Episode 108: Owning digital property could save our privacy

Kevin is back for this week’s show, and we talk about Google Home, Amazon’s latest hardware plans for the Echo and how we think voice may evolve. I installed the Honeywell T5 thermostat as well as a leak sensor from Honeywell, and share what I liked and what I didn’t. We also discuss Kevin’s field trip to the Biosphere 2 project in Arizona and the latest developer survey from The Eclipse Foundation.

Bitmark’s platform used a custom-designed blockchain to store digital property records.

After some more news, we turn┬áto this week’s guest. Sean Moss-Pultz, CEO of Bitmark, explains how he thinks giving people the ability to own digital property will make privacy easier online. His company has built a blockchain based software product that stores rights to someone’s digital data whether it’s photos or fitness info. We discuss why this sort of record matters and how Bitmark plans to make its abstract ideas real. It’s a fun discussion.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Sean Moss-Pultz, CEO of Bitmark
Sponsors: Samsung ARTIK and IFTTT

  • What devices do I want to talk to in the home?
  • News from Lutron, August and Logitech
  • A modest proposal for smart thermostat makers
  • Should we turn digital assets from intellectual property to just property
  • Donate your data — or just keep track of it online

Episode 106: Stacey has a secret

It’s time to swap out my Amazon Echo for a Google Home because all of my integrations are working so well, and because Google added Logitech’s Harmony Hub. August added a lock for the pro channel and Samsung’s Tizen OS has a lot of security flaws. This is not good for anyone, especially Samsung.

The new Zebra SmartPack Trailer product uses a camera and offers analytics.

We talk also about Zebra’s new tech for tractor-trailers and why virtual beacons from Mist are better than real ones. Finally, I confess to a secret and contemplate an IoT device to solve it. This week’s guest Simon Bungers discusses what happens when the internet of things invades research labs, and how it could change scientists’ job descriptions.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Simon Bungers, CEO of Labfolder
Sponsor: Samsung ARTIK

  • Google Home just got better. Is Kevin convinced?
  • Zebra has good new freight tech and virtual beacons are better than the real thing
  • Tizen has some major security flaws. Roughly 40 of them.
  • Meet Smart Nora, which may help my husband sleep at night
  • Scientists will spend more time with Python than petri dishes

Episode 99: Tim Cook’s HomeKit setup and Echo mania

This week we have sales estimates on the Amazon Echo, a new way to unlock your August locks and a hub that may talk to both HomeKit and legacy Z-wave and ZigBee connected devices. We also cover several networking stories ahead of Mobile World Congress involving AT&T’s IoT network, a satellite-backed LoRa network and Nokia’s plans to offer an IoT-grid network on a wholesale basis. Finally, I explain what worked and what didn’t about my effort to secure my home by splitting off into two networks. Kevin also discusses the new Google smart watches and we share Tim Cook’s HomeKit routines.

This week’s guest runs the Techstars IoT accelerator and drives investing for the Techstars Fund in the internet of things. Jenny Fielding explains the trends she’s seeing in startups, what makes a good IoT exit and some of the challenges facing industrial internet startups. She also talks about how to get around them and shares the secret beginnings of Sphero, the maker of the BB-8 toy robot. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Jenny Fielding, managing director of Techstars IoT
Sponsors: Ayla Networks and SpinDance

  • If you have an Echo buy this one device to start a smart home
  • Satellite was made for the internet of things
  • Dividing networks don’t really work
  • Where will the next IoT hub develop?
  • What kind of IoT startup should I build?

Episode 93: Special CES Edition covering all the things!

This week’s podcast has too many guests to list (I’m going to list them anyway) and a format that’s totally different. We start off with a discussion on the state of the smart home and what we can learn from CES about mainstream adoption featuring commentary from Cory Sorice, VP of connected platforms at Chamberlain, Jason Johnson, CEO of August, and Ed Zitron of EZPR who is representing the normals among us.

The Stringify table at CES shows some of the myriad connected devices out there today.

From there we hit news from Lutron, Moen and discover what the new Dot Dot standard is all about. After a brief ad from the sponsor for this special edition of the podcast, The Open Connectivity Foundation, we talk to Dr. Michael Bjorn head of research at Ericsson Consumer Lab who shared predictions about technology trends facing us in 2017.

And we wrap with a few thoughts on business models for the internet of things from Zach Suppala, the CEO of Particle, a bit about changing standards from Grant Erickson of the thread Group and finally touch on the challenge of device longevity from Chamberlain’s Sorice.

You’re gonna love it.

Host: Stacey Higginbotham
Sponsor: The Open Connectivity Foundation

  • What can CES tell us about the state of the smart home?
  • This smart shower feels dumb
  • What is Dot Dot?
  • Trends that matter in 2017
  • When can I safely buy a connected product?
  • Get ready to pay a subscription fee

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 85: Thoughts on Trump, smart locks and troubleshooting

We recorded last week’s podcast before the election results came out, so this week Kevin and I kick off the show with some thoughts on what Trump means for smart homes and the industrial internet. Then we hit gadgets hard with news about Eero routers getting a big update, the trouble with Google’s troubleshooting and resolution for my Google Home issue. I review the June oven, discuss new security from Z-wave and we answer a reader question on smart bulbs versus smart switches. I also discovered a Wi-Fi leak sensor that’s worth a look.

The June oven is recognizing my asparagus.
The June oven is recognizing my asparagus.

Then we started in on locks. This week’s guest is Rob Martens, a futurist at Allegion (Schlage). He discusses when a device becomes a service, the challenges of being open and security in both a digital and physical world. He also shares his thoughts on the role of futurists for anyone who is angling for that job. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Rob Martens, futurist at Allegion
Sponsors: Bluetooth and Samsung ARTIK

  • Why Kevin wants to buy an electric vehicle for Christmas
  • Your Eero routers are about to get a 2X improvement
  • Smart bulb or smart switch? Why not both?
  • Explaining the future is hard work
  • Yes, there is a sledgehammer test!

Episode 73: AI is just a buzzword

Can we change the way companies use our consumer and personal data derived from connected devices? Gilad Meiri, the CEO of Neura, discusses a new model for data privacy and a way to apply machine learning to connected devices. The results he’s after sound like magic, but we explore how it could be made real in this week’s show.

Would you spend $60 on this NFC-enabled ring?
Would you spend $60 on this NFC-enabled ring?

Before we talk about AI and privacy, Kevin Tofel and I discuss the possible reasons behind Amazon’s reportedly new streaming music plan for the Echo, news in the world of connected cars and a new Ecobee thermostat spotted at the FCC. Kevin may also buy some connected jewelry made with NFC chips inside. Finally, we talk about turning your home into a smart house ahead of putting it on the market. It’s pricey, but is it worth it?

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Gilad Meiri, CEO of Neura
Sponsors: ARM and the Smart Kitchen Summit

  • Amazon wants to charge $5 for an Echo-only music service?
  • Staging the smart home with August, Lutron and Nest
  • Kevin’s eyeing NFC jewelry
  • AI is mostly a buzzword at this point
  • Consumers alone will not be able to preserve their data privacy

Episode 52: These 9 ideas can secure the smart home

Security is a big deal for the Internet of things, which is why we’re so pumped about having Beau Woods, the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, on the show to discuss nine new recommendations for securing smart home devices. The Atlantic Council and security research group I Am The Cavalry created the report to as the beginning of what they hope will become a formal framework for smart home devices. Some are basic such as design with security in mind, but others help data privacy and what happens when a device becomes disconnected form the Internet (or the app governing it). For a full list of recommendations please check the report or my summary in PCMag.

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

Before we delve into security, Kevin Tofel and I cover the big Nest drama from last week that extended into this one when former Dropcam CEO Greg Duffy defended the Dropcam employees from Nest CEO Tony Fadell’s insults. Nest isn’t the only company that acts as a smart home platform that had drama. If This Then That also ruffled some feathers as it sent out notices to longtime developers that it was changing the way it requested information from their APIs. I emailed Linden Tibbets, the IFTTT CEO, and got a quick comment, but still have questions. As Kevin and I await our Amazon Dot’s coming the day this show airs, we discussed the Amazon Dash expansion, the longer wait for June connected ovens, a connected wine bottle and the new August doorbell. We end with a plea for y’all to take our survey and tell us what you think. So enjoy the show, and please click here if you’d like to take the survey. (It’s super short).

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham & Kevin Tofel
Guest: Beau Woods, The Atlantic Council

  • Nest is run like Apple and that’s not a good thing.
  • If this, then … drama!
  • I like the August doorbell.
  • Security woes are keeping people from the smart home.
  • Here’s how to make the smart home more secure.
  • Take our survey, please!

Episode 28: Warm and fuzzy drones and living with Apple’s HomeKit

Several HomeKit devices finally arrived in the house and were installed with relative ease. I had the Lutron bridge that had come out earlier this summer paired with two dimmer switches, a lamp module and my Nest thermostat, the new Philips Hue bridge that is HomeKit enabled paired to five Hue lights and a Schlage Sense lock installed on my back door. It was a good smattering of devices, but unfortunately it was the wrong smattering, because none of the apps seemed to have a way to bring all of the individual devices together, unless it was through Siri. Listen up as Kevin and I discuss a full review of the products on this week’s podcast.

The outside-facing side of my HomeKit-enabled Schlage Sense lock.
The outside-facing side of my HomeKit-enabled Schlage Sense lock.

We also cover August smart lock’s new video doorbell, keypad and access plans and Savant’s new DIY home automation system. But most of our time is spent on HomeKit, Apple and little bit of comparison between that and other solutions on the market, such as the Amazon Echo. Our guest for the week covers the topic of helping people age in place through the use of drones. Not today’s drones, but a warmer, fuzzier version that is autonomous. Naira Hovakimyan, a professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois discusses her research in developing autonomous drones that work with people and don’t frighten people. Listen up to find out how she plans to transition from farming to helping the elderly.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Naira Hovakimyan, a professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois