Internet of Things News of the Week, July 14, 2017

  • Posted by admin on July 17, 2017

The Josh.ai product is for pros to install.

Voice startup gets $ 11 million: Jstar, the company behind Josh.ai, got $ 11 million to build a higher-end connected home hub that has voice as its primary user interface. The system, which is sold through dealers, isn’t exactly flying off the shelves but the research and ideas the Josh.ai team have developed could make their way into a more mainstream product, or make the company attractive to a larger company trying to create an easy-to-use home automation service. (I had the CEO of Jstar on the podcast almost two years ago.) (TechCrunch)

SAP is trying to bring business data to your plant data: I’ve discussed the gap between IT and operational technology (OT) before. At a user event this week SAP launched a dashboard product designed to bridge that gap. Called Leonardo IoT Bridge (Leonardo is SAP’s IoT brand), it lets operational managers see how their decisions based on sensor data might affect customers, contracts or other things commonly kept in business software that SAP makes. SAP also launched a tracking service that marries tracking with business objectives, an edge computing service and an asset management service that runs in the cloud and can be accessed on mobile devices.  (SAP)

Apple’s differential privacy concept is gaining ground: Last year Apple introduced us to the concept of differential privacy. the idea is to separate different anonymized data sets so it’s harder to link people by combining two or three different data sets together. Now other companies like Microsoft and Uber are trying this method of adding statistical noise to keep data anonymous. Let’s see some more connected device makers join this trend. (WSJ)

If you never want to sleep again: I can’t tell if the person who wrote this report on the cyber security threat of metadata is wearing a tinfoil hat or if he doesn’t go far enough. The report, by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, deals with the potential uses of metadata to recruit terrorists, hack elections, build targeted campaigns against specialized field workers in important industries and more. It makes differential privacy seem even more interesting, although not perhaps a solution against malicious actors. (ICIT)

The cloud is a hard sell for industrial IoT: Sending data to the cloud is an accepted practice for consumers and smaller companies. Larger companies even embrace the cloud for more and more of their IT operations. But in the industrial world, the cloud can still be a dirty word. That’s why there is so much emphasis on edge computing where sensor or device data is sent to a gateway somewhere on the premise for computing and analysis. This article explains very clearly why cloud computing won’t fly for certain businesses, which I imagine will just make engineers more eager to figure out ways around these problems. (RTI Insights blog)

A deep dive into Apple’s medical ambitions:  Apple’s attention to the medical and fitness market has evolved since the launch of its Watch and programs like ResearchKit or CareKit. Apple is increasingly digging into the medical realm, linking consumers with medical devices and services associated with everything from Alzheimer’s to asthma. This analyst performed a deep dive into Apple’s current stake in the health and fitness market, providing not just an Apple focus, but also a model for thinking about the space as companies like Philips and Nokia (which purchased Withings) double down on this area. (Jan Dawson)

Will passenger puke ruin the car-sharing dream? Cleaning up puke, fast food and other nasties left behind by passengers is a huge cost for Uber and Lyft drivers, and if people are eliminated from the equation it’s unclear who will cover those costs and manage the fleet of self-driving cars that are anticipated to replace private car ownership in big cities. Will rental car companies end up taking on the fleet management role, while Uber or Lyft end up as the software and customer service side? Will that really lead to cheaper rides? Right now it feels that Uber and Lyft are highly valued because they are discounting some of the economic value that drivers put into the system, such as cleaning up your puke. (Bloomberg)

Chip specialization continues: Researchers at MIT are trying to build smaller and more power-efficient chips designed specifically for tiny drones. They are designing the algorithms for the chip and the silicon at the same pace to eke out as many efficiencies as possible. Much like Microsoft and eBay used field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) to build specialized silicon for running a very specific cloud computing job, these MIT researchers are using FPGAs to fine tune drone algorithms with the eventual hope of switching to a specially designed chip that can be manufactured at scale. (New Atlas)

About that chip specialization: Not only is specialty silicon for devices growing, but large consumer product manufacturers are increasingly building their own chips. The latest is China’s Xiaomi, which makes smart phones, home tech and more. The move makes sense as battery powered devices can win if the chips are more highly specialized. That can cut down on power consumption and size, while also letting a manufacturer add some differentiation to a commodity product like a phone or a drone. For IoT product companies, the question is at what point does your device justify such an investment. Both scale and the types of features desired will drive the response. (Wired)

Digital transformation should change your boardroom too: Connectivity and increasing access to information will change every business. Those that want to best take advantage of this should look not only to their executive ranks but also their boards of directors. Place board members who have experience in digital transformations, and don’t focus as much on prior CEO experience. Doing so could offer insights and more board diversity. And that’s a good thing. (Harvard Business Review)

NotPetya could strike again: This is somewhat alarming. NotPetya was a variant of Petya malware that hit industrial sites, disrupted shipping for Maersk and ground some law firms and enterprises to a halt. This analysis believes that a similar attack could happen again and inflict even more damage. (SC Magazine)

New board members at the Bluetooth SIG:  The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has added Ruud van Bokhorst from Philips Lighting and Martin Turon from Google to its board of directors.  Van Bokhorst is a lighting expert while Turon is more interested in IoT platforms, asset tracking, environmental monitoring and more. (Bluetooth SIG)

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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