With a single focus, Intel’s Vaunt has more potential than Google Glass

Back in October of 2013, I got my own pair of Google Glass in order to cover the technology. The site where I worked at the time paid the $ 1,500 cost, and I later spent my own $ 225 to add custom frames that could handle my eyeglass prescription. Given the fate of Glass, we clearly didn’t get a good return on those investments.

Still, there were some things to like about the experience. Glass brought contextual information “closer” to me a relatively non-intrusive way. And that’s exactly what Intel’s smart glasses prototype, known as Vaunt, can do.

When I first read about Vaunt over at The Verge earlier this week, I thought less about the hardware and more about that vision of context and personally important data. That’s because all of our technological advances in mobile computing have impacted this theme.

I look at it this way:

  • In the desktop age, the web brought us closer to data on other computers.
  • Connected laptops brought us closer to data when away from the desktop.
  • Phones put that data in our hand and pocket almost wherever we were.
  • Smartwatches let us wear that data, bringing it even closer
  • Smart glasses can beam that data — at least in the case of Vaunt — directly on our retinas.

Every step of that progression gets us physically closer to contextual information. I suppose the next, or maybe final, step is a Matrix-like jack that simply ports that data directly into our brains, but who knows? Regardless, this is an important theme as more devices around us create gobs of data. The fewer barriers there are between us and the information we want, the faster we can use or act upon it.

And that’s why I’m excited about Vaunt’s potential, perhaps more so than I was about that of Google Glass.

To contrast the two at a high level, Vaunt isn’t trying to take smartphone functions — such as taking photos and videos, a key reason Glass never had a chance of mainstream success — and move them to your eyes. Instead, the product is singularly focused on very specific information that you will want at a specific time and/or place.

That approach has benefits from a hardware perspective too. t’s why you essentially can’t tell the difference between Vaunt and a traditional pair of glasses. They appear to be standard eyeglass frames to both you and the people around you.

Without the need to include a camera sensor, microphone or speaker, the small chips and display components fit inside the frames. Eliminating the camera also allows for a smaller battery since powering an image sensor typically uses a lot of energy. Using a low-powered, single color laser for the retina projection helps with battery life too when compared to the color display used in Google Glass.

By distilling potential product features into essentially one — simple but very useful information — Vaunt actually solves a problem; something Glass sort of did but other extra features came along for the distracting ride. In fact, I don’t see much of a distraction factor with Vaunt because they don’t look like some technological device nor will people even realize that your retina is receiving information.

Clearly, this doesn’t mean Vaunt will be successful. In fact, Intel isn’t even sure of how Vaunt will be used. That’s why the company will be launching an early access program for developers at some point this year. Intel is just providing the technology while developers will provide the functions that they think people will want.

Think of Vaunt then as a new hardware platform with a very limited feature set. That feature is very powerful though: It takes us one step even closer to the information that personally matters most to us..

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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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Internet of Business

Focus On Big Data Analysis To Make Public Service Helpful

Powerful digital tools help governments and other organizations protect and improve people’s lives.

These tools include objects with sensors that accumulate data as well as software that gathers this data through the Internet. The software sorts, analyzes, and shares the information with other software programs, all of which are supported by another, more powerful level of software called a platform. Combined, they are part of a network called the Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT is a vast network of objects connected to the Internet. The most common IoT object is the cellphone; others range from computers in police cars to thermostats in government offices. They produce a flood of information called Big Data.

Making sense of Big Data

Without interpretation, data is not useful. To gain insights from data, government agencies must make sense of massive amounts of information from IoT sensors, back office administrative systems, social media, and other sources.

One example of a government agency that relies on solutions gained from Big Data is the French Gendarmerie nationale. It is the branch of the nation’s police connected to the French Armed Forces and aids national defense. The Gendarmerie nationale uses digital tools for constant gathering and analysis of social media to help identify potential terrorist actions and participants.

Analyzing social media also helps the agency see patterns in other kinds of crime. They use this information to predict where extra support may be necessary in the future.

The State of Indiana is another example of government controlling the flood of information. It has created a digital “data hub” aimed at helping its departments and agencies share and coordinate information.

The hub supports a unified approach to solving problems such as decreasing drug abuse and supporting citizens harmed by it.

The Republic, an Indiana newspaper, reports that before the hub, lots of data existed but hadn’t been shared among agencies. It says the state’s goal “is to help agency heads make decisions based on the latest, best, most comprehensive information available.”

U.S. governors discuss shared data

In 2016, the National Governors Association reported on U.S. state and local government use of Big Data.

The NGA emphasized strong interest in data analysis to control costs and improve targeting and delivery of services. But it said government data systems often make it difficult for agencies to connect digitally and share information.

Closed data systems become “silos” filled with valuable information that becomes useless. The data is so difficult to get that it can’t aid shared problem solving.

According to the NGA, governors can improve decision making based on shared data. But to do this, they need to promote digital transformation that connects state agencies for easy sharing.

IoT imperative in public services

IoT connectivity gives public service organizations the ability to generate and access data with greater ease than ever before. But before the data is ready to access, it must be cleansed and tagged with metadata. The cleansing process may involve changes in format, finding patterns and missing values, and protecting citizen safety by making data sources anonymous.

Some technology experts compare today’s wealth of digital data to a new kind of oil strike. Similar to crude oil, Big Data must be refined. As Forbes magazine notes, the IoT’s many benefits are accompanied by challenges. Forbes states, “The fact that nearly anything can connect to the Internet also means that nearly anything can serve as a point of attack. In this environment, organizations must re-examine their security strategies to ensure that they’re comprehensive enough to withstand threats in the age of IoT.”

Security is also supported by a powerful IoT platform. Once the data is cleansed and secured, public service networks can use Big Data to identify, manage, and reduce social risks. For example, sensors placed in wheelchairs can warn IoT-connected caregivers that elderly or disabled people need help.

Another example would be worker safety networks alerted to problems communicated by wearable IoT objects tracing the actions, location, and safety of workers. Firefighters will someday wear Internet-connected infrared devices, cameras, and monitors to check air supply and body vitals.

Municipal governments are beginning to pilot smart city projects that include more than networking agencies for data sharing and decision making. One role for IoT devices is predictive analysis of maintenance needs, such as setting times for roadway and building improvements.

Handling citizen complaints in a smart city

The IoT in smart cities can also help government become more responsive to citizens. Like the French police and the Indiana state government, Buenos Aires relies on the analytical power of a digital platform to help it become a smarter city.

One demanding analytical task amid the city’s flood of data is management of 30,000 complaints a month from residents. To be effective, this type of real-time data requires real-time solutions. With help from high tech, Buenos Aires now prioritizes and resolves problems within 96 hours.

Big Data analysis helps people by helping governments attend to their basic needs.

Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation by downloading The IoT Imperative in Public Services: Government and Healthcare.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

A Week in IoT: Never mind Predictions, there’s enough to focus on in the Here and Now

At this time of year every editor is drowning in predictions for the year ahead. To be honest, I prefer more solid information, says Jeremy Cowan. There is so much enterprise restructuring going on that we’re frantically busy with hard facts in the inter-related worlds of security, billing, car charging, and data management.

Thales CEO goes off ‘merger’ script announcing Gemalto acquisition

The week got off to a bang with Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) and Gemalto (Euronext Amsterdam and Paris: GTO) agreeing to merge.

Patrice Caine, Thales’s chairman and CEO, said: “The acquisition of Gemalto marks a key milestone in the implementation of Thales’s strategy. Together with Gemalto’s management, we have big ambitions based on a shared vision of the digital transformation of our industries and customers. We have a tremendous respect for Gemalto’s technological achievements, and … I welcome warmly Gemalto’s 15,000 employees to our Group.  By combining our talents, Thales and Gemalto are creating a global leader in digital security.”

Over the past three years, Thales has significantly increased its focus on digital technologies, investing over €1 billion in connectivity, cybersecurity, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), in particular with the acquisition of Sysgo, Vormetric and Guavus. The integration of Gemalto is expected to accelerate this strategy, reinforcing Thales’s digital offering, across its five vertical markets (aeronautics, space, ground transportation, defence and security). Altogether, this new business unit will represent approximately 20% of Group revenues and rank among the top three players worldwide, with €3.5 billion revenues in the fast growing digital security market.

Combined with Gemalto’s digital security portfolio, Thales will be able to offer an end-to-end solution, to secure the full critical digital decision chains, from data creation in sensors to real-time decision-making. Clients are facing data security challenges in all sectors, including telcos, governments, banks, utilities, and other industries.

Thales will combine its digital businesses into Gemalto, which will continue to operate under its own brand as one of the seven Thales global business units. Philippe Vallée, Gemalto’s erstwhile CEO, will lead the combined digital security business.

The deal is a recommended all-cash offer for all issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Gemalto, for a price of €51.00 per share cum dividend.

Smartly’s mobile app helped by Capgemini to bill
Norwegians accurately for electric car charging

It’s not just enterprises that are repositioning themselves, entire countries are refocusing their business models. Norway is well-known as a global leader in renewable energy, having launched an initiative in 2016 to power all cars with renewable energy by 2025.

As part of this process, the country now wants to provide car owners with easy access to charging stations through housing co-operatives. In a new project, Smartly will encourage Norwegians to use of community chargers and move towards electric car usage by 2025.

With help from Capgemini, and its subsidiary Sogeti, Microsoft is now to build Smartly a cloud connected multi-platform mobile app. Using its expertise in cloud-native technology and its commitment to create measurable digital customer experiences, Smartly said it has moved from a proof-of-concept to a working app in […]

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Deutsche Telekom and Fraunhofer’s open lab has a ‘special focus’ on NB-IoT

Deutsche Telekom has co-founded a new development lab with research organisation Fraunhofer which it says will have a ‘special focus’ on NB-IoT technology.

The first ‘Open IoT Lab’ intends to make advancements in the manufacturing, logistics and aviation sectors. Other firms are welcome to collaborate with the founding companies to develop application-specific IoT prototypes.

"The lab pairs two fields of competence that have to be involved, together, in any successful IoT-related digitisation,” explained Professor Dr. Michael ten Hompel, MD of Fraunhofer IML. “Fraunhofer is providing comprehensive expertise in hardware and applications in IoT environments and Deutsche Telekom is providing its network expertise."

Up to six scientists from Fraunhofer IML, and three IoT experts from Deutsche Telekom, will staff the new facility. IoT solutions will be developed and tested here to ensure their readiness for the market.

Focus on market requirements

Both companies want to focus their efforts on market requirements and will be collaborating with third-parties to identify their needs. In cooperation with Würth Industrie Service, for example, a service button prototype was developed to optimise the reordering process for "C parts" such as screws, nuts, and washers by applying NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) technology.

"At Telekom Open IoT Labs, we will not be pursuing basic research. Instead, we will offer companies specific benefits by solving their problems using IoT solutions," comments Anette Bronder, head of Digital- and Security Department of Deutsche Telekom. "All the technologies necessary for IoT solutions are in place. Now, we need to find application areas that will offer companies real value, in both the short and long terms."

The long-range, low-power nature of NB-IoT makes it ideal for many sectors — but Deutsche Telekom and Fraunhofer are particularly excited about its potential for advancements within the logistics industry.

"The logistics sector is moving very rapidly on digitisation,” Bronder added. “With IoT solutions, companies will be able to achieve high added value – in the short term – in a number of business processes."

Deutsche Telekom now offers NB-IoT commercially throughout Germany and the Netherlands. The operator is expanding its existing coverage to additional cities in other European markets such as Austria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

What are your thoughts on the open lab and its focus on NB-IoT? Let us know in the comments.

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