GigaOM Podcasts

If you're interested in assessing how and when a given data technology -- deep learning, machine intelligence, natural language generation -- can move from the theoretical to commercial use,  Hilary Mason may have the best job around. This week's guest, the CEO and Founder of Fast Forward Labs talks about how Fast Forward taps into a wide array of expertise sources-- from academic and commercial research, the open source world and even "outsider art" from the realms of spam and malware, to come up with new applications.

One natural language generation (NLG) project, for example, lets a person who wants to  sell her house, enter the parameters -- square footage, number of rooms etc -- and step back to let the system write up the ad for that property. (As a person who makes her living from writing words, all I can say is: ick.)

She's also got an interesting take on opportunities in the internet of things -- a term she dislikes -- and why the much-maligned title of data scientist has validity. Mason is really interesting so if you're pressed for time, check out at least the second half of this podcast. And to hear more from her, be sure to sign up for Structure Data in March, where she will return to speak.

Shivon Zilis, VC, Bloomberg Beta; Sven Strohband, Partner and CTO, Khosla Ventures; Hilary Mason, Data Scientist in Residence, Accel Partners; Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Partner, FuturePerfect Ventures. Structure Data 2014
Shivon Zilis, VC, Bloomberg Beta; Sven Strohband, Partner and CTO, Khosla Ventures; Hilary Mason, Data Scientist in Residence, Accel Partners; Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Partner, FuturePerfect Ventures. Structure Data 2014

As for segment one, Derrick and I discuss Datapipe's acquisition of GoGrid, the first cloud consolidation move of the new year; the long-awaited Box IPO; and an itty bit on Microsoft's foray into augmented reality.

So get cozy and take a listen.


Direct download: 012115_02-MP3_for_Audio_Podcasting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00 AM

Direct download: 012115_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:Technology -- posted at: 1:58 PM

Building an interface for the connected home that won't freak out mainstream consumers is tough. So when I head about an app called Yonomi, that attempted to help the casually connected consumer eke a bit more functionality out of their connected devices without making them program a smart home, I downloaded the free, Android-only app to see what it was like.

We discussed the result of my experiment on this week's podcast along with news about Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's plans for the smart home and a few other bits of news from this week. We also brought the CEO of Yonomi on to discuss the design decisions his team made and how to build an app that's designed for a shared environment. The bottom line was that we're going to need a lot more sensors delivering a lot more context clues about the home before we get the intuitive home of our dreams. Or even one that doesn't wake us up at 12:30 in the morning as mine did this past weekend. Tune in to hear about my automated wake up call and early morning brush with public radio.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Kent Dickson, CEO of Yonomi

  • The Cree $15 connected LEDs are good but GE's Link bulbs are better
  • Xiaomi is planning its move into the smart home with an app and four sensors. Kevin tells us more.
  • I downloaded an app that woke me up at 12:30 in the morning and you'll never believe what happened next.
  • The CEO of the company came on the show to explain why it happened and we discussed building UIs for the smart home
Direct download: 012014_02-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43 PM

Given the increasing need to keep private data private in a world of habitual over-sharing on social media and the burgeoning internet of things, the work Jean Yang is doing at MIT is important.

Yang and her team are working on Jeeves, a framework meant to help programmers build privacy and potentially other policies right into their code. If it works as foreseen -- and there is still a lot to do around performance -- a developer could write policies -- who can see what and when -- right into the application. Those policies would then follow the data associated with that application around.

So, for example, an application might share your GPS data only for a limited amount of time -- while you're in the zip code -- then revoke that information.

Speakers: Jean Yang - Ph.D. Candidate, MIT CSAIL
Jean Yang - Ph.D. Candidate, MIT CSAIL

On this week's Structure Show, Yang talks more about that work and also about the Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) she and too other female MIT Ph.D. candidates hosted last month.  The usual trolls showed up to ask the women for dates etc. but Yang was not discouraged. There were a lot of thoughtful questions -- about the value of a Ph.D., how to keep young girls interested in math and science etc.  She and co-hosts Elena Glassman and Neha Narula later wrote about the experience for Wired. A video of Yang's talk at Structure 2013 is linked below.

Also on the show, Derrick and talk about how the venerable database category remains hot, as evidenced by new funding rounds for MongoDB ($80 million) and Basho ($25 million) are any indication. In the first half of the show Derrick and I talk about that and about the end of the road for Microsoft's infamous anti-Google Scroogled campaign.


Hosts: Barb Darrow and Derrick Harris.

Direct download: 011415_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:08 AM

Direct download: 011414_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05 PM

The internet of things isn't ready to roil Wall Street this year. Or at least that's the conclusion of former Deutsche Bank financial analyst Jonathan Goldberg, who is now a development executive for Paragon Semiconductor and still write analysts notes at Digits to Dollars. I asked him to come on the show this week for his opinion after International CES and because don't often get a public equities analysts' opinions on the show.

Goldberg, who is former semiconductor analyst, broke down the internet of things market into four categories and discussed the opportunities for companies in each. He concluded that this year Wall Street won't be fooled by hype, so we're not likely to see a lot of crazy stock movement driven by the buzzwords. For that and more listen to the interview after hearing Kevin Tofel and I discuss our final days at CES, Samsung's keynote, the best UI for the smart home right now and a few other odds and ends. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Jonathan Goldberg, a former equities analysts and current VP of development at Paragon Semiconductor

  • Kevin and I dove right in with Samsung's CES keynote
  • The best UI for the smart home right now is Works with Nest and I'll tell you why
  • What used to be M2M is not IoT and it's moved from marketing to the product manager
  • How Wall Street divides up internet of things companies
Direct download: 011215_02-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01 PM

While the rest of the world binges on IoT goodies from CES 2015, we thought we'd focus on (what else?) enterprise-grade infrastructure. This week's guest, Steve Herrod was formerly CTO of VMware, and so knows a little something, something about that topic. Now he's managing director of General Catalyst where he's looking for the next VMwares of the world.

Listen to his take on the wild world of cybersecurity where it's pretty clear that the battle has to move beyond fighting yesterday's threats; why the Hortonworks IPO is so closely watched; and how today's startups have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to available, inexpensive infrastructure. With [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, [company]Microsoft[/company] Azure and other players offering credits to woo startups, a young company can get up to $100K ($120K in IBM's case) of plumbing for free. Let me reiterate: Free.

That's a huge opportunity -- although skeptics may point to parallels between cut-price cloud and crack cocaine, but I digress.

In our segment, Derrick Harris talks about how artificial intelligence is finding its way into the chip modules that will control our connected cars and other things, and we hash out the sticky matter of cloud closures and other topics.

Have a listen to the first Structure show of 2015 and let us be the gazillionth to say Happy New Year!


Structure 2012: Steve Herrod - CTO and SVP of R&D, VMware
Structure 2012: Steve Herrod - CTO and SVP of R&D, VMware



Direct download: 010715_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00 AM

Direct download: 010615_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:32 AM

This week in the podcast we took on two intractable problems: voice control of the smart home and International CES. First up, Kevin Tofel and I hit up the first day of CES and discussed some of the news we heard and products we've seen. Among the highlights were a connected coffee maker for $199 from Smarter that grinds your beans before it brews and a full color, Bluetooth connected LED light for $29 from a French company called BeeWi.

The Smarter connected coffee pot.
The Smarter connected coffee pot.

Kevin and I discuss many more products and things that we've seen, and you can expect more from our time later this week on the show floor and after notable keynotes that we didn't have time to hear before we recorded the show -- notably Samsung's where it discussed its plans for SmartThings. But there's plenty to listen to before we head into our guest who is Leor Grebler the CEO of the Unified Computer Intelligence Corp, which makes the Ubi.

Regular listeners will be familiar with the Ubi, a computer that tries to be a home version of Siri or Google's voice recognition service for the home. While Ubi needs work, Grebler came on the show to discuss the future of voice interaction in the home, Amazon's Echo and how to build a business pushing a technology that the market may not be ready for yet. I hope you enjoy.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Leor Grebler, Co-founder and CEO of the Unified Computer Intelligence Corp.

  • Cool devices we've seen at CES from smart coffee makers to Netatmo's new cameras
  • Cheap LEDs, new locks and a new Wi-Fi standard
  • What's tough about making voice interactions work in the home
  • What the Ubi guys think about the Amazon Echo
Direct download: 010615_15-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:36 AM

The Internet of Things podcast is back this week with a short and sweet episode featuring my husband as my guest and co-host discussing life in our smart home. He's playing the role of a normal user as he discusses his favorite device (the Hue lights) and all he really wants his smart home to do. As a note, we couldn't figure out the name of the product during the show that offers a button that integrates with connected services, but I finally found out the correct spelling and web site. It is called Bttn.

He also shares his thoughts on the Amazon's Echo, which we received a few weeks back (for my review check here) and graciously asked me about what I think I'll see at the upcoming International CES next week. And speaking of CES, tune in next week as Kevin Tofel returns as my co-host and he and I discuss what we're seeing at CES from Las Vegas on next week's show. We may even have a guest as the show comes back from our six-week hiatus. I missed y'all, so stay tuned for our first show back. (Yes, it does include lights.)

Host: Stacey Higginbotham
Guests: Andrew Allemann (Stacey's husband)

  • We are back from break and diving in with our favorite connected device in our home
  • A common man's perspective on the Amazon Echo
  • Building an Away button for my home using Bttn.
  • A few trends I expect to see at CES
Direct download: 122914_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:57 AM