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Something about Ivee: Building a voice UI for the smart home

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Smart home, make me a coffee! We’re not there yet, but voice control of our connected homes is something we’ll see this year (in the next month in some cases) so my guest this week was Jonathon Nostrant the cofounder and CEO of Ivee who explained how Ivee wants to help tie together a variety of connected devices already in the home. The platform will work with the Staples Connect Hub and the Lowes Iris system.

But first my colleague Kevin Tofel and I discussed some comments on last week’s podcast.Not everyone is convinced that Bluetooth can overtake Zwave and Zigbee in the smart home, and there are a lot of questions about different ways to tie the internet of things together. We discussed All Joyn and the All Seen Alliance in this context as well as IFTTT. And Kevin wanted a smart lock, but when he couldn’t find a Wi-Fi one he gave up. Kevin’s a sucker for Wi-Fi in the home.

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Host: Stacey Higginbotham
Guests: Kevin Tofel and Jonathon Nostrant the cofounder and CEO of Ivee

Today’s episode is brought to you by Freshbooks.

  • Addressing reader comments on ZigBee, All Joyn and IFTTT
  • Kevin can’t find a Wi-Fi smart lock so went with a dumb one instead
  • What is Ivee and how to use voice macros in the smart home
  • The trouble with voice as a UI


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One Response to “Something about Ivee: Building a voice UI for the smart home”

  1. Colin Robertson

    Thanks for discussing my comments on the last podcast on this episode. It would be awesome to be able to set up different “scenes” throughout your home…

    If you install a whole-home Lutron (or Crestron) system, you can currently do this (at least, with lights and shades). However, that stuff is what I consider “old-school” home automation. Last I looked, the app is terrible, everything needs to be installed (preferably new construction) and the whole setup is prohibitively expensive. If you want their stuff to talk to other smart devices, get a Crestron control system (prohibitively expensive and difficult to program).

    We’re nearly there with “Internet of things” being able to replicate this functionality (and more) at the fraction of the cost, and easily set it all up it ourselves. I question the need for those old-school behemoths to exist. They’re clearly not doing any innovation in the space (at least, not for people outside of the 1%).

    Regarding zigbee and z-wave (don’t forget SonosNet!): these standards might need to exist as more reliable wireless connection methods outside of wifi. If any smart devices use one of these mesh networking methods, they aren’t doomed if Apple never puts a mesh networking radio in the iPhone if they connect to the internet as well as the mesh network. Of course, you need a hub that connects the two, but those are usually small and inexpensive (ie the Sonos bridge).

    I would argue Sonos is the best example of a wide-spread mesh networking technology being used now. Most users aren’t even aware it’s there. They think the speakers work on wifi, when in fact they connect to your network and the internet to get content, but talk to each other via the proprietary SonosNet mesh networking. The hub isn’t even necessary if you can plug one Sonos device into your network directly.

    What do you think?