Graphic showing Internet of Things news

Are we ready for big tech to invade our health and wellness? Sure, the FDA is actively trying to figure out how to regulate software-based medical devices and AI, but are consumers ready to buy a medical device from Amazon? Or Comcast? This week, we saw stories about Comcast readying a sensor for the home or hospital that’s designed to track the movements and health of elderly patients. We also saw news that Amazon is creating a wearable designed to track our emotions. The Bloomberg story on the Amazon device notes that this product may never see the light of day, but it’s disconcerting how much information might be gleaned from connected devices that are worn all the time. Do we want to give tech firms, ISPs, or data brokers access to all of that information? (CNBCBloomberg)

Our bodies can’t adapt to tech fast enough: Challenges with the way our brain interprets visual images makes it hard for folks to switch rapidly between images in augmented reality and plain old reality. That means using devices such as Google Glass or Microsoft’s HoloLens during surgery might not work out. It may also make it difficult for technicians trying to get data about a repair in augmented reality to enact said repair. This would be a blow for the industry, although I’m sure someone somewhere is already working on a technical solution to our human frailty. (IEEE Spectrum)

Resideo has purchased Whisker Labs: Resideo, which is the new, standalone smart home business spun out of Honeywell, has acquired Whisker Labs. Whisker makes software and uses data from a home’s electrical system to create smarter HVAC systems, detect fires, and otherwise make homes smarter. The technology is a good addition to Resideo, which can incorporate the smarts into a wide array of products, including thermostats and security systems. (Resideo)

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Facial recognition is here and we need laws to manage it: If you’re wondering about San Francisco’s recent decision to ban the use of facial recognition in municipal settings, read this article. It explains very clearly what facial recognition is able to do (and what it can’t do), while also showing how police departments and cities are putting facial recognition systems in place with little oversight. Already people have been misidentified and have suffered very real consequences. I’m not sure outright bans are the way to go, but we do need legal recourses in place when mistakes are made. We cannot wait the three-to-five years that it will take the courts to decide this issue. (Wired)

Allegion has invested in smarter offices: Allegion, the maker of the Schlage brand of locks and a sponsor of this newsletter, has invested in Robin Powered. Robin makes software that helps officer workers schedule desk space in conference rooms and can assist in figuring out the movement of people around the space. Allegion may be most familiar for its consumer lock business, but it also supplies access management and security products to offices. If it can help bring in Robin on new deals, it could provide the startup with more than just money. (Allegion)

Siemens will use Alphabet’s security product to secure IoT: Siemens has signed a partnership with Chronicle, the security company created by Alphabet, to provide visibility into industrial infrastructure. Siemens will use Chronicle’s Backstory product in the energy field. I’d better get a call into the Backstory folks for more details. (ZDNet)

Here’s how Alexa will get smarter: Two data scientists working on Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant shared at a recent conference insights into how Alexa will continue to evolve. The scientists explained that soon Alexa will be able to answer queries before being asked them by using transfer learning, which is a style of machine learning that takes expertise in one area and applies it to another one. This is basically how humans learn, and it’s somewhat of a holy grail in AI. The article is mostly theoretical, but it’s either fun or scary to get a glimpse into what Amazon’s goals are for Alexa. (Inc.)

Kevin “hacked” diabetes and explains how: My podcast co-host Kevin Tofel has been going to school for a computer science certification. As part of a final project, he worked with a group to create a closed-loop glucose monitoring system that also hooked into a LIFX bulb. When someone’s insulin levels got too low or too high the light bulb would change color to alert those nearby. I liked the story because it shows how many pieces have to come together to create a smart product. (StaceyonIoT)

Hubitat users now have an app: The Hubitat DIY home hub has gained fans because it only offers local control of devices and doesn’t send data to the cloud. And now it offers an app to complement its web interface, which should make folks happy. (Yahoo Finance)

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