The Roomba automatic vacuum has been roaming all around dirty floors for decades. But, its potential may lie more in gathering information than garbage.
That information is of the spatial diversity including size of a room as well as distances between tables, sofas, and several home furnishings including lamps. For a tech sector that is keen to drive smart homes managed by a range of Internet-permitted gadgets, that sector is the next leading edge.
Smart home thermostats, lighting, and security cameras are in the market already. But, Chief Executive of Roomba maker iRobot Corp., Colin Angle, claims that they are still mute when it comes to accepting their physical surrounding. He believes that the mapping technology presently controlling top-end Roomba models might modify that and is supporting the strategy of the company on it.
“There is a whole ecosystem of services and things that the smart home can give as soon as you obtain a rich map of the home that the consumer has permitted to be shared,” claimed Angle to the media in an interview.
That vision has its admirers, comprising investors such as Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Alphabet who are all approaching voice assistants and artificial intelligence as interfaces for smart home. As per an economic research firm, in 2016, the market for smart home gadgets was esteemed for $9.8 Billion and is anticipated to develop 60% by the end of this year.
Angle informed the media that iRobot might reach an agreement to trade its maps to one of the leading three companies mentioned above in the coming few years. iRobot turned Roomba companionable with Alexa, the voice assistant of Amazon, in March.
Amazon refused to comment, and Google as well as Apple did not react to requests for queries. Until now, investors have applauded plans of Angle, sending iRobot share towering from $35 a year ago to $102 in mid-June. This gave it a market value of almost $2.5 Billion, which is more as compared to 2016 revenue of $660 Million. There are headwinds for approach of iRobot, ranging from a goring group of mostly affordable competitors to privacy concerns.