Your robot vacuum cleaner could be mapping your home. And the company who manufactured your robot vacuum cleaner could be planning to sell your floor plans to the highest bidder. This is according to the CEO of Roomba, the best-known brand of robot vacuums available right now.
Robot vacuum cleaners are surprisingly popular. The Roomba has been around since 2002, and iRobot, the company which makes the Roomba, has a market value of $2.5 billion dollars. And now it’s in people’s homes, the company wants to make use of the data those Roombas are collecting…
Your Roomba Know Where You Live
The early models of Roomba were dumb devices that would essentially flit around your living room bumping into furniture. However, recent models, such as the Roomba 980, include simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) technology which can map rooms to help the device clean more efficiently. And this has opened up new possibilities for iRobot.
According to Reuters, Colin Angle, the CEO of iRobot said, “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.”
Examples of how these floorplans could be used by other devices include helping smart speakers direct sound to make use of the acoustics, advising where to place smart lighting to compensate for the positions of windows, and aiming air conditioners to maximise airflow.
In case you’re thinking this is just an off-the-cuff remark being taken out of context, Reuters added that iRobot “could reach a deal to sell its maps to one or more of the Big Three in the next couple of years.” The “big Three” being Amazon, Google, and Apple.
Unsurprisingly this has caused some concerns over privacy. However, Reuters reports that “iRobot would not sell data without its customers’ permission” adding that Angle “expressed confidence most would give their consent in order to access the smart home functions”.
Making Smart Home Devices Work Together
On the face of it these comments are controversial, suggesting iRobot will be selling floorplans of your home onto other companies. In reality, this is more about making smart home devices work together to deliver the most functionality and efficiency to those who want smarter homes. The downside being more of your personal data floating around in the cloud.
Do you own a Roomba? Do you own one of the earlier dumb models? Or one of the more recent, smarter models? How do you feel about the potential for your Roomba to map your house? Would you give iRobot permission to sell that data? The comments are open below…
Image Credit: Eirik Newth via Flickr