Roomba’s Robotic Vacuums Are Leveraging the Big Data of Your Home

Has the thought ever crossed your mind that smart devices are becoming too smart? It turns out that iRobot, the company that makes the popular robot vacuum cleaner, Roomba, has been collecting more than just dust bunnies. Reuters recently reported that your robot vacuum cleaner has been amassing data on your home, as well as the crumbs and stray pet hair on your floor.
For a robot vacuum cleaner to do its job well, it needs to familiarize itself with your floor plan. In Roomba’s case, the machine does this by building a map of your home by bumping into objects, reversing its direction, and ultimately navigating its way around objects, such as your couch and coffee table.
iRobot’s CEO, Colin Angle, feels that there are many benefits to be gained by using this information outside the confines of the robot vacuum industry. Angle stated, “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.”
The most important word of Angle’s statement is, of course, the term “allowed.” After all, this is your private residence we’re talking about here. Privacy concerns are likely to be a point of contention for most consumers.
When asked if maps of their customers’ homes gathered by Roomba’s sensors would be sold to other companies, such as Amazon, Google, or Apple, in the future, Angle clarified his statement. He noted that this information would not be sold to third parties, but could potentially be shared pending customer consent.
Nevertheless, how this data could be used is still being explored. At the very least, this information could be used to operate other appliances in the home. For example, smart lights could turn on or off automatically during different times during the day, or even in parts of the house that don’t receive much natural light. Furthermore, a sound system could reconfigure itself when it receives information that a room layout has been altered to ensure the best acoustics.
Now more than ever, the small to mid-sized business owner has the ability to develop the same Big Data analysis as larger corporations—an important step in achieving a competitive position in your industry.
From technology-based accounting solutions to management information, analysis, and reporting, Talley LLP is the premier business consulting firm for entrepreneurs and their closely-held businesses. For more information on how to leverage your business’s data technology, contact Talley today.
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