Apple launched their smart speaker HomePod, and it’s their first IoT devise, competing in the market primarily against the Amazon Echo, and the Google Home. With these companies involved, we know that millions of families will have these devices in their homes. But what does this IoT stand for?
— Apple HomePod (@HomePodNews) 9 februari 2018
IoT a term widely used in the IT world, and stands for Internet of Things. Simply said it means adding Wi-Fi, a motherboard and an app to our home appliances. Most of the time companies put the word “smart” in front of those appliances, so you don’t mix them up with the old analogue “stupid” appliances. And that means having smart central heating, smart lighting, smart windows, smart beds etc. For the consumer, this development is quite amazing. How cool is it that you can control your house from the app on your phone? And it’s and for companies, it is fantastic, because they can sell you their old stuff in a new jacket, and be assured of growth and turnover for years to come.
But to companies, there is one more big advantage, and that’s big data. An example; Nike has track sensors in their shoes so the users can view their running results in an app, see their progress and upload it to Facebook should they want it. But that’s not the reason Nike is interested in that tracking device. Nike sees where its users start and finish their runs. And that information is analyzed and sold to, for instance, Starbucks, who will build a shop at the perfect spot where runners finish their run.
So yeah, your shoes now pretty much know where you are. That’s cool, but maybe also a bit creepy. Especially when you think of this event last year: “
Late last year, the Norwegian Consumer Council found that Hello Barbie (pic below) recorded anything said to it by children and sent the recordings to a US company. The company reserved the right to share and use the data for a broad range of purpose.”
Now back to HomePod. In full, “HomePod is a combination speaker/microphone that both plays music and responds to your voice requests, powered by Apple’s voice assistant Siri.” It is a speaker that you can tell to put on a song, to turn the volume up and down, and even to turn off the lights, or adjust the central heating in your home. And apparently, it does these things pretty well. The speaker quality is fantastic, and even when you are listening to loud music, Siri will hear you commands to turn the volume down.
And that’s what is so impressive. Siri is always on and listens to everything you say in your home. Apple claims that HomePod will come with features that are designed to automatically protect your privacy, and if you happen to entrust this to a big data-selling corporation, it’s all yours.
— ToysRUs (@ToysRUs) 12 oktober 2017