Episode 89: Google’s IoT Strategy takes shape and Microsoft enters the fray

There was so much news this week, that we skipped having a guest in favor of just keeping track of some big moves in the sector. This week was Google’s time to shine since it launched both Actions on Google (an SDK for talking to its Assistant on Google Home) and its IoT operating system plus the Weave communications protocol. Not to be topped Microsoft released an SDK for Cortana it’s voice powered personal assistant and Amazon doubled down with AI for all on AWS. So Kevin Tofel and I spent the first half of the show discussing what this means.

The Plume WiFi pods
The Plume WiFi pods

For the second half we focused on all the little bits of news such as Fibaro’s new HomeKit sensors, Ayla Networks’ new ability to help customers build Alexa skills, GE’s decision to build networking gear for the industrial IoT and a new Bluetooth hub for the enterprise from Cassia Networks. Uber and Google also offered some exciting self-driving car news this week and the ZigBee and Thread groups achieved a feat. We also reviewed two Wi-Fi options with Kevin discussing Google WiFi and me talking about why the new Plume pods may not work for everyone. We’ll be back next week with a guest, but in the meantime, enjoy the show.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Sponsors: Samsung ARTIK and Skybell (Use STACEY50)

  • The 3 things every personal assistant needs to succeed
  • Radio news from Thread and Zigbee plus a new BLE hub
  • GE and Ayla are making IoT easier for the enterprise
  • We have Waymo car news than usual
  • Reviewing Plume Pods and Google WiFi

Episode 88: Bluetooth 5 and testing lights on Echo and Google Home

Get the bottom line on the Bluetooth 5 specification with Kevin and I in this week’s podcast. If radios aren’t your thing, then delve into the details of connected lights and new features with Amazon Echo and Google Home. We also talk about GE’s new Alexa concept light. (We think it’s strange-looking). We also cover the end of Pebble, the new Amazon Go store and a new energy monitoring device.

What do you guys think of this new Alexa-enabled lamp from GE?
What do you guys think of this new Alexa-enabled lamp from GE?

After the news, I chat with Peter Zornio, Chief Strategic Officer at Emerson Process Management. His company has been thinking about the internet of things for almost a decade and Emerson is currently offering new services based on connected sensors. Zornio explains how switching from a product to a service changes the company’s sales cycles, accounting, contracts and more. He also discusses the issue of security and the industrial internet, and how the internet of things “brand” is being damaged by recent attacks.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Peter Zornio of Emerson
Sponsors: Samsung ARTIK and Skybell (use code IOTPODCAST25)

  • Bluetooth 5 is out!
  • How to delete your voice recordings from Amazon Echo and Google Home
  • Goodbye Pebble (I still want my Core)
  • How to figure out which product can become a service
  • How your sales team and contracts will change in the IoT world

Episode 87: We’ll govern the internet of things with mob rules

Gosh, it’s another week and another show that features security. We kick it off with this week’s news that features ransomware, botnets and a report from the Department of Homeland security discussing the internet of things. Kevin and I then touch on Intel’s new IoT chief and new Automated Driving Group as well as a bunch of Amazon Echo news. Finally, I discuss my impressions of the IFTTT integration with the Kevo lock and gripe about some frustrating sales practices by August.

The August doorbell cam courtesy of August.
The August doorbell cam courtesy of August.

It’s not all complaints on the show. My guest this week is Nick Feamster, the co-editor of a report out last week by a non-partisan group of technical experts focused on how to secure the internet of things. Feamster offers some tangible suggestions and directions where the industry can play a more active and helpful role. We discuss everything from how to create over the air updates that can be authenticated to how to create new types of routers to improve home IoT security.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Nick Feamster, professor of computer science at Princeton
Sponsors: Samsung ARTIK and Bluetooth

  • The future may have more cyber extortion than cyber warfare
  • Intel’s new automated driving boss is the same as the old (IoT) boss
  • You shouldn’t claw back functionality on a connected device for a fee
  • Want to secure IoT? Start with routers
  • Should your ISP help secure connected devices?

Episode 82: IoT botnets and the Nucleus intercom review

Security was the big topic this week after a massive botnet comprised of connected devices disrupted many popular internet services. I hated the thought of all connected devices coming under attack, so I wrote a bit about the realities of IoT security here and also here. As part of my effort to understand what was going on I interviewed Andy Ellis, Akamai’s chief security officer about what happened last week, why it matters and the challenges of making people pay for security.

Three Nucleus devices costs $600.
Three Nucleus devices costs $600.

Kevin Tofel and I mentioned security but then dove into a discussion of the new HomeKit-enabled Bluetooth light switch from Elgato, the new tricks from the Amazon Echo and a few chip stories. ARM launched an IoT cloud service, while Intel launched a new Atom chip. Then Kevin shared a convenient home automation that makes his family feel safer, and I review the Nucleus video intercom platform. It’s a fun show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Andy Ellis, CSO at Akamai
Sponsors: ARM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise

  • Where do we stand on Bluetooth lights?
  • Things are getting weird in the chip world
  • The Nucleus is a good devices for low-tech homes or people
  • Learn the one devices that may enhance your IoT security
  • The internet of things has an externalities challenge

Episode 80: Comcast builds an IoT network and Amazon streams music

Comcast has decided to bet big on the internet of things by investing in LoRa, a radio standard used for low power wide area networks. Kevin and I discuss the cable company’s plans in this week’s show along with Amazon’s new streaming music service, new Arlo indoor/outdoor cameras and wireless charging. We also point out that SmartThings may be the best bet if you are a UK smart home user with an Echo. It’s the only Echo-integrated smart home system supported in the UK.

Farmers have had self-driving tractors for a while. Sensor-fueled smarts make them better.
Farmers have had self-driving tractors for a while. Sensor-fueled smarts make them better.

This week’s guest, Eric Hansotia, is the VP at agricultural conglomerate Agco. He spends the first few moments discussing precision farming and the rest of the interview talking about how to transform your business. Agco is trying to move from selling farm equipment to selling outputs. Instead of a tractor a farmer would buy a specific yield of crops, for example. This is a big transition, and Hansotia walks us through it.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Eric Hansotia, senior vice president, global harvesting, crop care and advanced technology solutions at Agco
Sponsor: ARM

  • We’ll pass on Amazon’s new streaming service
  • Drama in the IoT standard world
  • Wireless charging is getting better
  • How to start building services instead of devices
  • Now product companies have to deal with churn

Episode 79: Google’s Home versus Amazon’s Echo

Google finally told us what to expect with its Google Home product, a new mesh router configuration and an updated Chromecast this week at its hardware event. Kevin and I break down what we know about Google Home, how it compares to other devices on the market and also what we won’t know until we get the Home in our hot little hands. I expect mine on Nov. 8-10, so stay tuned. In more serious news, the use of IoT devices as a tool in DDoS attacks has everyone freaked out. We discuss why IoT devices are vulnerable and share a new checklist from the Online Trust Alliance on what you can do to help.

The Google Home sells for $129 and you can choose which color base makes the most sense for your home.
The Google Home sells for $129 and you can choose which color base makes the most sense for your home.

After that we talk to Danny Herztberg, a Realtor in Miami Beach who told me what devices make for a good investment and how his job has changed with the advent of smart home technology. He also pleads with device makers to make these things easier for consumers to use and understand.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Danny Hertzberg, The Jills
Sponsors: ARM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise

  • Google Home v. Amazon Echo
  • How to protect your connected gear and why you should
  • Connected locks are the new granite countertops
  • What devices offer the most investment value

Episode 76: Tips and tricks for Apple’s HomeKit

Have you downloaded iOS 10 yet? If you have, and are wondering what to do with the Home app and your HomeKit home automation, then this show is for you. We brought on Adam Justice the head of ConnectSense, a home automation brand to discuss his experience with HomeKit so far (check out his video series).

This is screen from the Control Center pane.  (Image courtesy of Apple).
This is screen from the Control Center pane. (Image courtesy of Apple).

Before we get to HomeKit, Kevin Tofel and I talk a bit about last week’s Apple announcement, review the second generation Kevo smart lock and the Philips Hue Motion sensor. We led with news of Amazon’s new Echo, some data-leaking sex toys and the Department of Justice creating a group to investigate the security impacts of connected cars. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guests: Adam Justice CEO of ConnectSense
Sponsors: Macadamian

  • Amazon’s newest toy and DoJ investigates the IoT
  • Connected sex toys means private time isn’t so private
  • Review time!
  • The best feature on the Home app
  • Is HomeKit now ready for prime time?

Episode 74: More Nest distress and a primer on protocols

As IFA starts in Berlin, there’s a bunch of product news to cover, including a partnership between Sonos and Amazon, that will let you control your Sonos from the Amazon Echo … in 2017. But before we get to that, Kevin Tofel and I explore what it means that Nest’s developers are reportedly moving over to Google, specifically part of the Google Home team. We also cover Z-wave becoming a more open standard, which could lead to more Z-wave compatibility in products like the Amazon Echo or smart TVs.

Savant_03_Sonos

After Kevin and I hit the news, strap yourselves in for a primer on the pros and cons of different radios, protocols and even clouds for those designing a connected product. Chris Matthieu, VP of IoT Engineering at Citrix, and one of the creators of Citrix Octoblu, came on the show to offer his expertise. This is nerdy, but great for anyone who wants to understand some of the popular options out there for making a connected product, whether you are a developer, a product manager or just someone trying to keep up with the trends.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Chris Matthieu of Citrix
Sponsor: Macadamian

  • The distress at Nest
  • Two great pieces of news
  • How do you pick a radio for a connected project?
  • A primer on protocols
  • Which cloud works for you?

Episode 69: Amazon opens up about the Echo

The Amazon Echo is the gateway drug to the smart home for many folks. They start with Alexa and move to shopping for connected lights or outlets. So we brought Charlie Kindel, director of Alexa Smart Home at Amazon, on the show to discuss the Echo’s history, its future and what voice can and cannot do in the home. So turn off your Echo mics for this one because we couldn’t avoid saying “Alexa” for this show.

The Amazon Echo in my kitchen.
The Amazon Echo in my kitchen.

Before we get to the Echo, Kevin and I discuss security challenges facing Osram light bulbs and security challenges from connected industries. We also explain why the Thread Group is teaming up with the OCF and what it means for developers. Finally, we discuss if companies should reimburse customers when their connected devices have outages or features are late.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Charlie Kindel, director Alexa Home Services at Amazon
Sponsors: Xively and The Smart Kitchen Summit

  • Outages and security flaws abound
  • The Thread Group and Intel’s Open Connectivity Foundation get together
  • A modest proposal for connected devices
  • You can command August locks from your Amazon Echo
  • Charlie Kindel’s favorite Echo hacks (including one that works with Sonos)

Episode 65: All about Wink and Alexa’s new Skills

Are you curious about Wink? On June 11 it started selling its Relay switch, a light switch that contains a screen and two soft programmable switches for $99 each. Two cost $149 and also double as an intercom. So we talked to Nathan Smith, Wink’s co-founder and CTO, about what happened to bring Wink out back into the game and what to expect next.

The Relay switch from Wink.
The Relay switch from Wink.

Kevin Tofel and I also discussed another Wi-Fi light switch from Plum as part of a discussion on switches and a home without hubs. Before we got there we cover Amazon’s makeover of the Alexa App to highlight Skills, the new Dash buttons and an update on Wi-Fi. Just for fun, I covered my doorbell review that ran in the Wirecutter.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Nathan Smith of Wink
Sponsor: Ayla Networks

  • Alexa’s new skills
  • Here come new Wi-Fi light switches
  • Wi-Fi is getting better!
  • What belongs on a glanceable interface?
  • Some fun Wink robots for y’all