Episode 188: How to design a better smart home

Smart home hubs are dying, DIY will become increasingly niche and smart companies are prepping for this. For example, Honeywell’s smart home spin out Resideo went public this week with an eye to removing complexity from smart homes. Meanwhile, Calix¬†unveiled a gateway device and a service to make it easier for ISPs to deliver the smart home. In other failed IoT efforts, Kevin and I talk about the fall of beacons and point out what might take its place. Google’s new deal with iRobot comes up, and then we segue into Microsoft’s plans for a smart office followed by some of the more recent security breaches. We end with a low-power AI chip and by answering a listener’s question about a Wi-Fi motion sensor to work with his LIFX bulbs.

Roomba i7 robots will share mapping information with Google if users agree.

Our guest this week has written a new book on the smart home. We welcome Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, who is an industrial designer and author of Smarter Homes: How Technology Will Change Your Home Life. We talk about more than a century of smarter homes, how the term has changed and why today’s efforts are not succeeding. She also asks us to question our current design methodologies for digital assistants and explains what might replace them. It’s a fun show.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, author of Smarter Homes: How Technology Will Change Your Home Life
Sponsors: Bitdefender and Cognizant

  • To normalize smart homes, DIY will die
  • Google’s getting home mapping data from robotic vacuums
  • Google’s Home Hubs compromised? How to think about risks.
  • We’ve been pitched the smart home for more than a century
  • Digital assistants should be helpers, not servants

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.

2 thoughts on “Episode 188: How to design a better smart home”

  1. Regarding the solution for Michael who called in about motion detected lights for his laundry room, I have found battery-operated motion-sensing LED lights to be the most convenient! I have them mounted on the ceiling going upstairs, so when I turn the corner in darkness, each of the (2) lights illuminates the stairs going up without having to turn on the light switch! Very handy when your arms are full!

    That proved so handy, I now have the same light inside of our walk-in pantry, in the garage, as well as the laundry room.

    They run on 3 AAA batteries which last about 6 months, so overall quite affordable.

    Quite a few options for them on Amazon. Just wanted to offer that as a possible solution for inexpensive motion detected lighting!

  2. To change the Netgear router password setting you to have to just go in its admin panel then setting. Here you will find an option Reset password, which will change your router password. I know this because I also have changed my router’s password by contacting to Netgear router customer service at

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