Riot 259: Around The Web Roundup


// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • Michelin is acquiring Masternaut, making this its third acquisition in the fleet management space – following Nextraq (2017) in North America and Sascar (2014) in South America. No price has been given, but Michelin talks about how its technology saves an average of $800 per vehicle annually.
  • Tendril has acquired EnergySavvy, an energy optimization specialist that provides services to utilities that will identify and recommend bespoke energy saving tips to customers. The move expands Tendril’s own offering, which is now used to monitor 123mn US home, for five of the top-ten US utilities.
  • Resideo has acquired Whisker Labs, with the Honeywell smart home spin-off now looking to expand via Whisker’s energy analytics software, not long after having bought Buoy Labs and its WiFi technology. Resideo is clearly aiming to cater to the utility space, which makes sense given its heritage.

// Laws, Regulation, and Lawsuits //

  • The US Congress has reintroduced the Smart Cities and Communities Act, which is a $200mn opportunity for smart city investments. The first time the legislation was brought to Congress, in 2017, it stalled.
  • Huawei has a three-month reprieve from the US Executive Order, with the Department of Commerce providing a Temporary General License. Good luck on predicting whether tensions have eased or escalated by the end of the period. Oh, and now DJI’s drones might be in the firing line. No one point out the obvious rebuttal of the dangerous impact of American drones though.

// Hardware //

  • Lattice has unveiled improvements for its low-power FPGA stack, with expanded neural network and machine learning support, and customizable reference designs, aimed at always-on AI-based functions at the network edge. Lattice’s senseAI family is aimed at the 1mW to 1W range – very different from data center class FPGAs.
  • USound is showing off its new MEMS microspeaker, which it says can extend the battery life of wireless earbuds to 12 hours. With applications in the wearable and hearable sector, USound has just secured $30mn in funding, to expand upon its Ganymede design.


// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • Comcast’s machineQ wing is moving to a campus-based customer approach, using Comcast’s installed internet infrastructure as backhaul, and allowing customers to install their own radio equipment. This is a response to machineQ finding that most customers wanted to focus on a specific geographic area, and were not interested in wide-area (regional, national) networks. This is a good example of our thesis that LoRa is going to thrive in campus or local deployments of high densities of devices, as a much cheaper alternative to L-LPWAN.

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

  • Atos has unveiled its first edge-compute server, called the BullSequana Edge. It is notable for the inclusion of LoRa as a communication option. Powered by an Intel Xeon and up to 512GB of RAM, with options for Nvidia Tesla T4 GPUs and unspecified FPGAs, moving that much compute power to the edge and integrating LoRa processing is both exciting and a little baffling.

// Smart Homes and Buildings //

  • Arm has launched its Space Analytics offering, part of its Pelion IoT platform, aimed at providing building and office managers better views of how people actually use the space within a building.
  • Lutron has unveiled the Aurora, an adapter that fits over a light switch to provide additional dimmer controls for the switches and avoid the issue of someone turning the switch off and killing power to a smart bulb down the line. Lutron says the $40 device will last three years on its coin cell battery, and it pairs with the Philips Hue platform too.
  • Comcast is reportedly developing a health monitoring device, and is in talks with hospitals about sharing the data pulled from the system, according to CNBC.
  • Wyze has unveiled the Wyze Bulb, an $8 connected bulb that is going to be launched in only a four-pack option to begin with ($30). This builds on Wyze’s extremely affordable cameras and its new Wyze Sense sensor package.
  • The Broadband Forum has published its open source Open Broadband User Services Platform Agent (OS-USB-Agent) implementation, which it hopes will be used by vendors as a platform for richer media and smart home services.

// Wearables //

  • Lenovo has unveiled its new enterprise-focused AR devices, the ThinkReality A6 headset, which is looking to challenge Microsoft’s Hololens headset.
  • Qualcomm announced that its Snapdragon XR1 platform is powering Google’s new Glass Enterprise Edition 2, which has now gone into commercial release.

// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //

  • T-Mobile and Ossia are working on a pilot project inside Walmart’s distribution centers, using Ossia’s wireless power charging system to charge asset tracking tags. It builds on an in-store digital labeling pilot Ossia had with Walmart last year.

// Automotive //

  • Nissan has joined the Tesla camp, claiming that LiDAR isn’t necessary for self-driving cars. This now looks like a bold stance, given the latest Autopilot-related
  • The Association of Global Automakers is pressuring the FCC to preserve the 5.9GHz DSRC band for V2X usage, and proposes build-out requirements to stoke investment in the technology – 2mn V2X radios in 5 years, then 75% of new vehicles in 10 years.
  • TuSimple and USPS will begin using self-driving trucks to move mail between the USPS depots in Phoenix and Dallas. With a safety driver onboard, the TuSimple trucks are going to be under intense scrutiny through the two-week pilot. The route is an ideal candidate for self-driving vehicles to replace human drivers.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • Tesla’s Solar Roof pricing is getting some scrutiny from Greentech Media, which went digging and found that the cheaper pricing is due to applying federal tax credits as part of the contract pricing. The industry convention is to apply such discounts and rebates after full pricing has been costed.
  • Enel’s eMotorWerks has unveiled a subscription package for EV charging. Starting at $19/month, which includes the professional installation of the JuiceBox equipment, this gives eMotorWerks a pool to aggregate as a grid-level storage and demand-response resource.
  • Aridea Solutions, Libelium, and SaskTel are deploying a water quality monitoring system for First Nations communities in Canada, using Libelium’s Plug and Sense platform as the basis, projected to eliminate long-term safety advisories.