Riot 258: Around The Web Roundup

// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • SnapAV is buying Control4, in a $680mn deal that the pair are calling a definitive merger agreement – a 40% premium. Control4 is a venerable presence in the home automation space, providing one of the most extensive software and hardware ecosystems, predominantly used by pro-installers. SnapAV makes audio visual, security, and networking products for such pro-installers.
  • Sectigo has acquired Icon Labs, a security solutions provider for OEMs and IoT device manufacturers. Sectigo, formerly Comodo, is the world’s largest internet Certificate Authority (CA), and wants to expand its IoT offerings using Icon Labs’ expertise. The pair seem very optimistic. No price was given.
  • Vodacom (Vodafone) is acquiring IoT.nxt, in a South African deal that will see the MNO snap up a specialist that will allow it to expand beyond just connectivity and into services. IoT.nxt is a digital transformation firm, focused on the IoT.
  • Mitsubishi Electric is acquiring Iconics, a US software firm focused on SCADA and IoT applications, in a move that sees Mitsubishi buy a venerable player in the industrial automation market. No price has been given, and Iconics will be used to expand Mitsubishi’s awfully-named ‘[email protected]’ portfolio.
  • Cortex Group is acquiring Tesla Water’s “market-leading” Water Quality Monitoring Solution, which will be housed within Cortex’s Water Mathematics subsidiary. The South African tie-up does not have a price attached to it.

// Laws, Regulation, and Lawsuits //

  • A smart home case has been settled in New York, where a landlord has been forced to provide a key-based alternative to tenants that are not happy with the installation of Latch smart locks in their building. This decision does not set a legal precedent, but it is likely the first of many disputes that we envision will end up steering legislation.
  • San Francisco has banned city agencies and the police force from using facial recognition on citizens. The first such ban in the US, it comes after a number of recent controversial events, and might set a precedent in the US.

// Forecasts, Surveys. Reports, & Blue-Sky Thinking //

  • The TM Forum has published a new report, which came to our attention via Mycom OSI, which declares that the CSP procurement process is broken, and that outdated RFPs are stifling their ability to innovate.


// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • Polte has announced that its Cloud Location over Cellular (C-LoC) platform has now entered the commercial beta program stage. The technology, which calculates location based on just cellular data, and therefore doesn’t require GPS (expensive, battery intensive), is well-positioned for L-LPWAN devices.
  • Verizon has launched LTE Cat-NB services in the US, running its is guard-band. The initial pricing is $1/month for 50KB of data, which can be shared between devices on the same plan.
  • Huawei’s equipment is now a national emergency in the US, or so says Tariff Man. A new executive order will “prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States” in the ICT supply chain.

// Smart Homes and Buildings //

  • Google Nest could be in for some considerable blow-back, depending on how it handles the shuttering of the ‘Works with Nest’ program. Google says that its ‘Works with Google Assistant’ will be the replacement, come August, but we are certain that there will be some brands that can’t make the ecosystem transition. This may very well be an escalation in the Google-Amazon conflict.
  • Sonos has announced an integration with Google’s Assistant, adding to its established Alexa offering. The expansion is significant, for both Sonos and Google, as Sonos has a large install-base that can swell Google’s list of prospective users, and because this should open Sonos up to Google ecosystem customers.
  • Osram’s Digital Lumens has unveiled a new LED lighting design that has a modular system for connecting a variety of sensors to it. The aim is to provide a flexible manner to provide lighting customers with the in-building sensor suite that best suits their particular application.

// Automotive //

  • Uber and Lyft are in the firing line, after Science Advances published a study that found the ride-sharing fleets have increased congestion by 62% in San Francisco, based on data from 2016 compared to a 2010 model. The study thinks 43% to 61% of ride-sharing trips could have been completed on foot, bike, or public transport, and that the low pricing of ride-sharing has led to this congestion.
  • Tesla’s plan to provide, or at least negotiate, insurance coverage for its car customers is evolving, although as with all things Tesla, we have to wait and see if it actually makes it to market. This new product is distinct from the InsureMyTesla partnership with Liberty Mutual, but would leverage the Autopilot setting and associated data to ‘prove’ Tesla cars are safer on the roads.
  • Plot Twist: there’s now an apparent two-month extension on the European Commission’s V2X decision, made after 15 member states came forward to as for more time. Also, the FCC is rumored to be considering opening up the DSRC band to WiFi now, which could sway European thinking.
  • Siemens has secured an electrified road trial in Germany, using overhead cabling to provide a way to power electric-powered trucking. Siemens Mobility hopes its eHighway technology has shown its worth, following trials in Sweden and California. This is perhaps the easiest way to solve the long-range road freight problem for electric trucks, which are heavily battery constrained.
  • Ford’s Autonomic and Fujitsu have partnered, looking to expand cloud mobility services apparently. They say they will combine their powers to accelerate mobility-as-a-service.

// Security //

  • Karamba and Wind River have announced a new go-to-market partnership that will bring Karamba’s ‘autonomous security’ technologies to Wind River RTOS customers. Karamba says that manufacturers are now using its offerings, building on over 32 engagements in the automotive space.
  • Intel has revealed that its CPUs are vulnerable to a new set of side-channel attacks. Unlike Meltdown and Spectre, these newly disclosed vulnerabilities appear to only apply to Intel equipment. In response, Google has disabled hyperthreading in Chrome OS, and warnings to customers have been published by Apple, Microsoft, Red Hat (IBM), QubeOS, and Xen.
  • Red Balloon Security has found what its says are major problems in the secure boot process for Cisco routers, switches and firewalls. Dubbed ThrangryCat, you may have come across this news as it was the first to be named with emojis – three angry cats.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • The California Energy Commission has shed some light on the results of its microgrid demonstration projects, which have saved between 20% and 60% on utility bills, mostly through avoiding higher demand charges, with some of the microgrids successfully islanded during power outages, thanks to their storage.