Episode 119: Amazon’s Echo Show makes me feel lonely

After a week with the Amazon Echo Show I realize that I have no friends–on that device at least. In addition to my review of the Show, Kevin shares a review of the GoControl Z-wave sensor pack he purchased to go with the Wink, and I talk about the Leviton Decora light switch in depth. Reviews aside, we also chat (and sing!) about low power wide area networks, Ingenu’s departing CEO and the closure of the company behind a $500 backup camera.

The Plume WiFi pods

And because I’m so obsessed with Wi-Fi, I interview Fahri Diner, the CEO of Plume about where Wi-Fi is heading. He’s one of those that convinced me that Wi-Fi will end up in more devices, and he talks about how his deals with Comcast and Samsung will make that possible. We also discuss why you’re going to pay your ISP for Wi-Fi and where the retail model will struggle. You’ll have opinions about this episode.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Fahri Diner, CEO of Plume
Sponsors: Schlage and Affiliated Monitoring

  • I’m not totally sold on the Echo Show
  • Say goodbye to Pearl Backup cameras
  • Kevin tries some GoControl security sensors
  • Where will Wi-Fi be? Everywhere!
  • Retail Wi-Fi isn’t a big market

Episode 118: Reviewing Eero’s new gear and IoT ransomware

Alexa has new skills thanks to the Echo Show launching this week, and the Google Home gets some fancy new code. Kevin and I discuss how to turn your Echo device into an intercom, my take on the new Eero routers and a new $100 million fund from TrendMicro for IoT security. There’s also Apple’s reported acquisition of an eye-tracking firm to discuss, since augmented reality is supposedly one way we’ll tackle the influx of information connected sensors can provide. We also talk about Petya and ponder what the ransomware threat means for IoT.

The Echo Show has a 7-inch screen. And Alexa!

This week’s guest is Daniel Elizalde, who teaches a course at Stanford on IoT product management. Elizalde offers his advice on how to develop a connected product from the hardware all the way to the service. In our conversation, he shares common mistakes, does a deep dive on risk management as part of our security discussion and provides a framework for companies trying to “add some IoT” to their business. It’s a helpful listen.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Daniel Elizalde of Tech Product Management
Sponsors: TE Connectivity and Affiliated Monitoring

  • Drop in on your Echo-owning friends with Alexa’s new talent
  • What if an IoT company like Wink or Nest gets hit by ransomware?
  • Stacey reviews the new Eero routers
  • In IoT, security is essentially risk management
  • The biggest product mistakes a company can make

Episode 117: Intel’s new IoT strategy has fewer things

Intel plans to discontinue several of its boards designed for makers. Kevin and I discuss what this means for Intel’s IoT strategy. We also talk about ARM’s extension of a program that eliminates license fees to design custom chips, Ring’s new doorbell and Hue’s new lights. We then circle back on Amazon’s Whole Foods purchase and the availability of the Dash wand, while Kevin shares his favorite new Alexa Skill.

Too hot for the IoT?

Next up is blockchain, specifically how it could build sustainable IoT business models and even help generate wealth in the subscription economy. My guest Paul Brody is a principal at EY and a blockchain expert. You’ll learn a new way of thinking about subscriptions, fractional ownership and why blockchain and IoT are like chocolate and peanut butter. Listen up.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Paul Brody from EY
Sponsors: TE Connectivity and Affiliated Monitoring

  • What happens to the Intel Quark?
  • I replaced my doorbell transformer to handle the connected options
  • What do you think about Amazon’s interest in food?
  • Using blockchain to share cars or even solar farms
  • Open source software and blockchain can cut consumer IoT operating costs

Episode 116: Meet Eero’s new routers and see how Aclima uses IoT to stop pollution

There was a lot of Wi-Fi news this week with new routers and services from Eero. Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi Alliance has created a certification program for builders to ensure that newly constructed homes get the best in-home coverage available. Since I was out this week, Kevin and I recorded early, so there’s news of AWS Greengrass and Softbank buying Boston Dynamics. Plus, Kevin and I share how to connect your smart locks to Alexa and further information on the WeMo dimmer.

This is BigDog, one of Boston Dynamic’s scarier robots. Image courtesy of Boston Dynamics.

My guest this week tackles a serious topic. Davida Herzl, the CEO Aclima, discusses how we can use sensors on cars to map pollution data and shares the results of a study conducted in Oakland with Google. We talk about the importance of scientific validation for sensor data and algorithms as well as how to charge for this type of data. Beyond that, she shares why she thinks this sort of granular pollution monitoring is the future of fighting climate change.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Davida Herzl, the CEO Aclima
Sponsors: Affiliated Monitoring and TE Connectivity

  • So much news on the Wi-Fi front
  • How to tell Alexa to lock your doors using IFTTT
  • Testing Wink’s new service and WeMo’s dimmer
  • Where in Oakland is pollution the worst?
  • All IoT companies should be validating their data

Episode 115: All about Apple’s HomePod

Apple’s disclosure of the HomePod, a connected speaker and personal assistant, drove much of the IoT news this week. However, research from Pew on how rapidly people are becoming connected and the lack of transparency about how our data is used might end up being the story with real legs. Kevin Tofel and I discuss both this week, along with some Wink news, how he feels about the Google Home and a brand new purchase I made.

The Apple HomePod. Image courtesy of Apple.

To continue with the HomePod theme, I spoke with three different people to get a sense of how voice affects adoption of smart home technology, what the HomePod could mean for HomeKit adoption and what another voice-activated speaker means for privacy. Scott Harkins of Honeywell, Adam Justice of ConnectSense and Nuala O’Conner of the Center for Democracy and Technology joined me for the discussion.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Scott Harkins of Honeywell, Adam Justice of Connect Sense and Nuala O’Conner of the Center for Democracy and Technology
Sponsors: TE Connectivity  and Affiliated Monitoring

  • Wink gets on the services bandwagon
  • Pew says you will never not be connected
  • Honeywell says voice is a killer app for smart homes
  • Could you connect HomeKit devices without changing the hardware?
  • It’s good to see a company selling privacy

Episode 114: The Essential Phone and IBM’s Watson tries IoT

What makes a phone essential? Or Essential as is the case with Andy Rubin’s new company that features a new smartphone and teases a new connected home assistant? Kevin and I discuss what we know, and Kevin also explains a surprise decision he’s made regarding Google (here’s the link he mentions during the show). We also discuss Apple’s potential AI chips, ARM’s new designs and a way to add capacitive touch to wood! Finally, I share my WeMo dimmer switch thoughts.

The Essential Phone in white.

This week’s in the guest segment we discuss assistants and bots in the home and enterprise. Bret Greenstein, VP of Watson IoT for Consumer Business at IBM, shared a bit about Watson and IoT, but his biggest service might be his help breaking down how analytics, machine learning and AI all relate. It’s a good mix of the future for enterprises and consumers. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Bret Greenstein of IBM
Sponsors: Aeris and Affiliated Monitoring

  • Essential Phone and Home launch thoughts
  • Kevin’s surprise purchase
  • The WeMo dimmer is nice, but pricey
  • Time for an AI vocabulary lesson
  • What happens when computers know how you feel?

Episode 113: Google Home gets way better

It has been a week since Google I/O, which gave Kevin and me time to wade through some of the developer videos and ponder the features Google is announcing for the home and for Google Home. The jury is still out on whether Kevin is buying the device, but he is tempted, y’all! We discussed Dish’s integration with the Amazon Echo, the new maker tier on IFTTT and IKEA’s plans to make its smart lights work with a variety of platforms.

Google’s Home speaker and AI assistant.

Our guest this week gives us a chance to discuss both the smart grid and saving sea turtles, which I imagine is a relative rarity. Michael Bell, the CEO of Silver Springs Networks, joined us this week to talk about scale, the future of the electric grid and the trouble with solar power. He also talks about new businesses for Silver Springs and turtles. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Michael Bell, CEO of Silver Springs Networks
Sponsors: Aeris and Smart Kitchen Summit

  • Google Home makes calls, offers shortcuts and has new partners
  • IFTTT gets way more flexible
  • The smart grid is just the beginning
  • How to scale to 25 million devices (and then more)
  • Saving sea turtles with smart street lights

Episode 112: Google’s IoT Cloud takes on Amazon and Azure

This week we recorded before the big rush of news from Google I/O but we managed to cram in the details on Google’s new IoT Core beta that offers developers a cloud-based platform for connected devices. Kevin Tofel and I also discuss Android Things and the moves Amazon has made with the Echo to compete with anticipated Google news. These include notifications on the Echo and a pledge to pay some developers. Add to this, Samsung’s new ARTIK modules, Honeywell’s new venture fund and some speculation on Spotify and we have a solid show. Plus, soon I can shop at B8ta.

GE’s appliances can talk to Alexa or Google’s Assistant.

Our guest this week is Bill Gardner from GE Appliances, who shares the industrial giant’s thinking around connected ovens, stoves and more. There’s some bad news, an AI named Geneva that works with Alexa and Google Home, plus a call for partners in building the smart kitchen for the future. And just for fun, I find out why I may want a connected washer and dryer. Enjoy the show!

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Bill Gardner of GE Appliances
Sponsors: Aeris and Smart Kitchen Summit

  • Google gets semi-serious about an IoT cloud offering
  • Amazon’s pulling out the stops to keep devs with Alexa
  • Sorry, old appliances won’t get Wi-Fi
  • Meet Geneva, the bot that will connect your kitchen
  • Get a sneak peak at GE’s plans for the kitchen of the future

Episode 111: All about the Amazon Show and costs of IoT compute

Who’s buying an Echo Show? This week Kevin and I share our thoughts on Amazon’s latest device, which adds a screen to the Echo, video calling and more. We also talk about Apple buying Beddit presumably for sleep data, a new smart home product with a DARPA and Playground Studios pedigree and the industrial internet. Plus, we throw in a discussion on the economics of serverless computing as part of the launch of a new product from Yonomi.

The Echo Show has a 7-inch screen. And Alexa!

We have three guests this week. The number of our guests is three. (Props to all who read that as a Monty Python sketch.) We’re getting three different perspectives on the Echo Show, with the first from Mike Wolf, a smart home analyst and editor of The Spoon who discusses it as a kitchen device. Then we discuss design and the way we will interact with the smart home with Mark Rolston of argo design, and we finish with Jonathan Frankel, the CEO of Nucleus, which just saw its device replicated in Amazon’s new Echo Show. You’ll learn a bunch!

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guests: Mike Wolf of The Spoon; Mark Rolston of argo design; and Jonathan Frankel of Nucleus
Sponsor: Aeris

  • Will Kevin buy the Amazon Show?
  • Startup Lighthouse has a new take on personal assistants
  • Apple buys sleep-sensing tech
  • Amazon’s Echo Show was “inevitable”
  • Amazon’s Echo Show was also a betrayal

Episode 110: IKEA’s smart home plans and will you buy an Amazon Look?

This week we discuss Apple’s plans to introduce Siri in a can, Amazon’s Style maven ambitions and a few other items on the personal assistant front. We also discuss Orbit, a new security idea from Cloudflare, and a lawsuit filed by ADT against Ring and Zonoff’s former CEO. From there we go straight into an ad which launches my new IFTTT channel so you can get the podcast and articles on my site in the form you favor.

IKEA’s smart lighting products will expand over time.

After that, I interview Bjorn Block of IKEA about the company’s four-year old effort to combine technology with the home and home furnishings. Block and I discuss the newly launched TRADFRI lights, the astonishing number of meatballs IKEA customers consume each day, and IKEA’s plans for future connected home efforts. We also discuss the environmental impact of connected products and IKEA’s plans to keep technology inside long-lived goods fresh.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Bjorn Block of IKEA
Sponsors: Samsung ARTIK and IFTTT

  • The one thing Apple must fix before launching an Echo-killer
  • A new idea for IoT security
  • IKEA thinks smart homes must solve a real dilemma
  • Will IKEA open up its ecosystem?
  • I’m opening a second-hand smart bulb store