This week on the show, Kevin and I start off talking about some of the Roku gear I’ve been playing with for the last week. We discuss the gear and the subscription plans and how they compare with what else is on the market, before moving on to talk about Latch laying off 59% of its workforce in preparation for what I suspect will be a pivot from access control to a services business aimed at folks living in luxury apartments. After that, we share some tales of civil disobedience from San Francisco, where activists are placing traffic cones on top of self-driving vehicles to halt them in their tracks. Then we devote the rest of our time to novel sensors and platforms for sensing, starting with research showing that seven days of smart watch data can predict Parkinson’s, and research on a wearable for people with epilepsy that can predict seizures. We also cover funding for Pano, a camera platform that uses computer vision to “see” fires in remote locations, and a sensing platform called Nami raising $10 million in Series A financing. There’s also a new sensing device called the Nano Computer from Nodle that combines a few sensors, an Arm M-0 microcontroller, a Bluetooth radio, and a printed battery in a device that should cost about $3 per device at shipments above 100,000 devices. Finally, we answer a listener question about the Aqara FP2 presence sensor and security.
Our guest this week is Alex Capecelatro, CEO and co-founder of Josh.ai, who returns to the show to talk about Josh.ai adding generative AI to the company’s voice platform. We get a lesson in Josh.ai’s history and why it decided to build a voice interface for the home even after Apple, Amazon, and other big companies launched their own products. Then he explains how Josh.ai added ChatGPT to its platform and the steps it took to help customers understand the limitations of the service. We talk about why it’s useful and how customers are using it so far. Since every company in the smart home space is contemplating the role generative AI will play in their products, this is an essential listen.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Alex Capecelatro, CEO and co-founder of Josh.ai Sponsors: Blynk and Particle
Who is the Roku smart home for?
Latch cleaned house before Jamie Siminoff takes over
The most innovative element in the IoT is new sensing technology
What Josh.ai learned when adding generative AI to its voice platform
Practical thoughts on privacy for voice assistants and generative AI
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.
Our guest this week is Pete Warden, CEO of Useful Sensors, a company that’s bundling a sensor with predetermined machine learning algorithms for recognizing people, faces, gestures, and more. Warden explains the challenges of TinyML; the act of embedding machine learning algorithms on constrained, power-sipping devices; and how he hopes Useful Sensors can help companies that build devices figure out compelling uses for the technology. TinlyML has a huge amount of promise for the IoT, but it’s hard to find use cases outside of the ubiquitous wake-word detection. By offering a $10 sensor that can provide person and face detection to makers, Warden hopes to jumpstart new ideas for TinyML. We might see those in future appliances, televisions, toys, and more. We also talk about how he’s thinking about respecting consumer privacy and what it will take to make people feel comfortable in a world with millions of tiny cameras, microphones, and other sensors embedded in everyday objects. Enjoy the show.
Our guests this week are both from John Deere. We have Tracy Schrauben, manager, manufacturing emerging technologies at John Deere, who represents the operational technology side of the manufacturing plant. Also joining is Jason Wallin, principal architect at John Deere, who is handling IT. Both are on the show for an exclusive look at how the agricultural company is deploying the CBRS spectrum it purchased in 2020. In its Moline, Ill. plant, John Deere has deployed 14 microcells that today provide LTE connectivity to various pieces of equipment. But the plan is to get to an all-5G network as end devices become available. Our guests explain why they are unwiring the factory, some of the use cases, and what it’s like to build and manage your own private wireless network. This is a must-listen for folks who care about factory 5G.
Our guest this week is Elizabeth Parks, president and CMO of Parks Associates, a research firm focused on emerging technologies. Parks discusses how COVID changed the home security market as well as how monitored security providers have moved downmarket while DIY security companies have expanded upward into offering monitored security. All of this jostling has expanded the overall market. We also talk about the coming demand for energy management services as well as trends in new home building. Expect more connected devices! We end with a quick overview of what to expect from the CEDIA Expo happening this week in Dallas. It’s a fun conversation.
Our guest this week is Jason Shepherd, the VP of Ecosystem with Zededa, a container orchestration company for the industrial internet of things. It’s been a while since Shepherd has been on the show, so I asked him for an update on the IT and OT divide that we talked about four years ago. Both sides are coming together, but there are still challenges when it comes to bringing IT to scale in operations. We talk about heterogeneity, security, the challenges of remote access, and more differences worth thinking about when we put computers in industrial equipment. We also talk about the challenges of scaling machine learning models at the edge, and especially those designed to adapt to changing real-world conditions. It’s a fun interview.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Jason Shepherd, the VP of Ecosystem with Zededa Sponsors: Very
Does your smart home need a safe word? Or an emergency alert?
Biden wants to secure our infrastructure from cyberattacks
Want to try a satellite connection for your sensors?
Four ways IT folks have to adapt to the real world of OT needs
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.