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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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Panasonic Launches New IoT Services with Silicon Valley Startups at CES 2018 Sands Expo

By IoT – Internet of Things

The Automotive & Industrial Systems Company of Panasonic Corporation is challenging to develop new businesses and services in the IoT field, in cooperation with Silicon Valley startups. Panasonic is advancing the development of new IoT services and solutions by combining leading UI/UX(*1) technology with its strong HMI (human machine interface) design technology, which has been […]

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Preventing ‘Techlash’ in 2018: Regulatory Threats

By Megan L. Brown

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue on January 10, 2018, warned that “techlash” is a threat to prosperity in 2018. What was he getting at? A “backlash against major tech companies is gaining strength — both at home and abroad, and among consumers and governments alike.” “Techlash” is a shorthand reference to a variety of impulses by government and others to shape markets, services, and products; protect local interests; and step in early to prevent potential harm to competition or consumers.

These impulses lead to a variety of actions and legal standards that can slow or change the trajectory of innovations from artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things (IoT) to business process improvements. According to Mr. Donohue, “[w]e must be careful that this ‘techlash’ doesn’t result in broad regulatory overreach that stifles innovation and stops positive advancements in their tracks.” Here are a few examples of the challenges ahead:

  • Global privacy and security regulations impose compliance obligations and erect barriers to the free flow of data, products, and services. Examples include the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), its Network Information Security Directive (NIS Directive), e-Privacy initiative, and a nascent effort on IoT certifications. “A growing number of countries are making it more expensive and time consuming, if not illegal, to transfer data overseas.” [1] China’s new cyber law “requires local and overseas firms to submit to security checks and store user data within the country.” [2] Such efforts may be intended to level the playing field with large U.S. technology companies, but whatever their impetus, they create enormous compliance costs and impediments to multinational operations. [3] Emerging regulation around the world may do more harm than good, particularly to U.S.-based organizations.
  • Premature regulation and oversight drives up the costs of doing business, particularly for new entrants or disruptors. Government should act only when it has evidence of actual harms to consumers or competition and the benefits outweigh the costs. When government rushes in with a technical mandate, innovation suffers. Likewise, if the government demands business changes without evidence of anti-competitive effects, it distorts the marketplace. Premature regulations impose unnecessary compliance burdens, so governments should exercise “regulatory humility” and wait for experience and evidence.
  • Unjustified class action litigation over technology strikes fear in the hearts of innovators. The growth of “no injury” lawsuits in targeting the technology sector likewise is a concern. Class action plaintiffs were quick to sue GM and Toyota after news reports of a vulnerability in Jeeps, and dozens of plaintiffs immediately sued Intel after chip processor vulnerabilities named Meltdown and Spectre were reported. [4] While courts have generally rejected suits based on “risk of hacking,” [5] plaintiffs continue to push these theories, along with novel “economic loss” claims from “overpaying for” [6] vulnerable devices. Legal uncertainty about such claims, and the rush to obtain damages awards and attorneys’ fees, threatens to increase costs and chills companies’ willingness to engage.
  • State laws, such as those attempting to impose “net neutrality” and online privacy obligations at the state level, threaten to balkanize regulation of technology. “Lawmakers in at least six states, including California and New York, have introduced bills in recent weeks that would forbid internet providers to block or slow down sites or online services.” [7] State-by-state regulation of global ISP and carrier network practices is likely to create major inefficiencies. Likewise, state privacy laws create complexity for organizations whose operations, products, and customers cross state lines. Industry has decried “balkanized privacy regulation at the state level” which creates “a hazardous web of conflicting state-by-state laws for any company operating in the online space.” [8]
  • Local barriers, like restrictive zoning regimes, stunt technology deployment and innovation. Tomorrow’s innovations in health care, transportation, conservation, entertainment, and more depend on a robust technology infrastructure, including telecommunications facilities. [9] But many local jurisdictions are hesitant to allow deployment in public rights-of-way, and others see the explosion of small cell telecommunications facilities as a revenue stream. [10] Local barriers to deployment will slow innovation in communications technology, which may make many communities, and the United States at large, less competitive in the global economy. This is particularly troubling as other countries, like Japan and South Korea, welcome the next generation of communications technology.

2018 will be an important year for global regulation of technology, as issues from privacy to cybersecurity to competition percolate in legislatures around the world. As we enter what some call the Fourth Industrial Revolution, governments have to consider their role in supporting innovation. Hopefully the United States continues to lead by example, resisting “techlash” with a light regulatory touch and a lot of humility. The United States likewise should urge other countries not to punish success, and instead let innovators — not regulators — create the future.

[1] Cross-Border Data Flows: Where Are the Barriers, and What Do They Cost? https://itif.org/publications/2017/05/01/cross-border-data-flows-where-are-barriers-and-what-do-they-cost

[2] T. Miles, U.S. asks China not to enforce cyber security law, Reuters (Sept. 26, 2017) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-cyber-trade/u-s-asks-china-not-to-enforce-cyber-security-law-idUSKCN1C11D1

[3] Ann M. Beauchesne, Megan Brown, Sean Heather, Principles for IoT Security; The IoT Revolution and Our Digital Security (Sept. 2017), https://www.uschamber.com/IoT-security

[4] See S. Czarnecki, Intel faces dozen class action lawsuits over chip flaws, https://www.prweek.com/article/1454201/intel-faces-dozen-class-action-lawsuits-chip-flaws (Jan. 10, 2018).

[5] Cahen v. Toyota Motor Corp., No. 16-15496 (9th Cir. Dec. 21, 2017) https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=7591856924921942948&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

[6] Id. While the court in Cahen found that the “economic loss theory is not credible, as the allegations that the vehicles are worth less are conclusory and unsupported by any facts,” a future Plaintiff may survive a motion to dismiss with stronger allegations.

[7] C. Kang, States Push Back After Net Neutrality Repeal, N.Y. Times (Jan. 11, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/technology/net-neutrality-states.html

[8] Et tu, California? ISP Privacy Bill Moving through the Legislature (June 21, 2017) https://www.ana.net/blogs/show/id/rr-blog-2017-06-et-tu-california

[9] Thomas K. Sawanobori & Paul V. Anuszkiewicz, CTIA, High Band Spectrum: The Key to Unlocking the Next Generation of Wireless, 1, (June 13, 2016), https://www.ctia.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/5g-high-band-white-paper.pdf

[10] See Jonathan Babcock, Joshua Turner, and Anna Gomez, 5G Deployment Faces Unique Challenges Across The US, Law360 (Aug. 1, 2017) https://www.law360.com/articles/950330/5g-deployment-faces-unique-challenges-across-the-us

Written by Megan L. Brown, Partner at Wiley Rein LLP

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More under: Cybersecurity, Internet Governance, Law, Policy & Regulation, Privacy

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Voice: The New Interface for Analytics

By Alex Woodie

We’ve grown accustomed to interacting with computers through a visual interface. But thanks to big gains in the accuracy of speech recognition, that’s changing, and among the applications being targeted for voice-enablement are business intelligence and analytics.

It wasn’t long ago that trying to interact with a computer through voice commands was an exercise in frustration. The computer could correctly pick out a few words here and there, but the number of mistakes made the whole process unfeasible. The reason was simple: The algorithms simply were not good enough to be able to accurately determine what a person is saying, at least without extensive training to learn the nuances of a single person’s voice.

But speech recognition has improved vastly over the past few years. Thanks to powerful neural network algorithms and a huge corpus of voice data to train on, the Web giants have made big strides in creating computers that one can talk to without feeling like you want to throw it out the window.

We’ve seen the biggest impact of this new AI-powered service at home. Anybody who has used Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, or Google Home device can tell you that the systems are accurate enough to be worth using for a set of tasks, like playing a song, checking the weather, or ordering pizza. Consumers, being the fickle creatures they are, would simply move on to something else if the home assistants were too frustrating, inaccurate, or cumbersome to use.

That’s not to say that the devices are perfect. A year ago, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that Google has improved its speech recognition technology accuracy to about a 5% error rate, which means one out of every 20 words is missed. While there’s room for improvement, that’s a big step up from 2015, when the error rate was 8%, and a giant leap from 2013, when it was an unusable 23%. (For the record, Microsoft has announced similar improvements in its speech recognition tech.)

Amazon’s Echo leads the AI-powered home assistant race at the moment (Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock)

As a result of this new capability, the Web giants have turned to voice as an input for many of their consumer products. “Our word error rate continues to improve even in very noisy environments,” Pichai said at the 2017 Google I/O event. “This is why if you speak to Google on your phone or Google Home, we can pick up your voice accurately.”

When you pair speech recognition’s newfound capabilities with another computing trend — the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the proliferation of network-connected smart devices – you quickly realize that we’re on the cusp of a whole new world of voice-driven control.

That jibes with Amazon’s vision, which is to give customers access to Alexa “whenever and wherever they want,” Steve Rabuchin, VP of Amazon Alexa, recently told Adweek. “That means customers may be able to talk to their cars, refrigerators, thermostats, lamps, and all kinds of devices in and outside their homes.”

Today, this trend manifests with the specter of voice search, which sees people speaking into an Amazon Echo or a smartphone app and expecting to hear a verbalized response (the text-to-speech part of the equation is a much easier problem to solve). In fact, voice search is getting so big that media analytics company comScore predicts that it will account for 50 percent of all searches by 2020. The popularity of voice-enabled trend shows up in the numbers. According to eMarketer, there are 45 million voice-assisted devices in the United States, a number that’s projected to increase to 67 million by next year.

But the AI-powered technology is projected to quickly move beyond voice search and into a whole new realm of personalized, voice-enabled services. Nobody knows what the Web giants are working on behind closed doors, but it’s likely going to demand a lot of attention when it’s ready.

That’s not stopping businesses from utilizing the tech that’s already available to help things run smoother in the office. Zach Holmquist, Chief of Workplace Experience for Teem, says the automated office is closer at hand than many realize.

Thanks to improvements in speech recognition, users can now interact with enterprise systems via voice (chombosan/Shutterstock)

“Virtual home assistants like Alexa and beacons have entered the workplace, resulting in more personalized interactions, voice- and sensor-activated meeting scheduling, and sensors automatically adjusting temperature, meeting check-ins or anticipating lunch requests,” he says.

The improved speech recognition is also showing up in new analytics and business intelligence solutions that allow workers to query databases using nothing but their voices. One company on the cutting edge of this trend is iOLAP, a San Francisco-based analytics company that’s working with Amazon and other Web giants to turn their speech recognition tech into the new user interface for enterprise systems.

“Think of it as voice-enabling your corporate dashboard,” says Chris Jordan, the CEO and managing director of iOLAP. “Think of it as an executive walk into his office and wants his daily briefing, and it’s a rundown of main KPIs that he’s interested in.”

While algorithms from Amazon and Microsoft handle the speech recognition bit, iOLAP is building all the other stuff that’s needed to make the whole system work, including turning text payloads into SQL and submitting them to a database, working with APIs, and handling the necessary user access and security controls required in the corporate environment.

iOLAP’s enterprise voice technology can work with analytics and transactional applications. In the analytics space, it’s more about setting up pre-built access paths to data. “It can be anything, as long as we know somewhat ahead of time,” Jordan says. “It’s definitely not data exploration. The queries are pre-defined with variables, and the variable can be data elements.”

For example, if the CEO of a retailer wants to be able to query sales results across 1,000 stores over time, those columns in the database will need to be set up ahead of time. “But I don’t have to know what all the possible dates or what the possible stores are,” Jordan says. “We’re querying the database to get those responses.”

Owing to the nature of a voice-enabled interaction, one must be careful not to tread too deeply into the data waters. There’s only a certain amount of data that can be transmitted verbally, so customers are wise to pick and choose their use cases carefully.

“You don’t want to sit and listen to Alexa read a Tableau report for you,” Jordan says. “You probably want to ask a more specific question that come up with a more finite answer.”

iOLAP’s voice analytics solution has seen action at several real-world customers, including at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, where the solution is used to give air traffic controllers a way to verbally query and track the overall flow of airplanes; at the Dickey’s Barbeque Pit chain, where it’s used to help employees more efficiently track the temperatures of meat; and at Pioneer Natural Resources, where it’s used to voice-enable an enterprise dashboard.

The timing is right for voice-enabled analytics apps to enter our lives, Jordan says. “People are getting more and more used to interacting with their system via voice, in their consumer life, and we believe that will be drawn into the enterprise as well,” he says.

Related Items:

Speak Easy: Why Voice Data Is Poised for Big Growth

AI to Surpass Human Perception in 5 to 10 Years, Zuckerberg Says

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Life Lessons: Ritam Gandhi, founder of Studio Graphene

By IoT Now Magazine

Ritam Gandhi, the founder of Studio Graphene (http://www.studiographene.com/), works
at the intersection of digital product design and IoT solutions. He thinks that one
of the most interesting facets of any culture is how they do business.

1: What job did you want when you grew up?

I oscillated quite a lot in terms of what I wanted to do, everything from being a pilot to a chef.

I think this stems from the fact that I went to a “free progress” school which informed a lot of my thinking. The school’s ethos was that every couple of weeks, we would learn something new that we were interested in. This made me want to do a job that involved variety, creativity and being inventive. Tech provides a great ecosystem for this and that’s why I always wanted to do a job that involved doing new things with technology.

2: If you had one business lesson to share with your younger self what would it be?

“Sometimes you are ahead, sometimes you are behind… the race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself”. I’ve used this quote many times when working with start-ups or young entrepreneurs. It is something I am constantly trying to get better at, as achieving a sense of equilibrium keeps you grounded and allows you to make more rational decisions.

3: Which Internet of Things (IoT) use case has recently fired your imagination?

IoT’s ability to have a transformative impact on farming and the food supply chain is fascinating. The IoT ecosystem is allowing for longer range communication and lower utilisation of battery power, an example is the LORA Alliance. If you look at a country like India, roughly two thirds of the population are farmers, yet it is a net importer of food. This is purely because of inefficiencies in farming methods and the food supply chain, which IoT can change through automated temperature monitoring and soil analysis.

4: What lessons have you learned from doing business in other countries or organisations?

I think one of the most interesting facets of any culture is how they do business. If one doesn’t embrace these unique cultures, it is practically impossible to collaborate across countries and organisations. We have clients in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America, all of which have an entirely different approach to business. Some of our clients are start-ups, whilst others are corporates and government bodies, which means that we must constantly adapt and be receptive to other points of view as a business.

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Toshiba Introduces New Bluetooth 5-Compliant ICs with Industry-Leading Sensitivity Level of -105dBm

By IoT – Internet of Things

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. has added two new devices to its lineup of ICs that are compliant with the Bluetooth® low energy standard[1]. The new TC35680FSG (featuring built-in flash memory) and TC35681FSG are well-suited to applications requiring long-range communication, including beacon tags, IoT devices and industrial equipment. Sample shipments will begin later this month. The […]

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Top ten mobile operators have 76% market share in cellular IoT, says Berg Insight

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight says that the ten leading global mobile operator groups have a combined market share of 76% in cellular IoT. The top players reported a combined active base of 407 million cellular IoT connections at the end of H1-2017.

China Mobile was number one with 150 million IoT connections in the period. Vodafone ranked second, with a reported 59 million connections, ahead of China Unicom with 50 million IoT connections. AT&T and China Telecom ranked fourth and fifth with 36 million and 28 million IoT connections respectively.

Deutsche Telecom, Softbank/Sprint, Verizon and Telefónica currently had in the range of 15–20 million cellular IoT subscribers, which are growing at yearly rates of 15–30%. Telenor was the last player in the top ten with approximately 12 million cellular IoT subscribers.

“The Chinese mobile operators achieved tremendous volume growth in 2017, driven by accelerating uptake of cellular IoT in the domestic market”, says Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight and author of the report. “China Mobile is believed to have reached 200 million cellular IoT connections at the end of 2017”.

Vodafone and AT&T are consolidating their positions as regional market leaders in Europe and North America respectively, serving multinational clients on a global basis. “In 2017, Vodafone extended its lead in the European market”, says Mr Ryberg. “The competitors are however also gaining momentum and the expanding market has room for multiple players”.

In terms of revenues, the Western mobile operators are ahead of their Chinese counterparts. Berg Insight expects that at least three operator groups – AT&T, Verizon and Vodafone – will generate more than US$ 1 billion (€0.83 billion) in revenues from IoT in 2018. “The main strategy for growing IoT revenues is vertical plays in major application areas,” says Mr Ryberg.

“Verizon, Vodafone and others have made significant acquisitions in the connected vehicle space to extend their product portfolios. AT&T and Deutsche Telekom develop dedicated practices for smart cities and many operators seek to play leading roles in national projects in areas like smart metering and electronic road charging”.

Download report brochure here.

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2018 CES: Ride-share fleets to map cities around the world through Mobileye 8 Connect

By Zenobia Hegde

At CES 2018, Mobileye Aftermarket announced a series of partnerships and collaborations with ride-share leaders, municipalities and government administrations that will enable the mapping of city streets around the world, including London and New York, through the deployment of Mobileye 8 Connect™ in thousands of for-hire vehicles.

Mobileye 8 Connect™, Mobileye’s next-generation aftermarket collision avoidance system powered by the EyeQ4®, is capable of collecting dynamic data to make cities smarter, safer and Autonomous Ready™. Beginning early this year, the Mobileye 8 Connect-equipped fleets will harvest valuable information on city streets and infrastructure to create high-definition crowdsourced maps through Mobileye’s Road Experience Management (REM) – a critical enabler of full autonomy.

New partnerships using data to build HD maps and enable smart cities include:

Gett: The global on-demand mobility company is expected to equip approximately 500 London black cabs with Mobileye 8 Connect. In addition to important safety features, the technology will be used to create the first HD map of London through REM.
Buggy TLC Leasing: The large lessor of for-hire vehicles servicing popular ride-share apps such as Uber is expected to outfit approximately 2,000 New York City-based vehicles with Mobileye Aftermarket. Through the REM system, data will be collected resulting in a high-definition map of NYC.
Düsseldorf, Germany: The city of Düsseldorf is expected to equip 750 vehicles with Mobileye 8 Connect. Financed by the German federal government, this project will test models of data collection and investigate the suitability of Düsseldorf’s existing infrastructure for autonomous vehicles and connected driving.
Country of Spain: Mobileye and Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) will collaborate to enhance road safety and prepare Spain’s infrastructure and regulatory policy for autonomous vehicles.
Berkshire Hathaway GUARD insurance: The business insurance provider is expected to equip approximately 1,000 to 2,000 trucks with Mobileye 8 Connect to reduce damage and claims costs. Data collected through the embedded REM capability of these systems will result in a rapidly refreshing HD map of the areas where these vehicles operate.

Launching this year, Mobileye 8 Connect offers an increased level of safety, connectivity and data-collection capabilities to empower management of fleets and city assets on a much larger scale. Building on insights and expertise, the improved algorithms and new suite of safety tools of Mobileye 8 Connect bring collision avoidance safety and smart city data collection to the next level.

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Sierra Wireless AirPrime modules certified on T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network

By Zenobia Hegde

Sierra Wireless, the provider of fully integrated device-to-cloud solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced that Sierra Wireless AirPrime® WP77 embedded wireless modules are now certified to operate on T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network, which is live in Las Vegas and will be nationwide mid-year.

NB-IoT, part of the 3GPP standard for Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks, supports large-scale IoT deployments such as smart city services, smart metering, supply chain management, and industrial equipment monitoring. LPWA has been embraced by leading global carriers, which helps build a broad base of ecosystem partners, devices and applications for global markets.

Advantages of LPWA compared to traditional cellular connectivity options include:

Longer battery life targeting up to 10 years.
Better coverage for IoT devices underground and deep inside buildings.
Reduced module and deployment cost.

“T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network in the U.S. makes cellular the superior option for connecting IoT solutions, which will benefit existing applications and enable many new ones,” said Dan Schieler, senior vice president and general manager, OEM Solutions at Sierra Wireless.

“Sierra Wireless WP77 modules will help customers take advantage of NB-IoT’s improved coverage and battery life, with dramatically simplified development for applications like secure gateways for smart homes and cities.”

The WP77 also supports LTE-M (Cat-M1) with 2G fallback, an integrated GNSS receiver, and comprehensive set of interfaces for connecting sensors with a dedicated application CPU core running the Linux-based open source Legato application framework. WP77 modules are fully compliant with the 3GPP Release 13 standard and footprint compatible with all 3G and 4G (Cat-1/3/4) WP Series. For more information, click here.

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AI-Infused Beauty Products Enthrall at CES

By Alex Woodie

You may use shampoo infused with a certain blend of proteins and moisturizers, but is your shampoo data-driven? Can your bathroom mirror detect unsightly wrinkles on your face, and recommend a product to cover them? These are some examples of how artificial intelligence is being adopted in beauty products introduced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Here are five new beauty products introduced at CES 2018 in Las Vegas this week that are using data, artificial intelligence, and IoT tech in creative, innovative, and sometimes creepy new ways:

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Kohler received a lot of press for Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, a connected vanity that runs Alexa, Amazon’s personal assistant technology.

Users can ask their smart mirror to stream music, give them weather updates, and do other voice-enabled tasks without requiring another device on the countertop. They can also use voice commands to control light settings with the LED lights, including putting it into “shaving mode.” Alternatively, customers can use the Kohler Konnect app to issue commands.

Kohler’s smart mirror is part of a series of connected bathroom products from the company

The 145-year-old manufacturer from Kohler, Wisconsin actually has plans to bring your entire bathroom into the Internet age. According to CNET, the company just opened a Smart Home Experience Lab where it’s building showers, tubs, sinks, and toilets that connect to a home network.

The idea is to allow users to turn on water and flush toilets using voice-controlled home assistants, including Amazon’s Alexa but also Apple’s HomeKit Siri and Google Assistant. The new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which reportedly debuts with a price tag of $999, is the only Kohler devices that actually houses Alexa at this time.

Hairy Algorithms

Henkel debuted SalonLab Analyzer, a handheld device that uses visible and near-infrared sensors to measure the condition, true color, and moisture level of hair. The data is then analyzed by a “proprietary algorithm” developed in association with Schwarzkopf Professional to recommend the optimal shampoo for a person’s actual hair.

Henkel uses “proprietery algorithms” to analyze hair data collected from its SalonLab Analyzer

The results of the algorithm are then fed into a shampoo-mixing machine that actually mixes the optimal blend of ingredients for that person’s hair. (We assume it also auto-generates conditioner, but there was no confirmation of this at press time.)

The approach heralds the arrival of data-driven hair analysis and optimized hair products, according to the company.

“With SalonLab, we are reinventing hair care with a hyper-personalized solution empowered by a holistic application of connected devices,” stated Marie-Eve Schroeder, chief marketing officer at Henkel Beauty Care, in a press release.

No pricing was available for SalonLab Analyzer, which is expected to debut in Europe later this year.

It’s Too Cold, Siri

Meanwhile, Moen used the CES 2018 show to announce that it’s adding voice control to its smart shower system, dubbed U by Moen.

Users can initiate a nice, warm shower in a hands-free fashion thanks to Siri integration in its U by Moen line of shower controllers

When Moen’s new shower launched last year, it gave users the capability to control the temperature using the U by Moen app on a smart phone. But thanks to the new integration with smart assistants users will be able to voice their temperature preference verbally.

U by Moen is now integrated with Alexa and will be hooked into Siri HomeKit later this year. When it’s hooked up to Siri, users will be able to pre-warm their shower with a voice command in their iOS device.

U by Moen will let users set up to 12 customized shower settings in their iPhone app, and users can also control temperatures with the five-inch LCD screen. The price is $1,160 for a two-outlet model and $2,200 for a four-outlet model.

‘Best Skin Ever’

You may have heard of customer 360 initiatives that seek to provide more data on customers. Now Neutrogena gives us Skin360 to provide us with more data on our skin, with the hope of achieving “your best skin ever.”

The Neutrogena SkinScanner features a 30x zoom lens

The Skin360 product costs just $50, and includes the “SkinScanner,” a close-up camera lens that attaches to your iPhone and functions like a microscope for your skin. The images are uploaded to the Skin360 app, which uses computer vision algorithms to detect moisture level, pores, and lines.

The Skin360 app uses the results of those algorithms to rate your skin on a scale of 1 to 100. It also generates recommendations for how you can improve your skin quality, which (not surprisingly) involves buying Neutrogena skincare products.

Wrinkly Recommendations

Also making a splash at CES 2018 is the HiMirror Mini, a new smart mirror designed to help users assess their skin’s condition, pick out makeup, and “beautify with intelligence,” the company says.

When it ships later this year, the HiMirror Mini will be able to detect features of the user’s face. Or as the Telegraph puts it, the HiMirror Mini “will criticise a user’s face and pick out flaws, spots, and wrinkles for them.”

The HiMirror uses a camera and “cloud-based big data” system to detect features and make skincare recommendations

The company says its mirrors “provides tips and recommendations on products that have worked for people with your skin type in environments similar to yours, based on data gathered via our anonymous cloud-based big data system.”

And with a built-in Alexa assistant, it can also give users the weather and other information.

Consumer and electronic goods makers are adding AI to their products at an unprecedented rate. A Samsung executive was heard saying that, by 2020, every Samsung product will have AI and IoT connectivity. An LG executive also said that the company is “adding AI to all of our appliances.”

Analysts predict that in just two years, the average home will have more than 35 smart devices connected to the network, and that the industry will generate more than $100 billion. And if the products introduced at CES 2018 this week are any indication, we’ll all be much happier and better looking too.

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