Rethink IoT News ATW 174: Around The Web Roundup

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// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • Avnet has acquired Dragon Innovation, a startup-focused hardware accelerator program, as part of a strategy to boost its prototyping offering – which also saw it purchase Premier Farnell (and the element14 community), as well as

  • Tantalus has acquired Energate, adding the energy demand management software provider to Tantalus’ smart grid portfolio, which is pitched at utilities for better usage management.

  • Zingbox has netted $22m in Series B funding, with Dell leading the round that the startup hopes will let it propel its IoT Guardian security offering to the big leagues.

  • Osram has acquired Digital Lumens, a connected lighting platform provider that had been branching into other applications. Osram will be using DL to augment its lighting portfolio.

  • Digital Science has launched its Catalyst Grant, a £25,000 fund for tech ideas that counts past winners as Nutonian (machine-learning data analysis) and HackScience’s lab tools.

  • Trumpf has acquired C-Labs, an IIoT software house, in a deal rumored to be upwards of $10m. Trumpf sells manufacturing tools, such as laser cutters and 3D printers.

// Laws, Regulation, and Lawsuits //

  • Germany will instruct automakers to ensure that autonomous vehicles choose to destroy property or collide with animals before they make a decision to hit a person.

// Forecasts, Surveys. Reports, and Blue-Sky Thinking //

// Hardware //

  • Brite Semi has licensed SaberTek’s wireless transceiver IP, with Brite planning on using it to develop Wi-SUN and 802.11ah combo radio chips, aimed at smart metering and lighting.

// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • Helios Wire has raised $4m to help launch its first two satellites, the foundation of a plan to build an IoT-focused network – with “ultra-low-cost short burst data services.”

  • Nordic Automation Systems (NAS) has announced that one of its LoRa luminaire controllers managed to link with an end-point 86km away – from Finland to Estonia.

  • Arkessa has signed deals with Advantech and Telent this week, in a go-to-market strategy with the embedded computing provider, and a network solutions deal for Telent’s Netkizon.

  • Thingstream has been commercially launched by Myriad Group, with its USSD messaging for cellular M2M now available for customers as part of a PaaS.

// Big Data, Cloud, AI, and Machine-Learning //

  • Incedo has launched IoT NXT, an integrated IoT services offering for enterprise users, with an initial focus on efficiency boosts for renewable energy, industrial, and transport sectors.

  • Microsoft has pipped IBM to the post, claiming a new low-record for error rates in language recognition – of 5.1% compared to Watson’s 5.2%, using its Cognitive Toolkit 2.1.

  • Intel and Microsoft have unveiled Project Brainwave, based on Intel’s Stratix 10 FPGAs, which they claim is capable of providing ‘real-time AI’ for cloud-based applications.

  • Microsoft and Xiaomi have partnered to use Microsoft’s AI-based chatbot in Xiaomi’s smart home devices – with the fifth generation of the bot being launched, dubbed Xiaoice.

  • Adlink picked VMware to provide it with a pre-integrated IoT cloud system for its edge-computing device customers, using VMware’s new Pulse IoT Center as the basis.

  • Ayla Networks and China Unicom have announced a partnership that will develop smart home and IoT solutions, based on Ayla’s cloud application platform and Unicom’s networks.

  • Intel has launched the Myriad X, its first Vision Processing Unit (VPU), which houses a dedicated neural compute engine for computer vision processing in edge-devices.

// Smart Homes and Buildings //

  • AT&T is looking to offload its Digital Life smart home business, according to a report from Reuters, as part of a debt reduction strategy for its $85bn acquisition of Time Warner.

  • The LBNL and PNNL energy labs have developed a building energy testing DIY kit that could save some 10% on energy bills without needing site-visits – potentially saving the US around $5.1bn in energy costs annually.

  • ASRock is stepping into the smart home with its X10 WiFi router, which also houses a Zigbee radio for controlling smart home devices – Digital Trends takes a look.

  • Comcast and SunRun have signed a deal that will see Comcast offering SunRun’s solar panels to its TV and broadband customers, with Comcast taking a 10% stake in SunRun too.

// Wearables //

  • Facebook’s Oculus has filed patents for a lightweight pair of glasses that will house AR-based experiences, using all of the glass lens as a display – not just an edge or corner.

  • Sales of wearables are up 16.7% in 2017, driven by a demand for Bluetooth headsets and smartwatches, according to Gartner – which predicts that the industry will shift 310m units, with sales worth $30.5bn. Smartwatches are up 20%, to 41.5m units – 13.4% of total units, but around 30.5% of total revenue, at $9.3bn.

  • Fitbit has launched the Ionic smartwatch, its new Apple Watch challenger that features WiFi, BLE, and NFC, with a blood oxygen sensor, and a claimed 4-day battery life – for $300.

// Industrial & Manufacturing //

  • Microsoft and Halliburton have founded a strategic alliance to drive digital transformation across the oil and gas industry, with plans to use AR and IoT technologies to this end.

// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //

  • Walmart and IBM are behind a new food industry consortium that has been launched, which will use a blockchain-based platform to better track the origin of foodborne illnesses, so that retailers can react more quickly. It also includes Unilever, Kroger, and Nestle.

  • Seegrid has unveiled the GP8 Series 6 self-driving pallet truck, as part of an expansion of its Smart Platform, for automated material movement in warehousing deployments.

// Automotive //

  • Waymo has given the Atlantic first look at its Carcraft driving simulator, which it uses to create virtualized tests for its self-driving vehicle LiDAR technologies, as well as its Castle campus, which lets it build physical reconstructions of tricky parts.

  • The UK’s TRL lab will be testing platoons of self-driving trucks on public roads in 2018, with the lead vehicle manned by a human driver and the two trailing trucks following.

  • Uber has picked its new CEO, selecting Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia, the online travel company. The deal means that GE’s former CEO, Jeff Immelt, won’t join.

  • Kratos Defense is supplying Colorado’s DoT with a self-driving ‘crash-truck’ for its road maintenance crews, which will autonomously follow a lead vehicle and protect workers.

// Security //

  • Akamai has launched its latest State of the Internet report, finding that DDoS and web app attacks are on the rise again, with the PBot malware a notable insurgent.

  • ZingBox and VMware have announced a collaboration to develop enterprise IoT security enhancements, for hardening at all network layers in VMware’s Pulse IoT Center.

// Smart Cities //

  • T-Mobile Polska has launched two smart city pilots in the Polish cities of Nysa and Pionki, with analog streetlight replacement a key focus, as well as the installation of sensor hubs.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • Ameren and SC&E have announced that their microgrid islanding test was successful, using the $5m 50kW system to successfully service the Ameren R&D campus with renewables.

  • Global solar capacity could pass nuclear by the end of 2017, and is potentially on track to be double the size of nuclear by 2022, according to GTM Research.

  • Alevo has started bankruptcy proceedings. Once seen as a rival to Tesla, its lithium-iron-phosphate battery tech has lost out to the huge growth in lithium-ion.

  • Mexico is planning on investing $646m in smart grid network reliability and flexibility upgrades, with CFE (a state utility) announcing another $825m fund too.

// Health //

  • Union Chimique Belge (UCB) has picked Byteflies to help it monitor seizures in epileptic patients, using the latter’s wearable sensor units, which it hopes will be used in R&D.