Episode 64: How a VC views the internet of things

Do you need money? Want to buy or sell an internet of things startup? Then this week’s interview is must-listen stuff. Matt Turck, of FirstMark Capital came on the show to give some advice to those seeking financing, discuss the overall funding landscape and try to pinpoint where the next big exits are going to come from. Why Turck? Because a few months ago he covered this who topic in amazing depth. So listen up to see what has changed!

Sproutling was one of the VC exits this year.
Sproutling was one of the VC exits this year.

Before you listen to Turck, Kevin shares his karaoke picks, we dig into the upcoming Bluetooth 5.0 specification and lay out what we think Apple’s HomeKit and Home app mean for the industry. We also talk about Samsung’s plan to invest $1.2 billion into the internet of things, its cloud, and Elon Musk’s offer to buy SolarCity. It’s not that crazy, y’all!

Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Matt Turck of FirstMark Capital
Sponsor: WolfSSL

  • Kevin’s karaoke nightmare (also the latest on Bluetooth)
  • Apple’s Home app is somewhat demoralizing
  • What Samsung needs in IoT
  • We’re in the second wave of IoT exits
  • Don’t quit your day job to rush to build a new product

Episode 58: How to stop vampire power consumption

Since a quarter of residential energy use is consumed by gadgets that are “off”, Kevin and I discuss how to measure and cut back on that power consumption with a few connected devices. We also talk about Apple’s rumored Home app for HomeKit, the launch of OpenThread, the open source version of Nest’s Thread protocol and the new Almond router from Securifi. We also touch on HP Enterprises‘ hop into the internet of things and Hitachi’s new formal IoT group.

The Almond 3 router. --Image courtesy of Securifi.
The Almond 3 router. –Image courtesy of Securifi.

Then we go to Rich Brown, who is the executive editor of CNET’s smart home and appliance coverage, to discuss how the news site set up a smart house in Louisville, Kentucky, the site’s favorite gadgets and how the Amazon Echo has democratized access to the smart home. The big theme of our conversation was compromise, as in, if you want a smart home you are going to have to make compromises.

Hosts: Ken Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Rich Brown, Executive Editor, CNET

  • A smart home may be a wasteful home
  • Deciphering OpenThread
  • Everyone is hopping into the Industrial Internet pool
  • CNET’s favorite smart home devices
  • The smart home isn’t a democracy

Episode 32: Amazon for the kitchen and Apple for the living room?

This week had so much connect home and internet of things news Kevin and I covered everything from a brand new way to turn your old smoke detectors into connected smoke detectors using a $35 battery replacement to new chip design from ARM that could make the Internet of things more secure. In the middle of all of that we talked about being able to buy the Amazon Echo in retail stores, the new Tag Heuer connected watch partnership with Intel and Gartner’s latest data on the Internet of things.

The Roost battery.
The Roost battery.

After Kevin and I run through the news, I turned to my friend Chris Albrecht, who was the emcee at the Smart Kitchen Summit held last week in Seattle. The event was awesome, and brought a good mix of old-school appliance folks together with Silicon Valley startups trying to remake the kitchen. Chris doesn’t love the connected kitchen, so he’s a good person to discuss what seemed worth buying and what seemed like hype. He also offered a bonus review of the Sonos Truplay feature at the end. That feature listens for your Sonos speakers’ sound quality in your room, and tweaks it so they sound as good as they can given their placement in the room. Find out what Chris says about it by listening to show (it’s iOS only, so Android lovers, need not apply).

Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Chris Albrect of OneHub

  • Gartner says we’re going to have 20.7 billion connected devices by 2020
  • ARM designs new chips for a more secure Internet of things
  • Try the Roost connected battery to connect your existing smoke detector for $35
  • This isn’t a smart kitchen, it’s just pricey
  • Amazon is going to get the kitchen while Apple gets the living room
  • Episode 27: Early adopters will suffer for their love of the smart home

    This week the smart home got some new capabilities with Philips Hue announcing a new HomeKit enabled bridge that also will be upgraded to support the newly announced Nest Weave protocol. Kevin Tofel and I discuss both the new bridge and the new Nest Weave protocol and whether or not we want to keep investing in new gear to upgrade our networks. We also touch on the new cloud offerings announced by Amazon and Microsoft for developers looking to build connected products.

    designswarm_profile_alex

    Our guest this week Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (pictured above), who is a design consultant and the creator of the Goodnight Lamp, joined me to discuss consumerism and selling the internet of things. We touched on product lifecycles, again on the Hue bridge and even about designing for sustainability and the responsibility that connected device designers have to consumers and the environment. She came to a pretty grim conclusion, but it’s good food for thought, especially if you haven’t bought into the connected device bonanza yet.

    Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
    Guest: Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino of Design Swarm

    • Should you upgrade your Philips Hue bridge to the latest version?
    • A deep dive into the Nest Weave protocol
    • Consumerism and the IoT. Is this what we want?
    • If you buy your connected device today, be prepared to suffer.

    Episode 24: HomeKit surprise and no more passwords for the internet of things

    Apple didn’t cover HomeKit in its massive event last week, but Kevin and spent a good chunk of time explaining what we we knew. Sadly, it’s not a lot, but it should be worth downloading iOS 9 and waiting a few more weeks. In enterprise news, we covered Salesforce’s IoT Cloud news, which will compete with IBM’s IoT foundation cloud. We also talked about a new access point from Samsung that adds Zigbee and Bluetooth to the mix before delving into a review of the OnHub router from Google. You’ll have to listen to the show and Kevin’s review to see if it’s worth the $199 price tag.

    The OnHub router. Image courtesy of Tp Link.
    The OnHub router. Image courtesy of TP Link.

    After all of that, Paul Madsen, who works in the office of the CTO at Ping Identity, came onto the show to discuss the future of an identity layer for the Internet of things. This may sound esoteric, but it’s really important for all of us who hate having multiple passwords for every app on every device we have in the house. It also could help with guest authentication. The conversation gets a bit techie, but its worth it to understand how we may access our devices in the near future. He does threaten some kind of two-factor authentication for our smart home, guys. Enjoy.

    Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
    Guests: Paul Madsen of Ping Identity

  • HomeKit gets new tricks as part of iOS9 but where are the devices?
  • Comcast and AT&T are supporting new third-party devices.
  • Salesforce gets into the Internet of things and here’s why.
  • Does Kevin like the Google OnHub router?
  • Managing identity for smart home might look a lot like the web.
  • Are you ready for two-factor authentication in your home?
  • Episode 11: HomeKit certification comes at a big cost for consumers and device makers.

    This week Apple disappointed the smart home aficionados at its WWDC conference by not mentioning much in the way of new HomeKit news and new devices. But Kevin Tofel and I discussed the challenges that Apple’s HomeKit partners faced trying to accommodate Apple’s security and hardware needs. This includes the Ecobee CEO’s response to criticism about his older thermostats not being upgradable to HomeKit.

    The ring connected doorbell.
    The ring connected doorbell.

    Since we don’t have a guest this week, we spent the rest of the show discussing a new, $1,500 oven from June and what the heck is happening with Wink. The Wink platform is for sale and Quirky, the product development group that created Wink, is getting out of the manufacturing business. Finally, we cover the Ring connected doorbell in our 5-minute review segment. Despite my enthusiasm for the connected doorbell, I learned that my doorbell isn’t in the right spot on the to make the device as useful.

    Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel

    • Not much HomeKit at Apple’s WWDC
    • We do get some cool watch features in the upgrade for the Apple Watch
    • Would you buy this connected oven?
    • What’s up with Wink?
    • The 5-minute review: Ring connected doorbell

    Episode 10: When will connected devices get cheaper?

    We now have four devices for Apple’s HomeKit and about as many slides detailing Google’s own entry into the Internet of things with its Brillo operating system and Weave communications platform. Kevin and I discuss what we know about the Google strategy and more importantly, what we don’t yet know. We also discuss some new research on the use of consumer connected devices in corporate IT networks from OpenDNS and use our 5-minute review slot to talk about the Ecobee 3 and the Lutron Caseta devices that just launched in new, HomeKit compatible versions.

    Chet Pipkin Photo 1

    After the break, I interview Chet Pipkin, the CEO of Belkin, which makes the WeMo line of connected devices. We talk about WeMo’s future in the connected home, why connected devices cost so darn much, and how long we can expect until our smart home experience become more automated. I also ask why my WeMo experience seems so glitchy compared to others. For all this and more, listen up.

    Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
    Guest: Chet Pipkin CEO of Belkin

    • Why don’t we know more about Brillo’s details and Weave?
    • A brief interlude about corporate security
    • The 5-minute review on Lutron lighting and the Ecobee3
    • Why WeMo doesn’t always work like you want it
    • When will our connected devices get cheaper?

    Please note, that after we recorded, the Ecobee folks let us know that existing Ecobee3 thermostats are not HomeKit compatible, so you would have to buy a new one.

    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?