Canada’s Volaris Group acquires Sicap

By Zenobia Hegde

Volaris Group Inc. is an operating unit of parent holding company Constellation Software Inc., listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TXS) and acquires, strengthens and grows vertical market technology companies enabling them to be clear leaders within their focused industry.

Volaris has bought all the shares of Sicap, including its international branch entities. Sicap will continue to operate its own brand and serve its international customers from its current offices in Europe and India. The CEO will remain Markus Doetsch and all of Sicap’s employees have been taken over.

Volaris sees Sicap as a great opportunity to expand its presence in the communications vertical, to reinforce a strong position in the mobile market globally, and to acquire competency and experience in secure and scalable mobile applications.

For Sicap, the acquisition by a global player such as Volaris will mean a creation of growth opportunities in innovation areas such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, as well as an easier access to investment capital. Sicap will strengthen its position as a global provider of telecommunications solutions to mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).

Markus Doetsch, CEO Sicap agrees: “With Volaris, we have found a partner that not only has a deep understanding of our industry, but also shows a continuous track record in constantly growing companies they had acquired through best practice sharing and targeted investments into their growth areas”. He concludes, “In this way, we will continue the success story of Sicap, which began as a subsidiary of Swisscom, with Volaris as the new owner.”

In future, Sicap be part of the Volaris Communications Vertical business portfolio, which includes leading technology brands such as Incognito Software, Netadmin Systems, Active Broadband OSS, Tarantula Global Holdings, Telepin Software and WDS Mobile.

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Mirai ‘Okiru’ botnet targets billions of ARC-based IoT devices

By dalew


News

Researchers suggest the variant could ‘change the landscape of Linux IoT infection’

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Enterprises look to monitor, manage and optimise the IoT ecosystem

By IoT Now Magazine

Nitesh Arora, the head of marketing at Cloudleaf, reveals the benefits of the divide and conquer approach to digitally transforming complex enterprise operations

Global adoption of industrial IoT hardware, connectivity and services is soaring. In fact, over the next few years, investment in IoT technologies will experience a whopping 15.6% CAGR worldwide, reaching projected spending of US$1.29tn by 2020. Nowhere is this more true than in the manufacturing sector, where the IoT is helping enterprises to digitally transform their legacy plant operations. The potential benefits are compelling, including near-zero downtime operations, sixsigma certified product quality, and streamlined asset maintenance. To put things in perspective, manufacturing related IoT spending alone, accounted for US$178bn in 2016 – more than spending in transportation and utilities, combined.

It’s understandable, therefore, that the manufacturing sector is keen to embrace IoT in order to take advantage of obvious benefits. These include addressing the challenges of total cost of ownership (TCO), competition, complexity and risk, but increasingly, early-movers are also using it as a vehicle for generating growth and as a hedge against increasing global competitive pressures. According to Vernon Turner, an IoT research fellow and senior vice president at IDC: “investments by China and the United States in IoT solutions is driving these two countries to account for double-digit annual growth rates and over half of the IoT spending.”

On paper, this all seems perfectly reasonable and straightforward, but in practice, manufacturers are finding that adoption is a relative and loaded concept. Implementing IoT across the enterprise ecosystem in one fell swoop is a tricky business and better left to larger, well diversified outfits able to absorb front-loaded costs and risks. Instead the trend is in smaller compartmentalised industrial IoT (IIoT) implementations that solve a narrow set of business challenges, rather than trying to boil all oceans at once. By adopting a disciplined implement, measure, optimise and replicate approach, manufacturers are able to take short manageable sprints towards solving industrial process automation challenges in a scalable and purposeful way.

The promise of IoT to provide powerful cross-boundary visibility, real-time monitoring and granular control across the entire manufacturing value-chain of people, assets and workflows, is generally well understood. But the real challenges are the next step: How do manufacturers choose an IoT provider? How do they execute? And how do they measure success, scale growth and replicate their gains? Cloudleaf was founded to specifically answer these questions and provide solutions that elegantly solve real-world business problems in manufacturing and distribution, pharma and life sciences, and other process automation industries. Our solutions are designed to simplify the manufacturing processes and solve emerging asset and workflow challenges in a measurable, value-added and sustainable way.

Increasingly, we are finding that manufacturers are investing in IoT technologies that bolster their manufacturing operations management (MOM), enterprise asset management (EAM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) capabilities. In fact the push right now is to get a better understanding of all the assets, processes and skilled labour in play on the plant-floor and at the operational level of the enterprise. […]

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Saving cities US$5 trillion with smart, sharing technologies

By Zenobia Hegde

The rate of global urbanisation is growing exponentially. But while living in cities offers both social and economic opportunities, the rising costs of living are threatening to increase social inequality, slow down economic growth, and increase levels of crime.

Smart cities, and the technologies that underpin them, are hailed as a significant solution to this problem, and are set to reduce costs for governments, citizens and enterprises alike. In fact, a recent report published by ABI Research, in partnership with Chordant and CA Technologies, reveals smart city and IoT technologies have the potential to save governments, enterprises and citizens globally over $5 trillion (€4.09 trillion) by 2022, says Jim Nolan, executive vice president, Chordant at InterDigital.

Specifically, it is new sharing and service economy paradigms, and the “Internet of Things” along with artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, that will play a leading role in driving these cost savings.

Cutting costs for governments

Governments can benefit tremendously from the implementation of IoT technology and sharing economy business models in energy, water utilities, transportation, and crime and vandalism.

Energy savings is perhaps the first, and most obvious cost benefit of IoT and smart city technology. Turning street lights into smart, connected systems with intelligent on/off cycles, for example, could yield a 30% cost saving for governments.

When it comes to water utilities, advanced leak detection systems can drive direct cost savings by removing the need for manual inspection, while opportunity cost savings can be made through water waste management and waste prevention systems. These cost savings, in turn, help to reduce end-user prices.

Transportation is a major cost centre in government budgets, but adding smart technology such as electronic toll collection (ETC) vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) technology, as well as intelligent traffic light systems, can optimise the use of existing road capacity.

In regard to government services such as waste collection, mobile resource management (MRM) technology can dispatch, manage and monitor field workers, while the deployment of smart garbage bins can enable real-time, remote fill-level monitoring, and therefore the timely dispatch of garbage collection trucks. This isn’t a fantasy, they’re already in use in Dubai. This enables waste collection fleets to run more efficiently and results in fewer trucks on the road. In fact, this form of smart waste collection has the potential to reach cost savings of 30%.

Finally, AI-based automation for surveillance cameras, along with data optimisation, can reduce the costs associated with monitoring and analysing video footage in support of crime reduction. AI technology can also be used to complement surveillance cameras with crowd sourced intelligence such as data captured from social sites, as well as smartphone footage from citizens.

By taking advantage of these different technologies, city governments in mega cities (a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of ten million people) globally could save up $58 billion (€47.40 billion) annually.

Affordable services for citizens

Smart city technologies are not only key for driving cost savings for governments – they play just as important a role in reducing costs for citizens. After housing, mobility presents the second largest item in family […]

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Digi International announces the availability of the newly enhanced Digi TransPort® family of routers

By Zenobia Hegde

Digi International®, a global provider of Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity products and services, announced the availability of the newly enhanced Digi TransPort® family of routers. Equipped with advanced RF modules, users can easily migrate their IoT solutions from legacy 2G and 3G networks to high-speed 4G networks with routers specifically built for the precise demands of vertically-focused IoT applications.

Retail, industrial and transportation markets require robust IoT applications where pervasive connectivity is a must. With its newly enhanced TransPort routers, Digi has combined flexibility with versatile connectivity to satisfy a wide range of industry-based needs from retail to industrial process automation to smart city and high-speed transit Wi-Fi.

Expanded range of performance and price options

The latest Digi TransPort routers are actually part of a single IoT platform that includes six updated products featuring different performance options for distinct IoT solutions implemented in specific markets. Design engineers and system architects will be able to choose the product with the exact performance characteristics they desire at a price point that enhances the overall value proposition while avoiding the costs of unnecessary built-in features.

Specifically for the retail vertical, the Digi TransPort WR11 XT provides secure, extremely resilient connections for digital signage, kiosks and automated teller machines (ATMs). It offers global cellular carrier certifications, license-free enterprise software, PCI security features, small form factor, and advanced network management and patented Digi SureLink™ technology, which maintains persistent wireless connections via proactive link integrity functions. Additionally, Digi TransPort routers offer dual SIM slots, providing built-in carrier redundancy with the ability to seamlessly switch between mobile network providers, as desired.

Advanced management capabilities

As part of the Digi IoT Connectivity Platform, Digi TransPort routers can be accessed and easily managed through Digi Remote Manager®, an innovative user interface to monitor, diagnose and fix routers (including third-party devices), and upload firmware remotely without a costly service truck roll.

Digi Remote Manager presents an online performance dashboard for configuring and troubleshooting devices across multiple locations—with alarms and reports to keep users updated. It is also PCI-certified, meaning that connections remain in compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

Security is further supported via the Digi TrustFence® device security framework that addresses common transactional security and access control vulnerabilities of remote devices, from authenticated boot and secure device access to user validation and data encryption.

“With Digi’s latest TransPort routers, we will be able to offer a targeted range of performance options for market-specific applications to build a wireless backbone of reliable connectivity at a more attractive and affordable cost,” said Scott Nelson, vice president of product of Digi International.

“That means that customers will have relentless reliability and connectivity with the right router for the right job at the right price without sacrificing security or ease-of-manageability for those vertical markets demanding the latest in IoT solution capabilities.”

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Europe falls behind US in adoption of AI-led security, as half of firms surveyed say IoT is making it harder to stay secure

By Zenobia Hegde

IoT (Internet of Things) strategies are hampering security management, with almost half (47%) of executives in a new survey saying it has become more difficult to stay secure in the last year. This is one of the key findings of the 2017-2018 Global Application and Network Security Report, just released by Radware®, a provider of cyber security and application delivery solutions.

Adding to the problem is the complex issue as to who is responsible for IoT security. When asked who needs to take responsibility, there was no clear consensus among security executives. Responses pinned responsibility on the organisations managing the network through to the manufacturers, but the majority said it was down to consumers using these devices (56%).

Andrew Foxcroft, regional director for Radware UK, Ireland and Nordics, says that its time companies closed the debate and assume responsibility themselves: “Everything that is attached to the network is a threat to security. The longer we debate who is responsible the more advantage we hand to the hackers who will do everything that can to exploit weaknesses.

“Governments of the world are taking more and more interest in IoT and if companies fail to be decisive, take responsibility and collaborate on security, legislation will make the decision for them – look at Germany’s decision to ban smart toys.

Lazy assumption

“It’s lazy to assume consumers will think about security. We already know people find it challenging to keep up with software updates and are unlikely to think through the risks regardless of the terms and conditions they sign up to. The network is only as strong as its weakest link and the sooner companies realise IoT devices are the weakest link, and that the buck will always stop with them, the better.”

The study also found that the percentage of companies reporting financially motivated cyber-attacks has doubled over the past two years, with 50% of surveyed companies experiencing a cyber-attack motivated by ransom in the past year. As the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – often the preferred form of payment among hackers – has appreciated, ransom attacks provide an opportunity for hackers to cash out for lucrative gains months later.

Cryptocurrencies help hackers

“The rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies and their subsequent rise in price has presented hackers with a clear upside that goes beyond cryptocurrencies’ anonymity,” adds Foxcroft. “Paying a hacker in these situations not only incentivises further attacks, but it provides criminals with the vital funds they need to continue their operations.”

Andrew Foxcroft

The number of companies that reported ransom attacks in which hackers use malware to encrypt data, systems, and networks until a ransom is paid – surged in the past year, increasing 40% from the 2016 survey. Companies don’t expect this threat to go away in 2018 either. One in four executives (26%) see ransom as the largest threat to their business sector in the coming year.

“Criminals used various exploits and hacks this year to encrypt vital systems, steal intellectual property, and shut down business operations, all with ransom demands attached to these actions,” Foxcroft said. […]

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Driving the transition to Smart Transport Networks

By Zenobia Hegde

Global surveillance solutions provider Synectics has published a white paper to help transport operators gear up for an increasingly urbanised future. With estimates suggesting that 70% of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities in just three years’ time – the free resource aims to help operators handle and secure ever-increasing urban flows, and implement significant safety improvements, towards the goal of a Smart Transport Network.

The Synectics white paper – entitled ‘Smart Transport Networks: Integration, Interoperability and IoT’ ‒ looks at how evolving surveillance, data management, and edge-device technologies can be used to unify disparate technologies and systems, to create Smart Transport Networks, meet Smart City objectives and deliver connected services to customers.

The paper helps operators make the most of current data, surveillance and safety assets by providing practical advice about integrating both IP and analogue technologies, particularly those responsible for the operation of bus, rail, and light rail transport networks. It also illustrates potential customer improvements by taking the reader on a fully-connected passenger journey, highlighting where converged technology can play an important role such as sending alerts to an individual’s phone if their luggage is unexpectedly moved.

Iain Stringer, divisional director – Mobile Systems at Synectics said: “Transport is perhaps the most critical of all urban services given the imperative need to maintain the flow of people and goods. As our transport systems get busier, technology frameworks that unify systems and technologies are providing live, 360-degree oversight of journeys, as well as a platform to communicate more effectively with passengers and third-party operators.

“Not only can this streamline operations by delivering all relevant information at a glance, such as during an incident, but it can also help operators to reduce costs and more efficiently handle information requests from Police and other authorities.

“This white paper explains the practical steps towards systems convergence for those charged with the management of transport or surveillance data.”

Synectics designs and deploys field-proven systems for both infrastructure (stations, stops, control rooms) and on-vehicle (trams, trains, buses, coaches), making the company one of only a handful of suppliers able to deliver end-to-end, surveillance and security solutions spanning all aspects of transport.

Every year its solutions protect over 1 billion passengers travelling on one of Europe’s busiest metro networks, and over 3 billion worldwide, providing Synectics with a frontline view of changing industry requirements and expectations.

For more information on Synectics’ surveillance solutions for transport operators, please click here.

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Microsemi announces its entire product portfolio is unaffected by Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities

By Zenobia Hegde

Microsemi Corporation, a provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, announced its products, including its field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), are not affected by the recently identified security flaws associated with the use of x86 and ARM®and a number of other processors. The announcement comes as security researchers recently revealed major computer chip vulnerabilities, called Spectre and Meltdown, in chips—affecting billions of devices globally.

“As a leader in security, we strive to ensure our products are immune to both existing and potential new threats or vulnerabilities,” said Jim Aralis, chief technology officer and vice president of advanced development at Microsemi. “As soon as news broke about Meltdown and Spectre, Microsemi immediately assessed its existing products with thorough analysis of the architecture and intellectual property (IP) blocks with its internal security experts. The assessment clearly concluded that none of the processor cores embedded with the associated use models in Microsemi products are impacted by these weaknesses.”

Not only are Microsemi’s FPGAs not affected by Spectre or Meltdown, the company’s devices also offer multiple security layers for maximum protection. In addition to its SmartFusion™ and SmartFusion2 FPGAs, and communications and storage products—which do not have either security flaw—the company’s soft RISC-V core and its RISC-V IP provider are also unaffected by the security issues. As a leader in hardware security, Microsemi is well-known for its cybersecurity and malware expertise, offering customers the highest levels of design and data security.

Both Spectre and Meltdown affect speculative execution in modern computer chips, but they can be abused via various methods. Microsemi offers a heightened level of security in comparison to its competition with these vulnerabilities, as its hard and soft central processing units (CPUs) are not affected by this issue, and in fact enhance security protecting against various side channel attacks.

For more information about Microsemi’s FPGA security capabilities, click here.

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Mobile tariffs are in a continual state of change, as providers reshape and repackage mobile offers, says Strategy Analytics

By Zenobia Hegde

Mobile tariffs are in a continual state of change, as providers reshape and repackage mobile offers. Coupled with the sheer breadth and depth of information that these offers create, service providers, regulators and consumers struggle to compare, rank or benchmark different propositions and average price points.

The Teligen division of Strategy Analytics has been tracking this pricing minefield globally for over twenty years, within its OECD Mobile Voice Price Benchmarking Service. The quarterly-updated Excel-based system incorporates the internationally acknowledged OECD methodology, and is based on the top two providers across 36 countries.

In an extension to this already comprehensive coverage, it has now launched a premium version of the service, which includes additional providers in five European markets; France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, as well as in the US, to cover providers with at least 80% combined market share (typically 4-6 providers per country).

Analysis of the extended coverage within these six markets shows that for a user making 100 calls a month (just over 180 minutes), sending 140 text messages, and using 2GB data can save, on average, over USD PPP 200 a year, depending on choice of provider. The graph below shows how costs in these extended markets compare for this basket.

Source: OECD Mobile Voice Premium Service, November 2017 (custom country & provider selection)

“Italian provider Tre is an example of where major cost savings can be found. It is currently offering an incredibly competitive tariff – ALL-IN Start, which gives users 500 minutes, 500 texts and 5GB of data a month for €5, with a six month promotional offer of 4G LTE speed at no extra cost (thereafter €1 per month). Without the 4G option, this works out at just under USD PPP 80 per year.

This is half the cost of the cheapest offer from WIND, which merged with Tre in 2016, and over 75% cheaper than its closest priced competitor, TIM. Of course, it is important to look at the specifics of each offer and consider it in the context of the specific usage profile, but in any event, this represents a significant cost saving” stated Josie Sephton, director of Strategy Analytics’ Price Benchmarking division, Teligen.

According to Angela Toal, senior tariff analyst with Teligen “while the Italian example is especially dramatic, large differences in costs can be found in other countries. The new Premium service gives access to much more in-depth coverage of providers in selected markets, allowing for a much greater insight into what the key competitors are really up to”

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Bluewave partners with Mimosa Networks to deliver ultrafast wireless broadband

By Zenobia Hegde

Mimosa Networks, the global technology provider in fiber-fast wireless broadband, announced that Bluewave has selected Mimosa as its fixed wireless technology partner. For its new island-wide high-speed broadband deployment, Bluewave is deploying Mimosa fixed wireless solutions to deliver ultra-broadband speeds in the British Territory.

Seeking to revolutionise the local market with a truly convergent network, Bluewave is providing affordable, reliable, high-speed internet, video and voice to its local business and residential subscribers. Bluewave is owned by East End Telecom, Bermuda’s public safety and wireless communication provider.

Bluewave designed the innovative 5G high-speed network using Mimosa’s signature GigaPoP and MicroPoP architectures. The GigaPoPs are network deployments centered around towers and commercial buildings using Mimosa A5c connectorised access pointsto service subscribers over long distances across the 21-mile island. Service offerings range from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps for residential customers and up to 1 Gbps to commercial clients.

In residential neighborhoods, Bluewave deployed Mimosa’s A5 access and C5 client devices in a higher-density MicroPoP architecture, servicing an average of 30 single family homes within a 500m radius from the access point. Bluewave also deployed Mimosa B5 and B11 backhaul radios to connect the network back to a fiber termination point.

In choosing Mimosa, Bluewave was looking for a technology partner that offered scale along with superior speeds and reliability. For residential deployments, aesthetics was also of utmost importance. “Setting up a MicroPoP with the Mimosa wireless solution does not involve the digging, trenching or overhead cables associated with wired access technologies, and the A5 access point and C5 client devices are compact and designed to fit discretely under the roofline of a house,” said Bluewave chief executive officer, Nick Faries.

Bluewave hopes that their efforts in Bermuda will serve as a model for other island countries struggling with similar connectivity challenges. “We are excited to partner with Mimosa,” said Faries. “Bluewave intends to change the internet game by providing fiber-like speeds over the air, and delivering resilient high-speed corporate internet.”

“We are excited to be partnering with the visionary management team at Bluewave,” said John Colvin, SVP of Global Field Operations at Mimosa. “By entering the high-speed broadband sector, Bluewave will bring system reliability and value for money that will benefit Bermudian residents and businesses alike.” Colvin continued, “Mimosa’s fiber-fast wireless portfolio will help Bluewave accelerate their time to market and time to service while providing the ultimate broadband experience to their subscribers.”

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