Episode 104: Vint Cerf has a lot of questions on IoT

This week we discuss a personal assistant from Samsung, Amazon Alexa on phones and mistakes from Google Home. We also talk about a Legend of Zelda superfan and how he controls his home through an ocarina. We then talk about ARM’s new architecture and discuss two deals ARM did last month to boost support for low power wide area networks. Finally, I now have my SmartThings and Lutron integration working, and it’s awesome!

Image of Vint Cerf courtesy of Veni Markovski.

Have you ever wanted to know what Vint Cerf, a vice president and chief internet evangelist at Google, has in his smart home? Find out in our guest segment, as one of the fathers of the internet comes on the show to discuss the internet of things and the questions we should be asking. We discuss standards, architecture, privacy and more. You’ll enjoy it.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Vint Cerf of Google
Sponsors: Samsung ARTIK and wolfSSL

  • Google needs to pivot, and its latest misstep shows why
  • Kevin isn’t sold on ARM’s new architecture
  • Yes, standards are important for the internet of things
  • We talk about Vint Cerf’s connected wine cellar
  • More questions than answers on IoT from Vint Cerf

Episode 103: Sue your way to a safer IoT

This week Intel said it would spend another small fortune buying a chip company, Kevin discusses uses for LIDAR outside of connected cars and the Ring doorbell is embroiled in a security SNAFU. At SXSW this week, I learned about the IoT Design Manifesto and have some thoughts. Kevin discusses a new security flaw that deals with the physical side of cyber-physical systems and my SmartThings and Lutron integration still doesn’t work.

The ring connected doorbell.

But the best part of this week’s show is my interview with Phoebe Wilkinson, a partner with Hogan Lovells. Wilkinson helps manufacturers defend themselves against class action lawsuits. We discuss what aspects of connected products might be ripe for a future lawsuit and how companies can defend themselves. We also talk about how warranties are going to have to change for connected products. We may also see a revamp of how data opt-ins are handled. Listen up. You’ll learn something.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Phoebe Wilkinson, a partner with Hogan Lovells
Sponsors: Samsung ARTIK and WolfSSL

  • LIDAR is so hot right now
  • Security should be so hot right now
  • News from B8ta, Evrythng and applying for Alexa developer credits
  • The most likely IoT class action is …
  • Let’s rethink device warranties for IoT

Episode 102: Wait to buy your next Amazon Echo

Wow. This week saw a bunch of news about the Amazon Echo. There were rumors of new hardware, the ability to make phone calls and the crazy revelations of the CIA’s hacking ability, which led me to wonder if I want a microphone in my home at all. We also got an update on police seeking Amazon Echo data and news that the Google Home was a bit glitchy for some users. I discussed my HomeKit experience again, while CNET’s Ry Crist, this week’s guest host, introduced us to the HomeKit certified camera.

Was your Google Home glitchy this week?

Then we talked about IBM’s Watson teaming up with Saleforce’s Einstein platform before moving on to Ros Harvey, this week’s guest. Harvey founded The Yield, a data startup focused on farming. She really digs in (ha!) to the challenges of building a business around insights. She focuses on the challenges of making sure data is high-quality and how to negotiate data-sharing deals with big companies and still make money. She’s pretty awesome.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Ry Crist of CNET
Guest: Ros Harvey of The Yield
Sponsors: WolfSSL and SpinDance

  • Should you wait to buy a new Echo device?
  • HomeKit is trouble for anyone who lives with others
  • This data company manages crop data for farms and supermarkets
  • Build data collectives not data monopolies
  • How to turn one piece of data into multiple revenue streams

Episode 92: At CES Amazon Alexa and robots rule

This week we bring our first impressions and several bits of news from CES, the consumer electronics trade show held annually in Las Vegas. I’m here while Kevin avoids the lines by staying in Pennsylvania, but we’re both happy to talk about connected grooming products, robots and the onslaught of Echo-related news. I also noticed that connected gadgets are essentially becoming a consumer’s chance to pay to be in a focus group, as their data is harvested through connected products.

This is a $200 hairbrush slated to come out later this year that measures how healthy your hair is.

Outside of the CES news, this week also has an enterprise IoT slant, with our guest Tim Crawford explaining how CIOs view the internet of things. Crawford is a CIO-for-hire and consultant who has helped advise companies through several tech transformations. We discuss how the role of the CIO needs to change and what new skills the IT organization as a whole must acquire.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Tim Crawford, CIO speaker and consultant
Sponsors: Dell and Level Education

  • Let’s talk about business partnerships and privacy
  • Routers to protect all the things
  • So much smart lighting news including news about Lutron and switches from WeMo
  • There’s a new IoT protocol in town … dotdot
  • CIOs have to understand the business, not just tech
  • You can’t just sprinkle security on an IoT project

Episode 90: Spend the holidays with Stacey’s family

We’re heading into the holidays with a guest appearance from my family who share their thoughts on what it’s like to live in a smart home, the products they like and what’s missing so far. My husband has been on the show before, but I also invited my 10-year-old daughter on to talk about her favorite toys and what she thinks of Philips Hue bulbs and the Amazon Echo (and Google Home). It’s a short and sweet reality check for us all.

Zuckerberg’s Jarvis ties together several smart home systems. Image courtesy of Mark Zuckerberg.

Before bringing on my family, Kevin and I discuss Mark Zuckerberg’s smart home and how his Jarvis isn’t all that different from what’s already on the market. And because it’s Thursday, we’ve got another security flaw in routers to talk about. Then we hit a solid budget smart watch and the new GPS system that can fine tune location sensing to a few inches. Finally, Kevin and I share some of our go-to home automation tricks to help you get started in making your own home smarter.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Andrew (Stacey’s husband) and Anna (Stacey’s daughter)
Sponsors: Samsung ARTIK and Level Education

  • Zuck built Jarvis and Stacey makes a confession
  • Check your router again
  • From toddlers to teens, we have some home hacks for you
  • The smart home needs more personality

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 68: The future of food and ARM’s buyout

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank making an offer to buy chip design firm ARM in a deal worth $32 billion kicks off our show this week, as Kevin and I weigh the merits and opportunities presented by the deal. We then skip over to ZenReach, the Wi-Fi provider that uses Wi-Fi as a means to capture more data about you. Kevin and I share some tips to ensure privacy. On a somewhat related note, the Federal Trade Commission is eyeing the longevity of connected devices and the marketing practices uses to sell them to consumers.

Arable's sensor in the field.  Image courtesy of Arable.
Arable’s sensor in the field. Image courtesy of Arable.

We also touch on a White House plan for $400 million in “IoT” funding, but it’s really for 5G wireless research, some doorbell camera news and a bit on why your garage door and LED lights might cause interference problems. Then we have a guest who is building a sensor for farmers to discuss how farmers are adopting technology. It’s not actually the farmers doing the buying in all cases.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Adam Wolf, CEO of Arable Labs
Sponsor: Xively

  • What happens with ARM post-SoftBank?
  • The FTC is not impressed with bricking consumer devices
  • Skybell works with SmartThings and August doorbell disappoints
  • How data changes the business of farming
  • Is more data the future of food?

Episode 54: Fashion meets the internet of things

Do you want your smart jewelry to have a screen? If we have multiple pieces of connected jewelry how do you make it easy to program for the day? Or will you only have one sensor-laden wearable akin to to a smart watch that does everything? These are some of the questions Matt Manley, of Fjord tackles with me on this week’s show. We start off discussing jewelry, but veered off into how devices should deliver ambient information and the state of wireless power. Even if you aren’t into wearables, Manley’s comments on notifications is worth a listen.

The Aries bracelet from Ringly is one example of a smart jewelry.
The Aries bracelet from Ringly is one example of a smart jewelry.

Kevin and I kicked off the show with jewelry as well, discussing the newly launched Aries bracelet from Ringly. We then talked about the $12.5 million in funding for Luma, one of the companies trying to make a mesh router. This one offers parental controls and should be out in April. We also took a look at the Wirecutter’s review of the best smart switch (outlet). For those of you shopping, they liked the Belkin Wemo Insight Switch. We quickly discuss Pfizer’s plan to use existing sensors to monitor Parkinson’s patients and the lifesaving Fitbit data everyone was so excited about. And like the rest of you on SmartThings, we’re waiting for a fix of the system which has been broken for almost four weeks.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Matthew Manley, group design direct at Fjord

  • New smart jewelry and mesh networking routers!
  • Medicine embraces the internet of things. And off-the-shelf hardware.
  • The Wirecutter reviews connected outlets
  • Turning connected jewelry from functional to fashionable
  • Topshop has payment jewelry that only works at its store

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 35: Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton shares ideas for the Pi Zero

Sure it’s a week after Thanksgiving, but we are all about Pi with this week’s episode. Yes, I went there! With the launch of the Raspberry Pi Zero, the cheapest Linux computer yet at $5, we invited Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton on the show to discuss how Google’s Eric Schmidt helped inspire the cheaper computer, when it might be available to buy again and his ideas for connected projects. We also discussed what’s missing and how to add things like connectivity and battery life. He also gives a bit of advice for engineers and non-engineers alike.

The Raspberry Pi Zero. Photographer: Matt Richardson
The Raspberry Pi Zero.
Photographer: Matt Richardson

But before we get to Pi, Kevin and I discuss the VTech hacks and a scary survey from SEC Consult, that lays out how many vendors of connected products are sharing code and thus, sharing static keys used for encryption. This is a big problem as connected devices proliferate, and one the industry is already addressing. Still, it’s worth delving into. We also got a little holiday cheer going, as I described how I used my Amazon Echo and SmartThings (or Wink) plus my GE/Jasco outdoor modules and Wemo indoors to create a voice command that lets me “Turn on Christmas.” So please, listen up and enjoy the show.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi

  • Exploited kids accounts and everything is vulnerable
  • Have a connected holiday with Alexa
  • What on earth is the Raspberry Pi?
  • Let’s talk about specs
  • Whew, now let’s talk about how this whole cheap computer thing happened