It’s time for the end-of-year question and answer episode where Kevin and I tinker, search Google, and ask companies for help answering your questions about the smart home. We start with a broad category of questions related to your needs outside that mostly require some kind of low power wide area network to work. Then we focus on Wi-Fi by answering a question about what to look for in a mesh Wi-Fi router and automating your home using your phone attaching to the in-home Wi-Fi as opposed to using GPS.
For the second half of the show, we touch twice on my favorite topic — lighting! We answer a question for help finding a few smart bulb options that are super bright. Then we talk about smart bulbs that you could take on the road, because why not make your hotel room or Airbnb smart? We get tactical with specific sensors to address a request for a hidden open/close sensor for a door and steer y’all away from a product that seemed too good to be true. Finally, we talk about why you might see declining stocks of SmartThings hubs. It’s not because SmartThings is going away, it’s just that Samsung, which owns the company, isn’t focusing on building its own hardware anymore. Enjoy the show, and we’ll be back next week with our traditional format!
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
I need a smart driveway, shed, or garden soil sensor outside of Wi-Fi range
Help me find a camera for the great outdoors
What features matter in a Wi-Fi router?
Can you find a smart bulb that’s more than 1,000 lumens?
Our guest this week is Nick Kucharewski, VP and GM of wired and wireless infrastructure and networking at Qualcomm. He’s on the show to explain where Wi-Fi is heading in the next few years and why you should upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 if you’re in the market for a new router. He also makes the case for a new router even if you don’t think you need one. And he explains what we can expect from home Wi-Fi in the future such as security services, monitoring of the elderly, and more. But the next generation of Wi-Fi isn’t something that will come in a box; it’s something you’ll pay subscription fees for. Enjoy the show.
This week’s guest is Vahid Manian, the COO of Morse Micro, a company building a radio chip for Wi-Fi HaLow. If you are unfamiliar with the standard, that’s because after the Wi-Fi Alliance launched it in 2017, no one got excited about the so-called Wi-Fi for IoT. So far, I can’t think of a single company pushing forward with Wi-Fi HaLow devices or silicon, outside of Morse Micro. But Manian explains what Wi-Fi HaLow is good for, and why we might see it used for sending video over longer distances. I don’t know if I’m sold, but he says we can expect some devices using the tech in the middle of next year, so I’m willing to wait and see. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Daniel Rausch, VP of Smart Home, Amazon who runs through some of the bigger announcements from the Amazon Alexa and services event on Wednesday. We cover why Alexa has moved beyond a physical device to become a digital assistant and platform. We talk about how Amazon wants to make money on that platform as well as some of the new devices that will showcase Alexa. These include Frames and the Loop ring. Plus, we do a deeper dive into Sidewalk, Amazon’s new wireless protocol for the front yard (and maybe more). Rausch ends by telling us how long we’ll take to see Amazon deliver a truly smart, proactive home.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Daniel Rausch, VP of Smart Home, Amazon Sponsors: Control4 and HiveMQ
Are cameras the secret to smart home dominance?
The pros and cons of voice interoperability
This Wi-Fi plus LoRaWAN plan isn’t too crazy
The digital assistant is the new tech platform and Alexa is queen
Twice a year Kevin and I gather up a bunch of your questions from the Internet of Things Podcast Hotline and find answers for them. The episode stars all of our listeners and this time around y’all want to know about helping students build Amazon Alexa skills, how to use a sensor to track when the washer or dryer is done, and how to know when you left the stove on. Y’all also asked for an update on my Grand Google Home experiment, which caused my family to mutiny.
Smarter appliances were a big trend this episode, but y’all also wanted a smarter mailbox, an update on Wink and the safest way to set up a Wi-Fi network for your devices. Sadly, we recorded this before Apple shared the news that it would work with router makers to create a separate network for IoT devices. John asked a question about surge protectors for IoT devices, which was honestly something I had never considered. Kevin thinks it’s a good idea for those higher priced items. We round it out with a question from Kiril about which tablet he should buy to support remote monitoring of his Ring doorbell. We hope you enjoy the show, and appreciate Schlage and Afero for their continued support of the IoT Podcast Hotline.
This week’s guest is Mariel Devesa, global head of business at Phyn who discusses why insurance firms have been slow to underwrite more smart home devices and what we can expect going forward. One potential future involves companies bidding for our business based on feeds of smart home data showing how low our risk profiles are. Because Phyn is a leak prevention sensor, she also spends a chunk of time talking about water damage and how to find algorithms to build a compelling product. Enjoy the glimpse into our future.
We continue with the space theme with this week’s guest Matthew Prince, who is the cofounder and CEO of Cloudflare, discussing a future version of the internet that would even handle the rigors of space travel. We talk about building an internet that is cheaper, distributed and not beholden to Google, Amazon and Facebook. We also talk about Cloudflare’s Workers edge computing platform, cheaper bandwidth and more. It’s a show that will make you feel smarter.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Matthew Prince, who is the co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare Sponsor: Cognizant and Auklet
What’s up with Wi-Fi’s new branding?
The internet is going to space thanks to Amazon and Iridium
Four ways to use your open/close sensors
How the Bandwidth Alliance could save you money
Cloudflare updated its faster edge computing platform hosted around the globe
Our guest this week is Matt Van Horn, who is the CEO of June. This week June launched a second generation oven that is roughly a third of the price of the original. Van Horn shares how June made that possible, how the company is using data to improve the user experience and why he’s not going into meal delivery kits anytime soon. He also shares a recipe for S’mores. Enjoy the show.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Matt Van Horn of June
Sponsors: NETGEAR and Afero
We’re going to ditch screens for voices in our ears
For the guest segment, I visit with Cyrus Farivar, who is a reporter at Ars Technica and wrote a book on surveillance tech called “Habeas Data”. We discuss the current legal underpinnings of privacy law in the US and how it has evolved. Our conversation covers the recently decided Carpenter case, the 1967 case that established the concept of a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and how the government could use our connected devices against us. You’ll learn a lot, but you may want to unplug your Echo.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel Guest: Cyrus Farivar author of “Habeas Data” Sponsor: Control4
How to reset connected devices and be a decent human being
Y’all had some great ideas on connected cameras
Alexa, ask Delta to turn on faucet
Where the expectation of privacy came from
What to ask device makers about government snooping
I was at the Parks Connections event that covers the smart home this week, so I share a few thoughts on what’s holding back adoption and how to think about using AI to create a smart home. From there, Kevin talks about the new meeting function offered by Alexa and we add nuance to the debate over Amazon selling facial recognition software to police. We then dig into some additional doubts about the new Wi-Fi EasyMesh standard, cover Comcast expanding the places it offers new Wi-Fi pods, discuss funding for a smart light switch company and new Arduino boards. For the more industrial and maker minded, we talk about Ayla adding Google Cloud as a hosting option and Kevin shares how we put our IoT hotline into the cloud. Finally, we answer a question about getting different bulbs to work together before switching to our guest.
This week’s guest is Mitch Bowling, the CEO of Sears Home Services, who gives me the answer to what Sears plans to do with its acquisition of Wally sensor business back in 2015. I have been wondering what happened to Wally inside Sears for years. He also discusses how Sears can use IoT to make appliance repair better and the plans to add smart home installation services. Enjoy the show.