Our guest this week is Daniel Wroclawski, a senior writer at Consumer Reports, who is on the show to discuss an article he spent two years writing. It’s about how connected appliances collect and share your data. We talk about his conversations (or lack of conversations) with the five big appliance makers about the state of connected device data gathering. We discuss why consumers and manufacturers are excited about connected appliances and then talk about some of their potential downfalls. For example, will your oven features work if you don’t connect it to the internet? Maybe not. We also talk about what we should do in our homes to protect our privacy and what Congress needs to take action on. It’s a good show, especially if you have a connected fridge.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Daniel Wroclawski, a senior writer at Consumer Reports Sponsors: OnLogic and Silicon Labs
The Aqara mmWave sensor can detect falls or light levels and presence.
The IoT has embraced dark design patterns.
Lights with Matter, better Bluetooth buttons, and Z-Wave locks.
Why does your dryer need to be connected to the internet?
Most appliance makers didn’t want to share what data they collect.
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 Chuck Sabin, the head of market development for the Bluetooth SIG. He is on the show to discuss the newly launched Bluetooth standard for Electronic Shelf Labels. We discuss what electronic shelf labels will enable for consumers and retailers, as well as the different services and profiles that the SIG has built into the standard. After extolling the potential benefits for Instacart shoppers, we then talk about smart tags and the concept of ambient IoT. You’ll be hearing that phrase a lot more often. The SIG is working on a standard around smart tags, as well as updating its networked smart lighting standard. You’ll get a good sense of what Bluetooth plans to bring to the IoT, so enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Nick D’Angelo, director of public affairs for Eaton’s Electrical Sector. He’s on the show to discuss how two new laws are incentivizing consumers and businesses to take steps to modernize the electric grid. We cover the concept of grid modernization and why it’s necessary, the two laws that have the most relevance, and lay out some of the incentive programs that will be available at state and federal levels for things like replacing electric panels and swapping out furnaces for heat pumps. We also talk about how long the process of modernizing the grid will take and then conclude with what else will need to be done. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is François Baldassari, CEO and co-founder of Memfault, who is on the show to discuss his startup, the history (and future) of reliability in products, and his thoughts from a decade of participating in building connected devices. Baldassari was a former engineer at Pebble and built Memfault to solve the problem of debugging connected devices at scale. We talk about why he’s focusing on industrial customers, how reliability has been slipping over time, and why AI will need its own form of debugging in the near future. He also explains the two big trends he’s noticed in a decade of building connected devices. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Matt Rogers, the co-founder and CEO of Mill, a startup using a connected kitchen bin to fight food waste. We talk about the problem of food waste and who will pay $33 a month for the bin and concurrent service. Rogers also explains the math behind the service, and talks about why he chose to use a subscription model to fund the business. He also tells me why this isn’t a composting device, since it’s designed to keep food in the food system, and explains why that is so important. Finally, he shares how challenging it was to build a hardware startup during the pandemic. It’s a fun chat.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Matt Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Mill Sponsor: Akenza
Researchers use Wi-Fi to track movement through walls
Half of us don’t connect our smart appliances
Maybe you don’t need hearing aids just yet?
Why Matt Rogers went from smart thermostats to fighting food waste
Rogers tried to keep manufacturing during the pandemic local
Kevin and I are at CES 2023 this week and eager for the show floor to open to see all of the new and crazy gear. But before we see the show floor, we had to slog through the planned news and media events, which we’re talking about in this week’s show. Matter is everywhere so far with most companies choosing to announce new Matter products that will arrive in the coming months. We cover news from Nanoleaf, Eve, Govee, Samsung, Lutron (no update on Matter plans), and SwitchBot. We then talk about Amazon’s Sidewalk expansion news and its work with two partners for voice interoperability in an automotive platform and with Josh.ai. Also in voice news, Home Assistant will add voice control for its platform in the coming year. And now, prepare for the rush of product news including new Ring cameras, ADT’s app with upgraded Nest integration, Cync lights, and Moen’s new sprinkler and soil sensors. We also discuss Arlo’s new end of life plans for older cameras, which the user community is upset with. Then we talk about a larger trend emerging at CES of building smart devices, such as Masonite’s new powered door, into the home itself. I don’t think we’re ready for this, but the consumer electronics industry is eager to provide these products. Finally, we get more details on Thread’s range from a listener calling in on the Internet of Things Podcast hotline.
Our guest this week is Gimmy Chu, CEO of Nanoleaf. He’s on the show to discuss Nanoleaf’s new Sense+ Controls light switches that contain sensors and additional buttons to manage the growing complexity of color lighting. These are also key components for Nanoleaf’s new Nanoleaf Automations Learning Assistant (Nala), which is an effort to let your lights automate themselves. The idea is that sensors inside the switches will indicate presence, based on time of day, ambient light and stated preferences, then add more information to get the appropriate lighting for that moment. As a person who has been testing smart lights for a decade, I’m eager to see if Nanoleaf has the goods. We’ll have to wait until the third quarter until these are out to test it, but Chu explains what he’s aiming for. We also talk about the future of lighting and how color will play a larger role. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Stefan Witkamp, the commercial director at Athom, the company behind the Homey smart home hub. Witkamp explains Honey’s privacy-focused smart home hub and the plan to launch the latest generation of the Homey Pro hub at CES. This will be the first time Homey is available in the U.S. after six and half years of availability for the original Homey hub in Europe. Homey Pro has all of the radios that a smart home needs, including Thread and IR. For listeners who care about privacy, Witkamp explains how Athom created a business model that allows the company to respect user privacy. This means the $399 pro version of the hub is more expensive than other options on the market, and the cheaper version comes with a monthly subscription. We talk about what it costs to keep a home hub running and how investors can push a company to choose alternative business models. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Stefan Witkamp, Commercial Director for Homey Sponsors: Arm and Silicon Labs
Wait a minute before updating to Matter
Will a Roomba story get everyone to care more about device privacy?
The smart home meets insurance in this acquisition
Our guest this week is Sean Petterson, the CEO and founder of StrongArm Tech, a company that makes wearable safety devices for industrial and warehouse workers. We talk about the company’s history of building exoskeletons and its pivot to data analytics and wearables, and then the challenges associated with converting worker safety into an ROI. Petterson makes the case that analytics can drive home the importance of keeping workers healthy despite the costs of the system and the perceived costs in terms of productivity. He gives a good example from a warehouse customer using StrongArm’s analytics to send workers home after they meet their quota for the day, even if it means they get sent home early. Petterson says it’s simply not efficient or smart from an ROI perspective to keep them working. We also talk about the ethics of such software and how StrongArm tries to make sure its data isn’t used to retaliate against poor performers. Enjoy the show.
The biggest news in the internet of things this week was the staggering story about Amazon’s Alexa business being responsible for the majority of an estimated $10 billion loss in the year ahead. So Kevin and I discuss what Amazon pulling back on Alexa might look like and what it means for voice and the smart home. Then we talk about how a newly available Amazon device signals Amazon’s problem and the potential solutions to that problem. After talking about voice, we take a look at a new controller from Aqara that uses gestures and share our thoughts about the form factor. After all our user interaction talk, we then cover some news, such as the FIDO Alliance planning to work on security and authentication issues for the IoT, Google’s plans for aggregating fitness data, and a new dev kit from T-Mobile. We also talk about new devices from Wyze and Firewalla. Finally, we answer a listener’s question about connecting LED fairy lights. Then it’s time to talk about the holidays.
Every year we choose 10 devices that we think make good holiday gifts for our audience and their loved ones. This year we suggest a few in the first part of the show, such as the JaxJox kettlebell and my perennial favorite, the Ember mug. (I gave this to my mom in 2019, and she still uses it every day.) This year’s gifts include a smart plug designed for Matter, a device to reboot your router, and multiple options for smart buttons from Philips Hue and Shortcut Labs. We also include a Nanoleaf option because we’re such fans of the devices as gifts for teens. We also include some fancier gifts for chefs and dog owners. There are more options in this week’s newsletter, but before we sign off we also want to thank our listeners for the gift of their time this year, and the nine years that Kevin and I have been producing this show. Y’all are awesome.