As your Roomba robotic vacuum sweeps dust and dog hair from your floors, it might be collecting data about your home – and now iRobot CEO Colin Angle wants to monetize it.
As it navigates around furniture and avoids sleeping cats, iRobot’s 900-series Roomba vacuums also map and memorize room dimensions and floor plans.
Speaking to Reuters, Angle criticized other smart home devices currently on the market and explained how the Roomba gathered data could be used to improve the performance of existing gadgets.
“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” said Angle.
Now the CEO said he’s interested in selling that mapping technology to one of the Big Three–Apple, Amazon or Google’s Alphabet–and told Reuters a deal could be reached within the next couple of years.
Earlier this year, iRobot made a play to make their robotic vacuums a more connected device within a smart home. In May, Roombas became wifi compatible and integrated with Amazon’s assistant Alexa. This new move pushes iRobot firmly into the business of the Internet of Things.
Guy Hoffman, a Cornell University robotics professor, told Reuters the spatial mapping technology would be a “major breakthrough.” He compared current smart home devices to “a tourist in New York who never leaves the subway.”
“There is some information about the city, but the tourist is missing a lot of context for what’s happening outside of the stations,” said Hoffman.
Although there are privacy concerns when it comes to selling information about someone’s home to third parties, Angle said they wouldn’t sell data without customers’ permission.