How do you set your vacuum robot apart from all the others on the market? You make this smart home product even smarter. This is what iRobot does with its Roomba and iRobot Genius range, making it smarter so that it becomes your real partner instead of just a cleaning tool.
The iRobot Roomba is still the most popular robot vacuum cleaner brand, with 87% market share in the United States. But now other brands also offer voice assistant, smartphone control and staircase detection.
This led iRobot to change its approach. He now focuses more on his software than on his hardware with the new features he calls “IRobot Genius” which are available free of charge to all users.
IRobot Founder and CEO Collin Angle said the goal is to make Roomba vacuums and Braava mops smarter over a period of time. “A robot is not a tool like a hammer. He’s a partner, ”he says. “And so by being a better partner, we think we can have a long-term relationship of trust with customers, which makes what we do look more like a service.”
“We have a long list of new features… but all around this common theme to give you more control over when, where and how the robot works,” Angle added.
iRobot Genius 1.0 is the new launch, and it will receive software updates in six and 12 months.
New Roomba Features
The new features of Roomba iRobot Genius are as follows:
- The app will identify the messiest areas on high-end Roombas with room mapping, and users can name them to only request cleaning of those areas.
- These areas can be added to routines to be cleaned at a regular time, such as under the table after dinner.
- The app will suggest specific cleaning schedules and rooms based on past behavior.
- IFTTT integration makes it possible to configure smart home triggers, such as when a smart thermostat does not detect any movement.
- If a room mapping robot is stuck on an obstacle, the app will suggest that area be avoided in the future.
- Environmental factors, such as the allergy and animal shedding seasons, may cause the application to suggest additional cleaning.
These features will come out of the new “partnership” with the user. Instead of being fully self-contained, the iRobot Roomba will do more of what the user wants it to do, but without the user doing the work.
“By giving the user more precise control, the robot can actually be a better partner and a clean type of your way,” Angle explained.
He further adds that about a third of the time, users turn Roombas off because they are frustrated with interruptions. He finds this “a failure of robotic intelligence”. With iRobot Genius, vacuum cleaners can hopefully be used more often.
There is potential for subscription services that aren’t related to cleaning and selling hardware, but Angle promises that the basic cleaning features of the iRobot Roomba will remain free.
“This is just the start,” Angle swears. “It’s 1.0. Buying a Roomba now is a bit like buying a Tesla in that it gets smarter, and it’s a new robot every few months.
If you want to know more about home automation, read our guide on how it works.
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