Today’s show is our 350th episode, so we start off with a little bit of celebration before hitting half a dozen pieces of Amazon-related news, including the AWS outage that took out many smart home services, and a newly submitted FCC listing that could be a big deal for those needing a low-power wide-area network. Then we mention Amazon’s latest Halo device and the new Amazon Alexa Together service, which launched this week (it works with a radar sensor from Vayyar to monitor for falls). Then we talk about long-term support for FreeRTOS and an update bringing Alexa smart home capabilities to the FireTV platform. After all that time on Amazon, we then turn to some LiFi news and a bit on how LiFi could be adapted to become relevant for the IoT. Then, we celebrate again over Sonos’ plan to design its devices to last longer and be easily recycled when they reach the end of life. We also cover some slimy data practices by Life360, a big round of funding for IoT platform Afero, and a new Thread-capable device from Eve. Finally, we end by answering a listener question about smart smoke detectors.
This week’s guest is Phil Carter, director of managed print and IoT services at Lexmark, the printer giant. He’s on the show to share what Lexmark has learned through more than a decade of managing millions of connected printers around the world. He shares how the company built a predictive maintenance program, uses sensor data from printers to redesign new printers to handle common problems, and even discusses how connected devices help with Lexmark’s sustainability goals. Lexmark has taken its expertise and created its own IoT platform called Optra. Lexmark launched the first Optra service this year, and Carter talks about why Lexmark launched the platform and why it felt that a consulting element was essential for the platform. It’s a very practical interview for those trying to build and manage a bunch of connected devices
JD Roberts says
I really like the current generation of Nest Protect smoke detectors, although right now they don’t integrate with anything else we have.
There are several acoustic sensors that can listen for the standard US residential smoke alarm pattern and give you an alert in addition to the Guard service from Amazon. Which one will be a candidate for any individual home depends in part on what other devices you have.
Note that these were only work with US smoke detectors. Smoke detectors in other regions have a different sound pattern.
1) Kidde, a long established smoke detector company, was one of the first to market in this device class with their RemoteLync WiFi plug in acoustic sensor.
This has an IFTTT channel, so there are lots of integration options, but of course everything is cloud-based.
This device is widely available, including at Home Depot and Amazon.
2) Ring has a zwave Alarm Listener which is intended to let you bring in existing dumb smoke sensors or even nest protects into a ring security system. This works well, and communication is local to the ring base station which has its own cellular module, so in a lot of ways this makes more sense for a smoke alarm detection add-on.
3) Ecolink makes the “Firefighter” acoustic sensors, one model in US Z wave and one model in Zigbee, which work well if you have a hub like SmartThings or Vera or Hubitat,
4) Not an acoustic sensor, but the Starling Home Hub can be used to bring nest devices, including the nest protects, into HomeKit. This is pretty simple to use (much simpler than most homebridge implementations) and works well. The integration with Nest cameras is somewhat limited, but the integration with Nest protects is exactly what you want it to be. Everything runs locally, the protects show up as smoke and CO detectors, you can trigger automations like turning on lights and unlocking doors when smoke is detected.
5) The echo guard is a cool feature, but it will only work in away mode, and fire safety is one of those things where many people are more concerned about what happens when the residents are home. So that’s just something to be aware of. You’ll need to look into the details to see if it will match your use case.
If you have a HomeKit home, personally I would definitely recommend nest protects and the starling home hub.
If you’re using ring security, the ring acoustic sensor is a really good choice and lets you bring in any smoke detectors, even dumb ones. Or again, nest protects.
If you have a Z wave or zigbee hub, the ecolink devices are worth looking at. You may have local options with this, you may not, it depends on the hub.
Echo and Kidde both depend on Wi-Fi communication to the Internet. For me, that feels a little iffy for fire safety, but it will work for some people and it can certainly be a good place to start. And the fact that these will work in any home that has Wi-Fi is definitely a plus.
So lots of choices, it just comes down to the details for each household.