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 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 60: Everyone takes on the Amazon Echo

Kevin is back from Google IO this week, and so of course, we discussed the Google Home product in detail. But since voice + a personal assistant is so hot right now, we also talked about the recent Apple rumors that said it was building its own Echo-like device and opening up Siri to developers. We then talked about Pebble’s new gear, how much power my devices are sucking and Samsung’s possible decision to use Tizen instead of Android Wear on its smart watches.

Google's proposed Home speaker and AI assistant.
Google’s proposed Home speaker and AI assistant.

In the spirit of Father’s Day and the start of summer, I spoke with Chris Klein the CEO of connected sprinkler maker Rachio, who talked about how a municipality could use connected sprinklers to control water usage, how to talk to your vocal users and what he learned selling Rachio in a Big Box retailer. You’ll also get my first impressions of the device. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Rachio CEO Chris Klein

  • Who will command your smart home?
  • Pebble pivots
  • An update on vampire power
  • How to take a connected device from the home to the city level
  • Hanging out in Home Depot is fun!
  • Episode 39: CES bound and the Internet of postage

    If you haven’t gone totally paper free on your bills yet, it’s highly likely that the envelope that arrives via the mail has been touched by a Pitney Bowes machine. Pitney Bowes is a $4 billion company that makes mail its business, and Roger Pilc, its chief innovation officer, came on the show this week to explain how it thinks about the Internet of things, how it works with startups and invests in them to rethink how it manages mail. He also talks about how he’s challenging the company to improve by signing up startups as customers who demand services that are a year or two ahead of the curve.

    The Samsung /SmartThings line up. Courtesy of Samsung.
    The Samsung /SmartThings line up. Courtesy of Samsung.

    Before we get to Pilc, Kevin and I talk about Samsung’s decision to turn its 2016 Wi-Fi TVs into hubs for the connected home and its introduction of the SmartThings Extend dongle that will add Z-Wave and ZigBee to the TV. In the show we were trying to figure out if the current hub was running Tizen, and the answer is a definitive no. The SmartThings software is ported to run on Tizen OS for the TVs. As for the rest of the show, we hit the anticipated high points of CES and I delve into my experience with the Saeco Gran Baristo Avanti Bluetooth Connected Coffee Maker. We also discuss a new idea in why non of our gadgets work together from Bruce Schneier who penned a good article over at The Atlantic.

    Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
    Guests: Roger Pilc, Chief Innovation Officer, Pitney Bowes

    Episode 22: The new Nest and behind the scenes with SmartThings’ new hub

    This week has a bunch of updates on old favorites for the smart home with a third generation thermostat from Nest and a new home hub from SmartThings. We start the show with Kevin and I discussing the slimmer Nest thermostat with a bigger screen and software upgrades. Our decision? There is no need to upgrade, but the Nest is still a winner. We also review the reviews of the new router from Google and Kevin decides if he can find one, he’ll try it out and report back. But the biggest news on the smart home front is probably the upgrade to the SmartThings hub, which I’ve had in my home since 2013 and is getting an upgrade on Thursday.

    The new SmartThings hub and smaller sensors.
    The new SmartThings hub and smaller sensors.

    Our guest is SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson, who covers some of the changes and the new services model the company first unveiled at CES. We also talk about how it is handling Apple’s HomeKit and competition after its acquisition by Samsung last summer. The company has handled the challenge of being open while also trying to make a consumer-friendly product, which isn’t easy, as any Android user can tell you. This iteration may be the one that pushes it into the mainstream. Listen up and see what you think.

    Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
    Guest: Alex Hawkinson, CEO and founder of SmartThings

  • The new Nest is skinner and can double as a clock with Farsight.
  • Reviewing the OnHub reviews. Should Kevin buy Google’s router?
  • SmartThings’ new hub is finally here!
  • How to walk the line between open and usable.
  • Why SmartThings isn’t supporting Apple’s HomeKit.
  • As a note to this show, there’s a slight ghosting on Hawkinson’s voice that I couldn’t quite take care of in editing. I apologize.

    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?