// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //
- Laurel Solutions has acquired Servelec Technologies, a specialist in Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) and IIoT software, used in water, oil and gas, transport, and communications. Laurel is owned by FFL Partners.
- Engie has acquired Tiko Energy, a Swiss startup that specializes in Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS), as part of Engie’s strategy of increasing its decentralization and renewables capabilities, via demand response.
- Kontakt.io has acquired ramp.digital, an IIoT and manufacturing focused startup that provided hardware, software, and design consulting. No price has been given, but it signals Kontakt.io’s desire to expand beyond pure location services.
// Forecasts, Surveys. Reports, & Blue-Sky Thinking //
- The United Nation’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says that IoT demand is driving growth in ICT value, with ICT imports reaching $2.1tn globally in 2017, growing faster than merchandise trade.
// Hardware //
- Qualcomm has announced its QCS400, a new SoC designed for smart home devices that will incorporate digital assistants, like speakers, soundbars, and AV equipment. It features mesh WiFi and Bluetooth Mesh, with Qualcomm’s AI Engine.
// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //
- Kyivstar has grown its M2M subscriber base by 50% in two years, up to 1.5mn connections in February. Some 90% are B2B customers, with the Ukrainian MNO saying most consumers use M2M for car and property security services.
- Orbcomm has launched its solar-powered asset tracker, the GT 1200, which offers a ten-year lifetime for tracking trailers and shipping containers.
- Myriota has launched a developer kit for its IoT-focused nanosatellite offering, after six-months of testing with its early access partners. It is quite pricey.
- Solace has published a whitepaper on building telco IoT systems, pushing its PubSub+ message broker technology as an answer, and outlines how Airtel is using the system to handle 100bn events daily.
// Big Data, Cloud, AI, and Machine-Learning //
- Nokia, Infosys, and Poyry have partnered, looking to drive adoption of KRTI 4.0, an AI framework for industrial and M2M scenarios. It was developed by Poyry, a Finnish firm, and Nokia is bringing its IoT connectivity expertise to bear. Infosys will then be pushing KRTI to its own consulting clients.
- ADLink and Google Cloud have partnered, integrating ADLink’s gateway and edge computing hardware and software with Google’s Cloud IoT offerings.
- Room40 has picked Nokia’s Scene Analytics platform, an ML-powered system for processing video and sensor inputs for CCTV and security applications. Room40, a Belgian startup, is working with the Vias Institute, an accelerator program, to push the offering in Belgian service stations and public spaces.
- Nvidia has launched the Jetson Nano, a $99 board that can run ‘all AI models.’ It claims 472 GFLOPS of performance, with a power draw that can be as low as 5 watts (no word on maximum draw though). The $99 developer kit is accompanied by a $129 production-ready module.
- Nvidia has partnered with AWS, to integrate AWS IoT Greengrass on Nvidia’s Jetson family, enabling GPU-powered network-edge applications.
// Wearables //
- Apple maintains its lead in the wearables market, according to new figures from IDC, which says the total market grew 31.4% to 59.3mn units in Q4 2018. Full year shipments were 172.2mn units, up 27.5%, with Apple holding a 27.4% share in Q4 2018, at 16.2mn units.
// Automotive //
- TomTom’s restructuring to focus on mapping rather than sat-nav devices is subject to a good profile in VentureBeat. The company is supplying ‘multiple top ten’ automakers to supply HD maps for vehicles.
- Nvidia has announced a suite of automotive news at its GDC conference. It has made its Drive Constellation generally available, allowing users to simulated autonomous driving in its cloud-based platform. It also announced Drive AV Safety Force Field, a new defensive driving algorithm that it says should improve self-driving safety, as well as a collaboration with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI-AD), building on Toyota’s use of Nvidia’s Drive AGX Xavier and Pegasus.
- Hyundai and Yandex have partnered, with the Russian web search firm using its own self-driving technology to design software and hardware for Hyundai’s Mobis OEM division. This is Yandex’s first automaker partnership.
- Volkswagen and FAW have partnered, forming a new company to supply connected car services in China. The new firm is called MOS Intelligent Connectivity Technology, and is founded with $150mn investment. Volkswagen is having to do this to comply with Chinese regulation.
- Geotab says it has won the world’s largest telematics contract, after General Services Administration (GSA) picked it to supply telematics services to 217,000 US government vehicles, used by federal agencies.
// Security //
- A new variant of Mirai has appeared, which targets embedded devices rather than consumer ones. It was spotted by Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 researchers, and has 11 new exploits in its toolkit. It doesn’t have a name yet, but joins both Satori and Okiru as offshoots of the infamous IoT malware.
- Qualcomm has chosen Cog Systems to provide its Snapdragon platforms with Cog’s modular secure virtualization technologies, called D4 Secure, for applications like biometrics, AI and ML algorithms, and dual-OS systems.
// Smart Grid & Utility //
- Tesla has unveiled the Model Y, and declared that this is the year of the Solar Roof and Powerwall. The two energy-focused products appeared to have been sidelined somewhat by Tesla, as it struggled to get its automotive affairs in order. It seems that the company is shifting back to its lifestyle offering angle.
// Health //
- Stanford Medicine and Apple have reported the results of the Apple Heart Study, which used 400,000 Apple Watches to study the heart activity of subjects, across the USA. The study found 0.5% had signs of irregular heart rhythms, prompting telehealth consultations and ECG patch shipments. The study suggests that consumer wellness devices could be well integrated into healthcare systems.
- Solera Health and Fitbit have partnered, hoping to use Fitbit devices to encourage positive behavioral changes in Solera customers, such as increased exercise and weight loss. Some 1700 Solera customers enrolled in the US Diabetes Prevention Program, and Solera found that those who redeemed Fitbits had much better results.