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 283: Cloudflare’s CEO on ethics and building out edge computing

ARM is back in our news lineup this week, as Kevin and I discuss who might be interested in buying the chip design company and why it decided not to spin out its IoT assets. We also talk about a new lock that opens with a touch, biometrics on other locks, and Fitbit’s new wearables. Some Roomba vacuums received a new update that makes them easier to control via voice and we talk about appliance companies’ approaches toward IoT security updates. Spoiler alert: they’re mostly not great. Then we cover a new product from Mueral, data on LPWAN adoption and satellite networks for IoT. We also answer a listener question about what the success of Project CHIP might mean for Zigbee and Z-wave.

The Level lock with touch or a keycard retails for $329 and doesn’t have the clunky hardware associated with most connected locks. Image courtesy of Level.

This week’s guest is Matthew Prince, the CEO of Cloudflare who starts off with a history of computing and an insight into his college dorm room decor. The history will be especially valuable for folks who are not in the IT world but who have to deal with it thanks to the IoT. Prince then discusses what comes after containers and talks about what drives usage on his company’s distributed edge compute service. Then, he explains why he views his engineering work through the lens of others, and how Cloudflare tries to make ethical decisions when building products and offering them. It’s a good interview.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Matthew Prince, the CEO of Cloudflare
Sponsors: Very and Silicon Labs

  • Why ARM isn’t spinning out its IoT assets
  • Fitbit has a new, wellness device
  • Let’s talk about security in appliances
  • How computing has moved from individual servers to containers
  • How to create a culture where engineers can discuss ethics

 

Episode 200: These are the features that matter in the smart kitchen

This week’s podcast kicks off with a discussion about property owners forcing smart apartments on renters. The discussion was sparked by a series of tweets. Kevin and I discovered the name of the company behind the service and cover some of the challenges associated with the proposition. (Here’s a hack of the device on GitHub.) From there we talk about various device and subscription cleanses and new low-power Wi-Fi chips. There’s also a new gateway for the abode security system, a setback for Microsoft’s Cortana and Kevin’s rediscovery of Node-RED. In our voicemail, we answer a question about finding smart lights that are equivalent to 100-watt bulbs.

Abode launched a new hub with 4G cellular and improved Z-wave security.

Our guest this week is Michael Wolf, the creator of the Smart Kitchen Summit and publisher of The Spoon, which covers food tech. We talk first about the state of the smart kitchen and where various appliance manufacturers are in adopting connectivity. He then goes through all the major appliances and explains which features I should look for when I’m shopping for new white goods in the next 18 months or so. We end with a discussion about the Wirecutter’s shocking (to us) review of the June oven. There’s a lot to talk about.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Michael Wolf, the creator of the Smart Kitchen Summit and the publisher of The Spoon
Sponsors: FairCom and Afero

  • Tenants have the right to avoid the smart home
  • I dumped smart devices and Kevin sumped subscriptions
  • Abode does a gateway upgrade right
  • Your new fridge absolutely needs a camera
  • But does your oven need a screen?