the term mobile smart device can be used. Considering the main features of smart devices, this paper proposes the following definition: A smart device is a context-aware electronic device capable of performing autonomous computing and con-necting to other devices wire or wirelessly for data exchange.

  6. What is a smart device?

    Context-aware devices that work automatically and can ensure their connectivity to the user and other devices in the network is said to be a smart device under the paradigm of IoT (12). Hence to ...

  7. Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

    Teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, such as making a suicide plan. (That's much more than the risk ...

  8. Smart device

    A smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols (such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, near-field communication, Wi-Fi, NearLink, Li-Fi, or 5G) that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously.Several notable types of smart devices are smartphones, smart speakers, smart cars, smart thermostats, smart doorbells, smart ...

  9. PDF What Is a "Smart" Device? 1

    A smart device is an electronic device, connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, near-field communication (NFC), Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, etc. that have the ability to operate interactively and autonomously. Currently available smart devices include smartphones, tablets and phablets, smart bands, smart ...

  10. Alexa & the smart speaker revolution

    And this essay is about Alexa and the Smart Speaker Revolution. Going back to the 1960s, IBM became the first to introduce voice assistant with the shoebox device [1], an experimental device which ...

  11. (PDF) The impact of smart phones and mobile devices on ...

    Many 299 (68.0%) had good relationship with family members, 208 (47.3%) stated that increased use of mobile devices hampered family life, 88 (42.3%) thought it reduced quality family time ...

  12. Cell Phone Effects on the Brain: What You Should Know

    Poor sleep is associated with various mental health problems, including mood changes, stress, anxiety, depression, and brain fog. The next time you're tempted to play with your mobile device in bed, think about the possible effect this might have on your brain and your sleep and consider picking up a paperback book instead.

  13. The Importance Of Smart Devices

    People rely on their smart devices for accomplishing simple tasks, which reduces their ability to think. People use smart devices every day perform tasks like, reminding them to pick-up groceries, do mathematic, and many more task. All of these tasks can be performed by humans but they rely on their smart devices in order to achieve tasks.

  14. IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Technology (Real Past Exam

    This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of technology from a real past IELTS exam/test. Here are some important links to help you improve your scores as well: ... The main reason because by using smart devices, it helps to reduce the number of tasks needed, instead, it now becomes the responsibility of technological ...

  15. Smartphone Essay in English for Students

    Answer 2: A smartphone refers to a handheld electronic device that facilitates a connection to a cellular network. Furthermore, smartphones let people access the internet, make phone calls, send text messages, along with a wide variety of functions that one can perform on a pc or a laptop. Overall, it is a fully functioning miniaturized computer.

  16. Debating the Use of Digital Devices in the Classroom

    Pros of digital devices in the classroom. Peace of mind: Cellphones and smartphones can offer parents a little more peace of mind when their children are at school. Parents know that in an emergency the student can contact them, or vice versa. In addition, more and more cellphones and smartphones contain GPS devices that can be tracked if ...

  17. what are advantages and disadvantages of using smart devices?

    or smart devices a lot would bring more benefits. The. first. great advantage is that smart devices can develop children's creativity and imagination. It means that children's brain can absorb vivid images and sounds through their eyes and ears, which can help children know more about the world with a variety of topics.

  18. Best Smart Home Devices 2024

    Best Budget: Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Plug ». Best Smart Small Kitchen Appliance: Keurig K-Cafe Smart ». Best Smart Lighting: Philips Hue Starter Kit 4 E26 Smart ». Best Smart Door Lock: Ultraloq U ...

  19. IELTS Essay: Technological Devices

    Analysis. 1. The availability of new technologies to the average citizen in the form of consumer electronics brings with it both advantages and disadvantages. 2. In my opinion, though these devices are convenient, their use is a negative overall given the impact on mental health. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.

  20. Smartwatches: Developments of Niche Devices Essay

    Introduction. In recent times, the niche of wearable devices has grown tremendously, and it will continue to grow until there is a demand for such technologies. One such wearable device is a smartwatch - a portable gadget intended to be worn on a wrist and aimed to record heart rate and other vital signs. The Pebble watch designers created ...

  21. Smart Phone Essay

    Smart Phone Essay: In this essay I am going to talk about smartphones. Why and how smartphones changed our lives in the daily world. How this became the fastest growing technology. Smartphones are very often used as a technology device these days. First Smartphone was invented in 1992 and was launched in 1994. And it was created by IBM.

  22. Mobile Phone and Smart Devices Essay

    Mobile Phone and Smart Devices Essay. DEJUN XU Phillip. 2015/02/18. ESL 33A. The article is mainly about the effects of smart devices to people in today's society. According to the article, people seems to be more dependent to their smartphone or tablets. In other words, people could not "survive "without their smartphone.

  23. Essay on Mobile Phone for Students and Children

    500+ Words Essay on Mobile Phone. Essay on Mobile Phone: Mobile Phone is often also called "cellular phone". It is a device mainly used for a voice call. Presently technological advancements have made our life easy. Today, with the help of a mobile phone we can easily talk or video chat with anyone across the globe by just moving our fingers.