This week’s guest is Sanjeet Pandit, global head of smart cities and digital transformation at Qualcomm. He’s on the show a week after Qualcomm held a smart cities event where it added new SaaS-based smart city services. We talk about how the pandemic has changed what municipalities want from technology firms, and how they are redefining what it takes to make a city smart. Pandit didn’t answer a lot of my questions about how cities are paying for these services or which ones were deploying some of the more futuristic services such as predictive traffic management, telling me that the cities get to decide when they talk about their deployments. But he assures me that many cities are making investments that go well beyond smart lighting, and I suppose for now, I’ll have to believe him and hope to see what municipalities start making announcements.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Sanjeet Pandit, global head of smart cities at Qualcomm Sponsors: Trek10 and Ayla Networks
Why you want to start your holiday shopping now
Does anyone think an Amazon fridge could be trusted?
Would you trust a tiny open-source version of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot?
What smart cities want after the pandemic
Several use cases for smart cities that don’t involve lighting!
This week’s podcast is all about Amazon (with a few other stories for variety). We start the show with a rundown of the devices and services Amazon launched at its device drop on Tuesday. We then explain what it means for the smart home and ask if this is what we want. We also question if the Astro robot is really all it seems before offering a public service announcement about updating to iOS 15 beta software. After that, we cover a new Helium miner called Finestra, designed for the mainstream consumer. As an added bonus, the company behind the new miner, Mimiq, is also building LoRaWAN devices, which is desperately needed if we want these networks to actually provide real value. After that, we talk about a smaller satellite signal module that works indoors and an incredibly irritating marketing campaign for the new Flic Twist device that puts me off from what is actually a good idea. Then, Kevin talks about his experience with the new Wyze Cam Pan 2. We close the news segment by answering a listener request for a Spanish-speaking smart home.
Our guest this week continues the Amazon theme. We have Anne Toth, head of Alexa Trust to discuss how Amazon is trying to introduce friction into the Alexa experience as a way to promote privacy and help consumers open up to Alexa at their own pace. She didn’t answer my question about the number of false positives or give me a convincing reason why Alexa keeps interrupting me with suggestions about other things I can do with the device, but she does a good job talking about the challenges of explaining what Alexa does and doesn’t know about people and why people may want Alexa to know more. It’s a good interview, even if I didn’t get all the information I’d like.
Our guest this week is Jered Dean, who is a co-founder and CTO of Luci, a startup making a smart addition for power wheelchairs. First, Dean explains why power wheelchairs are so dangerous and why he created Luci. Then we dive into other challenges of building specialized millimeter-wave radar sensors for the device and specialized ultrasonic sensors and how challenging it is to combine those sensors and cameras into one view of the world. We also talk about why Dean added integrations to connect Luci with health monitoring platforms and digital assistants. And finally, we talk about what it could mean if Luci shared data about what it “sees” with smart city or mapping platforms. I really had fun with this one.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Jered Dean, co-founder and CTO of Luci Sponsors: Silicon Labs and Infineon
Wyze shares the details of its near-death experience
Silicon Labs has new radios, a new security option and software for a unified smart home
JFrog’s Upswift buy is good news for the IoT
Why this startup had to build its own sensors to see the world
How smart cities could help people using smarter wheelchairs
Our guest this week is Nathan Dyck, chief product officer at Nanoleaf. We kick off the segment by focusing on the future of lighting before digging into a discussion of the Thread protocol. He talks about why Thread is such a positive choice for the smart home, and then we talk about Matter. He explains what the multi-admin feature is and tells us why he’s excited about the distributed ledger for tracking the provenance of a device. We end with a look ahead at some of the features he expects to see in smart lights after Matter is established. Enjoy the show.
Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Nathan Dyck, chief product officer Nanoleaf Sponsors: Silicon Labs and Trek10
Amazon’s Halo isn’t about fitness, it’s a about health
How long should a thermostat get security updates?
Could Verizon’s new display offer a path to Amazon’s Sidewalk?
Our guest this week is Beth Flippo, CTO at Telegrid, which owns DroneExpress. DroneExpress has built a drone delivery service based on drone and radio technology built by Telegrid for the military. With DroneExpress, Flippo aims to build a business delivering items weighing less than five pounds within a small radius. This month Kroger announced it was trying the service for grocery delivery. We discuss why Teregrid decided to sell a service as opposed to the technology, what niche drone delivery serves, and even how widespread drone delivery could change consumer packaging. We also talk about the limitations of drones and Flippo’s belief that drone delivery could reinvigorate brick and mortar businesses.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Beth Flippo, DroneExpress Sponsor: Very
What will Roku do in the smart home?
Kevin thinks Google’s Fuchsia OS will be good for the IoT
Technology is a tool, but we need to understand its potential uses
Why sell hardware when you can sell a service?
How drone delivery might influence the size of consumer packaged goods
Our guest this week is Chris Carney, the co-founder and CEO of Abode. Carney explains why companies are experiencing so many delays in shipping products and why many of your favorite devices might be out of stock. The chip shortage plays a role, but so do delays at ports and challenges faced by last-mile delivery networks like the US Postal Service, FedEx and UPS. He explains how his company is trying to adapt, and when we can expect to see these shortages ease up. He also offers some advice to other companies affected by similar challenges. Enjoy the show while waiting for your latest gadget to arrive.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Chris Carney, co-founder and CEO of Abode Sponsor: Very
Our guest this week is Scott Turnbull, director of technology at US Ignite. He’s on the show to help assess where we are at when it comes to smart city deployments. We discuss what’s holding us back, and the need for a citizen’s bill of rights before cities start buying gear. He also has an idea for a new job created to oversee the smart city. We also talk about what the city should own and how they should fund their deployments. If you care about the future of surveillance and cities this episode is a must-listen.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Scott Turnbull, director of technology at US Ignite Sponsors: Calix and Lee Odess
The big IoT news at Amazon’s big event
Wyze just keeps those gadgets coming, y’all.
I make the case for leaving Amazon’s Sidewalk service on
How to ensure smart cities have citizen oversight
Why cities should own their technical infrastructure
Our guest this week is Katia Obraczka, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at UC Santa Cruz. She’s designing a sensor network to detect and monitor wildfires. She explains how she’s handling a lack of connectivity, power constraints, and budget constraints, all while trying to build in resiliency. After all, elements of this network are in fire-prone areas, and it stands to reason some of it will burn. She discusses how she’s using simulations of the network to figure out power budgets and what types of sensors she needs. She also talks about using drones as flying access points to build in more resiliency in case other forms of connectivity burn. It’s a good way to think about building a sensor network for a harsh environment.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Katia Obraczka, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at UC Santa Cruz Sponsors: Calix and Teracode
Project CHIP has commercial ambitions but needs a better name
TinyML is a big deal and the tools are getting better
Eero Pro is expensive but does provide quite the speed boost
What matters most in building a sensor network for detecting wildfire
Repurpose drones as flying Wi-Fi access points to make your network resilient
Our guest this week is Bill Bither, CEO of MachineMetrics, which grabs data from factory machines. He discusses the impact that COVID-19 has had on manufacturing based on aggregated client data, and best practices for dealing with the pandemic. He also dug deep on the concept of a digital thread. The digital thread is the idea that manufacturers can gather enough data to follow the life of a product from material to finished good in the field, and use data from the manufacturing process to understand how to improve quality. We also talked about sharing data across supply chains, and why that isn’t yet happening. It’s a good show.
Our guest this week is Jason Johnson, the co-founder of August Home. He’s not on the show to discuss the new lock but to talk about his new home and the systems he uses for automation. Like many of us, Johnson went the DIY route and says he spends about five or more hours a week tweaking his set up. He explains why he chose the platforms he uses and how he has routines and automation set up. For those curious about what’s governing the 138 nodes in his home, I encourage you to listen and find out.