Episode 207: The smart home at SXSW

This week’s show features a lot of little news bits starting with a discussion about Charter testing a new smart home device management platform and another chat about facial recognition. We then return to the lessons that Boeing’s 737 MAX saga have to teach the IoT industry before diving into Google news starting with continued conversations for Google Smart Displays, the new local transcription service and what it means for the smart home, and a cool service for the visually impaired. The Amazon purchase of Eero is now closed and an appliance maker added an easier way to connect its products to Wi-Fi, so keep an eye on that. We close by answering a question about an appropriate outdoor plug for a Wyze camera.

A huge thanks to Yonomi for hosting the event. People from left Stacey Higginbotham, Devren Hobbs, Jim Hunter, Hanns Anders, Dan Davis, and Mark Reimer. Image courtesy of Andrew Allemann.

Our guest this week is actually five guests who joined me for a smart home panel in Austin during South by Southwest. The panel was hosted by Yonomi and sponsored by Resideo, Schlage, and Gentex. Thank you to Yonomi, which also provided the recording. The panel covered who gets your data, why people are willing to accept microphones in their homes and what businesses get out of connected products. Our guests are Jim Hunter, CTO, Delos; Hanns Anders, investment director, iRobot; Devren Hobbs, director of product, Tendril; Dan Davis, director, IoT and Emerging Markets, LexisNexis Risk Solutions; and Mark Reimer, sr. director connected home and home security products, Charter Communications. You’ll feel like you’re at SXSW ready to catch some live music and a free beer.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Jim Hunter, Delos; Hanns Anders, iRobot; Devren Hobbs, Tendril; Dan Davis, LexisNexis Risk Solutions; and Mark Reimer, Charter Communications
Sponsors: Afero and Western Digital

  • Facial recognition follies are all the rage this week
  • Will your future dishwasher phone home without your knowledge?
  • Why do manufacturers want to connect their devices?
  • The connected world should stop hiding behind terms and conditions
  • If your house can predict an illness who will it tell?

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 205: How technology will shape your energy bills

There were two big shows this week with Embedded World and Mobile World Congress. Thus, this week’s show focuses a lot on industrial and enterprise news starting with a deep dive on ARM’s PSA certification announcement. We explain what it means and how it should improve IoT security for all before moving to news about new chips that bring Alexa to microcontrollers and to Wi-Fi access points. We also discuss a gesture-based interaction model for smart homes and explain why we’re getting excited about it for the home and office. From there we spend time on Alexa in hospitals as well as a bunch of small industrial and embedded news from Google, Microsoft, Wind River, SAP, and Qualcomm. This week’s IoT Podcast Hotline inquiry is about finding a chime for the Nest Hello doorbell.

NXP’s MCU-based solution for Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service. Image courtesy of NXP.

Our guest this week is Beth Karlin, CEO and founder of the See Change Institute, a research institute aimed at solving environmental and social justice issues. Karlin came on the show to discuss how utilities view smart home devices. She discusses their goals in offering connected device rebate programs and talks about methods they might use to stabilize the grid when more of our devices are connected and have computing power. We also talk about the role the big tech guys could play in the energy sector.  Plus, she talks about the best device to buy if you want to save money on energy costs.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Beth Karlin, CEO and founder of the See Change Institute
Sponsors: Urban-X and Western Digital

  • ARM’s security plan is looking good
  • Is this the beginning of a gesture revolution?
  • A bunch of IoT news from MWC and Embedded World
  • How your utility may change the way you think about drying your clothes
  • What device should you buy to save energy?

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 200: These are the features that matter in the smart kitchen

This week’s podcast kicks off with a discussion about property owners forcing smart apartments on renters. The discussion was sparked by a series of tweets. Kevin and I discovered the name of the company behind the service and cover some of the challenges associated with the proposition. (Here’s a hack of the device on GitHub.) From there we talk about various device and subscription cleanses and new low-power Wi-Fi chips. There’s also a new gateway for the abode security system, a setback for Microsoft’s Cortana and Kevin’s rediscovery of Node-RED. In our voicemail, we answer a question about finding smart lights that are equivalent to 100-watt bulbs.

Abode launched a new hub with 4G cellular and improved Z-wave security.

Our guest this week is Michael Wolf, the creator of the Smart Kitchen Summit and publisher of The Spoon, which covers food tech. We talk first about the state of the smart kitchen and where various appliance manufacturers are in adopting connectivity. He then goes through all the major appliances and explains which features I should look for when I’m shopping for new white goods in the next 18 months or so. We end with a discussion about the Wirecutter’s shocking (to us) review of the June oven. There’s a lot to talk about.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Michael Wolf, the creator of the Smart Kitchen Summit and the publisher of The Spoon
Sponsors: FairCom and Afero

  • Tenants have the right to avoid the smart home
  • I dumped smart devices and Kevin sumped subscriptions
  • Abode does a gateway upgrade right
  • Your new fridge absolutely needs a camera
  • But does your oven need a screen?

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

Special Edition: 2019 CES episode

It’s time for our annual CES edition of the Internet of Things Podcast!

This year’s CES wrap focuses on newer additions to the gadget world with conversations from Procter & Gamble and Kohler. You’ll find out why Kohler stuck Alexa in a toilet. I also talk to folks about Bluetooth, Thread, and Wi-Fi, because I’m a big believer in understanding the connectivity that makes the IoT possible. Brian Bedrosian, the VP of marketing for IoT at Cypress, predicts Wi-Fi sensors that don’t guzzle battery power coming within the next 18 to 24 months. We also talk to a board member of the ZigBee Alliance about the Dotdot standard, and Kevin Tate of Rigado about Bluetooth. Especially Bluetooth in the enterprise.

Our CES broadcasting booth was open for interviews!

Other interviews focus on strategic shifts in the smart home space, such as the smart night light company Leeo pivoting to tackle aging in place. We also chat with Mike Nefkens, the CEO of Resideo, which is the company that recently spun out of Honeywell focused on consumer and smart home technology.  We talk about how we might see the smart home evolve and the role of a trusted service provider.

The episode is sponsored by MachineQ, a Comcast company, and we have CEO Alex Khorram answer a few questions on the show about enterprise IoT.

It was an exhausting week in Las Vegas. Listen to this special edition to see what you missed.

Episode 197: What to expect at CES and in 2019

This week’s show is all about the coming year. We start with Kevin and I discussing things we expect to see at CES next week as well as overall trends we think 2019 will bring to IoT and the smart home. They include everything from connected toilets to an increasing number of cellular providers for IoT. We also discuss smart speaker IQ tests, what’s up with Samsung’s Bixby and a new way to reduce power usage of sensors. We also talk about drone deliveries, Google’s Project Soli and a new IoT unicorn. For this week’s IoT Podcast Listener hotline, we revisit an answer from last week and answer a new question on how to get a Ring doorbell to work with Google Home.

Samsung’s Galaxy Home smart speaker is MIA.

Our guest helps us kick off the new year with his thoughts on the industrial and enterprise IoT. Scott MacDonald, managing partner at McRock Capital manages a fund dedicated to the industrial IoT. He explains why he thinks we’re about to enter a new phase of the internet of things where AI and cybersecurity will become far more important. His thesis is that the last five years of work building out connected machines and putting sensors in more places was building the “body” of the internet of things. And once that has been built, it’s time to focus on building the brain. For this, he’s turning to AI and cybersecurity startups. We talk about what those startups will look like and whether companies who haven’t yet built out a “body” should worry.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Scott MacDonald, managing partner at McRock Capital
Sponsors: Digicert and Afero

  • Your bathroom is about to get seriously connected
  • Voice programming and MVNOs for IoT devices are top enterprise trends for 2019
  • Will Kevin beat last year’s CES walking goal?
  • The next five years of IoT are about a brain and an immune system
  • Is it too late for your company to digitally transform?

Episode 196: The holiday Q&A extravaganza!

This week Kevin and I took some time off to prepare for the CES and get ready for 2019. It’s going to be awesome! But we can’t leave you guys without a show, so we selected almost a dozen listener questions from the IoT Podcast Hotline and tried to answer them. You’ll learn about some in-ceiling speaker mounts for Alexa or Google devices, turning lights off after a motion-detection event turns them on and two requests that the Amazon Alexa team should listen for because they’d make good features.

We get so many questions about Alexa, y’all.

We also gave some advice and opinions on popular DIY smart home programs, mesh Wi-Fi systems and our favorite outdoor temperature systems. We had a caller who wanted advice on the best ways to get middle schoolers working with Alexa, and Kevin was happy to share his tips. We also had someone trying to outfit a long driveway with some kind of detection system for their smart home. All in all, we learned a lot researching this episode and are in awe of your ideas and methods for making your homes smarter. There is a long tail of needs out there that we hope we helped with a bit.

This entire voicemail effort, plus the locks that our questioners are able to win each month are made possible by our sponsorship from Schlage. Kevin and I would like to thank Schlage for its support over this last year. And a big thanks to all of our listeners who send dozens of questions each month. We’ll keep trying to answer as many of them as we can.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Sponsor: Schlage

Episode 195: We’re switching to Google’s Home

Kevin is back this week and we kick off the show discussing GE’s decision to spin out its industrial IoT business. From there we talk about the closure of Lighthouse, the smart camera maker, a critical update for Hue bulbs and Qualcomm’s new IoT chip. Then we dive into a swath of Alexa related news, including updates that tailor routines for locations, a new wall clock and the beta program from Amazon’s Guard security feature. The show isn’t all about Alexa. Kevin shares his thoughts on the Google Home Hub and I get excited about being able to see my G Suite calendar data on my Google Smart Display. (Here’s that Norm photo album we talked about.) We also handle the rather late-breaking news about Ring’s lack of camera footage security. We also answer a listener question about why some connected devices don’t work with mesh Wi-Fi systems.

The Amazon Alexa wall clock costs $30.

My guest this week is my family. My husband and daughter come on the show each year to discuss what they like and don’t like from the world of smart devices. While we love Alexa and use it often, we’re switching over to Google Home after seeing the Nest gear and how well it performs with the Google Smart Displays. We also discuss our thoughts about what to take with us when we move and which devices we’ll miss most. I hope you enjoy the show, and the holidays!

Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Andrew and Anna Allemann
Sponsors: Digicert and Afero

  • What the new GE IIoT business needs to do
  • Thank you Hue!
  • Alexa gets a lot of cool features and integrations
  • There’s a smart bulb in my room?
  • Yes, they are still talking about the June oven