Riot 252: Around The Web Roundup

// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • ZF has acquired Wabco, an ADAS provider that specializes in systems for trucks and trailers. The deal is worth €6bn ($6.75bn), and sees ZF take on over 16,000 staff in 40 countries. Wabco reported annual profits of €372mn on revenues of €3.4bn, as ZF expands further into autonomous technologies.
  • MSA Safety has acquired Sierra Monitor Corporation, for $33mn (about 1.5x revenue), in an all-cash deal that MSA wants to use to drive worker safety improvements using Sierra’s gas and flame detection and IIoT systems.
  • The ICC (now with OpenFog) and Plattform Industrie 4.0 have announced an expanded collaboration, with the pair now looking to increase research on digital twins, security, and edge computing.
  • Resideo has acquired Buoy Labs, a startup specializing in a WiFi-based smart home system that tracks water usage and provides leak detection capabilities. No price has been given for the first acquisition made by the Honeywell spin-out. Resideo claims a presence in 150mn homes.
  • Middleby Corp has acquired Powerhouse Dynamics, a developer of cloud-based IoT systems for the food service industry. No terms have been disclosed, but Middleby will be rolling Powerhouse’ SiteSage equipment monitoring systems into its own Connect IoT platform.
  • Boston Networks has acquired Pinacl Solutions, creating a company with 300 staff and revenues of £50mn, apparently. Pinacl’s expertise in ICT infrastructure for smart buildings and cities will be integrated into Boston’s IoT-centric building, wireless, and transport offerings.
  • Lear is acquiring Xevo for $320mn. Founded in 2000 as UIEvolution, Xevo’s 300 staff develop in-car software that is used in 25mn cars on the road – for third-party service integrations and media services. Lear focuses more on seating and electrical systems, with $21.1bn revenue last year.
  • Boston Dynamics has bought Kinema Systems, a maker of computer-vision systems for warehouse robots, which the SoftBank-owned firm will put to use in its very impressive robots.


// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • Kyivstar has picked Cisco Jasper to power a business-focused M2M SIM management service, aimed at Kyivstar clients exploring M2M applications.
  • The LoRa Alliance and the NFC Forum have announced a liaison, to explore use cases and cooperation opportunities for the two wireless protocols.
  • The LoRa Alliance and the DLMS User Association have unveiled a liaison agreement, which would position LoRaWAN as an option for the smart meter data exchange standard that the DLMS UA is promoting in the market.
  • Pod Group and Arm have announced a strategic partnership for embedded SIM. Specifically, Pod will be using Arm’s Kigen service, to power Pod Profile – a SIMalliance-compliant package for eUICC chips to provide OTA control and management services.

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

  • Software AG has announced a new self-service analytics tool for IoT data, saying it provides real-time data analysis to engineers that won’t have to write code to use it. It’s called Apama Analytics Builder.
  • SAP and T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom) have announced a ‘seamless integration’ of their IoT clouds, pitching the joint offering as ideal for industry and logistics.
  • Google’s new AI ethics board, the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) has infuriated a sizable part of its workforce (1.721 Googlers), who have filed a letter to call for the removal of Kay Coles James, due to her anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ sentiment. Perhaps an AI system would have spotted this furor ahead of time?
  • Meanwhile, DeepMind has shown off a prototype of an ML-powered retina scanning tool that can provide detailed diagnoses for a range of conditions in about 30-seconds. It claims to be as accurate as specialists.
  • Siemens and SAS have partnered, with SAS integrating some of its predictive analytics offerings into Siemens’ MindSphere platform.

// Smart Homes and Buildings //

  • TomTom has announced an IFTTT integration for its new Go Premium satnav device, allowing it to be integrated with IFTTT-powered smart homes. However, satnavs are something of a dying breed.
  • SimpliSafe is expanding into the UK, bringing its well-respected DIY smart home security packages across the pond. Starting at £279, the starter kit includes hub, keypad, entry sensor, motion sensor, and the camera. Monthly fees range from £13 to £20, with a premium kit costing £504.
  • Centrica’s Hive has suffered a notable service outage, oddly leaving only its leak detection system online. This highlights the need for redundant fallback.
  • ISS Facility Services has picked T-Systems, Deutsche Telekom’s cloud provider, to run its smart building applications on the Connected Things Hub. T-Systems is pretty happy about the win, which involves 20,000 sensors.

// Wearables //

  • Magic Leap is kinda trash, coming as a surprise to almost nobody who has been following the deluge of leaks, missed deadlines and rollbacks. Hype has ravaged the golden child of AR, and likely set back investment in this space by a couple of years. At least Vuzix’s gear works as advertised.

// Industrial & Manufacturing //

  • ABB and Ericsson have announced an extension to their long-standing partnership, with a new MoU to focus on ‘flexible production with advanced automation and wireless communication.’ We remain very skeptical of the ability for a wireless connection to replace an existing wired one, in mission-critical industrial environments.
  • Microsoft and BMW have expanded their existing cloud agreements, announcing the new Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP). The pair are calling for more partners to join up, to use reference designs from BMW on Microsoft’s Azure platform, as part of an industry-wide collaboration. This isn’t as open as the name implies though.

// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //

  • BlackBerry has launched Radar H2, a new asset monitoring device and service aimed at trailers, containers, and chassis assets. It builds on the Radar M service, which was aimed more at providing trailer telematics. The company is continuing to push its expansion away from smartphones, with some success it seems.
  • Lidl has picked Orbcomm to provide temperature monitoring for its fleet of 400 refrigerated trailers in the UK, which includes a door-opening security alert tool.
  • Laird has unveiled its Sentrius RS1xx devices, a cold-chain monitoring probe that features BLE and LoRa, to support both local smartphone or reader interactions via Bluetooth, as well as long-range LoRa connections.
  • Telus has picked NimbeLink’s AT2 tracker to power its new asset tracking service, using the LTE Cat-M devices to target a wide spread of applications.

// Automotive //

  • Aptiv has released nuScenes, its open source data set aimed at autonomous vehicles, hoping to support research into AV and computer vision.
  • Autotalks has announced the completion of a C-V2X test program in China, with an unnamed ‘Chinese technology giant.’ The test concerned its DSRC and LTE-V2X chipset, which supports the two main camps in the V2X ecosystem.

// Security //

  • F-Secure says that the explosion of smart devices in homes is leading to a vastly increased attack threat, arguing that this threat can no longer be ignored. The main culprit for these attacks are still known vulnerabilities.
  • SonicWall reports that attacks against IoT devices and networks surged in 2018, hitting 32.7mn detected attacks in the year, with 46% of the tracked botnets originating in the US – with China in second place on 13%.
  • WISeKey has announced SensorsID, a new digital identity offering aimed at IoT sensors. The company, which already claims an installed base of 1.2bn of its IoT-focused VaultIC chips, is pushing this new offering at the trillion sensors it says will be embedded in the world by 2022. SensorsID has blockchain components.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • Centrica and Tepco have announced a deal that will see Centrica provide its FlexPond service to Tepco, for industrial-scale demand response in Tepco’s Japanese operations. Centrica says 150 of the largest European energy users currently use FlexPond.
  • Ellevio, One Nordic, and Sagemcom have announced a 1mn-unit smart meter deployment in Sweden, to support Ellevio’s electric utility business.
  • TSE has picked Huawei to power a new solar farm in Japan. Thai Solar Energy (TSE) will be using the Huawei 1500V Smart PV system at the 150MW Onikoube Solar Farm. The pair say this is the first of future deals.
  • Ameren has picked Landis+Gyr to supply it with 1.2mn electric smart meters and 130k smart gas meters, with Landis+Gyr running the associated network, based on its Gridstream Connect offering.
  • ABB and Rolls-Royce are expanding their joint microgrid offerings, aimed at utilities, and commercial or industrial firms. The system will use Rolls-subsidiary Power Systems, as well as ABB’s e-Mesh modular platform.