Sounds like a sci-fi thriller... actually a vacuum company. iRobot is the publicly traded consumer robot biz famous for Roomba (aka: the popular self-driving vacuum). Its sales soared for a while during the pandemic as homebound and hygiene-conscious adults ordered smart vacuums to clean up after their kids. But iRobot's US revenue growth has been slowing. Now:
Competing for Fluffy's approval... Roomba isn't the only one: last year Amazon rolled out a $1K Alexa-powered robot named Astro (aka: a 10-inch tablet on wheels). Smart-device adoption has surged thanks to speakers from Amazon and Google, along with thermostats, security cams, and light dimmers. iRobot's vacuums work with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice commands — but it may not be enough to win in the increasingly crowded market.
Intelligence is useless without context… at least in the smart-home space. iRobot’s CEO told The Verge that the primary differentiator of a home robot is intelligence (aka: software brain vs. hardware body). Key to that is context — a deep understanding of your home and habits. Think: air purifiers understanding when a room is empty before going into noisy turbo mode (iRobot’s working on it). In the future, we’re picturing showers that turn on at your preferred temp when you wake.