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Move over, Alexa: A Roomba could soon be the brain behind your smart home

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Colin Angle, the CEO and founder of iRobot, believes that tech giants have botched the smart home.

Systems like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings all boast thousands of device integrations, but getting those disparate parts to work well in concert can be a tremendous pain. Instead of trying to connect with everything, Angle believes the way forward is to start over and think smaller.

“Unlike the Googles, Amazons, and SmartThings of the world, I believe in a walled garden,” Angle says. “I believe the experience trumps universality.”

iRobot, best known for its Roomba robot vacuums, is now in the middle of trying to fulfill that vision. The company’s iRobot Genius software has just added a bunch of new features to help its vacuums better understand what’s happening in the home, and it’s releasing a new high-end Roomba that can steer around power cords and pet waste.

Object-Detection Cords Alert [Photo: iRobot]While those features exist primarily to clean your floors right now, Angle says iRobot’s eventual goal is hook the company’s home awareness into other smart home products, including ones that aren’t strictly related to vacuuming or mopping. To do that, iRobot will look to build close partnerships with other device makers instead of inviting everyone into its ecosystem. This walled-off approach may be by necessity—iRobot is a........

© Fast Company

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