Our guest this week is Paulus Schoutsen, founder of Home Assistant, the DIY, open source smart home platform. Schoutsen explains why this year is the “year of voice” for the platform and how to build an AI for users to speak in their own language for triggering automations (all without sharing data with third-party providers). He also shows off two new features; the first is using a HomePod to talk to Google Assistant over Home Assistant, and the second is using a generative language model like ChatGPT over a HomePod to create stories. We also talk about Matter and Home Assistant’s plans for a smart speaker or voice-capable device, as well as why you can’t easily buy Home Assistant Yellow, a pre-packaged box that already has the radios and software a beginner needs to run Home Assistant. It’s a good show.
Our guest this week is Mohammed Ansari, senior director of business development of 5G and IoT at Qualcomm. He’s on the show to talk about the new Qualcomm Aware platform that the chip maker announced this week. The Aware platform is designed to be a cloud-based IoT service that ties into Qualcomm’s chips to provide telemetry, device management and services such as precise positioning and optimizing the network connection based on the quality of local network options. Ansari explains why Qualcomm has chosen to build a cloud and why he thinks that customers will use it (even though chip firms have not historically had success launching software or service businesses). He also describes how two of Qualcomm’s prior acquisitions will fit within this cloud offering. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Mohammed Ansari, Qualcomm Sponsors: InfluxData and Silicon Labs
The CSA has launched a group to bring privacy to the IoT
Connectivity is still too hard for the IoT
Open source software is big in the IoT
Why Qualcomm has decided to launch an IoT cloud
What does Qualcomm Aware mean for other cloud providers?
Our guest this week is Michelle Mindala-Freeman, who is the head of marketing and member services at the Connectivity Standards Alliance. She’s here to explain why the CSA is launching a new standards working group for health and wellness. We talk about what types of companies should be involved, what sorts of use cases the CSA hopes to deliver and why now is the right time to make such a standardization effort happen. Given that helping people age in place is one of the more compelling reasons to install smart home devices, the CSA is likely to find members willing to work on the problem. I also ask what other problems the CSA might try to solve. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Kevin Fu, who is a professor of electrical and computer science at Northeastern University, and the former acting director of medical device cybersecurity for the Food and Drug Administration. I’ve followed his efforts to hack physical sensors for years, and was excited when he started focusing on medical device security for the FDA. On the show, he discusses new federal legislation that will require companies to get an FDA review of their medical device’s cybersecurity before it goes on the market. This is a first for the U.S. in terms of requiring some sort of cybersecurity review before a product is released, and it might become an inspiration for legislation in other industries going forward. We also talk about how to regulate AI in healthcare and more. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Matt Rogers, the co-founder and CEO of Mill, a startup using a connected kitchen bin to fight food waste. We talk about the problem of food waste and who will pay $33 a month for the bin and concurrent service. Rogers also explains the math behind the service, and talks about why he chose to use a subscription model to fund the business. He also tells me why this isn’t a composting device, since it’s designed to keep food in the food system, and explains why that is so important. Finally, he shares how challenging it was to build a hardware startup during the pandemic. It’s a fun chat.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Matt Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Mill Sponsor: Akenza
Researchers use Wi-Fi to track movement through walls
Half of us don’t connect our smart appliances
Maybe you don’t need hearing aids just yet?
Why Matt Rogers went from smart thermostats to fighting food waste
Rogers tried to keep manufacturing during the pandemic local
Our guest this week is Ivo Rook, COO of 1NCE, a company that provides device connectivity for 10 years at a cost of $10. Obviously this isn’t for smart phones or cameras, but for many IoT devices, this type of flat-rate pricing over a long time period makes it easy for developers to create a device and predict exactly how much it will cost to support. Rook discusses how the 1NCE mindset differs from the traditional carrier a-roach and explains the rationale behind a new operating system that 1NCE announced at CES. It’s not exactly an OS, but more of an abstraction layer for data traveling from the device to the cloud. It’s a good idea and the open, developer-friendly ethos 1NCE has is pretty exciting. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Ivo Rook, COO of 1NCE Sponsor: Silicon Labs
How long will your appliances get software updates?
Why Emerson would want National Instruments
Kevin’s wife bought a smart kettle, and it’s pretty cool
Our guest this week is Sanjay Gupta, president of the AirFuel Alliance. He’s on the show talking about the newly launched AirFuel RF standard, which provides up to 1 watt of power over a distance. We discuss what that means for convenience in terms of not having to replace batteries, and what it means for sustainability if we can eliminate batteries. We also talk about why over-the-air wireless power is actually real after more than a decade of hearing about it. It turns out we have companies such as Wiliot, Atmosic and others who are pioneering efficient computing and low power radios for IoT use cases to thank. Finally, we discuss when we’re likely to see wireless power become commonplace and where we’ll see it first. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Sanjay Gupta, president of the AirFuel Alliance Sponsor: Silicon Labs
What’s next for the Matter standard
Why this Aqara sensor is so cool
John Deere compromises on right to repair
Over-the-air wireless charging is ready for its close up
Low power chips help bring over-the-air wireless power closer
Our guest this week is Stefan Witkamp, the commercial director at Athom, the company behind the Homey smart home hub. Witkamp explains Honey’s privacy-focused smart home hub and the plan to launch the latest generation of the Homey Pro hub at CES. This will be the first time Homey is available in the U.S. after six and half years of availability for the original Homey hub in Europe. Homey Pro has all of the radios that a smart home needs, including Thread and IR. For listeners who care about privacy, Witkamp explains how Athom created a business model that allows the company to respect user privacy. This means the $399 pro version of the hub is more expensive than other options on the market, and the cheaper version comes with a monthly subscription. We talk about what it costs to keep a home hub running and how investors can push a company to choose alternative business models. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Stefan Witkamp, Commercial Director for Homey Sponsors: Arm and Silicon Labs
Wait a minute before updating to Matter
Will a Roomba story get everyone to care more about device privacy?
The smart home meets insurance in this acquisition
Our guest this week is Sean Petterson, the CEO and founder of StrongArm Tech, a company that makes wearable safety devices for industrial and warehouse workers. We talk about the company’s history of building exoskeletons and its pivot to data analytics and wearables, and then the challenges associated with converting worker safety into an ROI. Petterson makes the case that analytics can drive home the importance of keeping workers healthy despite the costs of the system and the perceived costs in terms of productivity. He gives a good example from a warehouse customer using StrongArm’s analytics to send workers home after they meet their quota for the day, even if it means they get sent home early. Petterson says it’s simply not efficient or smart from an ROI perspective to keep them working. We also talk about the ethics of such software and how StrongArm tries to make sure its data isn’t used to retaliate against poor performers. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Cathy Pearl, a conversation designer at Google and the author of the O’Reilly book Designing Voice User Interfaces. We discuss the history of voice interactions and what changed to make Amazon’s Alexa such an innovation. We also discuss how voice can help make technology less complicated, what type of conversations people want from a voice interface and how voice also drives accessibility. Then we discuss the ethics of creating voice companions for lonely people and a time that Pearl was stuck at an airport talking to a chatbot for 20 minutes. We then end after I ask if voice is going anywhere after the upheavals in Amazon’s Alexa business. Her answer will not surprise you. Enjoy the show.