Episode 407: Does the IoT mean the end of privacy?

This week’s show kicks off with a discussion about Carnegie Mellon’s research into detecting people’s movements through walls using Wi-Fi. As part of the discussion we also talk about the use of stick figures to protect privacy and how little trust consumers have in companies when it comes to the use of their data. That lack of trust might explain why so few consumers connect their smart appliances, or perhaps it’s simply because appliance makers don’t offer consumers a good reason. We then share the results of our audience survey about how y’all create routines. Most of y’all (86%) use a hub rather than the device application. Reliability and funding for Memfault, a startup helping companies build more reliable connected devices, is the next topic of conversation, which also features a funny smart lock failure from a fellow smart home reporter. In smaller news, we talk about a security camera which will use the new Wi-Fi HaLOW standard, Google asking for opinions on Google Home, and new security settings to view Nest camera feeds. We also discuss Apple’s revamp of its botched HomeKit architecture update, and Kevin’s experience using the Apple AirPods Pro 2nd gen earbuds as a hearable device. Finally, we answer a listener question about how to set up a light or smart speaker notification to attract attention when an important person calls.

We asked, and 79 of y’all answered what hub system you use for creating smart home routines. Apparently, a lot of y’all use Hubitat.

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

 

Episode 400: How to pronounce IKEA’s Dirigera hub

This week’s show starts off with a review of news from AWS Re:Invent which is happening now in LAs Vegas. We cover the general availability of support for the latest version of the MQTT messaging protocol, the launch of LoRaWAN and other connectivity technologies as part of AWS Device Location services, and there will be more in the newsletter as the conference concludes. We then talk about whether or not it makes sense to buy a cheap smart plug today or wait until we get more with Matter support. It’s just that those smart plugs are so cheap right now! We also debate whether or not it’s a good thing that the Hubitat smart home hub will start supporting HomeKit, and mention Samsung’s new capabilities that link its phones to a UWB door lock. Then we cover funding news from Sanctuary, which is trying to build general purpose robots; Morse Micro, which is making Wi-Fi HaLow chips; and Deepgram, which is developing a new natural language processing algorithm built on vocal utterances as opposed to text. I then explain what I’m using right now in my home for security and monitoring of my many connected devices. Finally, we hear from a listener offering a tip on creating a simple pill tracker using an open/close sensor.

IKEA’s Dirigera hub is now available. Image courtesy of IKEA.

Our guest this week is Rebecca Töreman, business leader of the IKEA Home Smart business. Töreman first teaches me how to pronounce Dirigera, the name of IKEA’s new smart home hub. We then talk about why IKEA has chosen to focus on products that includes lights and connected blinds, but not security cameras. After a discussion on connected air purification devices, we talk about what the IKEA Home Smart team learned from its prior five years with the Trådfri smart home hub and how that influenced the design of the Dirigera device. We clarify a few points about how IKEA plans to introduce Matter to its hub and then close out. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Rebecca Töreman, business leader of the IKEA Home Smart
Sponsors: Arm and Silicon Labs

  • It’s our 400th episode!!!!
  • Should you buy a cheap smart plug without Matter?
  • A HomeKit compatible home may be less flexible, but it’s also less work
  • Why IKEA needed a new smart home hub
  • What IKEA learned about provisioning and communication with Trådfri

Episode 203: Amazon’s Eero buy and RISC-V

There were several acquisitions this week and the end of two prominent IoT platforms to cover, so Kevin and I had a lot to talk about. We kick off the show with Amazon’s purchase of mesh Wi-Fi company Eero and then segue into a conversation about Amazon’s data collection efforts. From there we move into security company ADT buying a DIY security company called LifeShield, and then DIY security company abode entering into a partnership with do-it-for-me helper Hello Tech. After that, we talk about Google’s demotion of the Android Things platform and the end of Samsung’s Artik module and cloud.  We cover news from Sigfox, a new wearable, and Arlo’s earnings before getting Kevin’s thoughts on the Hubitat Elevation hub. And we end by answering a listener question on how to prevent smart TVs from spying on you.

Ford’s smart bed concept uses lane-change detection to wrangle restless sleepers.

Our guest this week is Loic Lietar, CEO of Greenwaves Technologies, a chip design firm using the new open-source RISC-V architecture to design a low-power IoT processor. Lietar explains what RISC-V is, how difficult it is to get the industry to adopt a new processor architecture and what RISC-V could mean for the IoT. He also discusses how the economics of open source silicon could change how chips get adopted and designed. You’ll want to tune in.

Host: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Loic Lietar, CEO of Greenwaves Technologies
Sponsors: Urban-X and Western Digital

  • Why Amazon bought Eero and other routers you might choose now
  • The death of Samsung Artik and the demotion of Android Things
  • Hubitat Elevation hub review
  • Why is Ford making a bed?
  • What the heck is RISC-V
  • Why does the world need a new instruction set?

Episode 164: New Wi-Fi standards and robots

The Wi-Fi Alliance has created a new standard for mesh networks, and Kevin and I are on top of it, discussing what it means, who’s participating, and whether or not it matters. We then tackle Sigfox’s new sensor and network in a box offering before sharing details on a new home hub from Hubitat that keeps your data local. We then talk up a new product for communicating with your kids, plans for outdoor lights from Philips and Netgear’s Arlo, and Kevin discusses his experience with the $20 Wyze v2 camera. He also bought a Nest x Yale lock, so we talk about that before getting a tip from a listener on the hotline about using cameras to set his alarm.

The Misty II is cute and somewhat affordable.

Our guest this week is Chris Meyer, who is head of developer experience at Misty Robotics. We talk about the newly launched personal robot that is aimed squarely at developers. In our conversation we get technical (so many specs), physical (why do robots fart?) and philosophical (will playing with robots turn our kids into monsters?). You’re going to enjoy this episode.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Chris Meyer of Misty Robotics
Sponsors: MachineQ and Bosch

  • Where’s Eero in this new Wi-Fi spec?
  • A hub privacy-minded folks could love
  • Why wouldn’t you buy this $20 camera?
  • Robots are in their infancy
  • Why do robots fart?