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!!