Riot 255: Around The Web Roundup

// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • Microsoft has acquired Express Logic, a RTOS developer based in San Diego. The 23-year-old firm is best known for its ThreadX RTOS, which is apparently deployed across 6.2bn devices. RTOS is a few steps down the chain for Microsoft, typically designed for devices with a few dozen kilobytes of RAM, but Microsoft’s recent Azure Sphere launches show it is serious about expanding in this sector.
  • Hitachi is buying JR Automation for $1.42bn, a firm that specializes in robotics-based process automation and has a strong North American customer base in the automotive and aerospace industries. JRA’s 2018 revenue was $600mn, with about 2,000 staff, so again, that’s a pretty low revenue multiple in the IoT.
  • Getaround has acquired Drivy for $300mn, in a deal that sees a North American ride-sharing platform purchase a European one. Getaround says that after the deal, it will cover 300 cities across the US and Europe, with 5mn users.
  • GreenCom Networks has acquired Shine, with the Centrica-backed firm buying the Innogy-backed startup in a move to expand its home energy management systems (HEMS) capabilities. The two are focused on software, rather than hardware.


// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • Alphabet’s Project Loon has netted $125mn investment from HAPSMobile, a SoftBank subsidiary, which Loon will use to expand mobile internet, IoT applications, and 5G deployment. Loon is a longshot, but it could be an easy way to bring coverage to specific areas – although it seems to be racing against the nanosat gang.

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

  • Mozilla has graduated its Project Things program, launching its as Mozilla WebThings. Based on the W3C’s Web of Things (WoT) standard for device monitoring and control, WebThings is a milestone for Mozilla’s IoT developers – who have been bounced around a number of times, due to confused strategy.
  • Arm and Docker have announced a partnership, to make Docker’s containerized application technology run smoothly on Arm hardware, claiming that efficient containerization on edge devices could solve a lot of network bandwidth problems.

// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //

  • Evrythng and IOTA have partnered, with Evrythng looking to incorporate some of IOTA’s DAG-based distributed ledger technology (DLT) into its Blockchain Integration Hub, to use in Evrythng’s supply chain and product interaction platform.

// Automotive //

  • Huawei has unveiled its MH5000 module, which it says is the first 5G communications hardware for the automotive industry. The module is based on the Balong 5000 chip that it launched in January.
  • Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) has secured $1bn in new funding, from Toyota, Denso, and SoftBank’s Vision Fund (SVF). The ATG wing is developing the self-driving functions for the ride-sharing firm, and the new funding might address the shortcomings that contributed to a pedestrian death.
  • Smartcar has accused Otonomo of IP-theft, in a lawsuit that alleges the Israeli firm has plagiarized its API documentation. Cease-and-desists have been issued, and it’s not a good look for a firm that has raised $50mn.
  • Plot-twist – the European Parliament has sided with the European Commission’s decision to exclude cellular technologies from its V2X decision, supporting the WiFi-based ITS-G5 (802.11p) flavor due to WiFi’s preferred state of readiness. The MNO community has warned that this could set the EU back years, locking it into an outdated technology – clearly quite upset, as it looked like the Parliament was going to shoot down the EC proposal.
  • AWS, Ford, and Autonomic (a Ford subsidiary) have announced that AWS will be powering Autonomic’s Transportation Mobility Cloud, a platform offering that is aimed at automakers and developers that want to build connected vehicle services.
  • Waymo has announced it will open a factory in Detroit, to assemble its self-driving cars. This is something of a shift in strategy, as Waymo started out with a licensing plan, which then seemed to evolve into a components and software plan, and now seems to be focused on retrofitting cars with its self-driving technologies. The plan is for SAE Level 4 capabilities.

// Smart Cities //

  • Canada’s Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is suing to have the Google-led Sidewalk Labs project in Toronto ‘reset,’ arguing that the city, regional, and national governments have failed to protect the citizens appropriately. This adds another angle to a very muddy reputation, for the much-maligned project.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • New York City Council has passed the ‘Climate Mobilization Act,’ which pave the way for large investments in IoT-based efficiency and smart grid technologies within the city – calling for large buildings to cut emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
  • GE Renewable Energy has announced its first solar-plus-storage contracts since its restructuring. The project is being installed in New York, and while GE’s stock price is still absolute trash, investors will be hoping it has now finally turned a corner.