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IoT news of the week for May 22, 2020

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Wink changes course again: So, remember that subscription fee Wink users were complaining about two weeks ago? Apparently the owners of the Wink platform have changed their minds again. This past Wednesday, the Wink Twitter account let us know that because so many people paid the $ 4.99-a-month subscription fee, Wink reconsidered its plan and will now continue to keep people’s hubs operational even if they don’t sign up for monthly service. My hunch is Wink realized that cutting people off would alienate its customer base even more than it already has, and it somehow found the money to support people while it figures out a viable business plan. I don’t think an influx of paying subscribers was actually responsible. And given how many people its previous actions pushed from the platform, it may be too late. (Wink)

Bosch builds a completely automated mask production line:
 This is a cool story simply because it involves a production line getting quickly spun up to make an essential good. But it’s also awesome because not only has Bosch made this production line fully automated, it shared how it built the line so others could install one in their own factories if they so desire. As we move to the idea of a software-defined factory, this is an excellent example of what’s possible. (Bosch)

Another IoT-for-good use case: Researchers have used computer vision and cameras focused on local smokestacks to figure out when factories are polluting. This paper describes RISE, the first large-scale video dataset for Recognizing Industrial Smoke Emissions. Its dataset can be used to train models to monitor local air pollution and fine those responsible. (

How to keep your smart devices from aiding in domestic violence: Ever since I first read about how victims of domestic violence can be terrorized through smart devices, I’ve been on the lookout for ways those victims could take back control. It appears IBM has been meeting with UK charities to figure out how to think about designing tech products that can prevent victimization. This article presages a report that doesn’t seem to be out yet while also laying out some of the related big-picture guidelines and design principles. I’ll be following this closely. (BCS)

Relevant data on OT vs. IT security incidents: Every year for the last 13 years, Verizon has put out a data breach and incident report. And every year it has gotten better, both in terms of the report’s sophistication and the fun ways the authors explain security to the layperson. This year’s report has a lot of good nuggets for those trying to understand how hacking efforts in the real world differ from the movies, but is probably also useful for anyone writing their own security-inspired treatment for the big or small screen. For those in the industrial IoT, there’s one key data point. This year, the Verizon team began tracking Information Technology (IT) vs Operational Technology (OT) for assets involved in incidents. The researchers found that 96% of breaches involved IT, while 4% involved OT. The report notes that 4% is relatively small, but that the impact of a breach in the industrial world is probably fairly significant. (Verizon)

Microsoft’s Azure RTOS is worth a look: About 18 months ago, Microsoft purchased Express Logic, maker of the most popular paid, embedded, real-time operating system (RTOS), and has now turned that RTOS into Azure RTOS. Microsoft made Azure RTOS generally available at its virtual Build event this week, which means developers will have the full support of Microsoft behind the software. RTOSes are essential elements for sensors and other embedded computing devices popular in the IoT and Microsoft has signed deals with all the big chip vendors, so the Azure RTOS firmware is loaded on modules. All a developer needs to do is pay for a license. The Azure RTOS will also have tight links with other Azure services. (Microsoft)

Check out Microsoft’s new IoT certification program: As companies expand their IoT efforts, one of the most crucial job descriptions is for someone who helps tie the edge to the cloud and build out the cloud architecture. It’s a hole that surveys (some of which were conducted by Microsoft) have called out time and time again, which is why (I think) Microsoft has created an online IoT certification program that helps developers learn how to link the edge to the cloud and build out applications in both places. Obviously it is Azure-focused, but it’s also a good step toward closing a very real skills gap. (Microsoft)

Microsoft beefed up its SaaS IoT platform: For companies that don’t want to build their own IoT platform on Azure, Microsoft had built IoT Central, which is pre-loaded with templates so companies can connect devices and manage them without deploying underlying infrastructure. At Build, Microsoft said it had now integrated IoT Central with Azure IoT Edge and its security-focused product, Azure Sphere. The IoT Edge integration lets developers move workloads from the cloud to the edge easily. These workloads might be machine learning models or ones that simply help developers manage edge devices from IoT Central. The security tie-in means that developers using Azure Sphere devices can model and control them from IoT Central and see any security issues there. (The Register)

How manufacturers are adapting to COVID-19: The National Association of Manufacturers has released guidelines for its members so they can protect and monitor the health and safety of their workers during the pandemic. Few of the guidelines require IoT, but there are more IoT use cases than ever before, this time involving remote access to equipment and using cameras or sensors to track workers trying to social distance. (Manufacturing Leadership Council)

Avnet teams up with Nodle for Bluetooth-based employee trackers for social distancing: Like Estimote and other companies that have built a business using Bluetooth beacons and trackers, Nodle wants to get into worker wearables to ensure employees stay six feet apart. It has partnered with Avnet to deliver a module for warehouse and office workers that is both an immediate buzzer when people get too close, and a way to handle exposure notification for employees if one gets ill. The device can work in conjunction with Nodle’s track-and-trace Coalition app and will be available in October. (BusinessWire)

This feels like a good reason to bring in factory 5G: This overview article on 5G in factories covers most of the basics, such as lower latency and more bandwidth. But it also offers a gem of a stat, although it doesn’t really explain where the stat comes from. The article notes that early 5G trial deployment projects at European manufacturers “hint that bringing 5G connectivity to the factory floor will decrease maintenance costs by 30 percent and increase overall equipment efficiency by 7 percent.” Those numbers alone could justify the investment in some cases. (Assembly)

The post IoT news of the week for May 22, 2020 appeared first on Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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