Episode 216: Your smart home data will lead to cheaper insurance

This week Kevin and I continue discussing the fall out from Google killing the Works with Nest program. We discuss alternative devices for those who want to replace their Nest devices. Next, we go into the Amazon Alexa updates that add the Guard security features and sunrise and sunset schedule. Then we look at the new NB-IoT networks from Verizon and AT&T before talking about the facial recognition ban in San Francisco. We mention Lenovo’s new IoT Edge gateway and cover the new Wi-Fi Home Certification for single-family homes and apartments. Finally, we answer a listener question about outdoor mesh Wi-Fi.

The Sonos One got Google Assistant and there’s one drawback. Photo by Kevin Tofel.

This week’s guest is Mariel Devesa, global head of business at Phyn who discusses why insurance firms have been slow to underwrite more smart home devices and what we can expect going forward. One potential future involves companies bidding for our business based on feeds of smart home data showing how low our risk profiles are. Because Phyn is a leak prevention sensor, she also spends a chunk of time talking about water damage and how to find algorithms to build a compelling product. Enjoy the glimpse into our future.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Mariel Devesa, global head of business at Phyn
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Nordic Semiconductor

  • How should IoT devices remove features or privacy?
  • Sonos One adds Google Assistant but there’s a drawback
  • Verizon’s NB-IoT network seems pricey
  • Why insurance firms still won’t underwrite your smart home
  • One day your insurer might bid for your business

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 216: Your smart home data will lead to cheaper insurance”

  1. I’ve been following the nest news and have a question. I have a nest protect and wonder if I’ll need some kind of Google hub to use it in the future. I’m a homekit guy and don’t want more assistants in my life. Right now, I just use the nest app on my iPhone and that’s fine. Will all these developments mean that won’t work without some Google hub in the future?

    1. You will be fine as long as you don’t mind using the Nest app. Nest hasn’t worked with HomeKit so nothing should change for you. If Google kills the Nest app and forces you to use the Google Home app you’ll just need to download the Home app, which is free.

  2. I don’t have any eggs in the Nest basket, but stumbled across this when looking at some other hub info:


    Interesting that Google has drawn a hard line on not allowing “home/away” status to be used by third parties. Were I someone who had invested in Nest, I think I would be pretty angry that a company with Google’s privacy record thinks it’s qualified to track when I’m home or away through the Google Home platform, but I can’t be trusted to access that data myself.

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