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IoT news of the week for Oct. 16, 2020

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Infiot thinks factory devices need their own SD-WANs: If you hang out long enough in the networking world or the world of enterprise IT, you’ll eventually come across the term Software-Defined Wide-Area Network, or SD-WAN. The concept of an SD-WAN is both simple and incredibly relevant as everyone works from home: It’s a way of virtually extending the protections of the corporate office network to another location, such as your home office. But as companies start connecting more essential devices to the internet, SD-WANs are being viewed as a way to manage and remotely access connected machines on a factory floor or in a branch location. Whereas vendors such Aryaka, VeloCloud/VMware, and Citrix offer SD-WANs for the enterprise office worker, a startup called Infiot has launched to create an SD-WAN for connected devices. The company launched this week with a $ 15 million round to build an easy-to-deploy device that will link back to the Infiot cloud, letting customers remotely see and manage machines connected to the Infiot device. Some 75,000 machines are connected to the Infiot service already, including those operated by Doosan, the company behind the Bobcat brand of equipment. — Stacey Higginbotham

AT&T is now selling private cell networks through Ericsson: Well, this was not what I hoped the CBRS band would yield. AT&T is now offering companies private networks for their campuses or factories using CBRS spectrum it purchased in combination with equipment from Ericsson. My hope for the CBRS band was that companies would buy their own spectrum and contract with companies like Ericsson to buy equipment to manage their own private networks. Obviously that didn’t happen, at least in part because the CBRS auction required buyers to license the airwaves in a fairly large geographic area, which is overkill for a campus or stadium, and possibly because most companies would rather not become their own network operator. So here’s AT&T’s big opportunity for those 5G factory networks. (AT&T)

The new BBC Microbit looks pretty cute: It’s not for sale yet, but the updated educational computer offered by the BBC has launched. The latest version of the BBC Microbit adds a built-in microphone and a speaker so kids can presumably learn how to make their own listening devices and smart speakers. It also has a capacitive touch panel and will cost the same as the prior generation (I can get one for about $ 15.) The Microbit is an educational computer designed for teachers, who can use it to build projects ranging from simple experiments that turn on LEDs to leveraging it as the brains for a robot. Unleash your inner child! (Microbit)

Tracking machine health can reduce waste and promote conservation: The better a machine performs, the less energy it will use, and the better the resulting part it produces will be. But the IoT can takes things a big step further. A factory using Machine Metrics’ devices and software, for example, managed to save $ 5,000 a year per machine and reduce its scrap metal by monitoring the health of those machines not just for potential failure, but for the potential of the machined parts to be outside of specified parameters. This is a deep dive and a nice example of how IoT can help reduce waste in factory settings. (Machine Metrics)

Researchers show a graphene circuit that generates electricity: One thing the IoT needs is a way to eliminate wires and batteries, so I’m always on the lookout for energy harvesting tech and research.  University of Arkansas researchers have shown a piece of graphene that can generate its own electricity, which could lead to new energy-harvesting devices. But even more fascinating is the breakdown of how the findings break some fundamental physics rules. So come for the energy-harvesting power of graphene and stay for the physics. (

Speaking of energy harvesting (and physics): These researchers at the University of Washington have built 3-D printed plastics capable of harvesting surrounding radio waves (like WI-Fi) and motion to communicate. They are using a Wi-Fi backscatter technique to generate information and reflect it to a device that lets the non-powered device communicate without needing electricity. The result could be specially printed plastics that could communicate with your router or phone to share information. (IEEE Spectrum)

Will the pandemic delay Wi-Fi 6E? Tom Hollingsworth, a networking analyst, believes it will. He argues that the faster speeds and uncongested channels provided by Wi-Fi6E networks (Wi-Fi that will run in the 6GHz band) need more devices and the pull from corporate networks’ gear buyers to become mainstream. Because right now, with the pandemic still raging, consumers might be upgrading their Wi-Fi gear, but they’re not spending the extra bucks for Wi-Fi 6E because most of their devices don’t need it. This is solid analysis for those wondering about the WFH networking environment. (The Networking Nerd)

The Apple event wasn’t just about 5G phones: Kevin Tofel writes about the new HomePod mini, which has a $ 99 price tag and a Thread radio. Apple says the new radio is only for HomeKit-compatible Thread devices, but it looks like the company is seeding the market with devices that should be Project CHIP-compatible once that standard gets certified. (StaceyonIoT)

An NB-IoT-capable packing label from Bayer: Bayer is working with Vodafone and ARM to offer a package label that has a cellular NB-IoT connection. The label will sell for “a few euros,” which is still too much for most use cases. I remain far more excited about Evrythng’s much cheaper labels, which are part of its work with Avery Dennison. But these are cool, too. (Enterprise IoT Insights)

The post IoT news of the week for Oct. 16, 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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