Episode 255: A deep dive into NIST’s new privacy framework

This week’s show features Chris Albrecht, editor in chief of The Spoon, as a guest host, which means there will be a review of a connected kitchen gadget — in this case, a connected smoker from Traeger. We kick off the show discussing the FTC’s surprising antitrust review and discuss IoT acquisitions that might get scrutinized. We also mention the Sprint and T-Mo merger and what that might mean for IoT. From there we dive into Nest’s plans to require two-factor authentication, ARM’s new AI edge chip designs, a new product from LIFX, and an NB-IoT module from Tuya. Chris then discusses the sale of a connected brewing appliance called PicoBrew before reviewing the Traeger smoker. We also answer a listener question about which connected doorbell to buy.

The new LIFX switch is pricey but beautiful. Image courtesy of LIFX.

Our guest this week is Naomi Lefkovitz, senior privacy policy advisor and lead for the Privacy Framework in the Information Technology Lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. She comes on the show to explain what the many, many pages actually mean and how companies should think about and adopt the framework. She also shares why she avoids connected devices in her own life. Unsurprisingly, the complex user agreements aren’t inspiring a lot of trust.  You’ll want to hear this show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Chris Albrecht of The Spoon
Guest: Naomi Lefkovitz, senior privacy policy advisor and lead for the Privacy Framework at NIST
Sponsors: DigiCert and Very

  • Apple and Google could see some smart home deals come under review
  • Nest’s two-factor decision could lead to better two-factor authentication methods
  • Should I spend $800 on a smart grill?
  • Breaking down the NIST privacy framework with a connected fridge
  • The new framework won’t make you legally compliant, but it can build user trust

Episode 254: Google goes enterprise with Glass

This week Kevin and I start the show with a focus on Google’s new Glass product for the enterprise, and a newly discovered smart hub from the Craftsman brand (h/t Jimmy Hawkins). We also cover the Starling smart hub that can link your Nest gear to your HomeKit account, and discuss Kevin’s reaction to Ring partnering with his local police force. In smaller news, there’s a new industrial hardware board for IoT, Google can help find your Tile, MIT has doubled wireless carrying capacity with a smart surface, and Philips Hue fixes a security flaw. We also muse on Google’s hardware numbers  — or lack thereof — and close with a question about Zigbee devices falling off a SmartThings’ network.

The Paranoid device turns off the mic on your smart speaker or spouts white noise that interferes with the speaker until you want to ask Alexa or Google for something.

My guest this week is one of the creators of a new device designed to stop your smart speaker from listening to your conversation. Demian Pimentel is an electrical engineer with Pleasant Solutions. The Candian software development firm has launched a device called Paranoid that sits on top of your smart speaker and either physically turns off the microphone or uses white noise to block the mic from listening in. When the user activates the Paranoid device using their voice the Paranoid either physically unmutes the smart speaker or stops generating white noise so Google or Alexa can hear the request. Pimentel explains why Pleasant built this and how it works for our listeners. It feels like a security blanket for people who are worried enough about their smart speaker to spend $49 for a Paranoid device but are still enamored by the convenience of their smart speaker.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Demian Pimentel is an electrical engineer with Pleasant Solutions
Sponsors: Digicert and Very

  • Can Google’s new Glass cut it in the enterprise?
  • Kevin discovers that Ring doorbells in his neighborhood may share with police
  • This industrial IoT board may double as a space heater
  • What is Paranoid, and will it protect my privacy?
  • Is this a necessary device or a patent grab?

Episode 252: Bricks, CHIP and Wi-Fi 6

Kevin and start the show with our takes on Sonos deciding to stop updating older speakers and stereo components. We broaden the conversation to include Under Armor killing its UA gear and Charter/Spectrum’s decision to stop supporting smart home and security products in its footprint, leaving some customers out equipment costs. We even delve into the challenges of wealth creation in a society where physical goods are increasingly delivered as a service instead of owned.  From there we discuss Teserakt, an open-source encryption effort for IoT, NIST’s new privacy framework, Clearview AI, the fate of Noon lighting, and other bits of news. Kevin tells us what he thinks about the home automation experience with Samsung’s SmartThings Wi-Fi gear, and we end with a question about connecting a personal fan.

The Noon light switches now belong to the parent company that owns the Savant brand.

Our guest this week is Perry Correll, product manager at Extreme Networks. Correll also acts as the liaison between Extreme Networks and the Wi-Fi Alliance and the IEEE’s 802.11 standards committee. We discuss why Wi-Fi 6 is such a sea change for networks, and also why you shouldn’t rush out and change your router. He also explains why Wi-Fi 6e is a big deal and updates us on the FCC’s progress in allocating spectrum. His comments will help both consumers and enterprise customers get a sense of the future of Wi-Fi.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Perry Correll, product manager at Extreme Networks
SponsorsMachineQ and IoT World

  • We should mandate expiration dates for smart devices
  • Privacy isn’t dead … yet
  • SmartThings has really improved as a mainstream smart home hub
  • How Wi-Fi 6 revolutionizes Wi-Fi
  • Wi-Fi 6E sounds strange, but enterprises and public spaces will love it

Episode 251: Here’s what people at CES said about CHIP

This week’s show was dedicated to a wrap up of CES 2020. Kevin and I shared how the show has changed in the last 15 years, talked about technology for Boomers, the Withings ScanWatch and ran through several new maker boards. We covered the $2 Wemos W600-PICO board, a new Arduino board for industrial use and a RISC-V development board. From there we moved on to pretty light switches from Iotty and Legrand as well as Mixtile’s local AI as part of a smart home hub. I also saw a connected chai-maker at a friend’s house that handled personalization well using Bluetooth and we talked through the SmartThings app migration that started this week. We also covered an industrial IoT acquisition and a plant-powered sensor that sent data to space. Our question this week was about light switches, and we need your help.

The Withings ScanWatch offers medical-grade heart monitoring and sleep apnea detection. Image courtesy of Withings.

Our guest segment this week is comprised of five different guests who I cornered at CES to talk about the new Connected Home over IP standard.  First up was Lee Ratliff, senior analyst with IHS Markit, who explains why he thinks CHIP is a positive development, what each player is likely to bring the standard and why the IP aspect of the standard matters so much. Then I spoke with Tobin Richardson, CEO of the Zigbee Alliance and Chris LaPrè, a solutions architect at the Zigbee Alliance, about the need for schemes and a name change for the Alliance. Matt Johnson, SVP and general manager of IoT at Silicon Labs, shares his take on CHIP and as the company behind the Z-Wave standard, talks about what happens to Z-Wave as CHIP gains ground. Scott Harkins, Vice President Connected Home Resideo, explains why Resideo is backing CHIP and why he’s not giving up on the Open Connectivity Foundation, or any of the other standards efforts Resideo is involved in. And finally, Brian Van Harlingen CTO of Belkin International talked about how CHIP could help his company and whether or not he thinks it’s going to happen. There’s a lot here, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Lee Ratliff, senior analyst with IHS Markit; Tobin Richardson, CEO of the Zigbee Alliance and Chris LaPrè a solutions architect at the Zigbee Alliance; Matt Johnson, SVP and general manager of IoT at Silicon Labs; Scott Harkins, Vice President Connected Home Resideo; and Brian Van Harlingen CTO of Belkin International.
SponsorsMachineQ and IoT World

  • Say goodbye to the old guard at CES
  • Healthcare startups and maker boards catch our eye
  • Get ready for the SmartThings app migration
  • Why the Zigbee Alliance is contemplating a name change
  • What’s so special about IP anyway?

Episode 250: Everything that mattered at CES

This week Kevin and I went to Las Vegas for the annual CES event showcasing thousands of technology products under dozens of roofs. We recorded the show before we had the chance to see everything, but we did pull together this show with some of the big themes we saw developing and the news that we felt would matter most to our smart home listeners.

Kevin and I in front of our official CES podcasting booth!

We saw several products purporting to adapt to the user and their environment to deliver a product or experience. L’Oreal showed off personalized makeup and skincare that adapted to the environment and your face on a daily basis, while Nanoleaf promised a lighting system that would learn your habits and deliver the right lighting. We also talked about a bunch of new Wi-Fi routers and a new talent that some routers will get. The third big trend revolves around healthcare for people and pets. We’ll have more on that next week as well.

We hit on a bunch of news items including the launch of Bluetooth 5.2, which brings quality audio and sharing to Bluetooth Low Energy. We also saw a variety of new locks, several new light switches or bulbs, and Google Assistant’s newly announced talents. And Kevin and I both share some of the cooler companies we have seen so far including Binah.ai, Sunflower Labs and Camect.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Sponsors: MachineQ and IoT World

  • Smarter personalization is almost here
  • Wi-Fi 6 is here, but you don’t need to upgrade yet
  • Urine luck if you want to monitor your health
  • There were a lot of locks and real innovation in the category
  • Lights went hipster and everyone now has a platform
  • These are a few of our favorite things

 

Episode 247: We explain Amazon, Apple and Google’s new smart home standard

This week’s big news is that Amazon, Apple, and Google have agreed to collaborate on the creation of a new smart home standard called the Connected Home over IP (CHIP). We lay out what this is and what it means for consumers, manufacturers, and developers. We then talk about a device for tracking crypto micropayments and the vulnerability with digital certificates in the IoT. We also review the Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi system, mention Wyze’s new Alexa skill and talk about LIFX testing its bulbs for outdoor use. We end with a listener question about the tradeoff between security and convenience.

The LIFX BR30 bulbs are now IP65 rated and cold tolerant down to -30 Celsius. Image courtesy of LIFX.

Our guest this week is Lee Reiber, COO of Oxygen Forensics, who talks about how law enforcement officers view your connected devices. He shares his perspective on the value of these devices when it comes to solving crimes and explains the current safeguards. The encouraging news is that it’s tough to get most of this data. That, plus the learning curve that police officers have to take judges and prosecutors down makes using it even more difficult. Thus, police officers report to device data only in bigger cases. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Lee Reiber, COO of Oxygen Forensics
Sponsor: Cirrent

  • The CHIP effort is a gamechanger. If it comes together.
  • Thanks to your questions, LIFX bulbs are now outdoor-ready
  • Why must security be so inconvenient?
  • How does law enforcement view our worries about Ring?
  • Murder makes it worth the trouble of getting device data. Shoplifting does not.

Episode 245: What to ask your landlord about smart apartments

Amazon is bringing its services closer to the edge with a new product and deal with Verizon, but it’s not the only cloud provider signing a partnership with a carrier. We also discuss Resideo’s executive change and a new smart home hub concept crammed into a thermostat. From there we talk about our confusion with the new Wyze door lock, disappointment with Ring, a crucial service going down, an FBI warning, and why Kevin is unplugging his Wink hub. We end by answering a listener question about how to transfer between smart hubs.

The new Wyze lock is $89 but doesn’t have a keypad. Image courtesy of Wyze.

This week’s guest is Felicite Moorman, CEO of Stratis IoT. Moorman’s company provides the infrastructure for smart apartment buildings, so we discuss the up and coming trends for connectivity in multi-family housing and how to optimize for security. We also talk about the questions residents should ask when they lease a smart apartment, and what rights they should have. Moorman also explains how smarter buildings can help increase sustainable living and her faith in younger generations. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Felicite Moorman, CEO, Stratis IoT
Sponsor: Cirrent

  • Could Amazon’s new Wavelength service be good for the industrial edge?
  • Resideo’s CEO is stepping down.
  • How to transfer your smart hubs.
  • Is now the time for sustainable smart apartments?
  • Questions you should ask your landlord when moving into a smart apartment.

Episode 244: How AWS plans to take on the IoT

This week Amazon announced several new services ahead of its re:Invent event next week including news about Alexa Voice Services and the IoT elements of the cloud. We also touch base about Wink’s latest problem and try to explain the kerfuffle on lightweight IoT encryption. In smaller news bits, we talk about Wyze killing its person-detection feature unexpectedly, NB-IoT trackers from See.Sense and Flok, Google’s Ambient Mode coming to phones and Black Friday deals. We then review the Philips Hue Smart Button and the RoomMe presence detection devices from Intellithings. We end by answering a listener question about ways to remotely track his parents’ medicine adherence.

The Flok is one of several upcoming trackers that will rely on NB-IoT. Image courtesy of Flok.

Our guest this week brings us back to where we started, with Sarah Cooper, GM of outcome-driven engineering at Amazon Web Services, coming on the show to talk about how Amazon plans to compete in the industrial and enterprise IoT with cloud and on-premise services. She talks about the latest news, the architecture required for the IoT, and the three laws of building a connected service. Plus, she explains why containers and serverless computing matter so much for the internet of things. You’ll learn a lot.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Sarah Cooper, GM of outcome-driven engineering at AWS
Sponsors: Legrand and Schlage

  • Amazon doubles down on the cloud for Alexa
  • What’s up with the lightweight-encryption debate
  • I loved the Hue Smart Button but Kevin didn’t go for the RoomMe sensors
  • How Amazon plans to compete for enterprise and industrial cloud services
  • Amazon’s three laws for architecting services

Episode 243: Nanoleaf Canvas review and a talk with Tuya

We kick off this week’s podcast with Kevin’s struggles to get his Google Home to talk to Wink. Then we unpack some of the standards news out from the ZigBee Alliance and the Open Connectivity Foundation, which is introducing OCF-over-Thread.  From there we do a quick update on Ring, talk about a new smart grill from Weber, a new way for Alexa to control your TV, and updates to Eero’s Wi-Fi. We then talk about my experience with the Nanoleaf Canvas lights. One of us had a better experience than the other. We end with an answer for a listener who bought low-cost Wi-Fi bulbs and wants a remote to control them.

The new Weber SmokeFire pellet grill has smarts provided by June. Image courtesy of Weber.

Our guest this week is Alex Yang, the COO and co-founder of Tuya. Tuya is an IoT platform that provides everything from connectivity to help building out sales channels for end products. Brands such as Energizer, Walmart’s Merkury Innovation, and more use Tuya’s platform to connect their devices. Yang talks about Tuya’s founding, its multi-country headquarters, and its privacy policies. He also shares details behind the recent appointment of former GE CEO Jeff Immelt to the Tuya board and some details about its new deal with SmartThings. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Alex Yang, the COO and co-founder of Tuya
Sponsors:  Legrand and Afero

  • Wink’s malaise strikes its Google integration … again!
  • Why we might want OFC-over-Thread
  • A fun lighting product that doubles as art
  • Tuya is one of the largest IoT platforms you’ve never heard of
  • Can we trust a Chinese startup with our home data?

 

 

 

Episode 242: Google explains itself and new Wyze gear!

Wyze makes some of the most reasonably-priced smart-home gear on the market and said earlier this month that it was planning a smorgasbord of new products, which Kevin and I detail in this episode. We then cover low-power wide-area networks with news that Twilio’s NB-IoT network and boards are now generally available and news that Amazon has joined the LoRa Alliance. From there we cover a security flaw, the longevity and reliability of connected home devices and a story about automation and jobs. We close with talk about a fitness company raising $55 million and another attempt at delivering wireless power at a distance. We then answer a question about who should swap out their Nest account for a Google Account.

The Whoop 3.0 fitness band is a compelling device with a pricey service.

Our guest this week is Michele Chambers Turner, senior director Google Smart Home Ecosystem, who explains why Google had to kill its Works with Nest program and what it means for users. You’ll also learn how Google thinks about privacy, that it doesn’t keep device state data and how it cordons off home data from its advertising network. We also talk about the local SDK and making it easier to add devices to the Google Home network. It’s an essential episode for Google fans.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Michele Chambers Turner, senior director Google Smart Home Ecosystem
SponsorsLegrand and Afero

  • Wyze has a lock, doorbell, scale and more on the way
  • Amazon gets deeper into LPWAN
  • Why Google had to kill Works with Nest
  • What’s inside Google’s Home graph
  • What to expect with Google’s local efforts