Roomba maker iRobot Corp announced future plans to sell maps of users' homes to advertisers, according to an interview iRobot CEO Colin Angle gave yesterday.
There's no deadline set for when this will happen, but investors are itching at the possible earnings, hence the reason why iRobot stock grew to $102 per share in June 2017 compared to only $35 in the same month last year.
Roomba autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners have been on the market since 2002, and are an undeniable and overwhelming success.
In 2015, iRobot started selling Roomba models capable of mapping homes, so the vacuums would know where they should go and stop bumping into furniture or other things.
These maps have been kept on the device, but iRobot plans to upload them to its servers, and soon, sell them to online advertisers like Amazon, Apple, or Google.
Primary buyers aren't your regular ad companies, but makers of smart home voice assistants, like Amazon (Alexa), Apple (Siri), and Google (Home). These companies could buy this data and combine it with the telemetry they get from their devices and built user profiles that they can sell down the road to classic advertising companies, or offer advertising inside their products.
"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," iRobot CEO Colin Angle told Reuters in an interview.
In spite of the bold privacy-intrusive business strategy, Angle is well aware that some users won't like the company's direction. This is why Angle said they won't share any data unless users agree beforehand.
If you own a Roomba smart vacuum, it would be wise to keep an eye on any privacy or ToS updates in the near future.
Image credits: iRobot Corp