internet of things

Can the Amazon Echo make phone calls?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1418

Cindy from California

Cindy wants to know if the Echo can work as an intercom all around the house. Leo says it can, but the Echo Dot requires external speakers, while the Echo has its own speaker. There's also the Echo Show, which also has video. She heard that it can make phone calls. Leo says it doesn't make phone calls, but it can make Echo to Echo calls to anyone in her network. If she wants to make phone calls, then Google Home is the way to go. It uses Google Voice.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1418

Scott is getting ready to go to the annual CIDIA show for home theater, and this year, it's going to have a huge presence for the so-called "Internet of things," where just about every device you have is smart and connected to the internet. Scott says that voice command is really starting to get popular in home theater equipment and accessories. We'll probably see major home theater devices with voice command built in. Apple is going to be announcing a new Apple TV in the next few weeks, plus updates to the upcoming Apple HomePod.

How can use my Internet of Things devices with a mesh router?

Eero

Episode 1404

Ken from Covina, CA

Ken has an Eero mesh router, but he's concerned because he has several "internet of things" devices and he hears that mesh routers don't like them. Leo says that is the current problem, and it may be that the devices aren't smart enough to handle the mesh way of handling the network. They're working on it and Leo says that a fix will some sooner or later. But in the meantime, hardwiring to the router may be the best solution.

What's a good universal remote between rooms?

Logitech Harmony Hub

Episode 1403

Steven from Irvine, CA

Steven used to own a Logitech Harmony universal remote. He had his living room and bedroom linked so he could use the same players, but that was too much for the remote to handle. Is there an alternative? He's been using a program called RTI, but it requires a programmer. Leo advises the Harmony Hub. For $100, he can link rooms. It controls infrared everywhere. He can also link his Amazon Echo to it.

Why is my Echo Dot having trouble connecting?

Amazon Echo Dot

Episode 1402

Keith from Orange County CA

Keith isn't thrilled that Amazon has lowered the manufacturer's warranty on the Amazon Echo to 90 days. Leo says it doesn't bother him. He's had several of them and none have failed. But Keith has had two Dots fail so far. He's frustrated because it tends to be very promiscuous in connecting to his wireless speakers, knocking his other devices off. Leo says that's likely more a problem of Bluetooth, and not the Dot itself. He's also having issues with Drop In. Leo says he hasn't heard of any problems with Drop In and it could just be a bad model or software glitch on his Dot.

How safe is my internet of things network with a mesh router?

Eero

Episode 1390

Paul from Louisville, KY

Paul is wondering if the Eero router would give him greater security with his network based security cameras. Leo says that the most vulnerable items are those that are part of the so-called "internet of things" category because they are rarely updated for security. So if they get hacked, not only will the hackers have access to the cameras, but also the entire network. The Eero router has far greater security, because it's designed with internet of things devices in mind. But Leo says that we can also help by not buying devices that aren't updatable.

FTC Takes Router Manufacturer D-Link to Court

Gavel

Episode 1352

The Federal Trade Commission is taking router manufacturer D-Link to court over product security and privacy issues. This all relates to the lack of security for Internet of Things devices. The FTC alleged that the company “failed to take reasonable steps to protect their routers and cameras from widely known and reasonably foreseeable risks of unauthorized access.”

Read more at theverge.com.