IOT

Amazon's New Idea ... Amazon Sidewalk

Amazon Sidewalk

Episode 1750

Wanting to offer a neighborhood-based wifi network, Amazon has announced Amazon Sidewalk, which uses Bluetooth low energy (BLE) radios to connect everyone from house to house. You can get motion alerts from your security cameras, track your pets if they should run away, and even notifications when the mailman leaves you mail. As long as one device sees the other, it can pass along connectivity with a promised small amount of bandwidth. 

How Can I Add 2 Echos on the Same Account?

Echo

Episode 1741

Karen from San Diego, CA

Karen's mom has an Amazon Echo, but since it's hooked up to her phone, she can't use her own Echo. Leo says the solution is to create a new account for her and then reset it. But it may be possible to use the same account for both, but she may have to reset her brand new Echo to do it.

If she removes her new Echo from her Amazon account and then re-add it, then she should have both on the account. However, the issue with Karen's mom using her phone for her Echo account is that if she calls 911 with Echo, they will go to Karen's house, not hers. That's a problem.

New iPhones Confirmed with Apple Announcement

iphone 12

Episode 1737

Apple had their "Hi Speed" iPhone event Tuesday, confirming four new iPhones including the new iPhone Mini. But Leo says that they left a few things hanging including when the new Apple Silicon Macs will be announced. Leo says it's likely going to be a seperate event around the middle of November. Tuesday, all Apple talked about is the new Homepod Mini, an intelligent voice assistant/speaker running Siri. The important thing about the HPMini is the price. $99 putting it closer in line with Amazon's Alexa and the Google Home Assistant. 

Is the a smart device that can control my circuit breakers?

Leviton LB120-S 20 Amp Circuit Breaker

Episode 1722

Jeff from Cedarville, CA

Jeff bought some smart plugs to install into his house. Is there anything like that on the breaker side? Leo says that's an interesting idea, but he doesn't know if you'd really want to do that. You have to be very careful what's on your circuit and you wouldn't want to install it yourself. But it's a great idea for making your home smarter and more controllable remotely. Here's one by Leviton.

Why do my Philips Hue lights disconnect from WiFi?

Philips Hue Lights

Episode 1716

Jonathan from Scottsdale, AZ

Jonathan has a Philips Hue lights and uses the Wiz App to control them. But they keep disconnecting. Leo says that's a common problem, and he says that using the Home Hub will make WiFi connection to the lights more consistent. But Leo also thinks that the smart lights are more of a gimmick these days and really more hassle than they are worth. And they are expensive too. 

In general, smart home IoT as a technology still has a long way to go. 

Why is WINK charging me to use their device now?

Wink

Episode 1694

Jeff from Laguna Beach, CA

Jeff says that WINK is now charging people $5 a month to use his WINK Home Hub. Leo says that they've changed the conditions of being able to use their product, especially since it costs over $100. It's not unheard of to charge to store data, but it would be like Amazon charging $5 a month to use the Echo devices out of nowhere. And it's even more frustrating because WINK sold their device with "no fees" as a feature. Now they're charging fees. But if they don't, they'll go out of business.

Are my older Hue Lights secure?

Philips Hue Lights

Episode 1684

Alan from Charlton, MS

Alan wants to know if Philips Hue Lights would work as lights for a video webcast. Leo says since they can change colors, they can look really good on camera. But he also hears that older Hue bridges are being placed into its end of life. Leo says they are depreciating the older models, but that doesn't mean they won't continue to work. But the problem is, any bulb that is connected to the Internet may result in a security issue for your network. That's the main thing. It's important to get all the patches you can. But in most cases, you'll likely be fine.

What Antenna should I get for my house?

TV Antenna

Episode 1666

Steve from North Hollywood, CA

Steve has an AirBNB with an antenna to watch TV along with streaming. But his antenna is indoor and wants a better one for more options. Leo recommends visiting TVFool.com and AntennaWeb.org. You'll be able to enter your address, and it'll tell you what channels you get, where to aim the antenna, and what antenna is best for you. Steve is also having issues configuring his IoT devices. Leo says that most IoT devices prefer 2.4GHz over 5Ghz. So make sure you have the right band selected.