Episode 230: Which IoT satellite efforts will fail?

This week I get excited about a new home water monitoring product from Phyn while Kevin migrated his Nest account over to a Google account. We also discussed the creation of IKEA’s new Home Smart business unit and Amazon’s dream of putting Alexa in every car. SimpliSafe adds a door lock, MIT researchers build an energy-harvesting underwater sensor and a Chinese IP camera company is taking worries about security and U.S. fears of Chinese brands seriously. We also answer a question about Walmart’s Merkury Innovation brand of connected products.

The Phyn Smart Water Assistant will cost $299 and tracks leaks.

Our guest this week is Tim Farrar, of TMF Associates, who is a consultant in the satellite industry. I’ve turned to Tim to answer questions about the rush of companies trying to offer connectivity to the IoT using satellites. Do the economics make sense? How many of these businesses can the industry support and what the heck happens if these companies fail? Plus, we address the issue of space trash. You’ll want to listen.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Tim Farrar of TMF Associates
Sponsors: Nutanix and DigitalOcean

  • This water monitoring device is worth a look
  • How Google’s Nest migration works
  • Will Chinese companies start locating IoT cloud services in the U.S.
  • The economics of satellite make broad IoT use cases tough
  • Why broadband satellite efforts may doom smaller IoT plans

 

Episode 226: Google’s Nest exec isn’t into smart homes

This week’s show kicks off with Kevin and I discussing how Google’s head of IoT isn’t a believer in the smart home. Except he is. He just calls it something else, and we explain his rationale for doing so. We also explain why I am so excited about Microsoft’s new contracts for sharing data and why Tile just scored $45 million in funding. From there we wonder if Google’s machine learning-based approach to recognizing electricity use in appliances is cool, who would buy the OmniFob smart keychain, and why Wyze is building a scale. Then we move to news from Huawei, Abode going deeper with Google Assistant, Adobe’s voice study and LG adding HomeKit to new TVs. Kevin shares his impressions of the Firewalla device, and then we answer a listener question about bring smart bulbs outside and finding wireless switches that work. It must be summer, based on these outdoor inquiries.

The OmniFob can replace your car keys, your house keys and control your smart home.

Our guest this week is Yana Welinder, co-founder and CEO of Kraftful, a newly launched startup building apps for smart home devices. Kraftful is a company at YCombinator that is working with big brands to make the apps for connected devices work better. She explains what features mainstream consumers want, why big companies aren’t building these apps themselves and why her business isn’t a feature of a larger tech stack. It’s a good intro to a new company.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Yana Welinder, co-founder and CEO of Kraftful
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Afero

  • Call it intuitive, smart or helpful, just make it happen
  • Microsoft’s contracts serve a burgeoning need for enterprises
  • Firewalla makes a big impression
  • Why do so many smart device apps suck?
  • Can Kraftful turn app development into a scalable business?

Episode 214: Goodbye Anki, hello connected pets

This week Kevin and I mourn the end of Anki, the company behind Kevin’s beloved Vector robot. We also talk about the upcoming Google I/O, privacy expectations in apartments with connected devices and AT&T’s nationwide NB-IoT network. From there we discuss Congressional hearings on device security here and abroad in the U.K. In our quick news bits we talk about a $2,000 pool camera to detect drownings, the evolutions of Mozilla’s Project Things, Alexa speaking Spanish in the U.S., and Ford enabling Amazon Key for its 2017 and newer vehicles. Kevin found two good resources for the pro set. The first is a booklet on using a Raspberry Pi for computer vision and the second is a guide to using Microsoft’s IoT Hub. In this week’s voicemail, we deliver bad news to a gentleman searching for a way to help his parents avoid killing their garden.

Whistle, the company behind a connected dog collar is part of Mars’ new Kinship business.

Our guest this week touches on a topic many of our listeners will love — pets!  Leonid Sudakov is the CEO of Kinship, a newly created business of Mars Petcare. Sudakov comes on the show to talk about the newly created business he’s running that combines connected gadgets and data analytics to understand the secret lives of our pets. He talks about what Kinship is looking for in partners and how technology can help people communicate with our companion animals.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Leonid Sudakov is the CEO of Kinship
Sponsors: Software AG and IoT World

  • Residents in Manhattan are suing over a connected door lock
  • AT&T’s NB-IoT pricing is very compelling
  • Would you buy a $2,000 device to prevent drowning?
  • Connected collars and data analysis will give pets a voice
  • Are we ready for telemedicine for pets?

 

Episode 212: How to find connected devices in your home or enterprise

This week’s show is all about visibility. Kevin and I get started discussing the new IoT Inspector program that tracks what devices are on your network and how they behave.  In other surveillance, we talk about how easy it is to identify total strangers using public cameras and public facial recognition programs, before discussing the destruction of a privacy law in Illinois. Intel’s decision to get out of the smartphone modem business gets a mention, as does Apple’s LIDAR investments and a new app from Waymo. In news bits, we talk about Schlage locks working with Ring, a new Alexa Skill certification, a new sport, Norsk Hydro’s ransomware, and how to run open source smart home software in the cloud instead of a Pi. We also answer a question about connected double-cylinder locks.

AI created a game called Speedgate. This image is taken from a video of people playing it.

This week’s guest is Nadir Izrael, the CTO of security firm Armis. He discusses how security challenges have changed in the era of connected devices and the business pressures behind some connected devices getting onto the network even when IT wants to say no. He also shares some horror stories associated with insecure connected devices, such as a hospital infusion pump infected with malware that was connected to a patient. Izrael says the hospital had to get a nurse to watch the patient all night to make sure the infusion pump didn’t misbehave. Weak security can cost lives, not just spam all your friends.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Nadir Izrael, CTO at Armis
Sponsors: Software AG and IoT World

  • Here’s where you can download IoT Inspector for Mac OS
  • Will you be playing Speedgate, a new, AI-developed sport?
  • What can we learn from Norsk Hydro’s ransomware attack?
  • Connected treadmills might be your enterprise’s weak link
  • How a hospital guards against malware-infected infusion pumps

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 208: IKEA’s smart home arrives in August

Kevin was out of town this week, so I co-hosted the podcast with my former colleague Chris Albrecht, who is managing editor at the Spoon, a foodtech site and the head of the Articulate conference all about kitchen robots.  We start the show with news about Vivint adding cars to its smart home product and Alexa getting contextual data from Echo devices. Then we discuss two pieces of federal legislation. The first covers IoT security and the second prevents companies from grabbing facial recognition data without permission. From there we talk about robot dogs, Nvidia’s new ML dongle that will be great for industrial IoT, Fibaro’s link up with SmartThings and  Qualcomm’s new chips for smart speakers. We close by answering a question on the Stich smart home hub from Monoprice.

Fibaro gear now works with SmartThings without you downloading a custom device handler.

Our guest this week is Bjorn Block, the head of development at IKEA Home Smart. Block returned to the show to give us the details on the new IKEA Fyrtur roller shades and some hints about its collaboration with Sonos for new smart speakers. We also talk about how IKEA plans to support smart home products at retail. It will unveil a new smart home section of the store in August along with the blinds and Sonos speakers.  In the wake of most big retailers shutting down their smart home efforts, I am eager to see how IKEA plans to plow ahead. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Chris Albrecht, managing editor of The Spoon
Guest: Bjorn Block, IKEA Home Smart
Sponsors: Afero and Western Digital

  • Alexa gets context clues in cars
  • The feds tack security and privacy legislation
  • Would you buy a $500 robot dog?
  • All the deets on IKEA’s smart blinds
  • August is a big month for IKEA’s smart home plans

 

 

 

Episode 206: Why your smart devices cost so much

This week Kevin and I start off the show with a discussion about Google’s new Coral board that provides machine learning at the edge. We then jump to sensor company Centralite’s bankruptcy filing in Alabama. We also discuss the death of Jibo and how the end of Lighthouse meant new patents for Apple. After covering all of that sad news we jump to new Alexa skills, why I want an Alexa Auto, and a new video doorbell from August Home. From there Kevin and I spend the rest of the show discussing the challenges associated with smart home hubs, the best home hubs and why you should delete your devices from your home hubs. We end by answering a listener question about connected car devices for teens.

The Centralite family of products.

Our guest this week is Chrissy Meyer, a partner at Root Ventures and a former product manager at companies that include Square and Apple. She shares her experiences building connected devices, where companies tend to go wrong and what to look for in a manufacturing partner. She also explains why a device that costs $100 to make might end up costing $300 on the shelves at Best Buy. It’s a good conversation for anyone building or buying connected devices.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Chrissy Meyer, a partner at Root Ventures
Sponsors: Afero and Western Digital

  • Why we need machine learning at the edge
  • Could the next Homepod have video?
  • Hubs are complicated even for experts
  • How to give your favorite device startups an extra chance to succeed
  • What to look for in your manufacturing partner

Episode 203: Amazon’s Eero buy and RISC-V

There were several acquisitions this week and the end of two prominent IoT platforms to cover, so Kevin and I had a lot to talk about. We kick off the show with Amazon’s purchase of mesh Wi-Fi company Eero and then segue into a conversation about Amazon’s data collection efforts. From there we move into security company ADT buying a DIY security company called LifeShield, and then DIY security company abode entering into a partnership with do-it-for-me helper Hello Tech. After that, we talk about Google’s demotion of the Android Things platform and the end of Samsung’s Artik module and cloud.  We cover news from Sigfox, a new wearable, and Arlo’s earnings before getting Kevin’s thoughts on the Hubitat Elevation hub. And we end by answering a listener question on how to prevent smart TVs from spying on you.

Ford’s smart bed concept uses lane-change detection to wrangle restless sleepers.

Our guest this week is Loic Lietar, CEO of Greenwaves Technologies, a chip design firm using the new open-source RISC-V architecture to design a low-power IoT processor. Lietar explains what RISC-V is, how difficult it is to get the industry to adopt a new processor architecture and what RISC-V could mean for the IoT. He also discusses how the economics of open source silicon could change how chips get adopted and designed. You’ll want to tune in.

Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Loic Lietar, CEO of Greenwaves Technologies
Sponsors: Urban-X and Western Digital

  • Why Amazon bought Eero and other routers you might choose now
  • The death of Samsung Artik and the demotion of Android Things
  • Hubitat Elevation hub review
  • Why is Ford making a bed?
  • What the heck is RISC-V
  • Why does the world need a new instruction set?

Episode 199: Check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of IoT

We finish up our CES thoughts this week, although after living it, writing about it and talking about I’m not sure what’s been covered and where. We talk about Wi-Fi devices, Chamberlain working with Amazon’s Key program, and Kevin’s post-CES thoughts. We then turn to some security issues that are still plaguing companies grabbing and storing IoT data from Gemalto and Trend Micro. But avoid despair, IEEE has an idea to help improve security. In fun news, Lutron made an acquisition, Kevin’s excited about robots in his grocery store and there’s a new idea to protect your privacy from smart speakers. We also answer a listener question about tracking when someone comes home from school.

ABB makes robots and the software to work with them. Image courtesy of ABB.

Our guest this week is Guido Jouret, the chief digital officer from ABB. ABB makes everything from industrial robots to plastic zip ties in more than 290 factories around the world. Jouret explains Maslow’s hierarchy of IoT needs, or rather IoT development. From there we discuss the industrial IoT moonshot and new capital models enabled by usage-based pricing. What if pension firms end up owning big industrial assets while other companies merely pay per use? It turns capital expenditures into operating expenditures for manufacturers and lets investment firms own the capital equipment. Crazy. You’ll like this episode.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Guido Jouret, chief digital officer of ABB
Sponsors: FairCom and Afero

  • CES was not the leap forward we wanted
  • Here’s our Instagram account
  • Amazon’s Key program just got a lot more compelling
  • There are five layers to Maslow’s Hierarchy of IoT and most of us are only two layers up
  • How usage-based pricing of big equipment might change the assets pension funds hold

Episode 198: Check out CES and a smart KB Home

Kevin and I are at CES this week ready to embrace the future of consumer technology. But so far, we haven’t found much that is new. We discuss the domination by Google at the show, a bunch of news about Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem and a smattering of news from smart home providers. By this point in the show, we had seen several demos of smart home systems, tried on the connected glasses from North and tasted bread baked by a robot. Kevin also rode the ride marketing Google’s Assistant.  This time we conducted the show from a bar in Vegas while we were rehashing our thoughts from the last few days and figured we might as well just hit record. It’s a bit loosey-goosey, but it will help you feel like you’re there.

Google announced a smaller clock display at CES as well as ways to bring the Google Assistant into the car.

This week’s guest was also in Las Vegas, showing off a new concept home from KB Home. Jacob Atalla, vice president of sustainability at KB Home, joined us to share the details of KB Home’s concept house in Vegas that combines connected products, wellness-focused AI, pre-fabrication techniques and walls that move to create new rooms on demand. The concept home has air quality sensors built into the walls, lights that are tuned to circadian rhythms and connected an HVAC system that tries to make the house as healthy as possible. Atalla explains the tech and which of these technologies you might see in future homes.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Jacob Atalla, vice president of sustainability at KB Home
Sponsors: FairCom and Afero

  • Google may have the biggest news at CES and that’s sad
  • Alexa is also stealing the show with partnerships galore
  • Smarter kitchens are coming whether you want them or not
  • KB Home has built a house with a wall that moves and solar power
  • How to future-proof sensors built into walls

Episode 187: It’s time to take privacy seriously

We’re nearing the end of 2018, which is as good a time as any to relaunch the smart glasses concept. We discuss the new new Focals glasses, tie them in with Qualcomm’s new chips for Alexa-based ear buds and then tackle the Google Home Hub. From there we cover Amazon’s face recognition software, Tim Cook’s statements on privacy and use GM and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs as a case study to explain why privacy is so important. After that, we talk about a new device to detect falls, a resource article for those dealing with domestic violence in smart homes and a new chip company using a novel form of energy harvesting. We conclude the news segment by answering a listener question about issues with Apple’s iOS 12 update making it difficult for some IoT devices.

The new Focals glasses cost $999 and have limited functionality. Image by North.

Our guest this week is Hugo Fiennes, the CEO of Electric Imp, who shares how a connected product made by a company that no longer exists can still operate and get security updates. For fans of the Quirky egg minder this is great news. We also talk about the rush of new IoT platforms that have cellular connectivity and why they are so popular now. We end with a fun workplace IoT project involving Slack, some code and connected speakers. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Hugo Fiennes, CEO of Electric Imp
Sponsors: Cognizant and Auklet

  • New AR smart glasses test the market for connected eyewear … again
  • Privacy will be the defining issue of the IoT
  • Walabot is designed to detect falls
  • How the Quirky Egg Minder works even after the company that made it failed
  • Can cellular take over the IoT?