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IoT news of the week for June 29, 2018

  • Posted by admin on July 3, 2018

GE’s restructuring plan is complete: I’ve been following the meltdown of GE with interest, as everything from its financing arm to its pursuit of digital transformation has been blamed for the company’s stumbles. And when it came to digital, GE did stumble. But I also give it credit for seeing where the power of ubiquitous and cheap wireless data, sensors, and analytics was heading and carving out a strategy to meet it. GE helped create the concept of a chief digital officer, created a reporting structure that gave that individual great power, and tried to implement several advanced IoT projects in its own manufacturing operations. No, it didn’t need to build its own cloud infrastructure, and sales got way ahead of the market, but I don’t think its commitment to digital was the issue. So when it said this week it would focus on aviation, power, and renewable energy, I found myself looking forward to seeing what it does in those areas. I also want to see how its medical business, which is being spun off, decides to take the GE digital DNA and apply it to the medical equipment industry. (The Economist)

Did you know there is a framework for reading building metadata? I didn’t either, but in a press release about IBM launching a new building management service to use AI to improve energy efficiency and more, I learned about Brick. Brick is a schema to represent building data. It provides common labels associated with sensors from a variety of different vendors and helps dictate how those sensors should talk to control devices. Doing so lets a company link a variety of different sensors together to build a management system that offers more flexibility. Brick was developed by researchers at several universities with the help of IBM Research, and I’d love it if this and other data schema would catch on. In the smart home world, Google developed Weave and Qualcomm built AllJoyn, but sadly, those efforts stalled. Maybe with big clients backing it, Brick could succeed. (IBM)

IBM releases facial training data: Facial recognition is creepy, but currently a hot topic in industries as diverse as retail and construction. Unfortunately, facial recognition algorithms are as biased as the data they are trained on, which means most algorithms do a poor job recognizing dark-skinned people and women. To solve this, IBM is releasing a database of 1 million facial images that happen to be diverse. (Axios)

Sphero acquired a connected toy maker: Sphero, which makes robotic toys, including the popular Star Wars BB-8 robot, has acquired Specdrums, which itself created a connected ring that plays music when you tap on different colors. The theme here is toys that make robotics more accessible. When I visited Sphero back in 2013, the company had yet to make a deal with Disney and was mostly focused on getting kids to play games with the spherical robot, which they controlled through the movement of a mobile phone. (My kid thought it was pretty lame after about 10 minutes.) Figuring out different ways to control the robot using a connected ring could offer new avenues of play and learning. Plus it can help prepare Sphero for a world that increasingly relies on multi-modal interactions. (The Verge)

The future is dark kitchens: Using robots to prepare food and drones to deliver it could lower the cost of takeout food to £6 (about $ 8), according to this story. While I think we are far from an entirely robotic kitchen (currently most food robots only make one thing), I’m intrigued by the potential. Mostly because innovations around food prep and cooking could maybe make it into my own kitchen one day. (The Telegraph)

This is a great story on Intel: I spent more than a decade covering semiconductors, and in this excellent profile of Intel I still learned things I hadn’t known about the company. It covers everything from how Intel reacted to AMD’s original Opteron chip to its current missteps in manufacturing, getting AI-specific chips to work, and its failures in IoT. And yes, it asks if former CEO Brian Krzanich was fired for having a consensual affair with a colleague or because he presided over the decline of the chip giant. Go read it. (The Register)

Wi-Fi’s new Easy Connect is worth a mention: The big scoop this week was the Wi-Fi Alliance updating its security protocols, but for IoT nerds the Easy Connect option that lets people scan a QR code on a device to get it to connect to a Wi-Fi network struck me as awesome. This is how HomeKit products and a few others connect today, and it is truly simple. So, look for it. (Slashgear)

DroneDeploy raises $ 25 million: DroneDeploy makes software so companies can easily pilot drones. The software includes algorithms, maps, and the ability to store data in the cloud and then run analytics against the images. The company plans to use the money to expand further into the industrial market. Drones are useful in a variety of professional settings, from tracking changes at construction sites to spotting leaks in oil pipelines. While many startups are focused on a particular industry, DroneDeploy is trying to make a platform that can integrate with a lot of the existing players. (DroneDeploy)

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Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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