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IoT news of the week for Nov. 19, 2021

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Samsung SmartThings adds whole-home energy monitoring: It seems like there’s a gold rush of sorts going on in electricity monitoring. The latest prospector is Samsung SmartThings, which this week announced three new partnerships to bring whole-home energy monitoring to customers. The company says products and services from Copper Labs, Eyedro, and Wattbuy are now integrated with the SmartThings platform to let smart home owners track their electric usage and select renewable power suppliers. While this is a good start, it doesn’t allow SmartThings to view energy consumption at the individual device level. I suspect we’ll see that feature added over time through other products and services, however. (Samsung SmartThings— Kevin C. Tofel

Pick up your Starbucks and just Go: Amazon’s “walk in and walk out to pay” strategy has another test company. This week, Starbucks announced it was trialing the Amazon Go payment system in a New York City location. Customers can order their food and beverages through the Starbucks app, then arrive at the location and scan a code from their Amazon Shopping app to enter the store. While there, they can also have other items automatically added to their bill thanks to the Amazon Go system, which consists of in-store cameras. And when they leave, the charges are automatically applied to their credit card. Maybe I’m just low on caffeine today, but I’m still not sold on a surveillance-style model for shopping and payments, no matter how convenient. (Starbucks— Kevin C. Tofel

MediaTek is bringing Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 to the IoT: You may not be familiar with MediaTek, but it has quickly dethroned Qualcomm as the global leader in smartphone chips. It has its hands in IoT, too. This week, the company announced a pair of new chips that will bring Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 to IoT devices. These aren’t for battery-powered sensors, though. Expect to see the new silicon and improved wireless technology supporting both 2.4 and 5 GHz signals in larger products that are plugged in, such as webcams and smart speakers. Indeed, the new silicon supports voice assistants and always-on voice detection. Personally, I’d be happier to see them in the webcam segment, which still has new products using the 2.4 GHz bands that don’t play nicely with many mesh networks. (ArsTechnica)  — Kevin C. Tofel

Alexa’s Conversation Mode is here and it’s complex: After announcing it last year, Alexa’s Conversation Mode is now rolling out on the Echo Show 10. If you have this smart speaker you might not see (or hear) any changes right away, as the software update to enable it is following a several-week rollout. Once your Echo is updated, however, you can add Alexa to a conversation by saying the wake word a single time. Then, you and multiple people can have a discussion with Amazon’s smart speaker to ask multiple queries, control devices, or just talk about your day, I suppose. After your chat is over, saying “Leave this conversation” puts Alexa back into the standard wake-word mode. Although this sounds like a simple feature to add, there’s quite a bit of engineering involved using multiple sensors and a convoluted neural network, which this story explains for the nerds like me. (Amazon— Kevin C. Tofel

Check out an advanced HomeKit app that’s pretty useful: Kevin recently tried the Controller for HomeKit app, which provides a lot of advanced features for users of Apple’s smart home ecosystem. The app has a free and a paid version and adds features like storing QR codes, letting users see all of their cameras on one screen, letting users control more aspects of a device, and much more. To find out all of the things Kevin used it for, check out his review.  (Stacey on IoT) — Stacey Higginbotham

Bsquare moves from consulting to a SaaS model with an IoT platform:  If last week’s Oracle study is to be believed, then the industrial and enterprise world is much more accepting of IoT platforms built as a service as opposed to custom-based implementation. Seeing this trend, and needing to change its business model, Bsquare, a consulting-focused IoT services firm, has released SquareOne, a product designed to manage hundreds of thousands of connected devices through software and a cloud. The SquareOne platform works across Android, Windows. Linux and embedded devices, which lets customers control and manage the wide array of connected devices in their deployment. (Bsquare) — Stacey Higginbotham

Is wireless charging in the smart home coming soon? This is worth watching. Ossia, a wireless power company located near me in the Seattle area, has signed a deal with Archos, a maker of tablets, smartphones, and air purifiers to install OSsia’s over-the-air wireless charging technology in an upcoming line of smart home devices and wearables. This style of charging is different from the Qi standard that requires a person to put their phone on an approved charging pad. Ossia maintains it can charge devices nearby simply by sending power through the air.  This has been theoretically possible for a while, but the people in the middle would get fried. Ossia says its solution doesn’t hurt, and the story provides an explanation of the tech. The devices are expected next year, so I look forward to testing this out to see how much power this delivers and where we can best use it. (Ars Technica— Stacey Higginbotham

Our industrial security is still pretty bad: This report reads mostly as a resume for Claroty’s bug-finding expertise, but it also showcases some worrying trends in the world of OT vulnerabilities. Such as the stat that 71 percent of the vulnerabilities Claroty’s researchers found were network vulnerabilities that could be triggered remotely. It also talks about ways to address the slow pace of industrial patching. (Claroty— Stacey Higginbotham

Golioth’s hardware-focused IoT cloud is now generally available: A little over a year ago I profiled Golioth, a cloud designed for people building hardware. The idea is that most cloud engineers don’t take hardware needs in mind when designing integrations between hardware and their clouds, which can force hardware engineers to compromise on their designs. For a company that plans to sell a million devices, this sort of compromise can be costly in terms of the bill of materials or even force compromises with radios and battery life. Golioth wants to put hardware first and has launched its GA with support for more than 100 hardware components and the Zephyr real-time operating system. (Golioth— Stacey Higginbotham

The post IoT news of the week for Nov. 19, 2021 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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