Episode 7: How does a startup catch Apple’s and Comcast’s eye?

Andrew Thomas wanted to build a better doorbell, but now he’s in the enviable position of pitching his wares to Comcast’s millions of subscribers, and is an Apple HomeKit partner. The Skybell co-founder joined my on this week’s podcast to discuss how to allocate time and resources as a hardware startup and also to talk about what it feels like to get a call from Cupertino about your device. For that, thoughts on the boom in connected devices and whether there is a bubble, listen to our guest segment.

Skybellpress_image_1

But first Kevin Tofel and I share the news of NinjaBlocks’ demise and what happens when a connected hardware company goes out of business. We also discuss Samsung’s new chip family for the internet of things and introduce a new segment. We call it the 5-minute device review, and this week we start with the Myo armband, a $200, gesture-based controller you can buy on Amazon. And of course, Kevin shares his thoughts on the Apple Watch and its ability to control his new Philips Hue light bulbs.

Listen on SoundCloud here.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Andrew Thomas of Skybell

  • The death of NinjaSphere’s hub and what happens when a connected device goes down
  • Samsung’s new Artik chips for the internet of things
  • Our 5-minute gadget review on the Myo armband
  • Skybell’s Andrew Thomas on prioritizing resources as a small device startup
  • Is there a bubble in the smart home space?

Episode 6: Who will make the smart home mainstream? Comcast, Amazon or Apple?

Kevin and I both got what we wanted this week, with Kevin getting his Apple Watch about an hour before we recorded the show and Amazon adding support for If This Then That for the Echo speaker/personal assistant device. However both long-awaited dreams had a few caveats as we explored this week on the show, with Kevin discussing the learning curve of the Apple Watch and me laying out a big limitation with the Amazon Echo’s IFTTT triggers. You can’t really use it for controlling your smart home just yet.

The Leeo night-light. One of the new devices that will work with Comcast's Xfinity Home (credit: Leeo).
The Leeo night light. One of the new devices that will work with Comcast’s Xfinity Home (credit: Leeo).

We also had a fair bit of news this week. Comcast opened up its Xfinity Home platform to devices from some great startups such as Nest, August Locks, Rachio connected sprinklers, Skybell, Lutron and more. It was so exciting I sang a little ditty about the smart home going mainstream! Prepare yourself. With LIGHTFAIR International happening in New York this week, we also discussed lighting news from GE, plus WeMo working with the cheaper Cree connected LEDs and coming back to IFTTT. We didn’t have a guest this week because I need a little time to get my iTunes and editing house in order, but we should be back in top form next week, on iTunes and even with intro music!

Listen at Soundcloud and get the download.

Download the MP3 file for this week’s show here.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel