This week’s guest is Ran Roth, CEO and co-founder of Sensibo, a maker of smart HVAC controllers. The add-on devices connect to window units, mini splits and other A/C and heating units that use IR controllers. We talk about smart energy and the road the company has taken since its founding in 2014. But most of our conversation focuses on how Sensibo is using ChatGPT to improve the user experience with its devices. Roth also hints at other potential use cases for ChatGPT that are less intuitive, and explains how he thinks the availability of large language models will help companies that have access to them use their data more easily. He likens it to the shift that Amazon’s cloud computing had on innovation after AWS launched cloud computing (EC2) in 2006. He then talks about what he’s learned so far and the concerns people have around AI and privacy. It’s a good show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Ran Roth, CEO and co-founder of Sensibo Sponsors: Blynk and Particle
As expected, Google’s Pixel tablet isn’t a major improvement for the smart home
Better energy harvesting from Dracula sucks more power from light
Broadcom’s chips could lead to smartphones with Zigbee or Thread
How Sensibo is using ChatGPT to parse a lot of data
What Sensibo has learned about using generative AI
Our guest this week is Tarun Gupta, the chief product officer at Skylo, a company that is using existing satellite infrastructure to converge satellite and cellular networks. Gupta explains what satellite connectivity is good for in the IoT, and how we can expect convergence between the cellular and satellite networks to occur. He also explains why Apple’s and Qualcomm’s satellite approaches differ from other options out there, and how the latest release of the LTE standard will drive the convergence between cellular and satellite networks. We then discuss the concerns around space trash and whether companies need to own their own constellation of satellites. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Tarun Gupta, the chief product officer at Skylo Sponsors: OnLogic and Silicon Labs
Why 6G is ready-made for the industrial IoT
We need a Matter-like standard for devices aimed at aging in place
DoorBird’s new firewall is an interesting approach to security risks
Why satellite connectivity is everywhere this year
These are the best use cases for satellite coverage in IoT
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.
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.
We don’t have a guest this week so we dove right back into the news with a trio of big fundings for the internet of things. First up is funding for a satellite IoT company called OQ that is special because it can use existing NB-IoT and LTE-M radios. The second funding is $140 million for Morse Micro, a chip company that is making chips for Wi-Fi HaLow deployments. The final funding is for Flair, a maker of connected HVAC vents for the home, which raised $7.6 million. We then talk about Ring adding end-to-end encryption for its wireless doorbell and video camera products, new ways to address your Nest Hub Max without saying “Hey Google” first, and new lights from Philips Hue. I also review the Hue Tap Dial Switch and realize my love of buttons is going to force me to do some serious work when Matter arrives. We end the show by answering a listener question about a smart button (or maybe a dumb one) for a smart garage door opener.
Our guest this week is Daniel dos Santos, head of security research at Vedere, a business unit of Forescout. He’s on the show to discuss why Forescout released 56 new OT vulnerabilities dubbed ICEFALL. He shares the design flaws that led to these vulnerabilities and more importantly, explains what needs to happen if compromised controllers or devices can’t be fixed. He also shares a startling stat about how many industrial customers are actually updating their devices after a vulnerability has been disclosed, and how to encourage more of them to address security flaws. If you want to learn more abut securing critical infrastructure, this is a good place to start.
Our guest this week is Oisin Hanrahan who is the CEO of Angi, the home services company formerly known as Angie’s List. He’s on the show to talk about startling data his company discovered late last year. According to Angi’s data, for the first time ever, smart home investments were in the top three home improvements made by homeowners. Hanrahan explains what homeowners are doing and why they are willing to invest in more technology. He also offers advice to device makers who want to attract the pro-installer business and makes recommendations on how pros think about the smart home. It’s a great interview.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Oisin Hanrahan, CEO of Angi Sponsors: Rightpoint and Hologram
Nvidia may be giving up on its ARM-acquisition
$52 billion for U.S. chip factories won’t fix the real problem
Peloton could learn a thing or two from Apple
Painting, bathroom remodels, and smart home drive home improvements
We start this week’s show with a look at a new surveillance law in Australia that seemingly obliterates a lot of protections around how law enforcement officials can access data and what they can do with it. We also talk about a survey conducted in the U.S. that shows how willing many Americans are to share their data in exchange for cheaper insurance. From there we cover new fundings for Brilliant, Wirepas, and Carbon Robotics. For those eager for an update on Helium’s 5G plans, the Freedom Fi hotspots will hit the market on Sept. 28. We also have updates on new products and features from the maker of Philips Hue devices, Spotify, Google, and Amazon Alexa. We end with a question from David about how to avoid the problems associated with adding new devices or hubs to his smart home network.
Our guest this week is Charles Young, the EVP and COO of Invitation Homes, a company that leases single-family homes. He’s on the show to discuss how Invitation Homes plans to add smart devices to its portfolio of 80,000 homes and to talk about the challenges of managing that many devices. We discuss the future of predictive maintenance across the portfolio, the savings the company has already achieved, and plans for new features such as video doorbells. We also talk about the perceived longevity for different device types in the smart home. And of course, we talk about how the company handles privacy. It’s a fun interview.
Our guest this week is Shaun Cooley, CEO of Mapped, who is on the show explaining why smart buildings are getting more attention lately. We talk about what matters for real estate with the ongoing pandemic (I can no longer bring myself to say Post-COVID, y’all) and a renewed focus on energy savings. For the nerds, we cover technologies and data layers such as Haystack, Brick, and Microsoft’s Real Estate Core for building digital twins. He also shares his thoughts on how buyers are maturing when it comes to evaluating the security of their tech purchases. It seems buyers are asking more questions and better questions, which can only be a good thing. I agree.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Shaun Cooley, CEO of Mapped Sponsors: Very
We have a good idea/bad idea segment this week
Wyze has $110 million in new funding for AI
Home Assistant gets energy monitoring as a feature
Our guest this week is Manolo Arana, GM of Amazon’s Sidewalk network. He explains how the network will work for consumers and device makers. For now, you’ll need an Amazon device with a Sidewalk-compatible radio in it to connect devices to the network. We also talk about how much bandwidth Amazon wants to use on your network and which radios will support the Sidewalk protocol. For those wondering when we’ll see devices for the network and how much it will cost, he talks about that too. Enjoy.