#003 – Things Thursday – Triby Uses Amazon Echo integration and Always On Microphones & More!!

Triby is the first third-party device using Amazon's Echo/Alexa platform in its system.

Triby is the first third-party device using Amazon’s Echo/Alexa platform in its system.

Some cool tech this week…but is it always listening to you? What should you consider when buying new IoT devices? Check it out in Things Thursday.

  1. Triby is Your Rather Cute Alexa-Powered, Family-Friendly Home Hub (Via TheNextWeb)
    Very interested in this device. The Triby is intended for families to have on their fridges and to be a hub for their lives, not just smart home devices. Messages can be sent to the mini screen and phone calls can be broadcast through it. There’s also an internet call feature and a little physical flag that pops out when you have a message. But it doesn’t stop there. This is the first device to use Amazon Echo’s Alexa SDK integrations. Meaning, anything you can do with an Amazon Echo, you can do with this device. It goes for $199 and we have one on order for testing purposes.
  2. Always On: Privacy Implications of Microphone-Enabled Devices (Via Re/code)
    So now that I have one of the Tribys on order…I can’t wait to think about if it’s always listening to me. We’ve got Echos in the labs and we’ve talked about this, but having smart TVs listening to you and companies that manufacture them are telling you to not have private conversations in front of them is a bit unsettling. What will our future hold for us in this space? What is privacy going to mean in the near future? The paper is worth checking out and we will most likely be posting more on this in the near future.
  3. Things to Consider Before Buying ‘Internet of Things’ Gadgets (Via Pioneer Press)
    Interesting thought piece about some of the issues surrounding smart devices. What if the person who installed the devices is no longer at the home using them? How do others in the house cope? What will make a device useful and not cause anxiety? They talk about Google Glass and how it caused those around the person wearing them to wonder if they were being recorded. There’s some of this with the smart home and cameras. For the most part this article is good and gives some good advice on smart devices.

That’s it for this week. What do you think? Have something you’d like us to cover? Let us know in the comments below!!

#002 – Things Thursday – Forget Wearables, Here Come Implantables and Standards!!

Devices like the Michigan Micro Mote could soon be part of a new ecosystem in the Internet of Things space called implantables. https://www.flickr.com/photos/26556146@N07/16254814400/in/album-72157650084451358/

Devices like the Michigan Micro Mote could soon be part of a new ecosystem in the Internet of Things space called implantables. https://www.flickr.com/photos/26556146@N07/16254814400/in/album-72157650084451358/

This is a truly mixed bag this week. From implanted devices to government policy. We really threw it around this week. We’re interested in your feedback and questions about smart home technology and would love to

  1. Top 10 Implantable Wearables Soon To Be In Your Body (Via WTVox)
    Forget putting on your Fitbit…what if you had it embedded in your arm and it could stream data to your apps and even your doctor? We’re not that far off. WTVox looks at 10 technologies that are coming that we can wear in us. From smart organs to smart dust like the M3 at the University of Michigan. The point being made here is that wearables are a ‘transition technology’ until we can refine motes to reside in us. There are both positives and negatives to this. I am interested in the verified self, where a chip is embedded that can be used to identify you for purchases, unlocking your door or other security-related devices. It can also be used in the event of a natural disaster to locate people or even use for emergencies in office buildings. This is pretty controversial and I’m interested in what your thoughts are?
  2. IoT Challenges to Ponder Before Writing Checks (via RTInsights)
    I like this piece because it aligns nicely with our approach to this space. We think that there is a need for some type of standardization, that data privacy is important and that there needs to be a clearly defined set of use cases. The market will decide and is already pushing for things. Coldwell Banker/CNET’s recent survey shows that by the end of this year, 45% of consumers will have purchased some type of smart home technology. It also shows that 54% of sellers will install smart home tech if it means their homes will sell faster. But what to buy? Our advice is that you want to understand what ecosystem a platform supports. There are a few choices on the market. Amazon Echo ($179) and Echo Dot ($90) can connect to a ton of devices and has now made it easer for smart home companies to integrate into the Echo platform. Here are links to see which devices work with Nest, SmartThings, Apple and Wink. One app or control point is much easier than several apps for several devices and it seems these companies are now starting to figure that out.
  3. Looks like President Obama cares about the IoT (via Internet of Business)
    The Department of Commerce is starting to see what it can do about IoT security and privacy. The DoC’s group National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is working to determine how the government should be involved in this space, if at all. We’ve been invited to comment on this proposal and will be doing so in the coming month. Do you think the government should be involved in this?
  4. 3 Standards We Need for Smart Home Security (via ITProPortal)
    Again with the standards! Stefan Swanepoel talks about what will take to have IoT devices adopted by consumers. He even mentions….CRTLabs! He’s right though…consumers are ready for this, but we need to make sure their security and safety are considered. Kudos Stefan!

That’s it for this week. What do you think? Have something you’d like us to cover? Let us know in the comments below!!

#001 – Things Thursday – AI is Here, are You Ready?, Stopping the Revolv-alution, & more

1. Artificial Intelligence and Voice - 2. Revolv shuts down - 3. How to secure your smart home

1. Artificial Intelligence and voice – 2. Revolv shuts down – 3. How to secure your smart home

This week we look at the themes of privacy and security and obsolescence. As we enter into the internet of things and these services working more closely together, we also have to deal with the fact that some of the services we become dependent on can go away. And, will the Atlantic Council and I Am The Calvary’s issue brief encourage vendors to make smart home security a top priority? I hope so!

  1. Terrifyingly Convenient (Via Slate)
    A recent cover story from Slate highlights the convenience of artificial intelligence (AI) products like the Amazon Echo, Siri, Cortana and Facebook M, while also pointing to its challenges. We can control smart home devices, search everything, check weather, add reminders to our calendars and shopping lists, all with our voice. What’s interesting to me here is how quickly AI has become a household item. As the article states, we’ve become willing participants:

    That Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies have effectively humanized their software in this way, with little fanfare and scant resistance, represents a coup of sorts. Once we perceive a virtual assistant as human, or at least humanoid, it becomes an entity with which we can establish humanlike relations.

  2. That Time Tony Fadell Sold Me a Container of Hummus (via Arlo Gilbert on Medium)
    Revolv was one of the smart home hubs I initially covered a couple of years ago on our CRT blog and was one I was most excited to test. Unfortunately, Nest bought them and stopped selling them before I could buy one. They seemed to be the perfect hub for the smart home. Well, last month, Revolv announced that their service would no longer work as of May 15, 2016. What this means is all Revolv hubs will stop working as of that day. No more control of your smart home using these hubs. One thing that’s irked customers is how little notice they were given that something they depend on is being decommissioned. Another is that a device they integrated into their routine and is necessary for the control of their other devices is not obsolete after only about 2 years on the market. The worry is that any smart device you buy could be in this same situation.
  3. 9 Ways to Make Your Smart Home More Secure (via PCMag)
    Stacey Higginbotham covers the work of the Atlantic Council in partnership with I Am The Calvary to help secure the smart home. As the article states, 66% of customers are concerned about the security of smart home devices. I Am The Calvary is a team of Info Security researchers who’ve also worked to secure the auto industry’s onboard computer systems. I’m excited to read the entire report, but the list of ways to secure your smart home is definitely worth reviewing. You can find the issue brief here. By the way, Stacey also has a podcast where she addresses this topic as well. NOTE: I was a guest a few weeks back talking about CRT’s role in this space.

That’s it for this week. What do you think? Have something you’d like us to cover? Let us know in the comments below!!

CRTLabs On the Road for April 2016 – Las Vegas, Utah, San Antonio & more!!

From Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/gcDwzUGuUoI

From Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/gcDwzUGuUoI

Part of our work at CRT takes us on the road several times a month. We are going to try to keep a better record of events we’re speaking at and events we’re attending. For this month, there are several events happening all over the country. If your association is interested in having us at an event, please feel free to reach out to us at info at crtlabs dot org. Thanks!

  1. Friday, 04/08Las Vegas, NV – Speaking at Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS – General Membership Meeting – Chad will be speaking on what’s coming in the not too distant future and what you can do to prepare yourself. All GLVAR members are welcome to attend!!
  2. Tuesday, 04/12Park City, UT – Speaking at Rocky Mountain Region 11 2016 ConferenceREGISTRATION CLOSES 04/04. Chad will be presenting on what CRTLabs is and what we’re doing to educate membership on smart home devices. What do these devices mean for the future of your business?
  3. Tuesday, 04/12Atlanta, GA – Working at 2016 RAMCO User Group Meeting – Dave is going to be working with RAMCO and teaching a seminar on RAMCO APIs. Dave is also happy to field any questions about what we are doing at CRTLabs. 🙂
  4. Tuesday, 04/12San Antonio, TX – Speaking at NAR TechEdge – San Antonio, TX – Joe Sullivan will be presenting on IoT (Internet of Things) and how it relates to your business. Joe will talk about what the future of these devices will look like as well. Zero UI and user experience will be covered in this talk.
  5. Tuesday, 4/19-4/21 – Chicago, IL – Speaking at RESO Spring ConferenceData standards galore for our industry!!! Chad & Chris will present on what CRTLabs is up to for the real estate industry. If you’re working with data in the RE industry, definitely become a member of RESO and come on over to this event! You can even squeeze in a visit to our labs. 🙂
  6. Friday, 04/22 – Omaha, NE – Speaking at REBarCampOmaha – Chad will be one of the featured speakers, covering what you can do to educate yourself on smart home tech and how you can help CRT test devices.
  7. Tuesday, 04/26-Friday, 04/29 – Los Angeles, CA – Attending T3 SummitChad will be attending the T3 Summit to spread our work on the smart home and IoT front, as well as renewables.

That’s it for this month. Next month? Midyear looms large! Will we see you there?