Riot 240: Around The Web Roundup


// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • Autodesk has acquired BuildingConnected for $275mn, a construction software specialist. It’s the latest in a series of acquisitions by Autodesk, a planning and creation software provider, which saw it buy PlanGrid for $875mn in November, and Assemble Systems, back in July 2018.
  • Taoglas has acquired ThinkWireless, an automotive antenna designer, as the specialist IoT antenna firm looks to expand its portfolio offerings.
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// Laws, Regulation, and Lawsuits //

  • Google has received approval from the FCC to use high frequency radar spectrum in its Project Soli testing, a project that aims to provide gesture-based human-machine interfaces (HMI) and motion detection.
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will be hit with a lawsuit that alleges it knew about cybersecurity vulnerabilities in its Jeep family, and that its failure to patch them has led to the resale value of these cars being damaged.
  • Huawei is suing InterDigital in a Chinese court, accusing it of patent violation. The two firms had a licensing agreement that expired in 2018.

// Hardware //

  • ARM has unveiled its new Mali-C52 and Mali-C32 Image Signal Processors (ISPs), preparing for what it says is a surge in demand for IoT devices with machine vision capabilities.
  • Antenova has unveiled its Raptor antenna, a SMD form-factor unit that claims centimeter-accuracy for GNSS positioning, designed for IoT devices.
  • Sequans and GeoTraq have partnered to create a new family of LTE modules, the NB-400. The 12mm x 16mm design uses Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD), over LTE Cat-NB, as GeoTraq says this is the most efficient transport. The modules make use of the recent Sequans-PoLTE partnership, for non-GNSS positioning.
  • Huawei has unveiled the Kunpeng 920, which it claims is the most powerful ARM-based CPU – designed for data center tasks like big data and storage.  It houses 64 cores at 2.6GHz, with optimized branch processing technology.
  • Sequans and Polymer Logistics have unveiled a jointly developed Smart IoT Tracker, which runs on Verizon’s LTE-M network, for pallet and asset tracking.


// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • Astrocast has announced new pilot projects for its LEO nanosatellite constellation, with Actia, Marine Instruments, and Swiss Fresh Water.
  • The Zigbee Alliance and the Thread Group have announced a milestone – unveiling Dotdot over Thread and the completion of the Dotdot 1.0 specification.
  • Sprint has unveiled what it calls the first smart home small cell, the TREBL with Magic Box, for improved in-home LTE coverage. As the (somewhat awful) name implies, the unit houses speakers, from Harman, for audio/music services.
  • PodM2M has announced that it has made its Pod Protect security service a standard feature for its MVNO customers, powered by ML tools.
  • Deutsche Telekom and Ista have revealed the results of LTE Cat-NB tests in real estate environments, successfully connecting meters in 99.75% of events.

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

  • Rockchip, a Chinese semiconductor firm that usually shows up in low-cost devices, has announced its RK1808, a chip designed for ‘AIoT’ that houses a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) with a claimed 3 TOPs bandwidth.
  • IBM has announced that you can soon rent its IBM Q quantum computer, although its 20-qubit capacity means that its scope it limited. IBM says this is the first commercial quantum computer available to rent, via its cloud platform. D-Wave might take issue with the ‘first’ element of the messaging, however.
  • CEVA has unveiled WhisPro, a new IP stack for neural-network-based speech recognition, designed for digital assistant and IoT devices.

// Smart Homes and Buildings //

  • Universal Electronics (UEI) has unveiled its new smart home kits, which augment its Nevo Butler hub, a white-label package aimed at CSPs. Ayla Networks has also been selected by UEI, to integrate its PaaS with UEI’s QuickSet Cloud.
  • Amazon says it sold ‘tens of millions’ of Echo devices in 2018, and that there are now more than 100mn Alexa-enabled devices in the wild, ahead of CES.
  • Apple has filed patents for a new version of its iBeacon technology, the Bluetooth beacon system, which is now being updated to use Ultra-Wideband signals. It is also enjoying a lot of third-party HomeKit announcements at CES.
  • Netatmo has unveiled its Smart Video Doorbell, the first such device to work with Apple’s HomeKit platform – a sign of (admittedly rather slow) progress.
  • Kohler has created perhaps the most CES appropriate smart home device – an Amazon Alexa controlled toilet, featuring integrated surround sound speakers.
  • Google says its Assistant is now present on 1bn devices in 80 countries, but notably isn’t breaking out its smart home figures here. Amazon is very much likely to be a considerable way out in front here.
  • Ikea is on the verge of releasing some aggressively priced connected blinds, starting at around $110, which is at least 3x cheaper than most such systems.
  • ADT’s pivot towards smart home systems is on show at CES, with the company embracing new device types to augment its conventional security services.
  • EDF Energy and Howz, a smart home startup, have developed a home monitoring system for the elderly and vulnerable, which pulls data from energy usage and in-home sensors, to determine if a resident is healthy or in need of help.
  • Comcast has launched a cybersecurity service, xFi Advanced Security, which is based on Cujo AI’s technology – a company that Comcast has invested in.
  • Xiaomi has picked Silicon Labs to supply it with Bluetooth Mesh chips that will be used in Xiaomi’s smart home portfolio, which is poised for international expansion.

// Wearables //

  • Withings has announced a new smartwatch that houses an EKG sensor, a feature most prominent in Apple’s line of watches. The hybrid design uses an analog mechanism, and claims to have a 12-month battery life.
  • Matrix has unveiled its PowerWatch2, a smartwatch that can power itself by solar and body heat. It includes GPS fitness tracking, but has a limited app ecosystem.
  • Garmin has launched its first LTE-enabled smartwatch, the Vivoactive 3 Music, designed to provide music while on the go, and running on Verizon’s network.

// Automotive //

  • Aptiv (Delphi) has signed a deal with Affectiva, an MIT spin-out, to develop AI-based software to improve and monitor cockpit/interior conditions.
  • TomTom says its maps are now being used by 500,000 SAE Level 1 and/or 2 vehicles, and will be collaborating with Denso on an autonomous vehicle software platform.
  • ZF has picked Xilinx to provide it with FPGA technologies that ZF will use in its ProAI units, which the automotive OEM plans to use in self-driving cars.
  • Bosch and Mojio have partnered to launch a crash-detection and response service, using Bosch algorithms and eCall tools in tandem with Mojio’s cloud. It is available for new cars, as well as retrofit.
  • Harman has expanded its OTA offering, adding new tools for OEMs to use while updating their vehicle stacks, including a Smart Delta package reductions system that claims to be able to reduce file sizes by 99%.
  • Intel’s Mobileye and the Ordnance Survey have announced a partnership that will use Mobileye-powered cars to update OS maps, with roadside data.
  • Nvidia has unveiled Drive AutoPilot, which it says is the first commercially available SAE Level 2+ automated driving system. Continental, and ZF are customers, and will be launching products using it in 2020.
  • Here has made a number of CES announcements, including an Alexa integration, new features for the OTA Connect service, a new in-car navigation SaaS option for automakers to license called Navigation on Demand, a targeted advertising service for advertisers,  and finally the launch of the Here OLP Marketplace, its IoT-fed data trading hub for businesses to use. Audi picked Here for traffic data in North America and Europe, Mercedes-Benz did the same for the Americas and APAC, Verve announced a partnership with Here for mobile advertising and in-vehicle opportunities, while Fathom integrated its Bluetooth asset tracking sensors and stack with Here’s platform. Finally (for now), Here partnered with GiPStech, to use its inertial sensor technology in Here Positioning, for better location determination on mobile devices.
  • Visteon has launched what it thinks is the first V2X module that supports both cellular and DSRC (802.11p) approaches – a war that is still playing out.
  • Molex, Accenture, and AWS have partnered, to bring Alexa integrations to Molex’s Automotive Ethernet Network Platform, as well as edge-compute capabilities.
  • Daimler has picked Otonomo to provide it with a new Neutral Server initiative, for in-car services that are compliant with global data privacy regulations.

// Security //

  • BlackBerry has published a survey that finds 80% of US, UK, and Canadian consumers do not trust their current internet-connected devices to secure their data and privacy – with security reputation a strong purchasing decision factor.
  • Karamba Security’s ThreatHive honey pot servers have detected around 300,000 attempted attacks on automotive EVUs monthly – a worrying scale.

// Smart Cities //

  • Sprint’s Curiosity IoT platform is powering a smart city in South Carolina (Greenville), Sprint’s first apparent success with the new project. It unsurprisingly has a 5G angle, using MIMO arrays, to support high bandwidth edge-processing and sensing arrays.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • DEWA says it has set a new world record for lowest water losses in its distribution network, at just 6.6% – down from 42% in 1988.

// Health //

  • Omron has launched an Alexa-enabled blood pressure monitor, which it claims is the first such device. It opens the door for greater integrations between healthcare equipment and practitioners and their patients while at home.