Episode 158: Stacey and Kevin debate robots

Intel said it would sell its nine-year-old IoT acquisition Wind River to private equity firm TPG this week. We explain why, and offer some context on the deal. Driven by Spotify’s public listing, I suggest how it can improve its service for the IoT, and then Kevin and I debate what we’d like to see in robots. Kevin shares a smart radon detector. News bits include stories about Google possibly building its own smart display, controlling the Nest Secure system through Google Assistant, Sigfox doing a deal with Louis Vuitton, and enabling devices to use emotion as a form of contextual insight. I also offer a word of caution for those installing video doorbells and we answer a question from Zach about multiple users and the Google Home.

As a side note, if you think there are any risks in your home of radon poisoning, or if the detector finds anything, don’t hesitate to get in contact with a Nashville Radon Mitigation company, or one more close to home, to deal with the problem as soon as possible to help avoid health risks.

The Airthings Wave is a smart radon detector for €199.

Back on topic, our guest this week is Elecia White who is the creator of the Embedded podcast and an embedded systems engineer. She has spent 20 years building software for devices that aren’t computers and has a lot of insights on how the internet of things is changing the role of such engineers and the tradeoffs one makes when building a connected product. I enjoyed her stories on the challenges of security, the future for her job and the ideal team you need if you want to build a connected device. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Elecia White producer of Embedded
Sponsors: Forgerock and Ring

  • Why Intel dumped Wind River
  • Should digital subscriptions be tied to homes or to users?
  • I do want a Google display
  • What the heck does an embedded systems engineer do?
  • What your ideal smart device team should look like

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.

4 thoughts on “Episode 158: Stacey and Kevin debate robots”

  1. Very Awesome Podcast! It was a double thrill to hear Elecia White on the IoT podcast. Embedded.fm with Elecia and her husband Christopher White is one of my other favorite podcasts and I really enjoyed hearing you guys chat about IoT. Getting a perspective from the development side of IoT and embedded systems adds a nice view point from the device side. Perhaps we’ll hear Stacey and Kevin on the Embedded.fm podcast some time soon.

    I’m looking forward to seeing Kevin’s Robot in action.

    With respect to Intel selling Wind River, this could cause an issue with many vendors who have bought into the Wind River VxWorks and Linux ecosystems. Although FreeRTOS is gaining ground, there are areas in the device industry that just can not use Open Source software. The Aerospace, Defense and Automotive industries as well as medical require some sort of certification and a company to provide support the systems for an extended time. Also, some industries also require the company to be vetted to be considered an approved vendor, so if the company is sold to company that is not on the approved list, or worse to a non US company, this could cause a stoppage in the production of any system that uses a product from the sold company until another vendor is found. It will be interesting to see if there is any impact with the sell of Wind River.

    Thanks for the awesome podcast.

    1. Jon, open source is used in the industries you list. One of it’s many benefits is that it doesn’t have to be tied to a specific manufacturer who may later become unqualified.

  2. I was confused by something you said in your discussion of Spotify. You mentioned that you do not use Sonos much any more because you do not want to open an App and you do not have a Sonos One.

    All the existing Alexa devices you have can control all your Sonos gear. After you setup the functionality you just need to tell Alexa where to play… “Alexa play Today’s Hits in the Family Room”. I personally think it is better having the microphone away from the speaker.


    My main annoyance with the Sonos/Alexa integration is the volume “dimming” when Alexa wakes up. If anyone talks to Alexa anywhere in your house all the Sonos devices playing music will reduce their volume.

    While that does not address your specific Spotify issue, it might get you back to using the Sonos 🙂

    Great Podcast.

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