CES 2018 was about more than voice

CES is full of stories if you know where to look. This year we had to look beyond companies putting Alexa in everything from toilets to toothbrushes. If you did, you could find out all kinds of fascinating things, such as the big opportunities in the enterprise internet of things or what Comcast is doing with its purchase of Stringify. While roaming the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo, I asked people what they were excited about, what they were looking for and what they think the future might hold.

Once again, we bring you the less obvious side of CES.

The results are in this podcast, with interviews with Alex Hawkinson, CEO of SmartThings; Nate Williams, an EIR at Kleiner Perkins; a CEO who sold his camera startup to Ooma, and many more. I also share my favorite device from CES, which is not exactly something you can buy at Best Buy. But if we’re lucky, we could soon see it in something from Amazon. I hope you enjoy. If you do, thank the Open Connectivity Foundation which sponsored the entire episode, and gave an update on that standard effort.

Host: Stacey Higginbotham
Guests: There are a lot
Sponsor: Open Connectivity Foundation

  • Comcast explains what’s next for Strinigfy
  • Alexa Hawkinson on Samsung’s plans for SmartThings
  • Ben Nader of Butterfleye on how to pick a buyer
  • Nate Williams on enterprise tech
  • Willy Pell on how to architect machine learning at the edge

Episode 146: ARM’s CEO on Spectre and Meltdown, plus hot CES 2018 takes

This week. the Internet of Things Podcast crew (Kevin and I) went to CES to discover that the consumer electronics industry was ALL OVER the internet of things. We talked about the big trends and news, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant starring in everything, the concept of a smart bathroom and Samsung’s really big play in the connected home. We also talk about Ring’s latest lawsuit, Z-Wave’s newest low-power chips and some of the cooler things we’ve seen so far at the show. We also answer a question about bathroom fans taken from the listener hotline.

Google was really pushing Google Assistant and the Google Home.

While at CES I had the chance to sit down with Simon Segars, the CEO of ARM, to discuss the future of technology as well as the Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities. Segars says that the potential attack has “blown away” chip designers with decades of experience who had never considered that particular type of attack. He also gave some good advice to any consumer concerned about how this particular flaw affects them. Listen up.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Simon Segars, CEO of ARM
Sponsors: Lux Products and CBT Nuggets

  • Samsung’s open IoT vision is coming to pass
  • Why Alexa and Google are everywhere at CES
  • Can IoT help with bathroom smells?
  • Where ARM fits in Softbank’s grand plan
  • Will Spectre and Meltdown fixes slow my phone?

Episode 145: The block-less blockchain

This week Kevin and I talked about the death of an expensive smart lock, Amazon buying a security company, and spent a lot of time wondering what the heck is going on with Google’s IoT cloud platform. We also wondered what the ad strategy for voice UIs will be given the news that Amazon is talking to consumer product brands about advertisements. Our news wrap-up includes voice computing from Roku, Arrow buying eInfochips, and the Intel CPU flaw that shouldn’t affect edge devices too much. We also answer a listener question on which smart speaker to buy if you don’t have a smart phone.

The Otto lock will likely never ship after the company shut its doors.

And for those tired of cryptocurrencies, we bring you block-less blockchains for the internet of things from Computes, a new startup. Computes founder, and former IoT Podcast guest Chris Matthieu, discusses why IoT needs decentralized computing and why a new type of blockchain makes the most sense. We dig into Computes, blockchain and more in a somewhat geeky interview. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Chris Matthieu of Computes
Sponsors: Lux Products and CBT Nuggets

  • Why 2018 is the year of cheap smart home tech
  • What should a voice ad sound like?
  • Arrow goes from distributor to IoT integrator with latest buy
  • Why IoT needs decentralized compute
  • What the heck is a block-less block chain?
  • When it comes to smart speakers sans smartphone ownership, which do you buy?

Episode 144: Our IoT predictions and my family’s thoughts

Once again it’s time for the holiday episode of the Internet of Things Podcast, where Kevin and I gather weeks ahead of the show’s air date to predict what we think will happen next year. We kick it off with our disappointments from 2017, such as very limited (at best) presence detection in the home and a lack of flexible cellular plans for IoT devices. From there we shared our predictions for 2018 such as Kevin’s expectation that local machine learning will finally offer contextual smarts in the home and my prediction that IT shops will reassess how they value IoT deployments. We end with our big questions for the industry wondering what havoc GDPR regulations will wreck and if we’ll get a new security model that works for IoT.

My family still loves the June oven we purchased this year.

Just like last year and the year before, the guest portion of the show features my family, sharing what they liked and didn’t like about our smart home this year. Much of what we use has become so ingrained in our lives we don’t think of it anymore, but there are still the usual challenges and irritations that show how far the smart home needs to come. Enjoy the show, and I hope you have a restful end of the year.

One more note: I used a different microphone to record this show. I will not be using it again.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Guests: Andrew and Anna Allemann
Sponsors: ADT and FSG

  • Whither beacons and general presence?
  • New homes and apartments get smarter!
  • IT shops get smarter about IoT while carrier questions remain
  • My family still loves voice
  • We gave up on adding new devices to the home this year

Episode 143: The IoT dystopia episode

This week’s episode starts out with a pretty grim perspective, with Kevin Tofel and I discussing what the end of net neutrality means for the internet of things. We then talk about facial recognition technology in the U.S. and in China. We try  to lighten the mood with discussion of the IOTA blockchain for the internet of things, a $99 doorbell, the reviews of the Amazon Echo Spot, and new skills for Wink. We also discuss data on IoT device consumption. This week, we answer a listener question about why someone might want a hub for his or her smart home.

Blink offers a $99 video doorbell to go with its lines of battery-powered cameras.

In keeping with our dystopian worldview, the guest this week is Janice Tsai from Mozilla who discusses privacy for IoT and Mozilla’s Holiday Buyers guide. Janice  and I discuss what risks connected devices pose, the things consumers should look for and what she’d like to see companies do to protect user privacy. The show wasn’t quite what I imagined for right before the holiday, but maybe it’s a good way to head into the new year, ready to face the good and the bad that connected tech can bring.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Janice Tsai, senior HCI research scientist, Mozilla
Sponsors: ADT and FSG

  • What does face recognition at scale mean?
  • Check out what blockchain can offer IoT
  • Welcome to price pressure in the smart home
  • This rubber duck needs your location
  • What consumers need to know about device privacy

Episode 142: Smart sheets, suits and carpets are coming

We begin this week with another cautionary tale about bricked connected devices. This week it’s an automotive product called Mojio. From there I discuss the things I recently learned about building wireless networks in industrial settings while Kevin talks about how much money connected plants can save. We then get super nerdy on innovations in low-power chips before dipping into a lot of news such as IDC’s expectations for the IoT and new talents for the Google Home, Amazon Echo and Honeywell’s controller. We end the show with reviews on two connected devices we installed and answer a question about leak sensors from a listener.

Levi’s offers a jacket made with smart fabric from Google.

Stick around and you’ll hear from Nick Langston, head of business development at TE Connectivity, talking about the future of smart fabrics. While the biggest use case so far is in smart clothing to detect health data, Langston envisions a future where those same sensors might be put into sheets, carpets or even cars. He also shares an idea about what might be the coolest jersey ever that would react to your player getting hit on the field or light up in response to your team scoring a point. It’s pretty cool.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Nick Langston, TE Connectivity
Sponsors: Lux Products and ADT

  • Another brick in the IoT device bag
  • How transistor design will change for IoT
  • The IoT will be worth $1 trillion by 2020
  • What happens to privacy if your bedsheets are a sensor?
  • Smart fabrics are soft, but the business model is hard

Episode 141: Alexa suits up for business

Last week Amazon made a slew of IoT announcements at its annual user conference, bringing established functions into general availability and surprising us with the launch of Amazon’s Free RTOS after it hired the man responsible for the most popular embedded OS for microcontrollers. It also introduced Alexa for business. Kevin and I share our thoughts on that and also discussed Microsoft’s own platform announcement, the Google/Amazon spat, and Walmart’s search for a cheap sensor. I share my learnings from an event on IoT business models held at Target’s Open house last week and Kevin shares his thoughts on the GoControl/Linear garage door controller. We also discuss naming conventions thanks to a question on the IoT Podcast hotline.

Amazons IoT dreams are becoming clear.

The guest this week put the challenges of building an IoT project into perspective. After years of being “spoiled by cloud computing,” Upal Basu of NGP Capital says that we have to reframe our IoT projects with longer ROIs and more of a focus on decentralized deployments away from the corporate offices. His ideas make sense for anyone familiar with complexities of deploying sensors, and it’s a good interview for folks thinking about how to transform her business using connectivity, sensors and cloud analytics. I hope you enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Upal Basu, General Partner at NGP Capital
Sponsors: Lux Products and ADT

  • Greengrass, Free RTOS, Device Defender and more from Amazon
  • Alexa gets her MBA
  • Sustainable IoT hardware is actually a service
  • You returns on IoT investments should be years, not 12-18 months
  • The value in IoT deployments happens where the sensors are

Episode 140: How IoT will change war

This week we kick off the show with a bit about voice such as Google getting better at understanding your commands, the ability to talk to Waze and notifications coming to the Amazon Echo. We also touch on China’s plans to create standards for the smart home, including a preference for NB-IoT over Wi-Fi. Weather reporting gets more accurate without sensors and Kevin and I discuss the end of two smart light bulb startups. Finally, I offer a pro tip for the holidays and we answer a listener question about WeMo and HomeKit.

Google’s Home speaker and AI assistant.

After all the news, things get a bit grim as I discuss the future of battle with Tarek Abdelzaher, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. He’s part of a team that won a research grant from the U.S. Army Research Lab to figure out how to bring the internet of things to the battlefield. Our discussion ranges from technical elements to the ethics of having machines kill people. It will make you think.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Tarek Abdelzaher, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Sponsors: Spark Cognition and ADT

  • Google Home gets a great new feature
  • China’s setting some standards for the smart home
  • Goodbye Emberlight and so long Stack Lights
  • What can Facebook teach us about programming sensors?
  • Will machines kill in the war of the future?

Episode 139: The 2017 IoT Podcast Gift Guide!

You guys, this week’s podcast is all about the toys. Specifically toys for your kids, your dog and your loved ones. In the last year Kevin and I have tried many devices and have compiled our experiences into a gift guide for the connected life. You’ll find both our favorites like the June oven and utilitarian objects like the Ecobee 4 thermostat among a $20 smart camera and $30 motion sensor for kids. We also handled the few news items for the week– namely Apple deciding to delay the sale of the Home Pod.

This is the $20 Wyze camera. It’s a solid gift.

We also took on an incredibly topical question from Aaron in Ontario who asked about heating cables for his roof and recommended switches for automating outdoor holiday lights. As a Texan I’m drawing a blank on the remote control for the heating cables, but I shared my favorite outdoor-rated smart plugs with him. This year there have been a bunch of new Wi-Fi options, which is awesome. Enjoy the show.

  • I’m losing faith in HomeKit again
  • This year’s best gifts for the smart home
  • The best connected gifts for kids
  • Cool connected stocking stuffers
  • Crazy expensive stuff that is hard to justify

Episode 138: Wink’s security system review and Las Vegas is a smart city

There was a lot of small news this week including updates to the Google Home/Assistant ecosystem that Kevin and I discuss on this week’s podcast. I share my feelings on the Google Mini and then we segue into a conversation about Google’s new AI framework for embedded devices that launched this week. We also discuss the push by smart home and lock companies to give delivery or service people access to your home. SmartThings gets local control for some devices this week. Kevin reviews the Wink Lookout security bundle and we take a listener question about what to look for in a smart home camera.

The Wink Lookout bundle works right out of the box.

Our guest this week is awesome. I speak with Michael Sherwood, Director of Technology and Innovation City of Las Vegas, about plans for a traffic light that detects pollution and can send cars along before it builds up, and what it really means to build a smart city. Sherwood shares a lot of good insights about the challenges of building a smart city that we don’t often see. It’s a good show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Michael Sherwood Director of Technology and Innovation City of Las Vegas
Sponsors: SparkCognition and ADT

  • Google’s making some changes to Now and Google Assistant
  • Who would you let into your home alone?
  • Wink’s new security system has one big flaw
  • How a smart city gets that way
  • This is the biggest challenge halting innovation in smart cities