Episode 141: Alexa suits up for business

Last week Amazon made a slew of IoT announcements at its annual user conference, bringing established functions into general availability and surprising us with the launch of Amazon’s Free RTOS after it hired the man responsible for the most popular embedded OS for microcontrollers. It also introduced Alexa for business. Kevin and I share our thoughts on that and also discussed Microsoft’s own platform announcement, the Google/Amazon spat, and Walmart’s search for a cheap sensor. I share my learnings from an event on IoT business models held at Target’s Open house last week and Kevin shares his thoughts on the GoControl/Linear garage door controller. We also discuss naming conventions thanks to a question on the IoT Podcast hotline.

Amazons IoT dreams are becoming clear.

The guest this week put the challenges of building an IoT project into perspective. After years of being “spoiled by cloud computing,” Upal Basu of NGP Capital says that we have to reframe our IoT projects with longer ROIs and more of a focus on decentralized deployments away from the corporate offices. His ideas make sense for anyone familiar with complexities of deploying sensors, and it’s a good interview for folks thinking about how to transform her business using connectivity, sensors and cloud analytics. I hope you enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Upal Basu, General Partner at NGP Capital
Sponsors: Lux Products and ADT

  • Greengrass, Free RTOS, Device Defender and more from Amazon
  • Alexa gets her MBA
  • Sustainable IoT hardware is actually a service
  • You returns on IoT investments should be years, not 12-18 months
  • The value in IoT deployments happens where the sensors are

Published by

Stacey Higginbotham

I am a journalist who has covered technology for over a decade at publications such as Fortune, PCMag, Gigaom, The Deal and BusinessWeek.

3 thoughts on “Episode 141: Alexa suits up for business”

  1. Hey Stacey and Kevin,

    Super awesome and very informative podcast as usual.

    Regarding the use of an RTOS in an Embedded IoT device, typically when an RTOS is used for an embedded device, it is used when something like connectivity such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is need thus an RTOS is not used for a typical “Tiny Dumb Device”. Also, FreeRTOS might be good for low end devices or non critical areas, but where some sort of certification is used such as MISRA or in Medical devices, something like Micrium uC/OS-III or Mentor would be best.
    It would be interesting to see if Amazon starts implementing a licensing model to use FreeRTOS in a new device.



  2. Hey! In reference to the zwave garage door opener. I have the same one and found that if you edit the custom device handler in smart things you can then control the garage door using google home or Alex. You can find a free difference message board threads that walk you through it but it is pretty easy. I believe it changes you garage door in smart thing from a lock to act light a light.

    1. Thanks, Kyle! If I set up the SmartThings Link on my Nvidia Shield, I’ll look into that. Still using a Wink Hub 2.

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