Episode 18: Why Target chose clear furniture for its smart home concept store

Forget about connecting your smart home, can you imagine the technical challenge of connecting a rhinoceros to the internet? That’s what a new anti-poaching organization called Protect has done with its effort to connect rhinos in South Africa to the internet as part of an anti-poaching effort. Kevin and I discuss the project on this week’s show, as well as the challenges of living with new products that try to train algorithms to help make life easier. So far, their just make you have to interact more with mobile apps.

We also discuss Best Buy’s plan to use the Geek Squad as a network of experts to help homeowners navigate the complexities of the internet of things. Neither Kevin nor I are sure this is the way to save Best Buy, but we’re willing to see if the Geek Squad can become the Apple Genius Bar of the smart home. In other retail news, we snagged David Newman, the man in charge of pulling together Target’s Open House store concept that was launched earlier this month to discuss plans for the space and what he’s learned so far. He also shares why the furniture inside the store is clear. Listen up, and before you go, please note that Kevin and I will be skipping our show next week because we’re taking a quick week-long break in broadcasting. See you next on August 14.

Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: David Newman, Target

  • The internet of wild animals
  • Training smart home devices needs some work
  • Best Buy’s plan for smart home relevance also needs some work
  • Why Target went with clear furniture for its Open Home store
  • Target doesn’t have the connection and API drama that normal people experience

Episode 16: The internet of Ts: Target, Thread, and tennis

This week we don’t have a guest on the show, but we covered a lot of great stuff starting with the week’s news about The Thread Group releasing its code and Qualcomm joining the group touting the wireless protocol. We also spent a considerable amount of time covering Target’s new retail concept for the internet of things. The retailer has opened up a store in San Francisco that stocks connected devices from 50 vendors and shows people how these products work in a simulated home and how they work together.

The Vivint doorbell installed at my front door.  You can do a better job scraping away the residual silicon from the previous doorbell.
The Vivint doorbell installed at my front door. You can do a better job scraping away the residual silicon from the previous doorbell.

Listen up to hear how Target plans to use the store as a lab to learn about how to sell the internet of things. After that we talk about using connected devices in sports, specifically tennis. Since Wimbledon just wrapped up we pulled data on connected tennis rackets on Babolat from IBM and discussed how better data might change the way the sport is played and how it may influence the rules of the game. Kevin also referenced a scary NASCAR crash that you can see here. Finally, our 5-minute review this week is on the Vivint doorbell camera.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham

  • The Thread standard is officially available and old Zigbee chips can be upgraded
  • Target’s latest store concept is a winner for connected home fans
  • Connected devices is a big deal for sports–including tennis
  • A 5-minute take on the Vivint connected doorbell.

Episode 8: Which devices will the internet of things drive to extinction?

Hold your books and costume jewelry close because they may not survive the connected device revolution, according to Rob Coneybeer of Shasta Ventures. In a conversation on this week’s podcast he and I had a fun conversation about what devices might disappear, what objects might stay analog and what devices get more intelligent as we embed connectivity and sensors into more things. He expanded on his thinking from an earlier blog post, and we covered a huge range of products, from the future of the kitchen to clothing and building materials.

Coneybeer provided insights not only into what he thought, but how he came to his conclusions, so anyone interested in how to divvy up the world of consumer products should listen to his segment. Before he went on, Kevin and I broke down the week’s news, which included Target’s move into the home automation space, AT&T’s big bet on the connected car and a new product from Honeywell that is straight out of the movies. Check out the video below. I kind of want one in my home. Finally, we cover out 5-minute review of a web site called SmartHomeDB that smart home lovers will want to bookmark.

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Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Rob Coneybeer of Shasta Ventures

  • Target clears some shelf space for the smart home and connected cars hit $1 billion in data revenue
  • The 5-minute review is of the SmartHomeDB web site
  • Rob Coneybeer describes his thinking about what devices will become smart and what will stay dumb
  • Understanding what makes us human helps determine what dumb device will stick around