Our guest this week is Ken Fairbanks, the CEO of Insteon Technologies Inc. who is ready to share what happened between the end of Insteon in April and his acquisition of the assets in June. He also discloses what comes next for the new Insteon and explains why customers were caught off guard by the abrupt closure and the equally abrupt return of service for their hubs. Fairbanks is still trying to piece together the assets he purchased, but is also trying to talk to users about what they want to see for the smart home service. He also explains why he had to charge a subscription and how he plans to move forward. If you’re an Insteon customer take a listen, and if you are smart home user you might learn why it’s so hard to restart a dying connected home business.
Our guest this week is Jim Ethington, CEO of Arable, a precision agriculture company. He’s on the show to talk about Arable’s $40 million in funding, and what Arable has learned in the last six years of operation. We also talk about the myth of using data to create “perfect predictions” and what sorts of predictions are more realistic when discussing how farm sensors can help farmers increase yields. Then we discuss why farmers are looking beyond simple ROI measurements when adopting technology and how sensor platforms such as Arable’s can help make their investments in sustainability or traceability pay off. We end with a list of hardware that Ethington would like to see for future field sensors. These include better connectivity options and sensors that provide more options for detecting different wavelengths of light. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Jim Ethington, CEO of Arable Sponsors: InfluxData and Intent
Helium is a legit business, but is it worth $1.2 billion?
The Air Tag is a tool for good or evil
How Ring and Google decide what videos to share with police
The future of precision farming goes far beyond greater yields
Sensors with different spectral ranges will let us better monitor plant health
Our guest this week is Stuart Lombard, the CEO of Ecobee and president of Generac connected devices. In our interview we dig into the new thermostats’ industrial design and why Ecobee replaced its PIR sensor with radar. Lombard also explains why services are essential for smart home providers and what Matter may do for the creation of new home services. We end with a discussion of Generac’s acquisition and why the combination of Ecobee and an energy storage and resiliency company makes sense. He didn’t share any specific products but he also gave us a hint about what to expect from the two companies going forward. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Stuart Lombard, the CEO of Ecobee and president of Generac connected devices Sponsors: LoRaWAN World Expo and InfluxData
Google’s preparations for Matter includes two new SDKs
Our guest this week is Bryson Bort, CEO and founder of Scythe, a cybersecurity firm. Bort is a former U.S. Army officer and a co-founder of the non-profit ICS Village that addresses security issues in industrial control systems. He is on the show to discuss the risks that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could pose for US enterprises and industrial players. He tackles topics such as how much executives should worry about their OT or IT risks and how should they address any concerns. We also address the age-old divide between OT and IT security and explain why it’s so difficult to reconcile their differences. You’ll learn a lot.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Bryson Bort, CEO and founder of Scythe Sponsors: Somfy and Pantacor
Three tech firms get together to offer free cybersecurity tools
What isn’t vulnerable nowadays?
Are employee-mandated wearables okay if being fit is your job?
How ransomware fits into the invasion of Ukraine
How to shore up your cyber defenses in times of war (and peace)
Our guest this week is Bob Marshall, the CEO of Whisker Labs. the company behind the Ting fire detection device. Marshall has been working with sensor data for more than a decade, so we talk about his earlier company and where the idea for Ting came from. We also discuss how to get in business with insurance companies and why Ting has elected to build a subscription business. We also discuss what types of service you need to provide if you do plan to charge a subscription. I like the Ting device, so was excited to chat with Marshall. I hope you enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey and Kevin Tofel Guest: Bob Marshall, CEO of Whisker Labs Sponsors: Somfy and Pantacor
Sanctuary feels like a moonshot, not a startup
Alexa can connect you to medical care
Murder mice humanely with a smarter mouse trap
How Ting built a business built on insurance companies
How Marshall pivoted from weather to fire prevention
Our guest this week is Joe Britt, CEO of Afero who is on the show to talk about securing IoT devices and the work his company has done with Home Depot. The home improvement retailer chose Afero to build out its custom app to control HomeDepot-branded products such as light bulbs, fans, and more. Britt explains what Home Deport was looking for and what he’s learned from his experience in the last eight years of working with IoT products. Britt, who was a founder of Danger, lays out the ways IoT platforms differ from traditional computing platforms and explains what companies with unsecured devices should do with them. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Joe Britt, CEO of Afero Sponsors: Somfy and Pantacor
How the EU is tackling the competitive barriers caused by data concentration
Investing in security can improve the bottom line
How to rethink subscriptions for connected hardware
Our guest this week is Yana Welinder, the CEO and co-founder of Kraftful. She joins us to discuss the new analytics software Kraftful has launched and to broadly discuss best practices for connected device apps. Unsurprisingly, getting a device connected quickly and easily is the most important consideration for most connected device makers, and she’ll discuss how to make that easy. But she also talks about when apps make sense compared with voice interfaces or automated routines. We end our conversation with her take on what the upcoming Matter smart home interoperability protocol might mean for her business and for consumers at large. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Togel Guest: Yana Welinder, the CEO and co-founder of Kraftful Sponsors: Rightpoint and Hologram
Smoke detectors have a huge opportunity in the smart home
Using sensors and computer vision to make cities better and beaches cleaner
ARM’s next step should include a plan for RISC-V
If your users can’t connect their device in 10 minutes, they’re gone
Imagining a world where every product has an app is a nightmare
Our guest this week is Yoon Ho Choi, president of the Home Connectivity Alliance, which launched last week at CES. Choi joins me to discuss the reason the HCA exists, how it’s recruiting new members and why we want our appliances to interoperate. He addresses questions about security, why the HCA is promoting cloud-to-cloud integrations instead of local ones, and if the HCA wants to work with the Matter protocol. It’s still unclear what the HCA wants to produce in terms of APIs or certifications, but it’s clear that the companies involved recognize that collaboration will be essential for building worthwhile intelligence into washers, dryers, HVAC systems, TVs, and more. Enjoy the show.
This week’s guest is Jonathan Bensamoun, the CEO and founder of Fi, a maker of a connected dog collar. We discuss the product and why people buy a connected collar. Then we cover the connectivity options and why the Fi collar uses cellular as opposed to some of the other low-power wide-area networks such as Amazon’s Sidewalk. Lastly, we talk about subscription options and how to build a plan that works for your audience. Whatever Bensamoun is doing works, because 93% of people who buy the collar subscribe to the service. That’s amazing! Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Jonathan Bensamoun, the CEO and founder of Fi Sponsors: Twilio and Silicon Labs
Does the metaverse have a role in the smart home?
How UWB can help make the smart home better
Where there’s LoRaWAN coverage, and where there isn’t
Why cellular still beats Amazon Sidewalk and LoRaWAN
This week’s podcast is all about Amazon (with a few other stories for variety). We start the show with a rundown of the devices and services Amazon launched at its device drop on Tuesday. We then explain what it means for the smart home and ask if this is what we want. We also question if the Astro robot is really all it seems before offering a public service announcement about updating to iOS 15 beta software. After that, we cover a new Helium miner called Finestra, designed for the mainstream consumer. As an added bonus, the company behind the new miner, Mimiq, is also building LoRaWAN devices, which is desperately needed if we want these networks to actually provide real value. After that, we talk about a smaller satellite signal module that works indoors and an incredibly irritating marketing campaign for the new Flic Twist device that puts me off from what is actually a good idea. Then, Kevin talks about his experience with the new Wyze Cam Pan 2. We close the news segment by answering a listener request for a Spanish-speaking smart home.
Our guest this week continues the Amazon theme. We have Anne Toth, head of Alexa Trust to discuss how Amazon is trying to introduce friction into the Alexa experience as a way to promote privacy and help consumers open up to Alexa at their own pace. She didn’t answer my question about the number of false positives or give me a convincing reason why Alexa keeps interrupting me with suggestions about other things I can do with the device, but she does a good job talking about the challenges of explaining what Alexa does and doesn’t know about people and why people may want Alexa to know more. It’s a good interview, even if I didn’t get all the information I’d like.