// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //
- Daimler Trucks is buying Torc Robotics, an autonomous driving startup, looking to build SAE Level 4 trucks in the US. Daimler Trucks says that Torc complements it perfectly, and trucking remains one of the most clearly defined applications for autonomous vehicle technologies.
- PTC has acquired Factora, one of its systems integrator partners, a 65-employee Canadian firm that will act as an independent unit in PTC’s Factory Services unit, with PTC saying it wanted Factora for its subject matter expertise and staff, to better service its customers and partners.
- WiseTech has acquired Xwave AB, a Swedish firm that provides a messaging system called xTrade. WiseTech plans on using it to expand its CargoWise One logistics planning platform. No price has been given.
// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //
- HAPSMobile has announced a partnership with AeroVironment, to develop a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) – a UAV that will fly at a height of 20km and provide cellular coverage to devices on the ground. This comes just after HAPSMobile’s owner, SoftBank, used HAPSMobile to invest in Alphabet’s Project Loon.
- AT&T has launched its nationwide LTE Cat-NB network in the US, although, as with all ‘nationwide network’ claims, we remain skeptical about in-field coverage. It joins Verizon, T-Mobile, and now Sprint, with Dish also planning a Cat-NB network deployment.
- Sprint says it is testing LTE Cat-NB in its US network, and that it could easily switch to providing the LPWAN protocol once it sees enough customer demand. It added that its Curiosity IoT platform has seen a 500% increase in customers since launch, with 70% of customers being new to Sprint. However, it’s not giving any clues about actual customer numbers or dollars.
// Smart Homes and Buildings //
- Orange has launched Protected Home, its security service that provides professional monitoring. The Protected Home service is an extension of Orange’s Connected Home, the free smart home service that it provides to its Livebox 4 customers. It is priced at €31/month.
- Arlo has announced its Q1 results, with the Netgear spin-out reporting revenues of $57.9mn and a GAAP gross margin of 3.4%. It says that its service revenue, that is the subscriptions to support its connected cameras, clocked in at $11.3mn in the quarter, up 37.3% in a year.
// Industrial & Manufacturing //
- Nokia has joined the ConectarAGRO group, a set of eight agricultural businesses focused on the Brazilian agricultural sector. The group is looking to use Nokia to provide the 93% of Brazilian farmers that don’t have wireless broadband connections. This looks like a solid deal for Nokia, in a strong channel.
// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //
- Alphabet’s Wing has been approved to trial its drone delivery program in Blacksburg, Virginia, getting its first certification in the USA.
- IBM has announced another win, with Albertsons joining its IBM Food Trust platform, which will let the US retailer use the blockchain-based technology to track food tracing through the supply chain. Walmart is still the flagship.
- Kroger and Nuro have launched another autonomous delivery pilot project, starting in Houston, which will eventually use Nuro’s autonomous vehicles to bring goods to Kroger customers. This expands on a pilot in Arizona, and will initially use manual and self-driving Toyota Prius cars.
// Automotive //
- Jaguar Land Rover is exploring a blockchain-based system for compensating drivers for data sharing. The ‘Smart Wallet’ can function as a conventional payment mechanism, but can be topped up in exchange for sharing data about road conditions, such as pothole reporting. Pitching this as ‘money for nothing’ would be a good way to extract rich data from users without paying through the nose for it.
- Toyota has called off its V2X roll-out, putting the 2021 schedule on hold due to a ‘need for greater automotive industry commitment as well as federal government support to preserve the 5.9GHz band for DSRC.’ So then, with the EU’s recent decision, currently in favor of the 802.11p ITS-G5 approach, it looks like V2X is likely going to become rather islanded.
- Tesla’s claimed autonomous chip performance gets scrutiny, with TechNewsWorld pointing out that the benchmarked claims about rival Nvidia were not comparing apples to apples.
- Ford has integrated its FordPass and Lincoln Way applications with Amazon’s Key delivery service, for Amazon deliveries to the Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
- Fiat Chrysler (FCA) appears to have made a major purchasing decision, selecting Android as the OS for all its cars from 2022, as well as an in-car media platform from Samsung’s Harman. FCA says the two will facilitate future car-sharing and self-driving capabilities.
// Security //
- Kudelski Group and SixSq have partnered, announcing a joint offering aimed at industrial edge computing, using Kudelski’s security expertise alongside SixSq’s Nuvla software orchestration service. These sorts of deals are going to become more commonplace, as security vendors begin integrating with systems that have moved into the always-connected world.
- The Vodafone-Huawei report from Bloomberg is being ridiculed, namely for what most take to be a severe mischaracterization of a leftover diagnostic tool that should have been removed or at least documented in the Huawei equipment. Given Bloomberg’s track record in the SuperMicro reporting, it seems that the once venerable outlet has fallen from grace – big time.
// Smart Cities //
- Samsung SDS and Telensa have announced a partnership to collaborate on smart city projects, in both smart streetlighting (which Telensa claims to be the global leader in, on 1.7mn deployed lights), and Telensa’s Urban Data Platform – a cloud platform that aims to create a trust mechanism for sharing city data. The first projects will take place in Korea, and then APAC and the USA.
// Smart Grid & Utility //
- Telia and One Nordic are supplying Ellevio with 900,000 LTE Cat-NB electric smart meters, to be deployed in Sweden. It’s a win for Cat-NB in the utility space, outside China, but as these are electric meters with internal power available for LPWAN, drawing conclusions about power usage would be misguided. Water and gas metering gigs will be much more telling.
- Tesla is looking to revamp its solar offerings, after losing ground, pushing a market-leading price offering. However, this follows a $702mn loss, and whether Tesla is actually going to follow through on this plan, or is just using this as a distraction, remains to be seen.
- CoilPod’s CEO makes a very strong case for refrigeration to be a priority for building and utility users that are looking to reduce energy consumption. The firm, which provides refrigeration coil cleaning systems, cites figures that show huge reductions in the energy use of refrigeration units that get cleaned properly – something 80% of owners don’t do.