// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //
- Blue Prism is acquiring Thoughtonomy, in a robotic process automation (RPA) consolidation that has been built on the back of a five-year partnership between the two firms. No price has been given.
- Getaround has acquired Nabobil, a Norwegian car rental startup, for $12mn, in a deal that sees the SoftBank-backed startup continue to splash its recent $300mn Series D investment round. It follows the $300mn acquisition of Drivy, in April.
- Apple has acquired Drive.ai, a startup looking to develop self-driving shuttles for ride-sharing applications. Drive.ai was reportedly about to begin mass layoffs, after running into difficulties. It was once valued at $200mn.
- ALSO has acquired AllThingsTalk, an IoT platform for handling machine and sensor data. ALSO is not disclosing how much the B2B ICT marketplace has paid for AllThingsTalk, a five-year-old startup based in Belgium.
// Forecasts, Surveys. Reports, & Blue-Sky Thinking //
- Vodafone has published its IoT Barometer, finding that over 34% of businesses are now IoT users, and that 84% of adopters say they are more confident in the technology than they were a year ago.
// Hardware //
- The Raspberry Pi 4 has been revealed, powered by a quad-core Arm Cortex-A72 CPU in a Broadcom BCM2711 SoC, with up to 4GB of RAM, Bluetooth 5, USB-C power supply for better peripheral support, and capable of driving two 4K30fps video outputs. This is a significant upgrade from the previous generation, and will undoubtedly improve many of the IoT demos and PoCs used by developers.
// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //
- Huawei and Nowi Energy have shown off Huawei’ Boudica V150 LTE Cat-NB SoC being powered by Nowi’s energy harvesting NW-A2.3 PMIC and solar panel. Huawei says this combination could power an IoT sensor indefinitely.
- Lacuna Space says it has completed the first-phase testing for its LoRa satellite constellation, having launched its first gateway in April on a satellite from Nano Avionics. Three more satellites are planned for launch this year.
- Advantech has picked BehrTech’s MIOTY LPWAN protocol for use in Advantech’s new M2.COM sensor platform offerings, as the Mythings Module for M2.COM.
- The GSMA says there are 960mn cellular IoT devices in China, holding 64% of the global 1.5bn total. It points to China Telecom’s installation of 500,000 NB-IoT sensors in the 37km Jing’an District as an example of Chinese scale.
- Altair Semiconductor says it has completed the first ever use of LTE Cat-M and Cat-NB in the 450MHz range, using its ALT1250 to power an agricultural application in Brazil.
// Smart Homes and Buildings //
- C by GE is being ridiculed, after making a somewhat tone-deaf misstep in a video that highlights how poor the user experience can be in the smart home. It comes after Samsung was lambasted for its now-yoinked antivirus scanning recommendations for its “smart” TVs.
- Samsung has added three new devices to the SmartThings platform, including its first camera. The SmartThings Cam costs $90, with the SmartThings WiFi Smart Plug coming in at $18, and the SmartThings Smart Bulb costing $10.
// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //
- Uber Elevate will begin making drone deliveries in the summer, in a San Diego test project that will support the Uber Eats food delivery service. The system will use dedicated safe landing zones.
// Automotive //
- BlackBerry says its QNX software is now installed in 150mn cars globally, up 30mn units since last year apparently.
- ai and Carnegie Mellon University are setting up a driverless vehicle research center in Pittsburgh. Argo.ai counts Ford as a major investor.
- Panasonic is partnering with the Utah DoT to develop ‘the nation’s most advanced transportation data network,’ building on a similar project that Panasonic’s North American division carried out in Colorado.
// Smart Cities //
- Signify (Philipps Lighting) has unveiled its new BrightSites range of street lighting poles, which feature integrated sensing and camera systems.
- The Wi-SUN Alliance has found that over half of survey respondents believe that smart cities will be widespread in 10 or more years, while a third think it is a 5 to 10-year time frame, and 15% think their arrival will be in less than five years. Funding and security are the main concerns cited.
- CityFibre, Cross Keys Homes, and Comms365, have partnered in a trial in Peterborough’s Smart City testbed, to explore how in-home sensors can be used by the social housing provider to monitor tenant living conditions.
- SideWalk Labs has published its guidelines for its controversial Toronto waterfront development, saying that it will track citizens but will also protect their data. We expect the controversy to continue.
// Smart Grid & Utility //
- The Energy Networks Association has published ‘Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services,’ a report that outlines how the trade association wants to promote smart grid and renewable integration technologies in the UK.
- The Energy Web Foundation (EWF) has launched its EW Chain, with the first validator nodes now online and active, run by 10 companies – Centrica, Duke Energy, E.ON, Engie, Elia, Singapore Power Group, OLI Technology, and FlexiDAO.
- Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is now viable in the Middle East and China, according to new analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which found that it fell 26% in cost year on year, and is now 46% the cost it was in 2010.
- Bidgely has provided 41GWh of energy savings for Rocky Mountain Power, through the use of its AI-driven Home Energy Reports (HER) program, to provide personalized energy saving tips for the end-customers.
// Health //
- University of Texas researchers have unveiled an ‘electronic tattoo’ that can be placed over a patient’s heart, to provide ECG and SCG sensor data. The wearable patch uses energy harvesting from the smartphone connection to power itself, and is another example of the looming step-change that awaits healthcare sensing.