Episode 5: The Apple Watch is a “hot mess” and other design considerations

The Apple Watch is out, and while Kevin Tofel didn’t wake up early enough to get one, I interview Mark Rolston, the co-founder and chief creative officer at Argo Design, who did, to see what he thinks of his. Rolston is designing the interface for the Peq smart home hub, and discussed how he’s thinking about designing home interfaces on the Apple Watch. We digressed to general design principles, but did focus on the home, voice control and what the Watch does badly. According to Rolston, the Watch is just like me in the mornings — it’s so desperate to fall back asleep it won’t stay awake long enough to deliver notifications.

PEQ Apple Watch Faces

However, aside from the Apple Watch and its design considerations, Kevin and I discussed Google’s mysterious FCC filings for a Bluetooth device, my first test of a Bluetooth light bulb system from Ilumi which didn’t blow my mind, but would blow my budget, and a bit more on the Amazon Echo’s future. I also get excited about the future of digital medicine with Scanadu raising $35 million and letting us know that next year we’ll be able to buy what is essentially a good chunk of Star Trek’s Tricorder device for $199. Listen up for all this and more.

Listen at Soundcloud and get the download.
Download the MP3 file for this week’s show here

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Mark Rolston, co-founder and chief creative officer at Argo Design

  • What is Google’s new Bluetooth device? Kevin and I convince ourselves it’s not a Beacon?
  • The five-minute Ilumi Bluetooth lighting review
  • I’m pretty pumped about the future of connected medicine.
  • The Apple Watch is a “hot mess” and other considerations for app designers
  • Notifications are an issue on the watch, but Apple has nailed taking action

Episode 4: The evolution of an IoT services business and build a connected garden

Spring is in the air, so this week’s podcast celebrates with a preview of an upcoming connected garden product that looks pretty smart — the Edyn sensor and connected water valve system that will hit Home Depot shelves in May and is available for pre-orders. Kevin I discuss the solar-powered sensors, and although it’s iOS-only for the time being, there’s reportedly an Android app coming some time in the future. We also talk about my plans for nighttime bathroom lighting, an awesome beta app that uses the Android lock-screen to control your connected devices in the home called Reach and more.

Michael Simon, CEO  and Chairman of LogMeIn
Michael Simon, CEO and Chairman of LogMeIn

This week’s guest focuses on the business benefits of adding connectivity to your products with guest Michael Simon, the CEO and chairman of LogMeIn, the maker of the Xively service. Xively provides the back end infrastructure for connected devices, and recently launched an upgrade that offered better compliance and rules associated with devices and data. Simon focused on why that matters, what types of businesses can easily take advantage of connected products to offer higher value services and what the evolution of a connected business looks like. At the very end he dives into the architecture of the Xively platform, which boasts an “MQTT-compliant” messaging layer the Xively team built as well as off-the-shelf MySQL and Cassandra databases. I was hoping for something a little more like a knowledge graph given the relationships it would have to track, but apparently that’s not under the hood.

So, listen up for some inspiration on the home front or for your business, and feel free to let me know what you think.

Listen at Soundcloud and get the download

Download the MP3 file for this week’s show here

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Michael Simon, Chairman and CEO of LogMeIn

  • The Edyn garden sensor doesn’t feed you data, it feeds you information.
  • Using the Hue, SmartThings and a motion sensor for some nighttime bathroom lighting
  • Some sweet software for your Android lock screen from Reach
  • How to move from a connected product to a connected business
  • How do you architect a system to connect millions of endpoints. Simon can tell you.

Episode 3: Restaurant too dark? You could soon control the lights with your phone.

This week’s podcast we hit on my favorite topic. Lighting! First we start off in the home with Kevin Tofel and I discussing how I’m using the Amazon Echo to control my Hue lights and a WeMo connected lamp via the Amazon Echo. Then we chat with my guest this week, Willem Smitt, the vice president of marketing at Soraa, a lighting company whose customers include a variety of big name commercial clients. Soraa is pioneering the launch of Bluetooth connected lights, that launched on Tuesday via a partnership with Polish startup Seed Labs.

A California Pizza Kitchen featuring Soraa lights.
A California Pizza Kitchen featuring Soraa lights.

The ability to control your lights via your phone could offer consumers new opportunities in restaurants other commercial settings, but it also changes the nature of the services businesses can offer. Lights can store beacons or other sensors, so can become homes for sophisticated customer-information gathering tools and personalizations experiences. We discuss this on the show. So tune in to hear about the future of lighting, the Apple watch, a bit about June plans for HomeKit and the Apple TV and more.

Listen at Soundcloud and get the download

Download the MP3 file for this week’s show here

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Willem Smitt, VP of marketing at Soraa

  • Did Kevin score an Apple watch or not?
  • Welcome to Kevin’s conspiracy corner where he discusses the Apple WWDC logo and what it means for HomeKit
  • Amazon Echo gets an upgrade that lets you control your Hue and WeMo devices. Find out how it works.
  • How long until all of our lighting is connected?
  • What else can you put in a connected light bulb and what does that mean for businesses?

Episode 2: Is it too late to secure the internet of things?

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:


ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos

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.

Listen at Soundcloud and get the download

Download the MP3 file for this week’s show here

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Joshua Corman, co-founder at I am the Cavalry

  • How your Nightline smart home sausage was made
  • A review of the new Hue Go wireless light
  • Amazon Dash is a cool retrofit, but Kevin doesn’t want it
  • Here is the bare minimum for a secure internet of things
  • Are today’s cars a BP oil spill waiting to happen?

Episode 1: How to build hardware that doesn’t suck

Brady Forrest of Highway1 courtesy of  SXSW Hardware House - Michael O’Donnell - @photo
Brady Forrest of Highway1 courtesy of SXSW Hardware House – Michael O’Donnell – @photo

Welcome to the inaugural Internet of Things Podcast with Stacey Higginbotham. It’s super exciting to be able to share the show with all of you, after these past few weeks of Gigaom closing its doors and us wondering about the fate of the show. This week my co-host Kevin Tofel and I have missed three weeks but didn’t miss a beat when it comes to reviewing the Staples Connect Home hub version 2, discussing the Apple Watch and Kevin’s earlier article on smart watches and their issues in general. In other news, look for more Kevin coverage at his new home on ZDnet.

After Kevin and I chat, I interviewed Brady Forrest, who is in charge of PCH’s Highway1 incubator on how to build hardware that won’t make consumers question why they bought it in the first place. Forrest, who has mentored startups such as Ringly and the company behind the Drop kitchen scale, has helped build companies whose products don’t suck. That’s why I asked him to join me for a chat. Listen in for some good advice and to hear me learn exactly how hard it is to develop hardware for the myriad platforms out there. I gained a new appreciation for the challenges companies are going through and learned something new. Listen up, and maybe if I get enough downloads, next week I’ll manage to get an intro and some music pulled together. Here’s hoping! In the meantime, listen below.

Listen at Soundcloud and get the download

Download the MP3 file for this week’s show here

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Brady Forrest, vice president at PCH’s Highway1 incubator

  • What you need to know about the new(ish) Staples home hub
  • Will Kevin buy an Apple Watch? Which version?
  • I cannot say this enough. Hardware is hard.
  • The many ways a product can fail

Welcome to the new Internet of Things Podcast

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.