Our guest this week is Svein-Egil Nielsen, the CTO of Nordic Semiconductor. We talk about the DECT-NR standard for massive IoT, defining both the standard and what we mean when we talk about massive IoT. We also cover use cases for energy harvesting technology and Nielsen gets cagey about Nordic’s plans for energy harvesting technology in Nordic chips. We end with a conversation about TinyML and how Nordic is planning to make its modules ML-ready for developers. It is a fun interview.
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 Paulus Schoutsen, founder of Home Assistant, the DIY, open source smart home platform. Schoutsen explains why this year is the “year of voice” for the platform and how to build an AI for users to speak in their own language for triggering automations (all without sharing data with third-party providers). He also shows off two new features; the first is using a HomePod to talk to Google Assistant over Home Assistant, and the second is using a generative language model like ChatGPT over a HomePod to create stories. We also talk about Matter and Home Assistant’s plans for a smart speaker or voice-capable device, as well as why you can’t easily buy Home Assistant Yellow, a pre-packaged box that already has the radios and software a beginner needs to run Home Assistant. It’s a good 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
Our guest this week is Ivo Rook, COO of 1NCE, a company that provides device connectivity for 10 years at a cost of $10. Obviously this isn’t for smart phones or cameras, but for many IoT devices, this type of flat-rate pricing over a long time period makes it easy for developers to create a device and predict exactly how much it will cost to support. Rook discusses how the 1NCE mindset differs from the traditional carrier a-roach and explains the rationale behind a new operating system that 1NCE announced at CES. It’s not exactly an OS, but more of an abstraction layer for data traveling from the device to the cloud. It’s a good idea and the open, developer-friendly ethos 1NCE has is pretty exciting. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Ivo Rook, COO of 1NCE Sponsor: Silicon Labs
How long will your appliances get software updates?
Why Emerson would want National Instruments
Kevin’s wife bought a smart kettle, and it’s pretty cool
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.
Our guest this week is Cathy Pearl, a conversation designer at Google and the author of the O’Reilly book Designing Voice User Interfaces. We discuss the history of voice interactions and what changed to make Amazon’s Alexa such an innovation. We also discuss how voice can help make technology less complicated, what type of conversations people want from a voice interface and how voice also drives accessibility. Then we discuss the ethics of creating voice companions for lonely people and a time that Pearl was stuck at an airport talking to a chatbot for 20 minutes. We then end after I ask if voice is going anywhere after the upheavals in Amazon’s Alexa business. Her answer will not surprise you. 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.
This week’s episode kicks off what I hope is a flurry of news from vendors about their Matter plans. We hear when and how vendors such as Amazon, Eve, Nanoleaf, and Schneider Electric plan to roll out Matter to new and old devices. We also call out companies that haven’t yet shared information and what you’re likely to see get support first. Then we go to other news such as leaked photos of Amazon’s Ring Car Alarm, a privacy lawsuit against Amazon going forward and new security and camera devices from Arlo. In less exciting news, we talk about a lock-picking lawyer’s discovery that the HomeKey version of the Level Home lock (the Level Lock+) can be easily picked with a simple lock pick or a bump key. Also in the bad news department, Orro Systems, the makers of a smart lighting switch and system, is looking for more investment and will stop distributing its gear so as to support existing customers. This looks like the beginning of the end. Kevin got his hands on Google’s Nest Wifi Pro, and decides that people on existing Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems probably won’t benefit much from this update, but those coming from older Wi-Fi 5 systems (like Google’s prior mesh Wi-Fi kit) will. Finally, we answer a listener question about Matter on smoke alarms.
Our guest this week is Peggy Carrieres, VP of Sales Enablement at Avnet, who is coming on the show to discuss what the changes in the chip sector mean for hardware designers. Carrieres spoke with me a year and half ago to talk about the chip shortage, and now has new data thanks to a survey of Avnet customers. The survey shows that 29% of respondents believe chip prices will continue to rise and that 26% expect to see more supply shortfalls. We talk about what’s driving challenges in sourcing chips and components for hardware as well as how engineers are starting to change how they design products amidst the shortage. We also point to some software developments that may help. It’s a nerdy interview, but worth the time if you’re building hardware.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Peggy Carrieres, VP of Sales Enablement at Avnet Sponsors: Arm and Silicon Labs
Matter is coming to Amazon, Nanoleaf, Eve and more
Amazon’s next device may have a cellular data plan
I’m worried about Orro Systems and its future
Why chip shortages continue to cause problems for designers
Steps to help make hardware design easier in times of shortages
Our guest this week is Mike Nelson, VP of IoT security at DigiCert, who joins me to discuss what Matter will require from a security standpoint. We talked about it for a story two weeks back, but in the show we also discuss what the next iteration of Matter security might include as the specification matures with later versions. The current version of security with Matter is one of several progressive steps the industry has taken toward boosting security of connected devices, but regulators are also getting involved. So I ask Nelson his thoughts on the White House plans for a cybersecurity label for consumer IoT devices. He isn’t sure a detailed label makes much sense but talks about what he’d like to see for consumer IoT, and for other industries such as healthcare. It’s an important conversation.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Mike Nelson, VP IoT security at DigiCert Sponsors: Arm and Silicon Labs
What we think a cybersecurity label needs
Everyone is preparing for Matter
Why is Ecobee adding a video doorbell?
Here’s what we may see in future Matter security requirements
Why a nutrition-style cybersecurity label for IoT won’t work