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Inside IoT

Inside IoT (Jun 12th, 2019)

1. Amazon launched a new generation of the Echo Dot Kids Edition, but the release closely follows reports that parents are unable to delete transcripts collected by the kid-focused smart speakers. The new $70 Echo Dot Kids Edition resembles the latest generation of the Echo Dot, with more rounded edges and a mesh covering, and Amazon claims the new speaker is "70 percent louder" than the previous version. However, Amazon may need to quell privacy concerns stemming from the aforementioned reports before parents will purchase the new devices. —CNET

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2. Helium is launching its “LongFi” wireless network, which the company boasts as having 100 times the range of WiFi at 1/1000th of the cost of a cellular modem. The network relies on a peer-to-peer network of $495 Helium Hotspots, which will provide a network for low-power transmission chips that can be attached to anything from scooters to pets, similar to Tile's trackers. Helium has already raised $51 million over the past several years, and already has several partners, including Lime, that plan to test the company's tracking system. However, the system entirely depends on the Helium Hotspots, and won't function correctly without enough of them in operation — so Helium is providing Hotspot owners with a cryptocurrency token that the company claims will become valuable in the future. —TECH CRUNCH 

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3. EIR Healthcare, a Philidelphia-based startup, is taking the concept of the smart home into the hospital, with its MedModular "hospital room in a box" that comes with built-in Alexa functionality. The MedModular room, which the company shows off in a mobile office-like structure, is a fully-fitted hospital room — including a bed, bathroom, screens for entertainment and medical information, and more. However, many of the room's functions can be controlled through Alexa, such as changing the temperature, dimming the lights, or calling in a nurse. EIR plans to sell these rooms to hospitals, and claims they are "90 percent complete" upon delivery, with additional work required for hooking up utilities and other minor construction. —ENGADGET 

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4. China-based Xiaomi has unveiled the latest version of its fitness wearable, the $24 Mi Smart Band 4, which includes a larger display, a colored screen, and support for the company's XiaoAI voice assistant. The larger display supports 16 million colors and 77 themes, and the device supports offline payments through AliPay. Additionally, the company released a new line of smart home products, including the Mi Smart Door Lock, the Mi Smart Combo Wash Dryer Pro 10kg, and the Mi Smart Kitchen Exhaust Hood and Stove Top Set. —TECH CRUNCH 

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5. Some Google Chromecast and Assitant-enabled speaker owners are reporting that their devices aren't showing up on the Home app, basically rendering the streaming devices useless. ANDROID POLICE

6. The most-hacked type of smart home device is the security camera, according to research from SAM Seamless Network, and cheap IP cameras tend to be exceptionally easy to hack. —ZDNET

7. Apple appears to be preparing to beef up its Siri development team — the company currently has 176 job postings for the department, compared to 125 in April. —THINKNUM

8. The utility provider Hunter Water is partnering with IoT provider NNNCo in a trial utility program that will utilize NNNCo's sensors, which will monitor water flow and pressure in Lake Macquarie, Australia. The system is meant to give operators a better understanding of the utility system, as well as the ability to conduct maintenance before any problems become severe.—ZDNET

9. Even pillows can be "smart" now, and Digital Trends ranked the best internet-connected pillows that can track sleeping habits and snoring — including pillows from iSense10Minds, and Dreampad. —DIGITAL TRENDS 

10. Smart speakers are known more for their convenience than for providing audiophile-grade sound quality — but blogger Brian Starkey demonstrated a relatively simple, albeit ugly, hack that introduces a headphone jack to the Google Home. —USED BYTES 

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Written and curated by Sean Wolfe. He is a tech reporter based in Brooklyn, New York, and has previously worked at Business Insider and GIE Media. Follow him on Twitter at @seanthomaswolfe.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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