Episode 241: How a smarter edge can make schools safer

This week on the show, Kevin and I started with a discussion of reports of how smart speakers can receive remote commands from a hacker with a laser. We then shifted gears to talk about company research showing how much data your smart homes are sending and a brand new network product from Firewalla. Cortana’s pivot to productivity gets a mention, as does Kevin’s take on Google buying Fitbit. From there we reviewed the Twinklys smart lights, talked about new Ecobee features, smart apartment deals and the open-sourcing of Google’s Titan chip. We then answer a listener question about smart garage door opener alternatives for  Chamberlain’s MyQ product.

The new Firewalla security device is now also a router. Image courtesy of Firewalla.

Our guest this week is Lee Odess, vice president of strategic partnerships at Allegion. We start off talking about smart edge capabilities that could be used to make schools, offices and other spaces safer. Then we discuss how smart home device manufacturers have changed their goals when trying to create partnerships. Before, the focus might be on marketing on one-off features, but manufacturers are becoming more sophisticated. Find out what’s new, and enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Lee Odess, vice president of strategic partnerships at Allegion.
Sponsors: Legrand and Afero

  • Using frickin’ lasers to hack Alexa
  • What do your devices do while you are sleeping?
  • Why Amazon should have purchased Fitbit
  • Stopping tailgaters at college requires smarts at the edge
  • Privacy is becoming a point of negotiation in the gadget world

Episode 240: Wave goodbye to Wink?

This week Kevin and I lamented about the future state of Wink. Its status is almost dead. We also discussed Apple’s renewed interest in the smart home, Google’s rumored interest in Fitbit and Microsoft’s certain interest in improving its credentials for edge IoT. We also talked about security vulnerabilities enabled by smart lights, why you shouldn’t connect a phone to your rental car, and Wi-Fi getting a long-distance boost for the IoT. Particle raised $40 million, Google Home gets a new interface, Alexa can now add dimming to routines, Tile talks to Google Assistant, and a new smart button from IKEA hit the FCC. We also answer a listener question about smart pools.

What the heck is up with Wink? We still don’t know.

This week’s guest is Massimo Russo, managing director and senior partner at BCG, who came on the show to discuss why incumbent businesses have an advantage in the internet of things. We discuss how existing businesses can take advantage of their data and expertise to offer services that startups just can’t. We also talk about when to partner up with startups and tech firms, and how that can make your businesses even more successful. In the coming era of competing and cooperating, businesses will have to figure this out. Enjoy and Happy Halloween.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Massimo Russo, managing director and senior partner at BCG
Sponsors: Nutanix and Afero

  • What to buy if Wink dies
  • What Google should do with Fitbit
  • Microsoft adds  some excellent features to it’s IoT products
  • What big businesses have that startups don’t
  • How to make money on digital twins

 

Episode 235: How Amazon is defining the smart home

This week’s show covers the big Amazon announcements in the guest segment, but first Kevin and I focus on the retailer’s smaller announcements around its new show and tell feature and voice interoperability efforts.  Kevin has thoughts about cameras in the home. We also talk about Google changing how it handles voice recordings to help address user outrage while covering a study about the privacy challenges of other IoT devices. Then we dive into the geeky idea of merging Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN into a super IoT protocol, cover Zira’s industrial IoT software and figure out who might buy FitBit. We end by answering a question about smart bedside table lamps.

For 99 cents you can get an explicit or clean version of Samuel L. Jackson to replace Alexas voice for some features of the Echo.

Our guest this week is Daniel Rausch, VP of Smart Home, Amazon who runs through some of the bigger announcements from the Amazon Alexa and services event on Wednesday. We cover why Alexa has moved beyond a physical device to become a digital assistant and platform. We talk about how Amazon wants to make money on that platform as well as some of the new devices that will showcase Alexa. These include Frames and the Loop ring. Plus, we do a deeper dive into Sidewalk, Amazon’s new wireless protocol for the front yard (and maybe more). Rausch ends by telling us how long we’ll take to see Amazon deliver a truly smart, proactive home.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Daniel Rausch, VP of Smart Home, Amazon
Sponsors: Control4 and HiveMQ

  • Are cameras the secret to smart home dominance?
  • The pros and cons of voice interoperability
  • This Wi-Fi plus LoRaWAN plan isn’t too crazy
  • The digital assistant is the new tech platform and Alexa is queen
  • More on Amazon’s new Sidewalk wireless protocol

Episode 233: How IoT will change your sales job

This week’s show kicks off with the whimper after Apple failed to give us any exciting IoT news. We discuss the scraps Apple gave us, but move to Google’s new Nest Hub Max and the future of local wake word recognition thanks to a new chip. We also talk about Samsara, the industrial IoT’s latest unicorn, an update on the founders of Centralite, and Best Buy’s decision to kill its Insignia app. We end on a down note with the details from Trend Micro’s terrifying report that details what hackers talk about on the dark web in regards to IoT devices. Lock down that camera, people. This week’s IoT Podcast Hotline question circles back to last week’s question with a listener providing yet another way to track tools. It would work for books as well!

The Google Nest Hub Max has a huge display, facial recognition and costs $229.

Our guest this week is Elisabeth Schloten, the CEO of ECBM, a German consultancy that helps companies implement IoT for digital transformations. She explains how the internet of things differs from Industry 4.0 and then explains how to talk to employees about changing job expectations after a digital transformation. She spends much of the last half of the interview explaining how sales jobs will shift when companies sell their products as services.  It’s really eye-opening.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Elisabeth Schloten, the CEO of ECBM
Sponsors: Afero and Simple Commands

  • Where was Apple’s Bluetooth tracker or sleep tech?
  • Google Nest Hub Max recognizes your face
  • Russian hackers want smart meter secrets and Brazilians go for gas pumps
  • Where does IoT fit into Industry 4.0?
  • IoT will kill the traditional sales commission

Episode 231: What to do with Wi-Fi 6 and voice in the enterprise

What is Wi-Fi 6? Should you care? We tackle these questions first up in this week’s podcast. From there, Kevin and I discuss the Bluetooth KNOB vulnerability and our fears of how smart home data could affect a Chinese-style social credit score. To lighten things up I talk about my visit with Microsoft, and experience with the Hololens 2 as well as Microsoft’s digital twin strategy. In the news segments, we cover the new Eero security service, the Nest doorbell package detection, and Fitbit’s proposed health service. We then answer a listener question about smart spigots.

This Microsoft image shows one of the Guides Microsoft has created for industry partners using the Hololens 2.

Our guest this week is Mark Webster, who is a director of product at Adobe. He discusses how enterprises should view voice interactions. He shares his thoughts on why voice should be separated from the digital assistants that have become popular in the home and explains why enterprise software will lead to different interactions and UX design. As part of the conversation, he also talks about where voice stops being useful and when companies should think about a multi-modal user interface that includes voice, screens and even gestures. If the future of work interests you, then this is a good episode.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Mark Webster, who is a director of product at Adobe
Sponsors: Afero and SimpleCommands

  • Wait on Wi-Fi 6 routers until there are more devices
  • Explaining Microsoft’s digital twin plans and Hololens 2
  • Fitbit is planning a service to go with its devices
  • Voice UIs  should not be confused with digital assistants
  • When does voice stop being useful

Episode 228: Ring uses police as a sales channel

We should name our show the Internet of Privacy Violations Podcast. This week Kevin and I talk about Apple and Microsoft sending voice utterances to contractors and what the industry overall has done to clarify this fact to consumers and also let folks opt-out. We also talk about Microsoft’s discovery that IoT devices are an entry point for hackers and ask for feedback on whether a printer is an IoT device. Then we follow up on Ring’s work with police departments, which doesn’t make me feel good at all. In more fun news we finally discover what Google’s Mistral is, we find a new device from Walmart and discuss a new tech alliance. From there we talk about a new hub for your cameras, Arlo Pro getting HomeKit support and a new roving digital assistant from Asus. We close by answering a question about connected weather stations.

Our guest this week is Meirav Oren, CEO and co-founder of Versatile Natures. She explains how to get non-tech firms to adopt AI and IoT and why she thinks cameras are not the best IoT sensor to use. She also tells me how she thinks the construction industry will evolve over the next decade as it adopts new technology. You’ll gain a lot from this interview.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Meirav Oren, CEO and co-founder of Versatile Natures
Sponsors: Nutanix and DigitalOcean

  • Is a printer an IoT device? We want to know.
  • Ring has turned police officers into its sales channel and that isn’t okay
  • What’s Walmart’s Project Franklin?
  • To get non-tech people to adopt AI, you need trust
  • The future of construction can be found in chip manufacturing

Episode 227: Resideo’s smart home strategy explained

We kick off this week’s show with a new smart bed from Tempur-Pedic before immediately disagreeing about Google’s use of gesture control in the upcoming Pixel 4. From there we talk about Amazon’s Ring business and what makes us most uncomfortable about its dealings with police. Also uncomfortable is our chat about the FTC’s decision to revisit the rules about advertising to children in the wake of voice tech and user-generated content. Unsurprisingly, Apple also hires contractors to listen to your voice utterances, there’s a new security vulnerability and we discover which tech companies people distrust the most when it comes to IoT devices. For the IoT Podcast Hotline, we answer a listener question about making a ceiling fan smart.

The Pixel 4 could turn gestures into reality in more devices.

Our guest this week is Mike Nefkens, the CEO of Resideo, who came on the show to explain why Resideo has purchased three companies in the last few months. He also breaks down Resideo’s plan for the smart home and talks about a plan to create something akin to a warranty service that will help monitor water, electricity, HVAC, and gas lines in the home. This vision relies on professionals, and while there’s a place for DIY, Nefkins doesn’t think an amalgamation of off-the-shelf gadgets will replace a professional service using data to anticipate a home’s needs. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Mike Nefkens, the CEO of Resideo,
Sponsor: Nutanix and DigitalOcean

  • This bed is the future of big-ticket home items
  • Kevin and I fight over Google’s gesture tech
  • How should the FTC regulate kids and tech in today’s world?
  • Which companies might Resideo buy next?
  • Resideo’s future smart home is a monitored home

 

Episode 224: Wyze Bulbs and the Echo Auto reviewed

This week Kevin and I spend more time reviewing gadgets than on news. First, we hit the latest update for Z-Wave which basically makes it easier to grab a new Z-wave device and get it on a network. Then we talk about vulnerabilities in medical devices before turning to the new Wyze camera person detection. I also review the current state of the Wyze light bulbs which I have in early release. In the smarter device side, Google may be testing some form of package delivery recognition for its doorbell, while ADT has created its own doorbell.  Ikea has made some new smart lights, which are more expensive than the Wyze bulbs, but a bit brighter. Google’s new local home control is in developer preview and I offer impressions on the Amazon Echo Auto device. We also answer a listener question about smart buttons for SmartThings.

The Amazon Echo Auto is a handy tool if it works in your car.

Our guest this week is Guneet Bedi, VP of global sales at Relayr, who discusses the role of insurance firms in making IoT business models possible. For example, insurance provider Munich Re, which owns Relayr, now provides guarantees behind “as a service” IoT business offerings for smaller companies who may need the backing of a big insurance provider to get customers over the hump of trusting a big operation to a smaller company deploying untested technology. We also talk about the mismatch in revenue coming in when a product company tries to implement a product-as-a-service model and how financial firms might step in to help. It’s a look at how the IoT can and will affect balance sheets in the near future.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Guneet Bedi, VP of global sales at Relayr
SponsorsDell Technologies and Afero

  • The Z-wave Alliance makes it easier to get products online
  • Wyze bulbs are a nice product for a nice price
  • Put Alexa in your car if Android Auto or Apple CarPlay isn’t for you
  • Insurance can play new roles in the industrial IoT
  • How to match new business models to changing revenue streams

Episode 221: Thread is now enterprise ready

This week Kevin and I talk about the updated Thread protocol and explain what Thread 1.2 has to offer. It’s quite a lot. We also talk about office-management firm JLL working with Google to launch a smart assistant for the office environment, Samsung’s smart TV flub and DISH launching a smart home device installation effort. From there we talk about device-based security at the chip level and several news items. These include turning an iPhone into a medical device test platform, a new launch date for IKEA’s smart blinds, a new HomeKit smart plug, an update on Samsung’s Galaxy Home fondue pot device and a lawsuit against Amazon. In this week’s Internet of Things Podcast Hotline, we answer a question from Jeff about how to keep smart speakers from cluttering up a room.

The JLL app lets office workers schedule conference rooms and more, using their voice.

This week’s guest is Elizabeth Hackenson, the CIO of Schneider Electric. In her role as CIO, she is helping make the 130,000-employee company undergo a digital transformation. It’s a big job and she shares her exact role, the challenges of bringing IT and OT together and does a deep dive on the type of security she’s trying to implement. She also provides helpful tips on how to get your team members on the same page and what to look out for when trying to build connected factories and operations. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Elizabeth Hackenson, CIO at Schneider Electric
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Nordic Semiconductor

  • Three things that matter in the new version of Thread
  • JiLL wants to be your new office assistant with Google’s help
  • The most interesting element of the Alexa lawsuits is  consent
  • Communication is the most important factor in bridging IT and OT
  • You need a layered security approach for IoT

Episode 219: The summer Q&A episode!

Twice a year Kevin and I gather up a bunch of your questions from the Internet of Things Podcast Hotline and find answers for them. The episode stars all of our listeners and this time around y’all want to know about helping students build Amazon Alexa skills, how to use a sensor to track when the washer or dryer is done, and how to know when you left the stove on. Y’all also asked for an update on my Grand Google Home experiment, which caused my family to mutiny.

What the heck is up with Wink? We still don’t know.

Smarter appliances were a big trend this episode, but y’all also wanted a smarter mailbox, an update on Wink and the safest way to set up a Wi-Fi network for your devices. Sadly, we recorded this before Apple shared the news that it would work with router makers to create a separate network for IoT devices. John asked a question about surge protectors for IoT devices, which was honestly something I had never considered. Kevin thinks it’s a good idea for those higher priced items. We round it out with a question from Kiril about which tablet he should buy to support remote monitoring of his Ring doorbell. We hope you enjoy the show, and appreciate Schlage and Afero for their continued support of the IoT Podcast Hotline.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Nordic Semiconductor

Resources from the show: