Episode 406: Return of the HomePod

This week’s show kicks off with a discussion of Apple’s new HomePod, which has some cool machine learning capabilities and new sensors built into it, plus a higher price tag than most smart speakers. Then we talk about a survey out of the UK that asked 119 appliance makers about their plans to continue updating software over the life of the appliance, finding out that some won’t commit to updates. A former Nest employee has a new connected composting startup that we have some questions about. Then we talk about some deals in the enterprise and industrial sector with the $1.2 billion acquisition of Sierra Wireless by Semtech completed, and a $7 billion hostile takeover of National Instruments by Emerson. In smaller news, we talk about what it means that Google’s new Chromecast 4K remote does away with batteries, Wyze’s new connected cameras that bring back the $20 price tag, and Kevin’s review of the Govee Smart Kettle purchased by his wife. Finally, we answer a listener question about motion sensors that don’t always work, which inspired us to create a survey asking where y’all build your smart home automations.

The new Apple HomePod will ship on Feb. 3. Image courtesy of Apple.

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
  • Rethinking the telco business model
  • Is the new 1NCE OS really an OS? Does it matter?

Episode 404: CES has more Matter and many voices

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.

Nanoleaf has smart switches and an intelligent Matter over Thread hub. Image courtesy of K. Tofel

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.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Gimmy Chu, CEO of Nanoleaf
Sponsor: Silicon Labs

  • The promise of Matter is everywhere at CES. The devices, not so much
  • Amazon’s adding LoRa connectivity parters to its Sidewalk program
  • You’re getting more options on the voice assistant front
  • Nanoleaf’s plans for intuitive controls are compelling
  • Why Nanoleaf is waiting to deploy Matter to existing gear