Your Roomba just got a lot smarter

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Now you can set areas of your home that Roomba shouldn’t go, particularly messy areas that require more frequent cleaning, and even house cleanings when you’re away from home.

Roomba touts the upgrade as a major innovation that makes its devices smarter and more customizable. It is also a way for the company to distinguish itself from a growing number of competitors offering cheaper alternatives.

Unlike other smart home devices, such as Nest thermostats or Philips Hue bulbs, Roomba cleaners previously lacked automated routines and scheduling until this update. Thus, the upgrade brings essential features for Roomba to be operational with the rest of the world of connected devices.

Existing Roomba customers will get the new features in a free software update on Tuesday. The iRobot Home app has been redesigned with more features to customize a robot’s cleaning routines and it works with all iRobot products connected to Wi-Fi.

“IRobot Genius unlocks the full potential of our connected products, empowering them to do more now and become even smarter over time through live updates,” said Colin Angle, President and CEO general of I robot (IRBT), in a press release.

The coronavirus outbreak has led many to stay in their homes, where they have plenty of time to watch the dust bunnies, dirt and other trash stuck to their floors and rugs. This is great news for iRobot.

The company announced at the end of July that it had revenue of nearly $ 280 million for the quarter ending in June, up 8% from the same period last year. and exceeding previous forecasts.

“Maintaining a clean home has taken on greater importance during this pandemic,” Angle said in a July earnings release. He added that the company continues to focus more on its high-end products.

Tuesday’s update allows users to set areas of their home as clean areas for robot vacuums to target. For example, you can set the couch as a clean area and have Roomba clean around the couch.

You can also designate areas of your home as “out of the way” areas that Roomba should stay away from.

With the update, you can tell Roomba to start cleaning when you go outside for a hike or go to work and stop when you return. The app will use location-based services to track when you left the house and instruct Roomba to begin cleaning. If you have other smart home devices, they can be added to the routine as well.

High-end products such as the Roomba i7 and s9 models and Braava jet mops can even vacuum specific areas at specific times of the day, like the dining room on a Friday night.

And during the allergy or animal shedding season, the app will suggest more frequent cleaning.

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