Roomba Maker Wants To Sell Data Device Collects When Mapping Your Home

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Managing partner of hedge fund Red Mountain Capital Willem Mesdag commented on the early advantage that iRobot has over its rivals. So you can party on with your DJ Roomba care-free for now.

The 900-series Roomba vacuums use simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM, technology to map out rooms while they clean, storing information on the layouts of rooms and the location of furniture. These types of capabilities are a welcome addition to the platform, but not when they're being used to turn it into a platform for gathering data and spying on people.

Angle believes Roomba's data could help smart home devices better understand their environment, like matching sound systems to a home's acoustics, or changing an air conditioner's air flow based on how sun shines through windows in a particular room.

But the prospect of selling information derived from the intricacies of people's homes - and their literal dirt - raises potential privacy concerns, which Angle says the company acknowledges.

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SoftBank has accumulated just under 5% of iRobot's stock, Bloomberg reported. Bit by bit, companies nibble away at these ideas - no more anonymization here, a bit less control there - while simultaneously hinting these are things customers consciously agree to. While for the data to have shared iRobot Angle promises that the users will need to give their consent that he shares no details on how it would work and whether it will opt in or opt out. Because, clearly, buying a TV set or pair of headphones means agreeing, in perpetuity, to give information about yourself to the manufacturer. Also in the next few years, the company has working to sell the data. The security of the data is not likely to be hard to overcome for a motivated and skilled individual so keep that in mind if you are shopping for a robot vacuum. Typically, that's how this goes.

A new report from Reuters outlines the push from Roombo vacuum maker iRobot to expand further into smart home territory.

The aforementioned "big three" would also likely be interested in maps of users homes to support product recommendations for customers. Neither approach has won any broad interest from the tech industry, and I don't expect they ever will.

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