Monday, 24 September, 2018

Your Roomba's Map of Your House Could Soon Be For Sale

Roomba Maker Preparing to Sell Maps of Your Home to Advertisers Roomba Is Hoping To Sell The Maps Of Your Home To The Highest Bidder
Lori Graves | 26 July, 2017, 01:10

According to the CEO, data extracted from a Roomba robot will be helpful in increasing the efficiency of smart home devices and making them friendlier, like matching sound systems to a home's acoustics or adjusting the air conditioner air flow depending on the intensity of the sun in a particular room, notes ZDNet.

Primary buyers aren't your regular ad companies, but makers of smart home voice assistants, like Amazon (Alexa), Apple (Siri), and Google (Home).

Reuters adds that Amazon, Apple, and Alphabet are all "fans" of the technology. iRobot hopes to ink a deal with one of the tree major tech companies "in the next couple of years". Going back to that older model of robotic vacuum would sidestep the privacy concerns the Roomba now presents, but it would also mean taking a step back in vacuum quality and navigation.

Here's the key quote: "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", Angle said.

This would, obviously, be a large pivot for a company that first made its money selling reconnaissance and bomb-defusing robots to the military before becoming one of the bigger success stories in the consumer robotics space.

Roomba's terms and conditions state that it collects a range of data about its customers, including when they interact with it on social media.

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SoftBank has built a less than 5 percent stake in IRobot, below the amount that would require a regulatory disclosure in the USA, the people said, asking not to be identified because the purchase was private. We have to admit that it looks pretty awesome in action, but did you also consider the fact that while it is navigating your home that it is also collecting data about it?

Williams told BuzzFeed News that while iRobot will need to get customers' permission, "this request for consent may appear as small print in some updated policy, which in our mind is not real consent, especially given the sensitivity of this information".

What do you think of iRobot's plans?

It's this mapped data that iRobot is now looking to monetize.

Representatives for SoftBank and IRobot declined to comment.

Angle insists to Reuters that the company would not sell information with customer permission.

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