Episode 405: More CES trends including wireless power

Want to bring an IoT company back from the dead? Or understand the technical and business challenges associated with building an IoT product? Then this story by Kevin Chung is for you. Kevin and I  have left CES 2023 behind, but we had plenty of of things to talk about on this week’s show, starting with our sense of disappointment after the show. We also serve up some more news from CES tied to Matter, Leviton, Aqara, and new products from Shelly. Then we discuss the deal between John Deere and The American Farm Bureau Federation to give U.S. farmers the tools they need to repair their own farming equipment at fair and reasonable rates. We talk about what this deal does and does not make possible. We also focus on wireless power with news from Energous, Ossia and a door lock that we saw at CES that charges over the air. I can’t wait to get rid of charging cables, and batteries. We then answer a listener question about updating plugs and energy monitoring products to Matter.

The Aqara presence sensor will come out later this year and cost $60. Image is a screenshot from Aqara’s YouTube.

Our guest this week is Sanjay Gupta, president of the AirFuel Alliance. He’s on the show talking about the newly launched AirFuel RF standard, which provides up to 1 watt of power over a distance. We discuss what that means for convenience in terms of not having to replace batteries, and what it means for sustainability if we can eliminate batteries. We also talk about why over-the-air wireless power is actually real after more than a decade of hearing about it. It turns out we have companies such as Wiliot, Atmosic and others who are pioneering efficient computing and low power radios for IoT use cases to thank. Finally, we discuss when we’re likely to see wireless power become commonplace and where we’ll see it first. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Sanjay Gupta, president of the AirFuel Alliance
Sponsor: Silicon Labs

  • What’s next for the Matter standard
  • Why this Aqara sensor is so cool
  • John Deere compromises on right to repair
  • Over-the-air wireless charging is ready for its close up
  • Low power chips help bring over-the-air wireless power closer

Episode 403: Matter upgrades aren’t ready for prime time

We tried Matter for the first time late last week, and have a lot to share with our listeners about what we and other journalists learned through the process. The early verdict is that most people should not update for a while because the process is tedious at best and downright frustrating at worst. But if you want to update, we provide tips. Then we focus on a story about iRobot’s Roomba vacuums that shows how a larger ecosystem of tech partners are taking device data and potentially sharing it in places consumers wouldn’t be comfortable with. Next up, we cover the acquisition of Notion by Pepper IoT, which wants to help insurers build policies around the smart home. We also cover some news bits such as an Amazon employee becoming the new chairman of Z-Wave Alliance, delays for the next generation of Raspberry Pi hardware, and further updates on the Eufy camera security snafus. We conclude the first segment of the show by answering a listener question about how far apart Thread devices should be in the home.

The Homey hub will launch in the U.S. at CES. Image courtesy of Homey.

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
  • Why the Homey hub decided to focus on privacy
  • When your data isn’t for sale, the consumer pays