Episode 229: Check out this new location tech for IoT

This week Kevin and I continue to follow the never-ending saga of companies who sent people’s voice utterances to contractors without disclosure and pile on with more disconcerting news about Amazon’s facial recognition service getting the ability to detect fear. From there we discuss partnerships (LIFX and Brilliant, LG and Lumi); breakups (Microsoft and Johnson Controls, TP Link’s Kasa and HomeKit); and things that aren’t working (Google and Wink). We sprinkle in some Defcon news about acoustic attacks and hacked telephones before finishing with a study about power consumption on your voice-controlled TVs. We then answer a question about automating a bathroom exhaust fan.

Brilliant’s smart lights now work with LIFX.

Our guest this week is Adam Smith, director of marketing at LitePoint, a company that makes wireless test equipment. He came on the show to discuss the reasons LightPoint joined the FiRa Consortium, while also giving a primer on how the location-finding and the security features work. After that, we discuss how he decides which wireless tech to bet on and which ones he’s most excited about today. You’ll learn a lot.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Adam Smith, director of marketing at LitePoint
Sponsors: Nutanix and DigitalOcean

  • Overt surveillance and covert manipulation, coming to a phone near you
  • Take ups and breakups in the smart home
  • Huawei has a new OS to replace Android on its devices
  • What the heck is FiRa and how does it work?
  • Using time of flight to secure a wireless link

 

Episode 222: SmartThings’ new gear and a Wink sighting

This week on the IoT Podcast, Kevin and I spend time discussing Amazon’s new smaller Echo Show and SmartThings’ new trifecta of products.  From there we talk about a frightening new malware that’s bricking IoT devices and its unlikely origin. We check in on schools’ and hospitals use of an unproven AI and microphones to detect violence before it happens. Then it’s on to smart factories, a smarter Raspberry Pi for industrial IoT and a fitness watch that’s really smart. We also mention a small Wink update courtesy of a listener. From there we take a call asking about good leak detection options for a home.

SmartThings launched a bulb, camera and light bulb that could form the basis of a beginner smart home.

This week’s guest is Komathi Stem, the CEO of MonArc Bionetworks, who explains how her background in clinical trials enabled her to see the future of medicine in a world of unproven wearables. Like one of our prior guests, Stem is interested in using remote monitoring provided by connected medical devices to broaden the participants in clinical trials. She is ultimately advocating for personalized and data-driven medicine based on proven devices and algorithms. I don’t know if medicine will adapt but I feel better knowing people such as stem are pushing it to adapt without compromising on proven data.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Komethi Stem, the CEO of MonArc Bionetworks
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Nordic Semiconductor

  • Which is for you, a small Echo Show or a small Nest Hub?
  • This is an absolute unit of a Raspberry Pi
  • June must be smart factories month
  • Medicine needs donated data, but how to protect people from abuse?
  • Personalized medicine will require much more from doctors

 

Episode 219: The summer Q&A episode!

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.

What the heck is up with Wink? We still don’t know.

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.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Sponsors: Dell Technologies and Nordic Semiconductor

Resources from the show:

Episode 206: Why your smart devices cost so much

This week Kevin and I start off the show with a discussion about Google’s new Coral board that provides machine learning at the edge. We then jump to sensor company Centralite’s bankruptcy filing in Alabama. We also discuss the death of Jibo and how the end of Lighthouse meant new patents for Apple. After covering all of that sad news we jump to new Alexa skills, why I want an Alexa Auto, and a new video doorbell from August Home. From there Kevin and I spend the rest of the show discussing the challenges associated with smart home hubs, the best home hubs and why you should delete your devices from your home hubs. We end by answering a listener question about connected car devices for teens.

The Centralite family of products.

Our guest this week is Chrissy Meyer, a partner at Root Ventures and a former product manager at companies that include Square and Apple. She shares her experiences building connected devices, where companies tend to go wrong and what to look for in a manufacturing partner. She also explains why a device that costs $100 to make might end up costing $300 on the shelves at Best Buy. It’s a good conversation for anyone building or buying connected devices.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Chrissy Meyer, a partner at Root Ventures
Sponsors: Afero and Western Digital

  • Why we need machine learning at the edge
  • Could the next Homepod have video?
  • Hubs are complicated even for experts
  • How to give your favorite device startups an extra chance to succeed
  • What to look for in your manufacturing partner

Episode 162: Smart walls and dumb homes

This week Kevin and I discuss Amazon’s big security install reveal and how it made us feel. Plus, a smart home executive leaves Amazon and Facebook’s rumored smart speaker makes another appearance. China is taking surveillance even further and Kevin and I share our thoughts on the state of the smart home, and failed projects. In our news tidbits we cover a possible new SmartThings hub, a boost for ZigBee in the UK, the sale of Withings/Nokia Health, the death of a smart luggage company, and reviews for Google Assistant apps. We also answer a reader question about a connected door lock camera.

The Smart Wall research was conducted at Disney Research. The first step is building a grid of conductive materials. Later, researchers painted over it.

This week’s guest Chris Harrison, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, share his creation of a smarter wall, one that responds to touch and also recognizes electronic activity in the room. We discuss the smart wall, digital paper, how to bring context to the connected home or office, and why you may want to give up on privacy. It’s a fun episode.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Chris Harrison, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University
Sponsors: MachineQ and Twilio

  • A surprise appearance from the Wink hub
  • What happens when IoT can read your thoughts?
  • Kevin swapped hubs and is pretty unhappy about it
  • A cheap way to make connected paper
  • Go ahead, rethink you walls

Episode 143: The IoT dystopia episode

This week’s episode starts out with a pretty grim perspective, with Kevin Tofel and I discussing what the end of net neutrality means for the internet of things. We then talk about facial recognition technology in the U.S. and in China. We try  to lighten the mood with discussion of the IOTA blockchain for the internet of things, a $99 doorbell, the reviews of the Amazon Echo Spot, and new skills for Wink. We also discuss data on IoT device consumption. This week, we answer a listener question about why someone might want a hub for his or her smart home.

Blink offers a $99 video doorbell to go with its lines of battery-powered cameras.

In keeping with our dystopian worldview, the guest this week is Janice Tsai from Mozilla who discusses privacy for IoT and Mozilla’s Holiday Buyers guide. Janice  and I discuss what risks connected devices pose, the things consumers should look for and what she’d like to see companies do to protect user privacy. The show wasn’t quite what I imagined for right before the holiday, but maybe it’s a good way to head into the new year, ready to face the good and the bad that connected tech can bring.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Janice Tsai, senior HCI research scientist, Mozilla
Sponsors: ADT and FSG

  • What does face recognition at scale mean?
  • Check out what blockchain can offer IoT
  • Welcome to price pressure in the smart home
  • This rubber duck needs your location
  • What consumers need to know about device privacy

Episode 139: The 2017 IoT Podcast Gift Guide!

You guys, this week’s podcast is all about the toys. Specifically toys for your kids, your dog and your loved ones. In the last year Kevin and I have tried many devices and have compiled our experiences into a gift guide for the connected life. You’ll find both our favorites like the June oven and utilitarian objects like the Ecobee 4 thermostat among a $20 smart camera and $30 motion sensor for kids. We also handled the few news items for the week– namely Apple deciding to delay the sale of the Home Pod.

This is the $20 Wyze camera. It’s a solid gift.

We also took on an incredibly topical question from Aaron in Ontario who asked about heating cables for his roof and recommended switches for automating outdoor holiday lights. As a Texan I’m drawing a blank on the remote control for the heating cables, but I shared my favorite outdoor-rated smart plugs with him. This year there have been a bunch of new Wi-Fi options, which is awesome. Enjoy the show.

  • I’m losing faith in HomeKit again
  • This year’s best gifts for the smart home
  • The best connected gifts for kids
  • Cool connected stocking stuffers
  • Crazy expensive stuff that is hard to justify

Episode 138: Wink’s security system review and Las Vegas is a smart city

There was a lot of small news this week including updates to the Google Home/Assistant ecosystem that Kevin and I discuss on this week’s podcast. I share my feelings on the Google Mini and then we segue into a conversation about Google’s new AI framework for embedded devices that launched this week. We also discuss the push by smart home and lock companies to give delivery or service people access to your home. SmartThings gets local control for some devices this week. Kevin reviews the Wink Lookout security bundle and we take a listener question about what to look for in a smart home camera.

The Wink Lookout bundle works right out of the box.

Our guest this week is awesome. I speak with Michael Sherwood, Director of Technology and Innovation City of Las Vegas, about plans for a traffic light that detects pollution and can send cars along before it builds up, and what it really means to build a smart city. Sherwood shares a lot of good insights about the challenges of building a smart city that we don’t often see. It’s a good show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Michael Sherwood Director of Technology and Innovation City of Las Vegas
Sponsors: SparkCognition and ADT

  • Google’s making some changes to Now and Google Assistant
  • Who would you let into your home alone?
  • Wink’s new security system has one big flaw
  • How a smart city gets that way
  • This is the biggest challenge halting innovation in smart cities

Episode 135: Amazon wants your key and Vodafone wants your sensor data

The home security train just keeps on rolling in the smart home with Amazon offering a connected camera and door lock combo to enfold Prime Members even more deeply into the ecosystem and Wink launching a new security package for its members. Also on the home front Kevin Tofel and I discuss the new lighting startup Noon, which launches Thursday. We also talk about some new devices including a $20 camera and a Google Assistant intercom system before answering a question from Derek about how to integrate a bunch of devices together using an Android app. And because today ends in Y we also have a security story with Reaper as well as ARM’s new IoT security effort.

The Noon lighting system on a wall.

The guest this week is Phil Skipper of Vodafone who shares the details of building a low power wide area network using cellular. Skipper is betting on NB-IoT, and he explains the role it will play compared with Cat M and even alternatives like LoRa. He also discusses how companies are using, securing and pricing NB-IoT services. I learned a lot about new business models for IoT in this conversation. Enjoy the show!

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Phil Skipper of Vodafone
Sponsors: SAP and ADT

  • Amazon’s Key and Wink’s new security system are part of a trend
  • Noon’s lighting system is pretty cool
  • It’s not IoT exactly, but you should fear Reaper
  • Why choose NB-IoT over other low power network options
  • A glass break sensor can teach us new business models for IoT

Episode 123: Whatever happened to Wink and DefCon’s greatest hacks

Security was a big topic this week in the internet of things, so on the podcast we talk about news from Defcon, efforts to hack the Amazon Echo and our take on the Senate’s new IoT security bill. We also cover the week’s big news of the Wink platform getting sold to Will.i.am, Eero’s new employees and $50 million for TrackR, the Bluetooth-based tracking company. Kevin and I also highlight a product that we think is silly and discuss the future of bikes in a world of autonomous cars. Oh, and we answer a reader’s question, recommending this for lighting without a neutral wire and this for gaining voice control for your AV system.

The TrackR Atlas will one day provide location information inside the home.

The industrial and enterprise IoT folks will want to stay tuned for my interview with Microsoft’s Sam George, who heads up the Azure IoT Platform. George and I have had a few conversations in the last two years covering where the IT world stops and the real world begins. We talk about this plus the right architectures for the edge and a bit about Microsoft’s stance on cybersecurity. Finally, he shares a story from the Internet of Twizzlers.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Sam George of Microsoft
Sponsors: HiQo Solutions and Eero

  • This is not the IoT security law we need
  • Will.i.am doesn’t have Kevin’s endorsement
  • We answer a reader’s A/V and lighting question
  • How Microsoft thinks about security in the overall IoT ecosystem
  • How Hershey’s uses IoT to save money on sweets