Riot 269 Around The Web Roundup

// M&A, Strategies, Alliances //

  • Signify has acquired Klite, a Chinese LED light manufacturer, in an attempt to reverse Signify’s habit of outsourcing, improve costs, and protect intellectual property. No price has been given, but Signify (formerly Philip’s Lighting) has bought a 51% stake.
  • VMware has acquired Uhana, a startup that has built an ML-powered software platform that is aimed at enterprise workload automation. No price has been given, but VMware will be integrating it into the Telco Cloud and Edge Cloud portfolio.
  • Wireless Logic has acquired Matooma, the third purchase by the IoT connectivity platform provider this year, adding a French startup that has specialized in the cellular side of IoT offerings. Wireless Logic’s expansion is being fueled by Montagu Private Equity.
  • Intel has sold its smartphone modem business to Apple for $1bn, including patents and some 2,200 staff. It is not clear what will happen to Intel’s other modem offerings, which (in theory) include some L-LPWAN units.
  • Ford has acquired Quantum Signal, a startup that offers testing simulation software that Ford plans to use in its autonomous vehicle development programs. No price has been given for the firm.

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

  • The Internet Society and Consumers International report that 64% of consumers think connected devices are creepy, for the way they collect data, with 75% worried that their data is going to be misused. Security concerns deter 28% from purchasing a smart device.
  • Microsoft has published IoT Signals, a new report that polled 3,000 IoT decision makers. It found that IoT adoption is growing rapidly, and that the consensus is that 30% of revenue in two years’ time will be attributable to the IoT. Security and a skills gap are major concerns.


// Hardware //

  • Alibaba has unveiled what it says is the world’s fastest RISC-V processor – a 16-core 64-bit CPU, clocked at 2.5GHz and cast in a 12nm manufacturing process. The open source architecture should have Intel and AMD worried, but whether it becomes a staple of general purpose computing or remains confined to specialist applications is unclear – likely the latter.


// Networks, Protocols, & Wireless //

  • Vodafone has announced a Cat-NB trial project, with South East Water using the technology in the UK to connect distribution equipment and sensors in an initial one-year pilot. The target is a 15% waste reduction by 2025.

// Smart Homes and Buildings //

  • Fifth Wall has announced that it has raised a $503mn ‘proptech’ round, with the venture capital firm saying it was oversubscribed – with some of the largest owners, operators, and developers of real estate globally signing up to participate. Fifth Wall says it has $1bn in funds to invest into the proptech sector.
  • Google and Huawei were co-developing a smart home speaker, but have now stopped working on the project in the wake of Huawei being added to the US entities list.
  • Mozilla has released WebThings Gateway v0.9, supporting the new Raspberry Pi 4 and the Turris Omnia. WebThings Framework v0.12 has also been published – the open source implementation of the W3C’s Web of Things standard.
  • Wyze’s PR blitz continues, with its new smart plug gaining strong reviews – especially based on its $15 price for a two-pack.

// Industrial & Manufacturing //

  • Arrow and Sensera have announced a global distribution deal, which will see Arrow sell Sensera’s range of wireless sensors and infrastructure through its channels, as well as offer Sensera via consultancy projects. These sorts of deals are going to lead to acquisitions in the future, as many distributors move to expand and bring expertise in-house.

// Retail, Marketing, & Supply Chain //

  • Ossia, E-PEAS, and E Ink have collaborated to create a wireless Electronic Paper Display (EPD) prototype, which can be powered by Ossia’s Cota technology.
  • Walgreens has picked Theatro to provide it with a system to connect workers to the enterprise systems via voice interactions, which can also be used to help in customer service. Using Theatro’s AI-powered voice assistant, the promise is a way to better link workers and serve customers, as part of a digital transformation initiative.

// Security //

  • Armis has outlined a cluster of 11 vulnerabilities in VxWorks, an RTOS used by over 2bn devices globally, which affects at least 200mn of these devices – present in VxWorks since 2006. Wind River, the creator of the RTOS, is now patching, but warns that it is going to be a long and difficult process.

// Smart Grid & Utility //

  • Chicago is considering municipalizing Commonwealth Edison’s (ComEd) Chicago facilities, after the city’s contract with the utility expires at the end of 2020. This would be quite a radical move, but the impetus is to implement price, reliability, and environmental improvements.
  • The IME warns that rising temperatures will contribute to higher water prices in the UK, which acts as a backdrop to the huge benefits that IoT technologies could have in the water distribution market.
  • NextEra Energy Resources has announced that it will be deploying the largest hybrid renewable project in the US. The Skeleton Creek project consists of 250 MW of wind, 250 MW of solar, and a 200 MW (800 MWh) battery project. It will serve Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC).
  • Tesla reports that its energy storage deployments have grown 81% in a quarter, up to 415 MWh in Q2, with Powerwalls installed at more than 50,000 sites. Storage revenues were listed at $368.2mn, up from $324.6mn in Q1.
  • Ameren has canceled a 157 MW wind project, after saying that the cost of the required upgrades to its transmission infrastructure would be “unacceptable high.” It has come to a mutual agreement with EDF Renewables, the developer, to terminate the project.
  • Verizon’s Grid Wide platform is gaining traction among smaller utilities, where it offers data collection and cloud-based application services to utilities looking to embrace smart grid opportunities.