Arrow Electronics steps up IoT focus with eInfochips acquisition

Arrow Electronics steps up IoT focus with eInfochips acquisition

Global electronics component distributer Arrow Electronics has acquired product engineering and software services company eInfochips for a reported $ 284 million.

EInfochips has headquarters in both San Jose, California and Ahmedebad, India and was founded by Intel chip designer Pratul Shroff in 1994 to offer high-tech design services such as chip design. The value of its purchase by Arrow Electronics has not been officially disclosed, but India’s Economic Times reported it as being Rs 1,800 crore, or around $ 284 million. The deal is expected to close in late January.

Arrow’s decision to acquire eInfochips signals that IoT will continue to be a big focus for the company in 2018. In a statement, Michael Long, Arrow’s CEO, president and chairman, said that the purchase will advance the company’s IoT strategy, expand its offerings and help it move into what he called “a growing IoT services market.”

He added that the acquisition will add over 1,500 IoT solution architects, engineers and software development resources to Arrow’s “already leading position in IoT design services”.

Read more: Arrow Electronics expands Hong Kong IoT lab

Complementary portfolios

Certainly, eInfochips’ track record in designing chips for IoT products will be a boost for Arrow. The acquired company has customers across the retail, industrial automation, healthcare and aerospace industries, while Arrow already has its own IoT portfolio, ‘Sensor to Sunset’, providing smart device makers with the sensors, wireless connectivity, gateways, analytics and security technologies they need to build their products.

Now, Arrow will be able to add eInfochips’ tools around engineering, embedded software development, mobile device connectivity and security and app development into its repertoire.

“Arrow has redefined design engineering with our industry-leading eDesign digital platform. Customers now collaborate on Arrow.com with hundreds of online-enabled engineers. Our engineers help customers with online reference designs, cloud-based design tools, and our eDesign platform,” said Matt Anderson, chief digital officer of Arrow. “Connecting eInfochips’ IoT capabilities and engineers to our eDesign platform will substantially augment the scale of eInfochips’ services, delivered via digital tools, to Arrow’s 125,000 customers.”

Pratul Shroff of eInfochips said that he was “proud” that the acquisition had brought a $ 23.8 billion revenue Fortune 118 corporation to Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where many of the company’s staff are based. “This acquisition is also a testament to our engineering execution, expertise in connected devices and connecting them to the cloud, and the trust that our clients place in us. We are excited to join forces with Arrow to further add value to our clients across the world,” he said.

Read more: Thin film batteries set for solid (state) growth

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Arrow announces acquisition of eInfochips

To strengthen its IoT positioning, Arrow Electronics, Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire eInfochips. Arrow is optimistic as eInfochips works at every phase of technology deployment, including developing custom hardware and software and new IoT-based business models.

Acquisition will enable Arrow expand its IoT “sensor-to-sunset” platform by adding engineering, solution architecture, embedded software development, security, mobile device connectivity, app development, cloud configuration and management, and managed services including big-data analytics.

The transaction expected to close this month will expand Arrows IoT strategy and offerings, and rapidly grow their IoT services market. “As a result, we will deliver complex and connected IoT solutions and technologies across multiple cloud platforms. This acquisition adds over 1,500 IoT solution architects, engineers, and software development resources to Arrow’s already leading position in IoT design services,” said Michael J. Long, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Arrow. “

Connecting eInfochips’ IoT capabilities and engineers to Arrows eDesign platform will substantially augment the scale of eInfochips’ services, delivered via digital tools, to Arrow’s 125,000 customers.   Read more…

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Apple AR headset one step closer thanks to Vrvana acquisition

Apple AR headset one step closer thanks to Vrvana acquisition

In the clearest sign yet that Apple is developing augmented reality hardware, the company has purchased Canadian AR start-up Vrvana.

While Apple has remained tight-lipped on its latest efforts in the augmented reality [AR] space, rumours abound of the work going on behind the scenes at the tech giant. Now, it seems we may see an Apple AR headset as early as 2020.

Back in January, we reported on indications that Apple could be preparing to launch its own AR headset. Throughout the year we’ve seen numerous developments to reinforce this.

The obvious starting point for Apple was enabling easier creation of AR experiences on iPhone and iPad. An engineering team led by Mike Rockwell launched the team’s first product earlier this year – ARKit.

The tools allowed software developers to create AR applications for iOS and tap into the devices’ hardware to enhance a range of experiences, such as shopping and gaming. The release made Apple the largest AR platform overnight, simply due to the popularity of iPhones.

Since then, Bloomberg has reported that Apple plans to develop technology for a dedicated AR headset by 2019 and ship a product as early as 2020.

Current VR and AR solutions from companies with mobile offerings have utilized those devices in a supporting headset – Samsung’s Gear VR being the obvious example. Apple seems to be choosing a different path though. The latest word out of Cupertino, and the clearest sign yet that Apple is developing AR hardware, is that it has purchased Canadian start-up Vrvana.

Read more: Digital Catapult explains why it’s backing immersive reality

Totem: the precursor to an Apple AR headset?

Sources have revealed to TechCrunch that the deal was for around $ 30 million – loose change in the world of cutting-edge technology, but Vrvana raised just $ 2 million in funding when it was founded in 2005. Some of the start-up’s employees have reportedly joined Apple in California, though the fate of any products currently under development is unknown.

Despite these humble beginnings, the company’s impressive hardware makes it clear why Apple was eager to acquire the technology behind their Totem headset. The device never saw a public launch but it garnered glowing reviews from press at industry events. Tom’s Hardware awarded it best in show at CES this year.

A 1440p OLED screen and 120 degree field of vision [FOV] ensure a high-quality and immersive experience. The latter is an area in which many other headsets fall short and an essential specification for a good VR or AR experience. Most significantly, the Totem allows for seamless switching between AR and VR modes.

Read more: DroneBase unveils augmented reality platform for UAV pilots

Overcoming AR technology hurdles

As Vrvana CEO Bertrand Nepveu explains in the video below, the company had to overcome the infamous challenge of reducing the latency between the camera’s capturing of the footage and it being relayed to the user.

Forward-facing cameras offer depth of field tracking and 3D positioning (as well as images for AR functionality), while additional infrared cameras track the user’s hands. Combined, these technologies offer a whole host of potential applications across many industries, including manufacturing, healthcare and supply chain.

Users can manipulate virtual objects with their hands, with complete awareness of their real-world surroundings, for mixed reality [MR] experiences. The Totem’s usefulness is expanded by its multi-user capabilities – something it calls ‘shared presence’.

“Combined with patent pending hardware accelerated chroma keying (green screen), the Totem’s unique feature set drastically eliminates the need for external tracking or projection equipment, simplifying setup and giving users freedom to move and accomplish more,” its promotional materials read.

On the software side, supported engines include, Unreal, Unity and OpenVR/SteamVR. Vrvana also created a software development kit [SDK] for custom engines.

Read more: Upskill’s augmented reality tech makes impact at GE

Timing is everything

The brains behind the fledgling firm must have impressed the world’s largest technology company (by revenue). Apple have been historically hesitant to enter the AR and VR hardware arena. Until now, an Apple AR headset has seemed to be a distant prospect. In an interview with The Independent, following the release of ARKit, Apple’s Tim Cook highlighted the technological challenges presented by AR.

“The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet. We don’t give a rat’s about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience,” Tim Cook said. “But now anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with. Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied.”

Nonetheless, Cook feels these hurdles can be overcome, its simply a question of how long it will take. With the acquisition of Vrvana, an Apple AR headset that the company can be proud of may be on the horizon. If such a device integrates the innovations of Totem with the product design and platform capabilities of Apple, we may see a headset of huge potential in both consumer and business environments.

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Sagemcom Announces the Acquisition of Meter Italia S.p.A.

Sagemcom Announces the Acquisition of Meter Italia S.p.A.

Sagemcom strengthens its positions on the multi-energy market, by acquiring Meter Italia S.p.A., leader in gas metering in Italy.

As of July 27, 2017, Sagemcom becomes a 100% shareholder of Meter Italia S.p.A through its subsidiary Sagemcom Energy & Telecom SAS.

Meter Italia joins the Sagemcom group and becomes Sagemcom Italia S.p.A.

This acquisition represents an opportunity for the Sagemcom Group to access and actively participate in the growth of the gas metering market. Meter Italia has a complete portfolio of traditional and smart residential gas meter, as well as a range of industrial gas meters.

Combining the competencies of Meter Italia and Sagemcom will also allow Sagemcom to address new technology breakthroughs in the world of multi-energy metering, in order to meet the expectations of the market and its customers.

For Patrick Sevian, CEO of Sagemcom:

“This acquisition is at the heart of our growth strategy, especially because the smart multi-energy metering market is a promising future for our Group. This strengthens our position as a leader of the multi-energy metering market, specifically in EMEA thanks to Meter Italia’s positions and our presence on the Italian market. We are pleased to see Meter Italia join Sagemcom”.

“The integration of an actor like Meter Italia is a real opportunity to immediately become a major player in gas, thanks to the combination of Meter Italia’s know-how and reputation in the manufacture of gas meters, together with Sagemcom’s expertise in energy management solutions, communication infrastructures and IoT”, adds Eric Rieul, VP of Sagemcom Energy & Telecom.

“Joining the Sagemcom Group is a tremendous opportunity for Meter Italia. We will be able to get support from a structure and teams that will allow us to develop our business internationally”, concludes Boris Ferraresi, CEO of Meter Italia.

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Nokia rebrands all Withings products a year after acquisition

nokia-withings-smartwatch

Nokia has rebranded all Withings products and will be retiring the brand, a year after acquiring the French health-tech company for $ 191 million.

The three wearables, Go, Steel, and Steel HR, will remain part of Nokia’s portfolio. Go is a simple E-Ink activity and sleep tracker with one year charge, available for $ 50. Steel does all that with a more stylish design and connects to the Health Mate app, it costs $ 130. Steel HR adds heart-rate monitoring and text, call, and notification alerts and drops to 25 days of charge for $ 180.

See Also: Nokia helps make Chengdu region into a smart powerhouse

Go and Steel are available to purchase today in the U.S., U.K., and Europe. Steel HR will be available in the fall in the U.S. and at a similar time in the U.K. and other countries.

Alongside the rebranded smartwatches, Nokia has launched a cheaper version of Withings body scale, which measures weight and BMI. It is available for $ 60. Withings original body scale is now named Body+ and adds full body composition for an extra $ 40.

nokia-smart-scale

Nokia will also continue to sell the Body Cardio scale for $ 180.

Withings blood pressure monitor will remain on sale for $ 100, now named Nokia BPM. A premium version of the monitor will be available for $ 130.

Nokia has revamped the Health Mate app as part of the rebranding, it has five new programs: Better Body, Healthier Heart, Leaderboard, Pregnancy Tracker, and Sleep Smarter. The company has added an eight-week wellness programs as well.

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