// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //
- BlackBerry has acquired Cylance for $1.4bn, an AI and ML specialist that BlackBerry will put to work in its device security and services offerings.
- Nuance Communications is spinning off its Automotive segment, planning to float Nuance Auto as a pure-play firm, used in 50mn new cars annually with $279mn annual revenues. There are lots of regulations to clear, first.
- Lowe’s is looking to offload its Iris smart home device family.
- Aviva has acquired Neos, a small insurance company that has made a name for itself by bundling smart home devices in with its insurance offerings.
- Apple has acquired Silk Labs, a smart home startup that was developing AI-augmented smart home devices, which will likely be put to work with Siri.
- Legrand has acquired Netatmo, a French smart home startup that had an established line of products, with annual sales of around $51mn.
// Forecasts, Surveys. Reports, & Blue-Sky Thinking //
- Ericsson has released its latest Mobility Report, with the headline figures being 1.5bn 5G subs by 2024, reaching 40% population coverage. Cellular IoT (that is, L-LPWAN) is expected to reach 4bn by 2024.
// Hardware //
- Wi-Charge has unveiled a long-range wireless charging design that can be used to power Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, removing the need for wires.
// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //
- Deutsche Telekom is planning on launching LTE Cat-M services in 2019, with test networks running in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland.
- SpaceX has received FCC approval for its nano-satellite project, which would consist of 7,518 of its Starlink satellites in a global constellation.
- Skyworks and Semtech have announced a new collaboration to push LoRa devices, combining Skyworks’ RF front-end in new LoRa modules.
- Sigfox has become a Siemens MindSphere Gold partner, which could open it up to more IIoT opportunities through Siemens’ platform.
- Vodafone has launched LTE Cat-M and Cat-NB services in New Zealand, saying that it has 1.6mn cellular IoT connections already.
// Big Data, Cloud, AI, and Machine-Learning //
- SparkCognition has been picked by HPE to provide predictive maintenance tools for HPE’s Edgeline portfolio, which are designed for use at the network-edge.
- Intel has unveiled the Neural Compute Stick 2, updating the Movidius-powered developer kit that is housed in a USB dongle, supported by OpenVINO.
- Ambyint and Spartan Controls have announced the success of their deal with Husky Controls, where the pair provided process optimization for oil and gas.
- Google is absorbing its subsidiary DeepMind’s healthcare division, which has drawn a lot of criticism given DeepMind’s promises not to share data with Google.
- Tencent has picked Here as its global provider of mapping content and places information, for all Tencent’s non-China service business. Here has also joined the Open Geospatial Consortium.
- Uber has shown off an AI technique, called ‘Go-Explore,’ that can recall previous explorations in two challenging video-games that have stumped conventional reinforcement learning techniques – Montezuma’s Revenge, and Pitfall.
- Amazon AWS unveiled a raft of announcements, including security updates for Greengrass, a preview of the IoT Things Graph application builder and IoT Events responder service, IoT SiteWise for industrial data collection, and IoT Device Tester for checking FreeRTOS and Greengrass device’s AWS integrations.
- Amazon AWS also unveiled its A1 Graviton CPUs, which are 64-bit chips based on ARM’s Neoverse platform. Apparently, the A1 was almost built by AMD.
- Amazon AWS has also unveiled the Inferentia machine-learning chip, which will be available in 2019, with support for TensorFlow, Caffe2, and ONNX.
- Nutanix has launched its Xi IoT edge-computing service, part of its Xi Cloud Services portfolio, with support for sending processed data to third-party clouds.
// Smart Homes and Buildings //
- Lidl has picked Schneider Electric to provide Finland’s largest industrial microgrid, which will be used to power building automation systems in Lidl’s new distribution center – a 60,000 square-meter complex in Järvenpää.
- The Open Connectivity Foundation has announced that its OCF 1.0 specification has been ratified by the ISO/IEC JTC 1 committee – as ISO/IEC 30118.
// Wearables //
- Huawei is planning to launch its own AR glasses within the next two years, according to Richard Yu, the CEO of its consumer group.
- Microsoft has secured a $480mn deal with the US Army to provide 100,000 HoloLens units that will be used in combat and training.
// Industrial & Manufacturing //
- Rockwell Automation and PTC have partnered, launching a collaborative offering called FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, to provide digital transformation services.
- ISO has published its first drone standards (ISO/CD 21384-1), as well as the ISO/IEC 30141 standard, also known as the IoT Reference Architecture.
// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //
- Prima Delica is providing Seven-Eleven Japan with vertical-farming services, which will grow vegetables for salads and sandwiches in a new $53mn factory.
- Savi has launched two trackers that it is hoping to sell into military and government supply chains – a GPS and a RFID sensor that links to Savi’s cloud.
// Automotive //
- Imagination Technologies has announced PowerVR Automotive, a new portfolio of chips and software stack that is aimed at GPU-based automotive applications.
- TomTom Telematics is apparently the largest fleet management solution provider in Europe, for the fourth year running, according to Berg Insights.
- Qualcomm says that the first commercial C-V2X deployments will begin in 2019, with China, Germany, and France early adopters.
- Mobileye has outlined its new roadmap, with the Intel company planning on offering ‘open’ versions of its EyeQ5 chips that would support third-party code, and later moving up the stack to complete computing subsystems.
- Cisco and Codha Wireless have announced a four-year project in Australia, where the pair will jointly deploy connected roadways infrastructure.
- Volvo Trucks has announced its first fully autonomous deal, providing Bronnoy Kalk with six self-driving trucks to transport limestone on a 5km route.
- Hyundai and Kia have picked Vodafone to provide fleet connectivity in Europe.
- Volvo and Ericsson have signed a five-year global deal, which will see Volvo Cars use Ericsson’s Connected Vehicle Cloud (CVC) PaaS, for vehicular services.
- Volvo and Luminar have shown off advanced Lidar systems at the LA Auto Show, with the system apparently able to detect objects at 250-meters.
// Smart Cities //
- Huawei has launched its Digital Platform for Smart Cities, which it hopes to pitch to municipalities looking to build AI-powered services and applications.
// Smart Grid & Utility //
- Itron has won a contract with Elektro, a Brazilian utility serving 13.6mn customers that is part of Iberdola, and will deploy its Gen5 W-SUN network to connect meters from Eletra, a leading Brazilian meter provider.
- The UK’s smart metering project is on track to miss its 2020 deadline, and cost an additional $500mn, in a very unsurprising turn of events. The consumer benefit is now thought to be just £18/year.
- EDF Energy and Powervault have partnered, to push discounted Powervault battery systems to rooftop solar owners that sign up to EDF’s grid services.
// Health //
- Intel and GE Healthcare have announced a partnership to use Intel’s distribution of the OpenVINO toolkit in AI-based medical imaging analysis.