Have you ever wondered how the internet of things got its name? Well wonder no more, as this week’s guest explains how the phrase came to be. Kevin Ashton, who is the author of How to Fly a Horse, joins me to talk about the beginnings of IoT, his optimism about the future and how the world he imagined back in the late 90s measures up to today. It’s a fun episode that will take you back to the pre-dot com era.
Then we talked about IBM’s Watson teaming up with Saleforce’s Einstein platform before moving on to Ros Harvey, this week’s guest. Harvey founded The Yield, a data startup focused on farming. She really digs in (ha!) to the challenges of building a business around insights. She focuses on the challenges of making sure data is high-quality and how to negotiate data-sharing deals with big companies and still make money. She’s pretty awesome.
Fans of the connected home got some exciting news when Amazon showed of its Dash Buttons, a simple, connected button that consumers could press to order a single products from the e-commerce giant. The idea is consumers would pop a Tide button by their washing machine, a Cottonelle button by their toilet and an Oil of Olay or Gillette Fusion button by their medicine cabinet, and as they run low, press the button to order more. It was an idea so simple that it seemed ridiculous and people wondered if it was an April Fool’s prank.
So Kevin Tofel and I discussed the Dash on this week’s show and you won’t believe why Kevin doesn’t like the idea. We also discuss the newly launched Hue Go wireless LED light, which I review ahead of its May or June launch. For $99.95 it’s a splurge, but if you like lights, I think it makes a nice gift. We kicked off the show with me sharing a segment that I recorded with Nightline, the ABC late-night news program. The show came to my home and hired a hacker to film a segment on smart homes and security. You can see the segment below:
The experience prompted me to ask this week’s guest Joshua Corman to come on the podcast to speak about his efforts with an organization called I am the Cavalry, a collective of hackers, researchers and activists trying to build a more secure connected future. We spent a lot of time discussing the group’s framework for connected cars, but it’s a framework that will translate well to other aspects of the internet of things. So get ready to feel very insecure (watch Corman’s TED talk to feel worse) and to learn a bit more about Kevin Tofel’s odd network habits.
As a print journalist I write to organize my thoughts about the world, my experience with gadgets, and my expectations about the future. So I always shied away from podcasting. But in that same job I ask a lot of questions of people who are way smarter than I am so I can try to put my thoughts together, and realized that my efforts to understand the way that connected devices, a multiplicity of data streams and new business models around the internet of things are similar to theirs. The questions I ask people in my interviews are the ones they would ask, and those people deserved unfiltered answers, especially since I can’t write up every interview I do in full.
Thus, I fell into podcasting and fell in love with a medium that lets me wander around talking to people smarter than learning about a topic I find fascinating. And if I also get to play with fun devices and connect with a good friend once a week to talk about how those devices are changing the lives of consumers, then that’s great too. So, the Internet of Things Podcast is a new podcast that will feel very familiar, with Kevin Tofel still coming on as my co-host, a weely format, and my continuing quest to understand the technologies, use cases and business effects of the internet of things. Keep listening and we’ll keep making them.