Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi launch Alliance Ventures, announce first investment

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi launch Alliance Ventures, announce first investment

New venture capital fund Alliance Ventures will aim to support and develop technologies for vehicle electrification, autonomous driving, connectivity and artificial intelligence.

Automotive alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has this week announced the launch of a new venture capital fund, Alliance Ventures, that it claims will invest up to $ 1 billion into new technologies over the next five years.

In its first year, the fund expects to invest up to $ 200 million in start-ups and open innovation partnerships with technology entrepreneurs focused on what it calls ‘new mobility’. This includes technologies such as vehicle electrification, autonomous driving, connectivity and artificial intelligence.

The alliance claims its new fund is unique because it offers potential partners access to a big market. Between them, the three partners sold more than 10 million vehicles last year through 10 separate brands and will jointly fund Alliance Ventures, with Renault and Nissan each contributing a 40% share of the fund and Mitsubishi Motors making up the remaining 20%.

Alliance Ventures will be led by Francois Dossa, previously CEO of Nissan’s Brazilian operations and a former investment banker with Société Générale.

Read more: Microsoft joins the Renault-Nissan Alliance for the future of connected cars

First investment announced

Battery specialist Ionic Materials, based in Woburn, Massachusetts, is set to become the first recipient of funding from Alliance Ventures, for its work in developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials. The equity acquisition by the fund coincides with a joint-development agreement between Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Ionic.

Ionic is developing a solid-state electrolyte for creating higher performance more affordable batteries for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and utility grid storage.

Alliance Ventures will run alongside Alliance 2022, a five year strategic plan launched last year, which aims to strengthen cooperation between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. By the end of the plan, the Alliance hopes to have launched 12 pure electric vehicles built on common EV platforms and components, as well as bringing to market 40 vehicles with autonomous driving features. On top of that, it plans to develop robo-vehicle ride-hailing services.

“This investment initiative is designed to attract the world’s most promising automotive technology start-ups to the Alliance,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Read more: Autonomous driving will create $ 7 trillion “passenger economy”, says Intel

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Qtum Foundation, Trusted IoT Alliance, and Chronicled, Inc. to Develop Secure IoT Use Cases

Qtum Foundation, Trusted IoT Alliance, and Chronicled, Inc. to Develop Secure IoT Use Cases

Qtum Foundation, Trusted IoT Alliance, and Chronicled, Inc. to Develop Secure IoT Use Cases

Chronicled, Inc. and The Qtum Foundation have announced a collaboration to combine the Internet of Things (IoT) with Blockchain technology, developing real-world use cases integrating smart devices with a secure distributed ledger back end.

This will take place in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Through this partnership, Qtum and Chronicled will work together to define and support a roadmap of fundamental research at UC Berkeley, developing post-quantum applied cryptography, zkSNARK-based privacy-preserving smart contracts, and zero knowledge proofs for large computations.

Qtum Foundation founder Patrick Dai, said:

“The partnership with Chronicled and UC Berkeley represents the frontier of innovation in IoT, smart contracts, and privacy for enterprise applications.”

“We are delighted to be partnering with some of the strongest researchers and innovators in the world who are leading enterprise implementations.”

Qtum is developing a leading blockchain data network in Asia, using a hybrid model that combines the UTXO transaction model with a virtual machine layer for smart contracts. Meanwhile, Chronicled will pursue development of smart contracts to integrate IoT device registrations on the Qtum blockchain. Both Chronicled and Qtum are members of the Trusted IoT Alliance, a consortium of companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100 enterprises. The Alliance is focused on leveraging the power of the blockchain to secure high-value physical assets. Members of the Alliance, which is based in San Francisco, include Bosch, BNY Mellon, Cisco, and UBS.

“We have been collaborating with the team at Qtum for almost a year through the Trusted IoT Alliance, and we are excited to bring the latest IoT integration capabilities to Qtum,” said Chronicled CTO Maurizio Greco. “We see a future where trusted device provisioning, authentication, data logs, and payments are just around the corner.”

A team of researchers at UC Berkeley is currently focused on using applied cryptography to develop solutions for identity, ownership, and provenance validation as well as other use cases at the intersection of blockchain and IoT. Through collaboration with Chronicled and Qtum, they hope to devise real-world use cases and gain insight from two teams that have been developing and applying the technology for enterprise customers.

“It is great to work with strong commercialization partners who both value the need for fundamental research and who see a path to commercialization of the applied cryptographic methods that we have under development in the lab,” said Alessandro Chiesa, Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley.

For his part, Trusted IoT Alliance Executive Director Zaki Manian said:
“We are excited to be in a position to administer development grants to integrate Trusted IoT devices with the Qtum Blockchain technology. We see a win-win for our members in the Alliance and the Qtum ecosystem.”

Software developers and researchers are encouraged to visit the Trusted IoT website to apply for grants, here: https://github.com/Trusted-IoT-Alliance/Quantum-Foundation-Proposals

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Blockchain Food Safety Alliance launched to tackle supply chain issues

Blockchain Food Safety Alliance launched to tackle supply chain issues

US retail giant Walmart, Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, technology vendor IBM and China’s Tsinghua University have teamed up to launch the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance.

The four organizations will initially work together on a project that aims to improve food tracking, traceability and safety in China and to achieve greater transparency across the food supply chain.

Together, they will create a standards-based method of collecting data about the origin, safety and authenticity of food, using blockchain technology to provide real-time traceability throughout the supply chain.

According to IBM, this will encourage accountability and give suppliers, regulators and consumers greater insight and transparency into how food is handled, on its journey from farms to consumers. In that past, this kind of information has been harder to retrieve and share, as a result of complex and fragmented data-sharing systems. Some of these are paper-based and, even where they’ve been digitized, the data is not always of a high standard.

Read more: IBM leads consortium promoting blockchain in food supply chains

Blockchain-based collaboration

The organizations involved have collaborated before; IBM and Walmart announced a new consortium to enhance food safety back in August, while IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University have piloted the use of blockchain to trace food items, including pork in China and mangoes in the US.

Walmart has suggested that blockchain reduced the time it took to trace a package of mangoes from the farm to the store from days or weeks to two seconds.

The use of blockchain in this new collaboration will have two key benefits, according to the partners: ensuring brand owners’ data privacy, and enabling better integration of online and offline traceability for food safety and quality management.

Other companies can join he alliance and also share information using blockchain technology. IBM said plans include enabling companies to choose the standards-based traceability product that best suits their needs and legacy systems.

“This will in turn bring greater transparency to the supply chain and introduce new technologies to the retail sector designed to create a safer food environment and enhance the consumer experience,” IBM said.

“The insights gained from the work in China will shed light on how blockchain technology can help improve processes such as recalls and verifications and enhance consumer confidence due to greater transparency in China and around the world,” the company added.

Read more: Cargo shipping tech specialist MTI completes blockchain pilot

Technology limitations must be tackled

Rob Bamforth, analyst at IT advisory company Quocirca suggested that the supply chain was a good application of blockchain.

“The blockchain or distributed ledger approach is ideal for the sort of multi-party transactions that are increasingly prevalent in highly-connected systems,” he said.

Bamforth added that the limitations of the technology are that it is very dependent on the network – so if it is intermittent or not fully robust, problems could arise.

“There is also the 51 percent problem – the technology works on consensus, so if the ‘wrong’ consensus is infiltrated and then dominates, it becomes ‘right’,” he warned.

Read more: Blockchain: transforming the IoT’s security vulnerability into a strategic advantage

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IoT second most important IT priority for 2018, says Wi-SUN Alliance

IoT is second most important IT priority for 2018, says Wi-SUN Alliance

Implementing IoT comes second only to tackling security  on the 2018 To Do list, according to a new survey from Wi-SUN Alliance.

Companies that have implemented IoT are overwhelmingly positive about the benefits they’ve achieved, and they’re keen to build on these foundations in 2018, according to a survey of 350 organizations in the UK, US, Denmark and Sweden, conducted on behalf of the Wi-SUN Alliance, a global industry association that focuses on connectivity.

No wonder, then, that enabling IoT comes high on the list of IT priorities for 2018; in second place, in fact, just after tackling security. When it comes to IoT benefits, over half of respondents (54 percent) say they have experienced improved business efficiency; 49 percent point to improved customer experience and 48 percent highlight better collaboration.

Read more: Vodafone IoT Barometer: Large global IoT projects doubled last year

IoT rises on priorities list

The Wi-SUN Alliance’s report, The Rise of the Internet of Things, finds that half of organisations investing in IoT initiatives already have a fully implemented strategy in place, while more than a third (36 percent) have a partially implemented strategy. Companies are most advanced in the oil & gas industry, with 75 percent having a fully implemented strategy, followed by technology (59 percent) and energy and utilities (57 percent).

The research identifies a number of key drivers for IoT implementation. Around half (47 percent) said it would improve “network intelligence and connectivity for citizen safety and quality of life”, while 42 percent said a key driver is “creating business efficiencies” and 41 percent cited “improving reliability of systems and services”.

Read more: IoT projects driving IT budget decisions, 451 Research finds

Not entirely rosy

Still, not everything in the IoT garden is rosy. While respondents report that enabling IoT is the second most important IT priority for the next 12 months, just behind improving security, almost all – a massive 90 percent – of those with an IoT plan at various stages of implementation have struggled to implement this, and over a third (36 percent) said they have found it “very or extremely difficult”.

Respondents highlight security as a barrier to IoT adoption. Fifty-nine percent of them cite security concerns, with the US (65 percent) and UK (64 percent) more concerned than those in Denmark or Sweden. Almost one in three (32 percent) see both funding and a lack of commitment from leadership, as barriers, while 30 percent view leadership’s lack of understanding of the benefits of IoT as a challenge.

The report also looks at the technical challenges in delivering IoT. Here, respondents identified a wide range of issues. Sixty-three percent mentioned security and safety; 46 percent data management; 41 percent network configuration, 39 percent recruiting IoT talent and 39 percent Wi-Fi connectivity.

Read more: Six out of ten IoT projects fail at trial stage, says survey

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China Telecom Partners Bridge Alliance to Offer Regional M2M/IoT Services

China Telecom Partners Bridge Alliance to Offer Regional M2M/IoT Services

China Telecom Partners Bridge Alliance to Offer Regional M2M/IoT Services

China Telecom signed an IoT business partnership agreement with Bridge Alliance, enabling China Telecom to provide Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) services to multinational enterprise customers across Bridge Alliance’s footprint.

Bridge Alliance is a leading mobile alliance covering 34 countries or regions in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. According to independent research and advisory firm Analysys Mason, Bridge Alliance is one of the best-positioned operator groups to provide enterprise mobility services to corporations in Asia Pacific.

This non-exclusive partnership comes at an opportune moment, where Asia Pacific is riding high on the IoT momentum. The region, excluding Japan, is forecasted to be the IoT investment leader, with an expected spend reaching $ 455 billion in 2021.[1]

The agreement leverages Bridge Alliance’s technical and commercial capabilities to provide homogenous solutions across its footprint. This enables China Telecom’s customers to apply a ‘glocalised’ approach tapping on the simplicity of one single integration with China Telecom and the full support and service quality of local networks in Bridge Alliance.

Similarly, Bridge Alliance members can now extend their IoT services to China through China Telecom. As both China Telecom and Bridge Alliance operators have deployed common connectivity platforms, international enterprise customers can have the same experience when deploying their solutions across the footprint of China Telecom and Bridge Alliance. China Telecom will support different collaboration models with Bridge Alliance members for such connectivity requirements into China.

“We are excited to join Bridge Alliance as a business partner. China Telecom has a strong portfolio of multinational enterprise customers who are looking to deploy their products and services across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. Bridge Alliance is the ideal partner to fulfil such requirements. Likewise, China Telecom is also ready to support any inbound opportunities from the member operators into China. With the supporting common platform and the business opportunities across these different regions, we are confident this partnership will be a mutually beneficial and win-win business collaboration,” said Mr. Deng Xiao Feng, Managing Director of Global Business Department of China Telecom.

“We are pleased and excited about this partnership with China Telecom. With the growing China market, the addition of China Telecom to Bridge Alliance’s network of partners will certainly bolster our position to serve our global enterprise customers better. We look forward to future collective wins and co-innovating with China Telecom,” said Ms Eileen Tan, CEO of Bridge Alliance.

[1] International Data Corporation. (2017, June 14). Worldwide Spending on the Internet of Things Forecast to Reach Nearly $ 1.4 Trillion in 2021, According to New IDC Spending Guide.

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