iRobot Looks To Sell Roomba Mapping Data Of Homes To Silicon Valley Tech Elites Like Apple

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iRobot might not be a familiar name to you, but surely you have heard of the company’s Roomba robot vacuums (and the parodies that go along with it). The autonomous vacuum cleaners are capable of navigating rooms in your house, avoid obstacles and clean both hardwoods floors and carpet without you even lifting a finger.

However, iRobot’s CEO Colin Angle raised some eyebrows earlier this week in an interview that he gave with Reuters. In effort to add a new revenue stream for the company, Angle talked about a way that mapping data that Roombas gather while cleaning your home could be beneficial in other markets.

“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.

Angle envisions selling such user data to companies like Amazon, Google and even Apple. iRobot would especially be interested in a collaboration with Amazon, as the company just recently integrated its newest Roomba with the Alexa voice assistant.

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iRobot already collects a wealth of data from its [connected] Roombas for its own purposes, and its privacy policy stipulates, “For example, the Robot could collect and transmit information about the Robot’s function and use statistics, such as battery life and health, number of missions, the device identifier, and location mapping.”

Neither of the three companies mentioned in the story have responded to Angle’s comments, but it’s undeniable that the rising “smart home” movement makes such talks between companies inevitable. Besides the aforementioned Alexa (and its complementary Echo home speakers), Google and Apple are also looking to conches the smartphone home market with the Google Home and HomePod respectively.

How this robotic vacuum mapping data would be incorporated into such devices, however, was not described. However, we could envision using mapping data to get more accurate room size measurements for smart thermostats or maximizing Wi-Fi coverage for today’s burgeoning crop of mesh routers.


Via:  Reuters
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