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

Tiny PocketBeagle single board computer launched as a to rival Raspberry Pi Zero

BeagleBoard Foundation announced earlier this week the launch of PocketBeagle, a tiny single board computer aimed at beginners and professionals. It’s a low-cost Linux-based expansible computer capable of being used in robots, drones, and 3D printers.

Termed as a competitor of Raspberry Pi Zero, the PocketBeagle has some nifty features with an estimated price tag of $ 25. It’s based on Octavo Systems OSD3358 system-in-package (SiP) device with 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8. Plus, it has 512MB DDR3 RAM, 2×32-bit 200-MHz programmable real-time units (PRUs), 3D Accelerator, 72 expansion pin headers, and finallymicro-USBB host/client and microSD connectors.

The PocketBeagle may directly compete with the $ 10 Raspberry Pi Zero. RPUs in the PocketBeagle make sense in handling little tasks with low latency and low overhead, whereas the ARM does the heavy lifting of handling high-throughput applications on the board.

The nearest competitor Raspberry Pi Zero was also launched amid much fanfare and was covered by Postscapes when it first launched in March this year.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

MetTel Launches First IoT Single SIM that Auto Connects Devices to Strongest Signal

MetTel Launches First IoT Single SIM that Auto Connects Devices to Strongest Signal

Cloud-Connected Chip Securely Tracks Products, Connects Devices and Solves Real-Time Supply Issues with Largest Network of 650+ Carriers in 165 Countries.

The futuristic dream of the universal, invisible and always-on Internet of Things (IoT) is coming into view with the first SIM that intelligently roams to identify and automatically connect to the strongest signal globally, MetTel announced today.

MetTel, a fast-growing communications provider for businesses, has launched IoT Single SIM which ensures the best possible connectivity no matter the device or location, changing the game for supply chain complexity, retail issues, home health care and other industry challenges.

No other Single SIM can securely connect devices automatically to the IoT with the strongest signal via the four major US and 650 worldwide carriers, comprising the world’s largest communications network. The MetTel Single SIM offers real-time data on-session activity that provides a current view of product status and location on anything from a mobile phone to a jet engine. It also archives the past 48 hours of sessions for reference and analysis. Geo-fencing gives the MetTel IoT Single SIM the ability to proactively self-report when it has entered special zones or reached its destination, so businesses are making informed decisions with always-on mobile tracking, engineering and analytics.

The IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) market is growing exponentially. Gartner projected that, by this year, 8.4 billion connected devices would come online. To provide the best environment for this rapid growth, companies need to enable devices with the ability to connect instantly and adapt connectivity on the go.

Max Silber, vice president of mobility and IoT, MetTel, said:

“IoT Single SIM represents a breakthrough given its ability to securely connect and continuously report the progress of any product or component as it treks through the global supply chain.”

“The Single SIM is but one key part of the holistic approach MetTel takes to IoT. With always-on connectivity that isn’t dictated by device, carrier or location, this solution can effectively decrease mobility costs for major organizations, increase supply chain automation capabilities, and bring telehealth connectivity and deployment into rapid adoption. The net outcome is ensuring the overall business process of delivering a service or product is streamlined, efficient and profitable.”

MetTel serves as chief architect and general contractor working with a range of business partners including carriers, resellers and technology solution providers in a diverse, expanding ecosystem.

MetTel serves a wide range of clients across industries that are connecting integral assets to the IoT network including parking meters, computing devices, digital displays, and a range of equipment in industries such as retail, healthcare, energy, manufacturing and distribution, food and beverage. Industry use cases the company is already seeing take shape, include:

  • Automation in Supply Chain and Logistics – Impacts automation in manufacturing, in-warehouse visibility, enhances in-transit visibility by connecting sensors, devices and RFIDs, which allows for reduced costs, reduced assets lost, improved stock management, increased fleet efficiencies, and provides better insight between manufacturer and retailer.
  • Healthcare/Telehealth – Improves connectivity in remote locations, allows for all devices to connect and ensure faster deployment and up-time on pre-packaged devices, which ultimately provides better connectivity between patients and physicians, lower re-admission rates, earlier detection and overall cost improvements for healthcare organizations.
  • Energy & Utilities – Works to improve the systems in place by enabling better control of utilities through digital technologies and collected data, which enhances cost savings by integrating new, renewable systems that can improve uptime and decrease maintenance costs as well as improve the energy sector’s ability to offer innovative new services.

While IoT Single SIM currently resides on a hardware chip, it utilizes an eSIM-ready infrastructure. eSIM-based technology changes the way SIM profiles are managed. Conceptually, an eSIM can host multiple profiles and work with all form factors, morphing from one type of carrier SIM to another, thereby making it universal. Although the eSIM has not yet arrived on the market, similar capabilities can be realized today with the MetTel IoT Single SIM. The difference is that the eSIM’s self-contained IMSI identity marker allows it to autonomously shift forms while MetTel’s version boasts unlimited IMSI in the cloud, providing MetTel and its clients with greater control over the IoT Single SIM’s transformations from one carrier network to another.

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IoT Business News

IoT ruins movies: Single White Female

Setting the scene

There’s nothing like a tale of stolen identity, sex and murder to spice up an otherwise ordinary Tuesday morning. Today, the IoT will get its clutches into Single White Female – a psychological thriller guaranteed to put you off roommates for life.

We’ll investigate how blockchain and the smart home could have helped software designer Allie escape her murderous flatmate, deal with the client from hell and keep her phone calls private.

The movie: Single White Female

Single White Female is a 1992 American thriller directed by Barbet Schroeder and starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Based on the novel SWF Seeks Same, the movie tells the nail-biting tale of Alison ‘Allie’ Jones’ narrow escape from the clutches of her possessive and, as it turns out, murderous roommate, Hedra. Hedra gradually insinuates herself into Allie’s life, copying her wardrobe and hairstyle and attacking anyone close to her, before eventually trying to kill Allie herself.

How the Internet of Things could ruin Single White Female

It quickly becomes clear that our friend Allie has some serious problems. In particular:

  • Her new (and only) business client is a manipulative, sexually harassing jackass
  • Her roommate is duplicating her wardrobe and identity
  • Her roommate is killing her friends and pinning it on her

Tough times indeed. But panic not, the IoT is here to help.

Problem #1: the client from hell

Following an acrimonious split from her former business partner, Allie is trying to build her client base from scratch. Unfortunately, her new client – Mitch – is aware of this and offers her a laughable fee in exchange for ‘good word of mouth’ and the promise of an introduction to his useful connections. He also withholds payment for Allie’s work unless she performs a sexual act on him. What a prince.

Fortunately there is an IoT solution that would ensure timely payment, if not protection from a coworker’s lusty advances. That solution is blockchain: a digital ledger which securely records cryptocurrency transactions. The transaction record can be viewed by each stakeholder (in this case, Allie, her client, and presumably the payroll team). The cool thing about blockchain is that it makes cooking the books, refusing payment or other diddly practices pretty tough to pull off. It’s public (to a certain degree), which guarantees transparency, and it’s pretty difficult to hack into the bargain.

In theory, you don’t even need an administrator to run it – just smart contracts and autonomous agents, as Don Tapscott explained at this year’s InterConnect event, which minimizes the risk of human error or deliberate meddling. With an autonomous payment system in place and each transaction recorded and stored securely on a blockchain, it would have been impossible for Mitch to default on Allie’s payments.

Problem #2: intercepting personal information

I’m not sure there’s much the IoT could do about Hedra’s copycat behavior, at least where wardrobe duplication and identical haircuts are concerned, but a smartphone with a decent security access system would at least have put the proverbial kibosh on phone call interception. Even if Allie were to leave her phone lying around the flat, provided it had fingerprint scanning technology, a voice recognition access system or even a decent passcode, Hedra would have a job getting into it.

Problem #3: when you’re held hostage in your own home

Fairly late on in the film, Allie is tied up with duct tape and left briefly alone. She tries to attract attention by turning the TV volume to an unreasonable level, in the hope of prompting a noise complaint and an investigation by the building’s superintendent. The plan almost succeeds, but the super takes so long finding the key to her apartment that Hedra returns in time to head him off, thwarting her discovery and escape.

How often we see similar situations in movies. A life-saving weapon just out of reach. A vital phone call unanswered because the circumstances prevent it. But what if the very failure or inability to respond were to trigger a safety mechanism? Can the IoT offer help to those who can’t help themselves, either through incapacitation or illness?

Emergency first responders and the Internet of Caring Things

One of IBM’s Business Partners, CurrentCare, is doing exactly that. CurrentCare has developed a solution for assisted living, designed to help elderly and vulnerable people maintain their independence at home, while offering them a safety net in case something goes wrong. A variety of sensors and energy monitors on key appliances like doors, kettles, toilets and room-level motion detectors collect data which is analysed by applications on IBM Bluemix. Automated rules determine if something unusual is happening (or not happening), and who to notify – whether a care agency, relative or friend.

Wearables, too, would offer a mobile security solution. A voice-activated smart watch looks innocuous enough, but could be a vital link to the emergency services in a desperate situation. There are even some models that can be operated by wrist movement (as opposed to pinch and swipe finger gestures alone) – perfect for our incapacitated Allie.

So there you have it – how to fix a dodgy client, alert the emergency services when immobilized and escape the clutches of a murderous roommate – all thanks to the IoT.

Learn more

We’ve ruined lots of movies with the help of the IoT, from Scream to Batman. If you’re intrigued to see a particular film get the IoT ruins movies treatment, let us know in the comments below.

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