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Your Roomba Is also Gathering Data About the Layout of Your Home
26 July 2017, 01:10 | Gina Pena
Roomba Is Hoping To Sell The Maps Of Your Home To The Highest Bidder
Privacy would no doubt be a concern for some although Angle said he was confident that most users would consent in order to gain access to smart home functions. "Right now, iRobot is building maps to enable the Roomba to efficiently and effectively clean your home", the company told CNET in a statement. If you want a smart home, or if you use social media, you are, ipso facto agreeing to share information about yourself that will be sold to third parties in ways you can't control.
IRobot, the maker of the Roomba smart vacuum, could one day sell data drawn from the maps the devices build up of individual homes as they clean.
Roomba vacuums have advanced markedly in recent years, adding sensors, better cameras, and software updates that allow a device to clean, return to its station to recharge, and then go back out to clean again, starting where it left off. Collected by the company's high-end Roomba models, those maps include data about "the dimensions of a room as well as distances between sofas, tables, lamps, and other home furnishings", according to the report.
The "smart" home lighting, thermostats and protection cameras now on the business are all pretty dumb when it comes to the understanding what your home layout is, the CEO of iRobot6, Colin Angle tells.
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Data is the hottest thing that companies like Apple, Google and Amazon are after.
It's this mapped data that iRobot is now looking to monetize. For instance, the Amazon Echo, if placed within a room with not much furniture in it, could suggest purchases to fill up the space. The point, however, is that companies do stand to benefit a lot from the home mapping data acquired by the cleaning robot. While he notes that there already are "targeted laws and liability norms" to help curb potential problems, companies will need to develop "privacy-by-design" and "security-by-design" strategies to ensure that data handling is done properly and reliably.
The Roomba is an attractive product for the lazy at heart: collecting dust and dirt from the floor automatically, and on its own. And while Angle said that no specific plan exists for iRobot to sell its mapping data to these companies, he told Reuters on Monday that iRobot "could reach a deal to sell its maps to one or more of the Big Three in the next couple of years".
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