Alchemy IoT launches with $4 million seed funding to ease IIoT via the use of AI

Alchemy IoT has launched with $ 4 million seed funding from Aweida Venture Partners to help make the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) easier via the use of AI.

Clarity, Alchemy IoT’s cloud-based application, is said to provide small- to mid-sized industrial customers with better returns on industrial assets by analysing asset performance through unsupervised machine learning and adopting proactive measures to boost productivity of industrial fleets and machinery.

The cellphone-enabled application introduces a novel "no-code" approach to IoT Asset Intelligence that eases the way how fleet management, plant maintenance and manufacturing performance can be enhanced through the use of AI and unsupervised machine learning. Some of the main features of the application are: monitoring of sensor data; AI-based analytics; and sending notifications and alerts about operational anomalies via web browsers, email or within the application.

Victor Perez, CEO for Alchemy IoT, said: "Our mission is to make AI-powered IoT a 'no-code' proposition, one that any industrial company can quickly start and put to use to gain fast value. Too many of today's IoT solutions require a massive budget and an extraordinary amount of customization to even getting started – we aim to disrupt and change that."

Alongside this, the company announced the introduction of a new industry approach "IoT Asset Intelligence” to address the complication and market fragmentation associated with Big Data, IoT and AI.

Talking about IoT Asset Intelligence, Perez said: "IoT Asset Intelligence combines our best thinking into an actionable framework to plan, implement and gain value from AI-based IoT initiatives – especially for smaller organizations that may lack the resources for expensive consultants and data scientists.”

According to Alchemy IoT, visibility and efficiency via a combination of data-driven processes and a renewed culture around innovation and critical thinking are the primary theme of the IoT Asset Intelligence framework.

Some of the core tenets of IoT Asset Intelligence are: leveraging data intelligence to make meaningful business decisions; working with existing tools to optimise and enhance current processes; identifying processes for the purpose of improvement and align new value streams and setting up top-line goals and ROI opportunities.

The most recent figures released by IDC estimate that there will be 30 billion connected devices throughout the world by 2020.

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Europe and North America will reach 65.2 million active insurance telematics policies in 2021

Europe and North America will reach 65.2 million active insurance telematics policies in 2021

Europe and North America will reach 65.2 million active insurance telematics policies in 2021

According to a new research report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, the number of insurance telematics policies in force on the European market reached 6.8 million in Q4-2016.

Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.8 percent, this number is expected to reach 30.0 million by 2021.

In North America, the number of insurance telematics policies in force is expected to grow at a CAGR of 38.2 percent from 6.9 million in Q4-2016 to reach 35.2 million in 2021. The European insurance telematics market is largely dominated by hardwired aftermarket black boxes while self-install OBD devices represent the vast majority of the active policies in North America. Several major US insurers have however recently shifted to solutions based on smartphones. Berg Insight expects a rapid increase in the uptake of smartphone-based solutions in all markets in the upcoming years.

Martin Svegander M2M/IoT analyst at Berg Insight, said:

“The US, Italy, the UK and Canada are still the largest markets in terms of insurance telematics policies.”

In North America, the market is dominated by US-based Progressive, Allstate, Liberty Mutual and State Farm as well as Intact Financial Corporation and Desjardins in Canada. The Italian insurers UnipolSai and Generali together accounted for around 50 percent of the telematics-enabled policies in Europe. Insurers with a strong adoption of telematics-enabled policies in the UK moreover include Admiral Group, Insure The Box and Direct Line. Several insurers in the rest of Europe have also shown a substantial uptake of telematics in 2016–2017.

“Insurers are increasingly expected to embrace every aspect of telematics to reduce the cost of claims, improve the underwriting process and add services to increase the customer value through differentiated telematics offerings”, continued Mr. Svegander.

He added that several attempts to reduce distracted driving and increase consumer engagement using smartphone-based insurance telematics have been seen in both Europe and North America. “Consumer engagement is now the focus for most insurance telematics programmes and will continue to be an important topic in the near term”, concluded Mr. Svegander.

Berg Insight chart: insurance telematics policies in force Europe and North America 2016-2021The insurance telematics value chain spans multiple industries including a large ecosystem of companies extending far beyond the insurance industry players. Automotive OEMs are showing an increasing interest in insurance telematics. Examples include General Motors, Ford, BMW, Daimler, PSA Group and Fiat. The vehicle manufacturers are expected to drive the long-term development of insurance telematics by offering the possibility to utilise connected car OEM data in pay-how-you-drive offers.

Notable aftermarket telematics service providers with a focus on insurance telematics include Octo Telematics with over 5.3 million active devices in Q4-2017 and other end-to-end solution providers such as Vodafone Automotive and Viasat Group. LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Intelligent Mechatronic Systems, Cambridge Mobile Telematics, Modus, The Floow, Scope Technologies and TrueMotion are also important players on the insurance telematics market.

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Upstream Security secures $9 million to advance cloud-based connected car security

Upstream Security has secured $ 9 million in series A funding to advance its cloud-based cybersecurity platform for connected cars and self-driving vehicles, after securing $ 2 million in a seed funding round in June.

According to the company, the fresh amount will be utilised for expanding its R&D programme, strengthening research teams in the engineering and security divisions and opening marketing and sales offices in the US and Europe.

The funding was led by CRV (Charles River Ventures) and included expanded investments from Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility.

Izhar Armony, general partner at CRV, said: “Connected and semi-autonomous cars are already a reality, so it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ these self-driving technologies will be deployed at scale. Upstream’s engineers were the first to solve how to protect connected cars and autonomous vehicles using the cloud, crucial for near-term and future deployment of automotive cybersecurity at the fleet level.

"We believe in Upstream’s groundbreaking approach to secure connected and autonomous vehicles and in the abilities of cybersecurity veterans, Yoav Levy and Yonatan Appel, to build a rapidly growing business in this hot, emerging space.”

Talking about the increasing security threats in the connected car industry, Upstream CEO and cofounder Levy commented: “Security solutions for the car are undergoing rapid advances at an unprecedented rate. We’re using emerging technologies like AI and machine learning to carry out an evolutionary leap in cybersecurity for passenger and commercial vehicles.”

It’s not the only money going into this space of late. Earlier this month, Canada-based connected vehicle startup Mojio secured $ 30 million in Series B funding, which will be utilised by the company to expedite its connected-vehicle solution and for global expansion.

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BrickerBot creator Janit0r ‘retires’ after bricking over 10 million IoT devices

BrickerBot creator Janit0r has retired

Alleged Brickerbot creator Janit0R stands down from hectic career of compromising IoT devices. 

Janit0r, the alleged creator of BrickerBot, a piece of malware designed to damage insecure IoT devices so severely that they become redundant, has apparently retired, but not before claiming to have ‘bricked’ over 10 million IoT devices in his recent career.

The resignation letter came in the form of an email to computer help site, Bleeping Computer. Earlier in the year, the person behind the ‘Janit0r’ nickname, a self-professed ‘grey hat’ hacker, claimed that they invented the malware strain to brick IoT devices as a sort of ‘internet chemotherapy’, which could be used to damage vulnerable devices before they got infected with the Mirai malware.

Read more: BrickerBot ‘creator’ claims two million IoT devices have been destroyed

A brief history of Brickerbot

The Brickerbot malware was first detected in April this year. It works by searching the internet for vulnerable IoT devices, and then using exploit code to breach the equipment and rewrite the device’s flash storage with alternative data. This leaves many devices having to be reinstalled or even replaced altogether as the malware can even rewrite the firmware on the device.

Its author has claimed in several emails to have been behind many attacks and outages across the world, including ones against US and Indian internet service providers. However, the supposed perpetrator sent an email to Bleeping Computer announcing his sudden retirement.

They claim to be ‘retiring’ because although the project had been a technical success, they were worried that it was also having a “deleterious effect on the public’s perception of the overall IoT threat”.

“Researchers keep issuing high-profile warnings about genuinely dangerous new botnets, and a few weeks or even days later, they are all but gone. Sooner or later, people are going to start questioning the credibility of the research and the seriousness of the situation,” Janit0r wrote, pointing to the cases of the Persirai, Hajime and Reaper botnets.

Read more: European Parliament pushes on IoT device security and interoperability

Progress  made, but not enough

Janit0r added that while there had been some progress over the past year, with proposals for new security standards,  people, organizations and governments were still not doing enough or moving quickly enough. “We’re running out of time,” they added.

“Because of this, I’ve decided to make a public appeal regarding the severity of the situation. Taking credit for all the carnage of the past year has serious downsides for me and my mission… However I also recognize that if I keep doing what I’m doing, then people of influence may simply perceive the IoT security disaster as less urgent, when in reality they should consider it an emergency requiring immediate action,” they stated.

Operators of IoT DDoS botnets were taking precautions against BrickerBot, and this made Janit0r’s work even more challenging, they said, and they are wary of legal repercussions.

 

“There’s also only so long that I can keep doing something like this before the government types are able to correlate my likely network routes (I have already been active for far too long to remain safe),” Janit0r wrote.

“For a while now my worst-case scenario hasn’t been going to jail, but simply vanishing in the middle of the night as soon as some unpleasant government figures out who I am.”

Read more: Reaper IoT botnet proves less virulent than expected

Severe disruption ahead

As well as advising users to take sanctions against vendors that do not deliver security updates efficiently, the BrickerBot author suggested that ISPs use tools like Shodan to audit their networks and isolate ports and services that don’t need to be online. The internet, they warned, “is only one or two serious IoT exploits away from being severely disrupted”.

Ian Hughes, IoT analyst at IT advisory firm 451 Research, acknowledged that IoT security is a significant concern, but warned that companies are mainly paying attention to security holes when a public release of information forces the issue.

“A more credible approach is offering a bounty or proper reporting scheme to have problems raised and acted upon. The IT industry is full of examples of problems found and ignored, or attempted to be hidden, until they are made public, and IoT continues that unfortunate tradition,” he said.

Read more: Andromeda IoT botnet dismantled by international cyber taskforce

 

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Connected medication compliance monitoring solutions in Europe to reach 2.2 million by 2022

Connected medication compliance monitoring solutions in Europe to reach 2.2 million by 2022

Connected medication compliance monitoring solutions in Europe to reach 2.2 million by 2022

According to a new research report from Berg Insight, the market for medication compliance monitoring solutions is still in an early stage with an estimated 138,000 connected devices in use in EU28+2 at the end of 2016.

However, there are several promising business models for medication adherence solutions that are rolling out on the market. Berg Insight forecasts that the number of connected medication compliance monitoring solutions in EU28+2 will grow at a CAGR of 58 percent to reach 2.2 million by 2022.

Martin Bäckman, IoT Analyst, Berg Insight, says:

“Substantial business opportunities are emerging for solutions targeted at the social care sector. There is an opportunity to leverage medication dispensing solutions as a replacement for manual labour. Many patients rely on frequent visits from their home care provider for medication dispensing. Many of these visits can be reduced or eliminated through the use of medication dispensing solutions.”

Pharmaceutical companies have launched the first connected medication monitoring solutions that are bundled together with specific drugs. In this market, increased adherence can improve treatment outcomes as well as increase the sale of prescription medications. The costs of an adherence monitoring system can in many cases be offset by a small increase in the sale of drugs. Furthermore, monitoring solutions can be very useful for drugs that have side effects or limited efficiency when adherence is poor.

Another target market is payers, which can reduce their total healthcare expenditures by decreasing indirect costs that arise from non-compliance. A barrier to adoption in this market may still be the limited clinical proof available on the positive effects that a specific adherence solution has on the total healthcare costs.

The Netherlands became the first country to implement a reimbursement code for medication dispensing, enabling home care providers to use a remotely monitored medication dispensing solution to replace some home visits. There is also strong interest from home care providers and municipalities for this use case in the Nordic countries.

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