Episode 232: How secure is your favorite smart home device?

This week’s show has good news for smart device buyers concerned about security. We discuss a new research effort called Your Things that tracks the security of popular smart home devices. We also talk about a new Z-wave hub from Ezlo Innovations, a DIY voice assistant from Picovoice, and rumors about Apple’s new AR glasses and smart tracker. In bummer news, a popular maker board has a vulnerability that the manufacturer has patched. From there we move on to quick news from Amazon, August, and Android. Then we close by answering a question about how to track tools that you may want to lend out to friends.

Yale introduced new locks for the European market at IFA with August software inside.

Our guests this week are Gaye Soykök, who is head of emerging technologies at financial firm Legal & General, and Pilgrim Beart, CEO at DevicePilot. The two have come up with this idea of creating a minimum viable ecosystem for testing connected services. The idea is that most companies can’t do everything needed to pull a good connected service together, so they must create an ecosystem. We talk about how to make that happen, what to look for in partners, and how it ultimately will affect the consumer. It’s a meaty topic.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Gaye Soykök, Legal & General, and Pilgrim Beart,  DevicePilot
Sponsors: Afero and Simple Commands

  • A scorecard from Georgia Tech and UNC-Chapel Hill grades the security of your devices
  • Stacey is about to build her own voice assistant device
  • A few Apple rumors to tide us over until next week
  • Why firms in the IoT need to consider a minimum viable ecosystem
  • How will consumers fare if such collaborative approaches pan out?

 

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 226: Google’s Nest exec isn’t into smart homes

This week’s show kicks off with Kevin and I discussing how Google’s head of IoT isn’t a believer in the smart home. Except he is. He just calls it something else, and we explain his rationale for doing so. We also explain why I am so excited about Microsoft’s new contracts for sharing data and why Tile just scored $45 million in funding. From there we wonder if Google’s machine learning-based approach to recognizing electricity use in appliances is cool, who would buy the OmniFob smart keychain, and why Wyze is building a scale. Then we move to news from Huawei, Abode going deeper with Google Assistant, Adobe’s voice study and LG adding HomeKit to new TVs. Kevin shares his impressions of the Firewalla device, and then we answer a listener question about bring smart bulbs outside and finding wireless switches that work. It must be summer, based on these outdoor inquiries.

The OmniFob can replace your car keys, your house keys and control your smart home.

Our guest this week is Yana Welinder, co-founder and CEO of Kraftful, a newly launched startup building apps for smart home devices. Kraftful is a company at YCombinator that is working with big brands to make the apps for connected devices work better. She explains what features mainstream consumers want, why big companies aren’t building these apps themselves and why her business isn’t a feature of a larger tech stack. It’s a good intro to a new company.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Yana Welinder, co-founder and CEO of Kraftful
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Afero

  • Call it intuitive, smart or helpful, just make it happen
  • Microsoft’s contracts serve a burgeoning need for enterprises
  • Firewalla makes a big impression
  • Why do so many smart device apps suck?
  • Can Kraftful turn app development into a scalable business?

Episode 225: How to fix smart speaker privacy issues

This week on the show Kevin and I share our misgivings about smart speakers and some ideas to help address the privacy issues for those who want to continue to embrace the convenience, but don’t want strangers hearing their fights, farts, and friends. We also talk about the acquisition of Centralite’s assets by Ezlo, which has acquired other struggling home automation startups in the last year. Then we tackle ARM’s new licensing plan, Intel’s neuromorphic chips, and an update on Wyze (plus its next device). News bits include a new drone platform, UbiquitiLink’s funding, Eve’s new Bluetooth extender, and hacked insulin pumps. In our voicemail this week we answer a reader question about an outdoor Amazon Echo speaker.

One of Intel’s Nahuku boards, each of which contains 8 to 32 Intel Loihi neuromorphic chips. Intel’s latest neuromorphic system, Poihoiki Beach is made up of multiple Nahuku boards and contains 64 Loihi chips.  Image courtesy of Tim Herman of Intel.

This week’s guest is Rags Srinivasan, who is a senior director of growth verticals at Seagate. He’s on the show to talk about Seagate’s efforts to make its wafer manufacturing process smarter. The company started with the idea of implementing a predictive maintenance program for manufacturing machinery but realized that if it could instead use AI earlier in the manufacturing process it would have a larger impact on the company’s bottom line. Srinivasan explains the tools the company used for Athena, how it hopes to achieve a 300% return on investment and why internal branding is essential. He also extols the virtues of cameras as the ultimate IoT sensor. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Rags Srinivasan of Seagate
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Afero

  • How companies should fix their smart speaker QA process
  • What happened to Centralite?
  • ARM’s new licensing model and Intel’s new chips have something in common.
  • Seagate tried edge processing solutions from HPE and Nvidia
  • How to get buy-in from your bosses for an IoT project

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 223: How Amazon treats your Alexa data

This week Kevin and I read and discuss the letter from Amazon responding to inquiries about how it keeps and handles data. We go in-depth because it’s important to discuss the tradeoff between services and privacy. We also discuss a company leaking smart home data, the FTC settlement with D-Link and a smart home hub for apartments that can be hacked. After the bad news, we move to analyze HPE’s goal of selling everything as a service by 2022 and Kevin’s experience trying out Olisto, an IFTTT-like service. There are few news bits to cover, and then we answer a listener question about how to set up Amazon or Google accounts when two people with their own accounts move into the same house.

RealWear CEO Andy Lowery, wearing a RealWear head-mounted display. Image courtesy of RealWear.

Our guest this week is Andy Lowery, the CEO of RealWear, a company that makes a head-mounted display for industrial workers. The company raised $80 million this week, so I ask about Lowery’s plans for that kind of capital. I also want to know why people were using head-mounted displays, and how RealWear’s products are different from something like Google Glass or Microsoft’s HoloLens. We also talk about the shift in industrial work that will come about thanks to real-time collaboration in the field over remote connections, and what it means for workers. Enjoy.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Andy Lowery, the CEO of RealWear
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Afero

  • Privacy is nuanced, and that’s what makes it hard to talk about
  • HPE wants to make all of its products a service by 2022
  • Philips Hue’s Bluetooth bulbs make Kevin happy
  • $80 million can buy a lot of R&D
  • Are you ready for the centaur workforce?

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:

Episode 212: How to find connected devices in your home or enterprise

This week’s show is all about visibility. Kevin and I get started discussing the new IoT Inspector program that tracks what devices are on your network and how they behave.  In other surveillance, we talk about how easy it is to identify total strangers using public cameras and public facial recognition programs, before discussing the destruction of a privacy law in Illinois. Intel’s decision to get out of the smartphone modem business gets a mention, as does Apple’s LIDAR investments and a new app from Waymo. In news bits, we talk about Schlage locks working with Ring, a new Alexa Skill certification, a new sport, Norsk Hydro’s ransomware, and how to run open source smart home software in the cloud instead of a Pi. We also answer a question about connected double-cylinder locks.

AI created a game called Speedgate. This image is taken from a video of people playing it.

This week’s guest is Nadir Izrael, the CTO of security firm Armis. He discusses how security challenges have changed in the era of connected devices and the business pressures behind some connected devices getting onto the network even when IT wants to say no. He also shares some horror stories associated with insecure connected devices, such as a hospital infusion pump infected with malware that was connected to a patient. Izrael says the hospital had to get a nurse to watch the patient all night to make sure the infusion pump didn’t misbehave. Weak security can cost lives, not just spam all your friends.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Nadir Izrael, CTO at Armis
Sponsors: Software AG and IoT World

  • Here’s where you can download IoT Inspector for Mac OS
  • Will you be playing Speedgate, a new, AI-developed sport?
  • What can we learn from Norsk Hydro’s ransomware attack?
  • Connected treadmills might be your enterprise’s weak link
  • How a hospital guards against malware-infected infusion pumps

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 211: Google’s Anthos and the death of Stringify

This week Kevin and I spend a chunk of the podcast discussing the end of Stringify and the other options available to users. We also talk about the need for an easy way to transfer automations from one system to another. After that, we tackle Google’s Anthos cloud platform and what it means for the IoT and edge before veering back to consumer news with IKEA’s partnership with Sonos.  Then we cover the plethora of smart cameras at the ISC trade show, more details about Google’s mysterious Mistral board, a new HomeKit device from Eve, and JD Powers getting into the IoT. We close by answering a question about stopping your friends from telling your Google Home what to do.

The Sonos and IKEA collaboration produced this speaker/lamp combo.

Our guest this week is Andy Coravos who is the CEO of Elektra Labs, a startup that is trying to create scientifically accurate benchmarks for medical devices. The early audience is pharma companies who want to remotely monitor participants in clinical trials and need to know if the step counter on the Apple Watch or the heart rate monitor on the Fitbit is accurate. Coravos was also a former EIR at the Food and Drug Administration, and she talks about the steps the agency is taking to regulate digital health products without standing in the way of innovation and security. It’s a great conversation.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Andy Coravos, CEO of Elektra Labs
Sponsors: SoftwareAG and IoTWorld

  • Throwing in the towel on Wink and the tinkerer’s smart home
  • Google performed some sweet jujitsu with Anthos
  • Smart cameras are boosting demand for AI at the edge
  • How to eliminate the threat of digital snake oil in connected health
  • What other agencies can learn about regulating the IoT from the FDA

Episode 210: Hannover Messe and haptic IoT

This week’s show focuses on the tremendous amount of industrial IoT news coming out of the Hannover Messe event held in Germany. We cover Microsoft and BMW’s Open Manufacturing Platform and the similarly named Open Industry 4.0 Alliance as well as the prevalence of 5G news at the show. After explaining what is going on in the industrial world, Kevin and I discuss a patent for silencing drones from Amazon, news on Google’s shopping partnership extension with Wal-Mart, and a new Google Hub. Kevin also shares his scoop on Google’s new Mistral board. We then discuss surveillance in smart cities before revisiting our answer from last week’s voicemail to add more ways to connect your smart blinds to Alexa.

A figure from Amazon’s hot air balloon patent issued this week.

This week our guest is Keith Kirkland, CEO of Wearworks, which makes a product called the Wayband. The Wayband uses haptic feedback to guide visually-impaired people using haptic feedback. Kirkland explains what his team learned about building a product, the opportunities offered by haptic feedback and how other designers should think about adding haptic feedback to their devices. And all of this started because he just wanted to build a connected suit that would help him learn Kung Fu. It’s a fun interview!

Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Keith Kirkland, CEO of Wearworks
Sponsors: Software AG and IoT World

  • The IT industry digs into industrial IoT at Hannover Messe
  • Why wireless matters for industrial IoT
  • Kevin’s got a scoop on a possible Google device
  • Waterproofing is somewhat important
  • Touch isn’t the same everywhere on the body