Riot 245: Around The Web Roundup

// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • Groupe PSA has acquired TravelCar, a car park and rental startup that will be key to PSA’s Vehicle-aaS strategy. The platform has 1mn users, and PSA was an early investor. It gives PSA a foundation on which to experiment with different ownership and usage approaches.
  • Phillips Connect Technologies (PCT) has acquired Connected Holdings, an IoT cellular connection service provider that PCT will be incorporating into its heavy trucking and container tracking systems, which are due to be launched later this year. Connected Holdings had connected more than 4mn vehicles and devices.
  • Qualcomm has sold its Life subsidiary to Francisco Partners, offloading a division with a lot of promise that never seemed to actually do much. Qualcomm Life is now being branded as Capsule Technologies, focused on devices and software.
  • Buddy is acquiring LIFX, one of the premier names in the smart lighting sector, for $51mn, adding the company to Buddy’s energy-focused smart building strategy. LIFX had $25mn in revenue last year, and Buddy plans to use its customer-base to sell its Buddy Ohm energy monitoring service.
  • Amazon is acquiring Eero, the provider of a popular WiFi mesh system that extends WiFi coverage to entire houses. We anticipate Amazon launching its own WiFi router at some point in the near future.
  • The merger between Starhome Mach and Telarix now has a brand name – TOMIA. Fortissimo Capital sold Starhome Mach to Vista Equity back in October, which then merged Starthome Mach with Telarix. The combined company will sell B2B, OSS/BSS, and digital transformation software and services, under the new TOMIA brand.
  • ARM has acquired WigWag, a crowd-funded IoT sensor that made its name through Kickstarter, providing a way to create custom sensing applications. The sensor did not enjoy much commercial success, owing to consumers not wanting to tinker, preferring an out-the-box system.
  • Dynamic Map Platform (DMP) has acquired Ushr, combining two companies that specialize in creating high-definition maps. DMP specializes in Japan, while Ushr is focused on the USA. They seem to have a long way to catch up with Here and TomTom.

// Software //

  • Google has seemingly thrown in the towel on Android Things, scaling it back from an all-encompassing IoT operating system to one that is now just focused on the smart speaker ecosystem. At least Fuchsia is still a thing then.


// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • Fleet Space Technologies has announced that it has signed up 1mn IoT devices for its low-cost nanosatellite services, after announcing a $2 annual offering as part of its Project Galaxy strategy. It links LoRa devices to its satellite gateways, which then connect to the nanosatellites in orbit.
  • Idemia and Kudelski have announced a global partnership that will integrate Idemia’s Dakota IoT eUICC and TSM offerings into Kudelski’s IoT Security Platform. It provides a combined connectivity and security option for developers to use to improve time-to-market.
  • The Things Network has made significant progress in its plan for a global decentralized LoRa network, with a new $69 indoor gateway, a new security chip via Microchip, and a Chinese development partnership with Tencent.

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

  • Nokia has expanded its WING IoT platform, adding four new off-the-shelf configurations for agriculture, livestock management, logistics, and asset management. Sold as a service, the idea is to enable companies to scale more easily, by removing heavy upfront costs.

// Smart Homes and Buildings //

  • British Telecom is expanding its SHaaS offerings, announcing a new baby monitoring system that is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant ecosystems. It is also heavily marketing WiFi extenders.

// Wearables //

  • Matrix Industries is using u-blox’s ZOE-M8B GNSS module to provide satellite location features to its PowerWatch2, a design that uses sunlight and body heat to provide power, meaning that you don’t need to charge the smartwatch.

// Automotive //

  • Spirent has launched Automotive ComTT, a new testing platform that it says is the first universal system for validating Multibus technologies for use in in-vehicle networks. As cars become more connected, and as OEMs consider replacing cables and wires with wireless alternatives, the in-car RF ecosystem is going to get a lot more cluttered, and testing will become much more important.

// Smart Cities //

  • Bristol is Open has deployed a fall-detection system for its harborside area, to detect if people fall into the water. Part of the 5G Smart Tourism project, the system was deployed in partnership with Zeetta Networks, in a simulated 5G trial, to evaluate how the next-gen networking technology can be deployed.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • Firebrand politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has finally unveiled the ‘Green New Deal’ that has been the subject of much debate. A Democrat senator will introduce the plan, which calls for a wide shift to renewable energy by 2030. Unsurprisingly, Republicans are already attacking the deal as a “socialist manifesto,” but in the US political climate, this could gain real weight.
  • Northern Powergrid has announced that a gamified demand-response test project was a success. It used a mobile application to encourage customers to turn off appliances in the home in exchange for points, which would increase their chance of winning a cash prize. The average power reduction was 11%, at 305W, but one customer dropped some 4.9kWh.