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Podcast: We’re thankful for smart cows

Heading into the holiday weekend, Kevin and I share what we’re thankful for (mostly y’all, our sponsors, each other, and Thread), while also talking about the sad sale of Tile to Life360. We also discuss ClevrQeexo, and efforts to make AI accessible to people who can’t or don’t want to code. After that, I discuss my desire for a new activity tracker and the rise of Wear OS. We also talk about a new HomeKit camera from Aqara that’s pretty fancy without having a high-end price tag before diving into some of the financials and data from Samsara’s IPO filing. This week on the IoT Podcast Hotline, we answer a listener question about the anti-drunk driving provision in the Build Back Better legislation.

Smaxtec can track the health of cows for better milk and fewer farts.

Our guest this week is Stefan Scherer, the CEO of Smaxtec, a company making health sensors for dairy cows. First, we learn a lot about cows and how to assess temperature, motion, and data on acidity from a cow’s stomach and translate that into health metrics. Then we talk about the challenges of building a sensor that’s rugged enough to last three to five years in a cow’s stomach as well as the challenges of keeping such a device connected. With this data, farmers are able to track disease spread in dairy cows and prevent costly illnesses that could mean their milk gets tossed, while also tracking data that can help prevent cow farts from causing as much damage to the environment through the release of methane. You’re going to learn a lot about cows and a lot about solving a connectivity problem I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Stacey Higginbotham

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  • The Tile sale was a DISASTER for investors (over $170 million raised with a $205 million exit), but not surprising in the least. The product was poorly executed from the beginning - inadequate volume on the tiles, terribly inaccurate near range location, and not a big enough community. And to blow through that much $$$ for such a relatively simple product is just absurd.

    In typical Apple fashion, they waited until they could do it right, which they did with the Apple Tag - very good "last mile" location with UWB, a huge network of "sensors", and a far better app experience.

    Good riddance, Tile.

  • Interestingly, Life360 made an acquisition deal for another hardware tracker, Jiobit, just 6 months ago. Jiobit is a wearable for kids, pets, and adults who are wanderers (typically dementia) that allows caregivers to track them. It was a very natural fit for Life360. Jiobit has a lot of features that Tile doesn’t, but at a much higher price tag. ($130 for the tracker plus a monthly fee of $15.) Life360 also announced about 6 weeks ago that they are starting a pilot project with Amazon to see if Jiobit will fit well with Sidewalk. The advantage to Jiobit would be better battery life.

    We’ll have to see how Tile fits into all that.

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Stacey Higginbotham

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