Episode 171: Your smart home questions, answered!

This week Kevin and I decided to do something a bit unusual, turning our segment where we answer listener’s questions into the entire show. You guys have been sending a lot of interesting questions to the Schlage IoT Podcast Listener Hotline, and we hated to leave so many unanswered, so we combined a slow holiday news week with some Q&A. Remember, if you have a question, give us a call at 512.623.7424.

Kevin and I at CES in 2018 when we hunt for cool new stuff and ask manufacturers about your questions.

We tackle issues such as insurance discounts for smart home gear, local hubs and the best skills for Alexa in a classroom setting. We failed to find a perfect USB cable for someone, but did locate a smoke detector that will work with SmartThings for a Canadian listener. We also dug into details on several home hubs for listeners debating Home Assistant, Home Bridge, Open HAB, SmartThings and Wink. We hope you enjoy the show and keep those questions coming. Next week, we’ll be back to the usual format.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Sponsors: Control4 and Schlage

  • When will my insurer give┬áme a discount on my smart home?
  • A question about smart locks
  • Which home hub is best for first timers?
  • These five Alexa skills are good for education

Episode 170: Smart stents, surveillance tech and Alexa-powered faucets

This week’s episode begins on a grim note, as Kevin and I discuss the New York Times’ story about how smart home gadgets can become another point of control in abusive relationships. From there we touch on the new Wi-Fi WPA3 security standard and Tesla’s new plan to charge users for data and what it means for IoT. Kevin shares the new Alexa for iOS feature and explains why it’s useful, while I talk about a startup that wants to detect pollution at granular levels. We share news of a smart stent, smart park benches and my experience with an Alexa-enabled faucet. We then answer a question from a reader who wants to buy Abode’s security system but wonders what gadgets will work with it.

This smart stent is one long antenna with a pressure sensor. Image courtesy of the University of British Columbia.

For the guest segment, I visit with Cyrus Farivar, who is a reporter at Ars Technica and wrote a book on surveillance tech called “Habeas Data”. We discuss the current legal underpinnings of privacy law in the US and how it has evolved. Our conversation covers the recently decided Carpenter case, the 1967 case that established the concept of a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and how the government could use our connected devices against us. You’ll learn a lot, but you may want to unplug your Echo.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Cyrus Farivar author of “Habeas Data
Sponsor: Control4

  • How to reset connected devices and be a decent human being
  • Y’all had some great ideas on connected cameras
  • Alexa, ask Delta to turn on faucet
  • Where the expectation of privacy came from
  • What to ask device makers about government snooping

Episode 169: Alexa gets a hotel gig

This week in IoT news, Kevin and I talk about AT&T’s plans to launch an NB-IoT network. Then we talk about the pros and cons of Marriott putting Alexa into hotel rooms. We also talk about a new voice assistant for the enterprise, HP Enterprises’ $4 billion investment in IoT, and digital rights management in smart fridges. We touch on a few more stories including an accelerator for the smart kitchen, leaked location data, a router that acts as a smart hub, and a clarification on the Thread news from last week. We then answer a question on how to view content from video doorbells and cameras on Alexa-enabled screens.

Amazon created a special version of Alexa for hotels. Image courtesy of Amazon.

This week’s guest is Gabriel Halimi, CEO and co-founder of Flo Technologies who discusses his leak detection technology as well as the insurance market. We talk about why consumers will end up sharing their data with an insurance firm, what you can learn from water flow data, and Halimi poses a somewhat scary future where your insurance firm will know if you actually set your alarm that they offer a discount for. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Gabriel Halimi, CEO and co-founder of Flo Technologies
Sponsors: Praetorian and Control4

  • AT&T joins Verizon and T-Mobile with anew NB-IoT network
  • Here’s why Alexa is everywhere
  • Wait, this fridge comes with DRM?
  • With insurance and IoT, if you can’t join ’em, beat ’em.
  • You can learn a lot from water data