This week we didn’t see a ton of news, yet we managed to talk about several big trends in IoT. We started with an update on Amazon’s planned acquisition of iRobot, and Amazon dropping the price by 15%. We explain why and then decided to explain in depth why we need the planned cybersecurity labeling plan for connected devices because so many people asked me why we need this. We then talk about Unabiz creating a partnership with Semtech to bring Sigfox technology into the Semtech network. Then we talk about insurance companies using data gleaned from drones, satellite photos, and IoT devices and how that may hurt consumers, as insurance companies try to cancel policies in risky areas. This is where climate change, the IoT, and data privacy will all intersect in ways that will harm consumers. We then ponder what will happen with Google displays as the company pulls back from its Fuchsia OS, and how a smart home reporter’s broken HVAC system made her realize the limits of the smart home. Finally, we answer a listener question about using a motion detector to make sure kids turn off their lights.
Our guest this week is Adrian Dybwad, CEO and founder of PurpleAir, which makes a line of air quality sensors. As we head into wildfire season here on the West Coast, air quality data is becoming more important for people. For example, I turn regularly to PurpleAir data from the app, its web site, or on my Google display to see if I should go outside for a run or hold off. Dybwad and I talk about why the company was created, and how the air sensors are helping communities lobby for positive policy changes that can improve air quality. We also talk about how to think about connected devices contributing to citizen science, and why having a lot of sensors can mitigate concerns over accuracy. We spend a lot of time on how air quality sensors work and how to place them optimally as well. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Nate Williams, founder and managing partner at Union Labs VC. He’s on the show to answer my questions about the current fundraising environment for startups. We talk about what it takes to raise an early round of funding, and why venture capital firms are reluctant to invest in new companies while they try to figure out what their existing investments need. He also mentions that Union Labs is raising a second fund, and discusses what areas he’s excited about. We then discuss the hype around generative AI and what he’s looking for in AI investments. We end with our thinking about the current state of smart home investments. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Calista Redmond, the CEO of RISC-V International. She explains what RISC-V is and the why the chip world needs a new instruction set. She also gives some examples of RISC-V architectures used to design chips for the IoT. There are hearing aids and edge computing gateways that currently use the technology as well as automotive chips. We also addressed concerns about the lack of software that supports the RISC-V architecture and how the organization plans to handle fragmentation. Enjoy.
Our guest this week is Robert Pile, the head of real estate strategy at Homma, a company that is building smart homes. The company started out building smart homes but has since switched to building townhomes and multifamily units for rentals thanks to the changing real estate market. Pile talks about the technical challenges of building the infrastructure for smart homes and what types of buyers are choosing their properties. He also discusses the price premium that people are paying to buy or rent a smart home that’s built smart from the first foundation pour. I’m not sure if I’m done with my DIY efforts, but it does sound nice to have everything already smart when you move in. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Robert Pile, head of real estate strategy at Homma Sponsors: OnLogic and Silicon Labs
GroundWorx sensors makes water use visible, and reduces it
Could ambient sensing be the key for aging in place?
Home Assistant has a really nice Matter implementation
How much will people pay for a smart home or apartment?
What does the “plumbing” for a smart home look like?
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 Michele Pelino, a principal analyst at Forrester. She’s on the show to share four predictions about the IoT, edge computing, and connectivity in the coming year. We discuss the technologies that will entice city planners and lead to more municipal deployments in the hopes of bringing people back to cities. She also shares some bad news about future IoT device failures and the creation of millions of IoT bricks. We also hear predictions and advice on securing the internet of things with a focus on confidential computing and zero-trust security. Finally, she shares her thoughts on the connectivity company to watch in 2023 as satellite wins over companies looking for connectivity in rural and thinly populated areas. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Michele Pelino, a principal analyst at Forrester Sponsors: Arm and Silicon Labs
The Bluetooth SIG eyes spectrum currently used for Wi-Fi 6E
Big moves in the world of energy harvesting devices
Our guest this week is Elizabeth Parks, president and CMO of Parks Associates, a research firm focused on emerging technologies. Parks discusses how COVID changed the home security market as well as how monitored security providers have moved downmarket while DIY security companies have expanded upward into offering monitored security. All of this jostling has expanded the overall market. We also talk about the coming demand for energy management services as well as trends in new home building. Expect more connected devices! We end with a quick overview of what to expect from the CEDIA Expo happening this week in Dallas. It’s a fun conversation.
Our guest this week is Rob Davies, the chief insurance officer at Vivint. We start the interview by asking what a monitored security company is doing in the insurance sector, and move on to discuss what data might be most useful in building new insurance products. We also talk about how an insurance company might use smart home data to become more proactive about alleviating risk as opposed to paying out once the worst has happened. Davies uses the example of someone who has forgotten to lock their door. With Vivint’s platform, the insurance provider can let the homeowner know their door is unlocked before someone tries to break in. This creates a new relationship between insurers and their clients, and it will be interesting to see how far insurance companies take this idea. Enjoy the show.
We don’t have a guest this week so we dove right back into the news with a trio of big fundings for the internet of things. First up is funding for a satellite IoT company called OQ that is special because it can use existing NB-IoT and LTE-M radios. The second funding is $140 million for Morse Micro, a chip company that is making chips for Wi-Fi HaLow deployments. The final funding is for Flair, a maker of connected HVAC vents for the home, which raised $7.6 million. We then talk about Ring adding end-to-end encryption for its wireless doorbell and video camera products, new ways to address your Nest Hub Max without saying “Hey Google” first, and new lights from Philips Hue. I also review the Hue Tap Dial Switch and realize my love of buttons is going to force me to do some serious work when Matter arrives. We end the show by answering a listener question about a smart button (or maybe a dumb one) for a smart garage door opener.
Our guest this week is Ken Fairbanks, the CEO of Insteon Technologies Inc. who is ready to share what happened between the end of Insteon in April and his acquisition of the assets in June. He also discloses what comes next for the new Insteon and explains why customers were caught off guard by the abrupt closure and the equally abrupt return of service for their hubs. Fairbanks is still trying to piece together the assets he purchased, but is also trying to talk to users about what they want to see for the smart home service. He also explains why he had to charge a subscription and how he plans to move forward. If you’re an Insteon customer take a listen, and if you are smart home user you might learn why it’s so hard to restart a dying connected home business.