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IoT news of the week for May 29, 2020

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Savant’s GE Lighting buy is a big deal: We discussed this deal on the podcast, but The Wall Street Journal puts the price of GE’s lighting business at around $ 250 million, which is much less than what GE had hoped for. The sale gets GE out of the consumer lighting business altogether (GE spun out its corporate lighting business in 2015 as part of the GE Current business). It also mirrors Philips’ decision to get out of the lighting business by selling its division to Signify (Signify kept the Philips Hue and Philips lighting brands), and OSRAM’s decision last year to sell off its Sylvania lighting business. Basically, once LEDs started to gain ground, selling light bulbs that lasted for up to 20 years started to seem like a sucker’s game. The new challenge is to build smarts and services into the bulbs in order to keep consumers replacing them, since they won’t burn out. (WSJ)

CEDIA Expo is now virtual: The organization that hosts the annual CEDIA trade show has canceled the event because the convention center where it was being held in September will instead remain a field hospital for the city of Denver. The trade show is where professional smart home installers gather to check out the latest in awesome televisions, connected products, and weird connection technology. It’s a fun show, but even as the pandemic was escalating I kept getting emails promising that it was still on, despite the fact that doing so was looking increasingly unrealistic. For those who are still in the mood for a September trade show featuring connected home products, IFA will be offering a scaled-down event in Berlin. (CEPro)

Shipments of cellular IoT modems are up but revenue for operators is down: A record 265 million IoT modems (LTE-M and NB-IoT) shipped in 2019, but more lower-cost modems combined with lower data rates that operators can charge for those modems meant revenue fell 7%, according to Berg Insight. Berg analysts also said that COVID-19 will affect sales of cellular IoT in the coming year, especially for products designed for the stricken automotive industry and any other industries that are slowing their deployments. (Berg Insight)

SmartRent raises $ 60M more for smart apartments: SmartRent, a company building out tech for smart, multifamily dwelling units, has raised another chunk of change despite the pandemic, bringing the total amount raised to roughly $ 100 million. Its last round took place in June 2019, after facing questions about the security of its locks. SmartRent’s CEO explains that the pandemic is making the ability to remotely monitor and turn over rental apartment units essential. (VentureBeat)

Cashier-less checkout adapts to big-box stores: Much has been made of the Amazon Go stores, where cameras track purchases so that customers can just walk in, scan their app, and grab what they need before walking out. The experience is awesome, but it’s been an open question as to how it could work in larger stores or when people don’t want to download an app. This article explores how one startup is building smaller, Go-like stores within larger stores, but filled with the items people tend to pick up the most. Going back to my intro essay, basically this is a story about how to apply new technology to change a business, not the technology itself. (The Spoon)

Datch gets $ 3.2M in funding for industrial voice: One of the coolest companies I’ve encountered is RealWear, which makes rugged, heads-up displays for industrial environments. The devices allow factory workers to see more data superimposed over equipment or product lines; they also enable the taking of voice dictation in loud environments. As the CEO explained to me, his goal is to let people talk to machines. It looks like Datch has the same idea, except it’s only producing the voice interface that lets employees talk to factory machines or a company website. Users can ask the status of a machine, or tell the interface to take a memo. Even as we experience the power of voice in our homes, the ability to use voice to pull together relevant information from the morass of corporate documents and machines in the workplace is far more useful. I’m excited to see what Datch does. (Finsmes)

Smart socks for diabetics get venture backing: Siren, a company that makes smart fabrics designed for medical monitoring, has raised $ 11.8 million from DCM, Khosla Ventures, 500 Startups, and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. The smart fabric gets woven into socks that can detect changes in foot temperature that correlate to the development of foot ulcers in diabetics. Unsurprisingly, there’s a COVID-19 angle here, with company CEO Ran Ma explaining that the ability to remotely monitor patients using the tech has driven up demand. If nothing else, the push to use connected medicine and the funding that should go into sponsoring studies of connected medical devices will be a beneficial legacy of the pandemic. (Mass Device)

This has little to do with IoT, but makes for an interesting read: Do you Zoom your friends, or do you meet your friends on Zoom? The answer to that question could mean the difference between a trademark and generic status for the popular web conferencing service as it seeks to avoid the fate of Kleenex or even Google. Yes, Google is still a trademark according to the courts, but we all know that we google information as opposed to searching on Google for information. (IP Law 360)

The post IoT news of the week for May 29, 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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