Roomba vacuum maker iRobot betting big on the 'smart' home

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The Roomba robotic vacuum has been whizzing across floors for years, but its future may lie more in collecting data than dirt. That data is of the spatial variety: the dimensions of a room as well as distances between sofas, tables, lamps and other home furnishings. To a tech industry eager to push'smart' homes controlled by a variety of Internet-enabled devices, that space is the next frontier. Smart home lighting, thermostats and security cameras are already on the market, but Colin Angle, chief executive of Roomba maker iRobot Corp, says they are still dumb when it comes to understanding their physical environment. He thinks the mapping technology currently guiding top-end Roomba models could change that and is basing the company's strategy on it.


Roomba vacuum maker iRobot betting big on the 'smart' home

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That data is of the spatial variety: the dimensions of a room as well as distances between sofas, tables, lamps and other home furnishings. To a tech industry eager to push "smart" homes controlled by a variety of Internet-enabled devices, that space is the next frontier. Smart home lighting, thermostats and security cameras are already on the market, but Colin Angle, chief executive of Roomba maker iRobot Corp (IRBT.O), says they are still dumb when it comes to understanding their physical environment. He thinks the mapping technology currently guiding top-end Roomba models could change that and is basing the company's strategy on it. "There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared," said Angle.


Your Roomba already maps your home. Now the CEO plans to sell that map.

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The makers of the Roomba are looking to sell consumers' home floor plans. Two years ago, Roombas unboxed and placed on floors across the country began coming with cameras. Those cameras, aided by new sensors, let the robovacs quietly build maps of users' homes to aid its cleaning duties. Now, the CEO behind the brand that claims 88% of the robovac market plans to sell those maps to companies that can incorporate the data into smart home technologies -- and make a tidy profit in the process. "There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared," Colin Angle, chief executive of iRobot, told Reuters.


Your Roomba could be selling maps of your home to Google, Amazon, and Apple

Mashable

Remember Roomba, the cute robotic vacuum cleaner who's been navigating around your house for years? Well, its creator, iRobot, has hinted it may be selling Roomba-derived maps of your home to one or more of the Big Three -- Amazon, Apple and Google's Alphabet -- in the next couple of years. "There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared," said Colin Angle, iRobot's CEO. If the idea of a device spying on your flooring plan -- along with other data about your home -- and then selling that info to companies to help them improve their targeted ads seems particularly creepy to you, that's because, well, it is creepy. Mapping and space in general is the next big step in the tech industry's big push to make homes "smarter."


As your Roomba cleans your floors, it's gathering maps of your house

Los Angeles Times

The company behind the Roomba vacuum, IRobot Corp., has grand plans for its robot cleaners. Those intimate maps, the company hopes, could soon be sold as personalized, data-rich products to giant tech companies, seizing a bigger role in the burgeoning market for "smart" devices in the Web-connected household. "There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared," IRobot Chief Executive Colin Angle said in a statement Tuesday. More than just automatically sweeping up dirt (and inspiring cat-shuttling compilations on YouTube), Angle's vision for the Roomba places the domestic bot in service of improving the smart home. Angle said the spatial information generated by Roombas would enable connected devices to function better.