It’s 2017, and IoT devices are all the rage. Connected light bulbs, Bluetooth speakers, personal assistants like Alexa, and much more are gaining popularity among those who can afford them, but at first glance, many of these things just look like gimmicks and toys. While some of them really are gimmicks (like refrigerators that take selfies), the Internet of Things (IoT) has just as much potential to make the world a safer and more efficient place.

For example: Connected medical devices in hospitals can make it easier for doctors to ensure their patients are in stable condition, and a street light could notify the utility company that it needs a new bulb, Model S cars can notify Tesla of faulty parts, and the list goes on. Senic has now released their own connected lamp called COVI, but they advertised it from a slightly more pragmatic angle. This is a great way to encourage the use of IoT devices for productivity, while still being cool.

For example: They pitched the COVI as a means to quickly obtain information without pausing to look it up, avoiding the interruption of your workflow. Like many other IoT (specifically multimedia-enabled) devices these days, the COVI is powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex A7 processor (1.2 GHZ per core) and 512 MB of RAM (similar to the specs of the Beaglebone Black or Raspberry 2 – Model B).

Speaking of ARM, ARM has revolutionized computing in unexpected ways by providing the tiniest of devices (like smartwatches) with an abundance of power at a low cost, while consuming miniscule amounts of power (in the mW range), and in the case of ULP devices — the microwatt range. ARM processors are powering almost everything with an MCU or SoC in it, including automotive ECUs, medical equipment, IoT devices, smartwatches, smartphones, tablets, and much more.

The COVI speech enabled light is equipped with an advanced lighting system that can vary the colour temperature from warm white (3000 K) to cool white (5000K). 3000K is similar to an incandescent light bulb (which is often 2500K), and 5,000 is in line with most CFL and LED bulbs. 3000K is the closest thing to sunlight you can get, and it adjusts it accordingly to suit your body’s circadian rhythm. It can also utilize the Amazon Alexa assistant to get the information you need, or work with other home automation systems.

The COVI is made in Germany, like Senic’s other product — the Nuimo at a time when local manufacturing is increasingly being perceived as an excessively ‘expensive’ option, compared to manufacturing in China. While I don’t think it’s as expensive as people say it is, we’ll see how this pans out. The Nuimo (formerly Flow) has been on the market since 2014.

COVI Kickstarter Page.