Roku Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of digital media players, has been granted a new patent that could potentially enhance the user experience of Internet of Things (IoT) devices significantly. However, the description of the patent implies that this improvement may come at the cost of potential privacy violations.
The patent, filed on August 10, 2022 (Published on July 11, 2023), and credited to inventors Greg Garner and David Stern, introduces a method for switching operational modes of IoT devices based on the presence and motion of an end-user.
The patent, titled “Using Motion and Presence of an End-User to Switch Operational Modes of an Internet of Things Device,” describes a method that uses a Wi-Fi module of a computing device to detect the presence of an end-user in a monitored environment. This environment is separate from, but communicatively coupled over an IoT network to, a battery-powered IoT device.
The method involves switching the IoT device from a standby mode to an active mode when the end-user enters the monitored environment. The standby mode is a power-saving mode in which the IoT device consumes less power than when operating in active mode.
The patent also details a system that includes a processor and a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium. The system stores program instructions that, when executed by the processor, perform operations similar to the method described above.
Moreover, the patent outlines a method for detecting the movement of an end-user from one monitored environment to another. This involves triggering different IoT actions at the first and second IoT devices, respectively.
Another aspect of the patent includes a method for detecting when an end-user has exited a monitored environment. In response, the system triggers an IoT action at the device. If the end-user reenters the environment, a second IoT action is triggered.
The patent also addresses a scenario where an IoT device is playing out media content. If a predefined time period passes without the IoT device receiving end-user input, the device displays a prompt for the end-user to indicate whether they are present. However, if the system detects the presence of the end-user, it triggers the IoT device to switch to a mode where it does not display the prompt.
What are your thoughts about this new patent filed by Roku? Does it concern you for your privacy? Let’s discuss this aspect of this technology in the comments section below.