Riot 239: Around The Web Roundup

// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • GE is spinning off GE Digital as a standalone company, which will still be wholly owned by GE and focused on the IIoT. In addition, GE is selling a majority stake in ServiceMax, a company it bought 2016 for $915mn, to Silver Lake, a private equity firm. GE Digital will have $1.2bn in annual revenue, apparently.
  • The Industrial Internet Consortium and the OpenFog Consortium have announced their merger, thanks to their overlapping interests in the IIoT and edge computing.
  • Avnet is acquiring Softweb, a software company from Texas that specializes in AI-based IoT applications, founded in 2004, with 500 staff, and 600 clients.
  • Semtech plans to buy Trackio (TrackNet) for $8.4mn, in a quietly announced deal that has only recently come to our attention (thanks Pat!).
  • ZephyrTel has acquired NewNet’s Interact and Mobile Messaging units, planning to integrate them into its Telecoms Cloud Portfolio, which is aimed at CSPs.

// Hardware //

  • Wave Computing is open-sourcing its MIPS assets, planning to release a new R6 CPU core design in Q1, as well as the open source MIPS Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). This offers an alternative to the open source RISC-V approach, which itself is a lurking ARM competitor.
  • Qualcomm has unveiled its 9205 LTE modem, supporting LTE Cat-M1, Cat-NB2, and also 2G/E-GPRS. Claiming 50% smaller footprint and 70% lower idle power usage, Gemalto, Quectel, and Telit are early partners.
  • Nordic Semi has licensed CEVA’s DSP technology, for use in its nRF91 SoC, the basis of its nRF9160 System-in-Package, which provides LTE Cat-M and Cat-NB.

// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • The 3GPP is planning to release 5G NR-U as part of Release 16, which will see the 5G radio protocol adapted to work with unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz and 6GHz bands, with a view to adding higher frequencies in the future.
  • Sigfox, Follower Product, and Philip Morris France have deployed a pilot project that uses a Sigfox-enabled tag, called Calumet, to track tobacco shipments, to try and tackle French theft and smuggling problems. Some 600 retailers are involved.
  • American Tower has used Everynet’s wholesale LoRa network offering to deploy a Brazilian network, which to date has connected 400,000 devices, saying that it shall reach 2mn in 2019.
  • Sequans has added PoLTE’s Cloud Location over Cellular (C-LoC) positioning stack to its Monarch LTE chipset, claiming to provide an alternative to GNSS without incurring the hardware and power usage costs.

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

  • Graphcore has announced a $200mn Series-D funding round, which the Bristol-based firm plans to spend on refining its IPU silicon, which is aimed at AI tasks. This brings the company’s valuation to a reported $1.7bn.
  • Veea Systems (formerly Virtuosys) and Angel Trains have unveiled the results of a hackathon, which saw Veea explore how to implement edge-computing for rail applications, via Angel Train’s footprint as a major train leasing company.

// Smart Homes and Buildings //

  • Logitech has backed down from a security update that would have scuppered many custom smart home setups based on its controversy-stricken Harmony line of hubs – choosing not to disable XMPP APIs after an outcry.
  • SoftAtHome, an Orange subsidiary, has unveiled its Secure’ON for LAN and IoT devices, a smart home security software offering aimed at CSP devices.
  • Amazon has enabled its Alexa Guard feature, which turns its Echo speakers into home alarm systems that will listen for alarms, break-ins, or broken glass.
  • Universal Electronics has unveiled the Nevo Butler, a turnkey smart home hub powered by Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform, which is pitched at CSPs looking to enter the smart home game – using UEI’s assistant.

// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //

  • Intel is singing the praises of its Connected Logistics Platform, ahead of NRF, claiming that a demo with PA Consulting and Google Cloud saw the trio provide great improvements for Driscoll’s berries and International Flavors & Fragrances.

// Automotive //

  • Here has announced two partnerships; one with Motion Auto that will see Motion use Here’s location platform for its telematics-based insurance services, and the other with Inrix, where Inrix will use Here’s maps in its traffic systems.
  • ARM has announced the new Cortex-A65AE, the first multithreaded processor from ARM that has integrated safety systems. A 7nm design, the chip is designed for sensor data and IVI systems, and is part of ARM’s Safety Ready program. ARM had previously called the chip Helios-AE, in its older roadmaps.
  • The infamous Anthony Levandowski has unveiled an apparently complete coast-to-coast trip in an adapted Toyota Prius, as part of his new venture.

// Security //

  • The IIC and GlobalPlatform have announced a liaison that will see the pair collaborate on security standards and best practices, aimed at industrial devices and platforms. GlobalPlatform is a non-profit association for digital services.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • Alphabet has graduated Malta, its molten-salt energy storage project, from its X R&D project. Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures has also led a $26mn investment round, as the startup hopes to enter the storage market properly.
  • Veolia’s Birdz subsidiary has announced plans to convert 3mn of its water meters to LoRa by 2027, 70% of its footprint, using Orange’s French network.
  • Hitachi will hold over half of all installed power grid capacity, when it completes its purchase of 80.1% ABB’s Power Grids wing, for a price of $6.4bn.
  • Lemonbeat has opted for Semtech’s LoRa technology, integrating it into the Lemonbeat smart metering stack – a departure from Lemonbeat’s previous namesake protocol approach, that it had developed.