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 370: How to build the infrastructure for public tech

This week’s show kicks off with research suggesting Amazon uses data from Alexa devices to advertise its own products, and that Amazon is selling some of the insights derived from Alexa requests to third parties. This is disturbing, but so is John Deere’s ability to decommission tractors stolen by Russians from a Ukraine dealership. We talk about why this sort of power makes me nervous. And in a final story about digital rights, we discuss the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention buying location data from private companies so it can see how effective some of its COVID policies were. From there we go into basic product news, starting with new wellness features coming to your Google Nest Hub screen ahead of Google I/O next week, a new room sensor from Wyze, new light switches from Leviton that don’t require a neutral wire, and new Wi-Fi 7 chips from Qualcomm. Kevin then shares a new smart home purchase and his thoughts on the Schlage Encode Plus with Home Key door lock. We finish by answering a listener’s question about if we’ll get a custom sound detection from Amazon’s Alexa.

The Wyze room sensor has a screen, and tracks temperature, humidity and motion. Image courtesy of Wyze.

Our guest this week is Bianca Wylie, who is a partner with Digital Public, a public interest firm focused on technology. She wrote an article calling for the end of Canada’s COVID contact tracing application and explains why she thinks it’s time to sunset the app. I think her ideas are important to discuss as our governments invest in digital infrastructure without necessarily having a plan for maintaining or auditing it. The COVID-tracking apps are a great case study that we can learn from. For example, when governments implement new technology they need to figure out how they plan to maintain it and ensure that it is doing the job it was intended to do. As citizens, we need to participate in the process of buying technology, working with government officials to set the requirements and limitations of the tech our government is buying. This is a really good interview for all of us to listen to.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Bianca Wylie
Sponsors: Impinj and InfluxData

  • Amazon is selling Alexa voice data to advertisers
  • We need to classify more data as Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Wi-Fi 7 chips are here but don’t upgrade your network
  • What’s wrong with Canada’s COVID contact-tracing app
  • Smart cities incur technical debt too