Roomba maker iRobot wants to sell mapped data of your home

Leigh Mccormick
July 26, 2017

Angle told Reuters that "there an entire ecosystem of things and services that the user has allowed having shared".

Knowing room size and shape could help connected heating and air conditioning systems put out the proper flow.

Angle told Reuters that he felt most people would opt into the services provided by integrating Roomba data with other smart home devices, which could include targeted ads from Amazon or orchestrating indoor lights to be most compatible with the natural light coming in through windows.

One of the problems with covering the decline of privacy in the digital age is the very concept that people should have the right to control how their information is bought, sold, and monetized is fundamentally opposed to most digital company business models (not to mention government policy).

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The Roomba 980 utilizes a camera and various proximity sensors, fusing all the data as it methodically works through a room to create a map of the floor space.

SoftBank has accumulated just under 5% of iRobot's stock, Bloomberg reported. You can pop by The Inquirer to read iRobot chief executive Colin Angle's freakish response to tweets from concerned customers. These companies could buy this data and combine it with the telemetry they get from their devices and built user profiles that they can sell down the road to classic advertising companies, or offer advertising inside their products.

If you think it's creepy that Roomba's been sharing maps of your house with its maker, there's a way to cut the data sharing with iRobot, though it might disable a key feature of your robo-vac.

Angle, however, noted that iRobot will not sell home mapping data without the permission of its customers. Sure, you have a choice, but it's not a meaningful one. Some homeowners may be uncomfortable with the idea of virtual blueprints of their home stored in a cloud accessible by tech companies that could already have significant information about them. As those corporations delve into the artificially intelligent voice assistant devices market, they are also exploring the advent of smart homes, a similar, but more extensive technology. Neither approach has won any broad interest from the tech industry, and I don't expect they ever will.

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