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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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Living in Digital Times Reveals This Year’s Top Lifestyle Tech Trends at CES 2018

By IoT – Internet of Things

Living in Digital Times (LIDT) revealed the top lifestyle tech trends of 2018 in a press conference on CES Media Day 1. In addition to trends overviews in High-Tech Retail, Fitness Tech, Digital Health, Sleep Tech, Beauty Tech, Baby Tech, Kids & Family Tech, Digital Money and Wearables, four exciting companies (Philips, Neutrogena, Project Nursery […]

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Senet and TrackNet demonstrate LoRaWAN location tracking and roaming at CES

By Zenobia Hegde

Senet, a provider of cloud-based software, global connectivity service platforms and network build-out for the Internet of Things (IoT) and TrackNet, Inc., a cutting-edge LoRaWAN Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider and developer of Tabs,

the all-in-one monitoring solution, today announce an interoperability and roaming demonstration highlighting the TrackNet Tabs consumer solution running over Senet’s public Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) in Las Vegas.

Roaming between the Senet network and the TrackNet TrackCentral network for Tabs is the first production demonstration of the recently released LoRaWAN specifications in the world, and the first large-scale roaming demonstration using LoRaWAN.

The key to success in the rapidly expanding IoT and Low Power Wide Area Network market is standardisation, ecosystem strength, and scalable, cost effective network coverage. The LoRaWAN specification release 1.1 is instrumental in defining roaming and interoperability between different LoRaWAN network deployments.

The 1.1 specification was released in October 2017 and Senet and TrackNet are the first to demonstrate roaming per 1.1 in a large-scale deployment.

The demonstration of the Tabs solution with the Senet network at CES highlights the ease of interoperability with LoRaWAN which is the key to success for scaling production ecosystem solutions in network deployments around the world.

The inside out deployment model with low cost indoor gateways enabled by Tabs is a critical differentiator for LoRaWAN to enable cost effective and scalable network deployment. A hybrid strategy of low cost indoor gateways mixed with cost effective outdoor elevated point access is critical to the success of LPWAN.

“Senet and TrackNet have been instrumental in the development and definition of LoRaWAN in the US market” says Thorsten Kramp, CTO of TrackNet and co-author of LoRaWAN. “TrackNet and Senet are leaders in the development of advanced features for LoRaWAN such as firmware updates over the air, class-B device support, and roaming”.

We are proud to demonstrate the latest technology advancements from Senet and TrackNet to showcase the power of LoRaWAN and its interoperability functionality” says Dave Kjendal, CTO of Senet and technical committee lead for LoRaWAN in North America. “LoRaWAN achieved significant growth during 2017 and the rapid advancements delivered by market leaders like Senet and TrackNet will be instrumental in the adoption of IoT solutions at mass scale.”

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Apple & Google to bring social payments to the masses, driving mobile P2P users to reach 2.5bn this year

By Zenobia Hegde

A new study from Juniper Research has found that the global number of registered mobile domestic money transfer users is expected to reach 2.5 billion this year, up from an estimated 1.7 billion in 2016.

This will be driven by social media apps such as WeChat, Facebook and others already witnessing a dramatic rise in service usage, alongside new services including Apple Pay Cash, and Zelle Pay; with leading mobile money services driving growth in emerging markets.

The new research, Digital Money Transfer & Remittances: Domestic & International Markets 2018-2022, forecasts that by 2018 the global share of domestic money transfer services, by mobile transaction values will be as follows:

Domestic P2P: 65%
Cash-In: 13%
Cash-Out: 11%
Bulk Disbursement (G2P): 8%
Domestic Airtime Top-Up: 2%

For more insights, download our free whitepaper, Why 2018 Is The Year Of Social Payments.

Apple, Facebook, Google bring social payments to the masses

Juniper believes that 2018 will be the year for social payments with key rollouts from Apple, Google and Facebook expected to drive the much delayed social payments market, as a subsector of the wider mobile P2P market.

“It was inevitable that players such as Apple would follow in the footsteps of WeChat Pay and AliPay, and offer a universal set of payment features integrating P2P, alongside existing contactless and ticketing functionalities,” noted research author Nitin Bhas.

Juniper predicts that the uptake for Apple Pay Cash will be slow in the short term due to a strong banking network in its launch markets. However, the total number of annual transactions for the service will approach 1 billion by 2020.

Mobile money to reach 1 billion registered users by 2020

Meanwhile, users of mobile money services such as M-PESA, Orange Money, and MTN Money will exceed 1 billion registered users by 2020, driving financial inclusion for the unbanked in emerging markets. Operators are increasingly facilitating service interoperability, both at national and international level, thereby opening up the market for faster growth.

Juniper Research is acknowledged as the analyst house in the Fintech & Payments sector, delivering pioneering research into payments, banking and financial services for more than a decade.

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China will drive accelerated growth for cellular IoT in 2018, says Berg Insight

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report from the IoT market research firm Berg Insight estimates that the global number of cellular IoT subscribers increased by 56% during 2017 to reach 647.5 million. The accelerating growth is expected to take the global installed base to almost 1 billion at the end of 2018. By 2022, Berg Insight now projects that there will be 2.7 billion IoT devices connected to cellular networks worldwide.

“China is playing a key role in accelerating and transforming the global cellular IoT market”, said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst and author of the report. “The Chinese government has set a goal to connect 600 million devices to NB-IoT networks by 2020.

NB-IoT will essentially replace 2G technology, which accounted for the bulk of the 150 million new cellular IoT connections added in the country in 2017. In the process, the cost of 4G-based cellular IoT chipsets and modules will fall dramatically, paving the way for a similar transition worldwide”. The report concludes that the developments will ultimately make 2G networks obsolete as different flavours of 4G will meet all cellular IoT use cases at lower cost and better performance.

The next wave of cellular IoT adoption is focused on new vertical segments like smart cities and infrastructure, smart industrial supply chains and connected consumer products. Berg Insight believes the new wave will start in China, where government authorities and manufacturing companies will be first in the world to deploy connected devices using NB-IoT technology on a massive scale.

In the same way, embedded cellular IoT connectivity will be added to a wide number of consumer product categories. “The remarkable rise of the bike sharing industry illustrates how fast new technology can scale in the Chinese consumer market. In less than a year, tens of millions of connected bikes were launched into the streets of major cities”, said Mr Ryberg.

“The aftermath of the bike sharing frenzy does however underline an equally important point: IoT technology adds no value without a proper business case. The long-term winners in IoT will be those who combine scale and economic benefit.”

Download report brochure here.

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Effective IoT security must begin at the drawing board

By Zenobia Hegde

Thomas Fischer, global security advocate at Digital Guardian, assesses the role security will play in the IoT and argues that manufacturers must return to the drawing board to find a sustainable, long-term solution.

For a while now, the issue of IoT security has been a growing problem that few want to face up to. The technology industry is renowned for its fast pace and the advantages of being first to market can often be significant, so it’s no surprise to see new IoT products being released at a furious rate. Unfortunately, this rush to market can often result in products and devices that are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

For manufacturers, the IoT is a particularly difficult nut to crack. In addition to time pressures, the demand for user friendliness – combined with highly stringent cost controls – means that, even if the will is there, finding a fast, cost-efficient security solution can be a challenge.

One major problem is that many IoT devices still use extremely cheap processing units akin to something that would have been used several decades ago, only on a much smaller scale. These kinds of processors lack both the memory capacity and input mechanisms required to conduct the regular security updates and patches that would normally take place on PCs and mobile phones.

With the lifespan of some IoT devices now expected to exceed ten years, the security issue this presents is a growing cause for alarm. The threat landscape is a highly dynamic environment and devices that can’t be patched are vulnerable not only to the threats that are out there today but also to all threats that emerge after the device has gone to market.

A new approach to IoT security is needed

Fortunately, organisations are starting to take note. The IoT Security Foundation is driving the creation of new standards and enlisting companies to work together to improve the overall security of IoT devices from the ground up. Elsewhere, the GSM Association (GSMA) has recently produced a set of major guidelines around IoT security best practice.

But in order for businesses to make meaningful security improvements, changes must take place at the design phase, not as an afterthought prior to launch. Security must also be considered from a variety of different angles including software, hardware and the network if it is to be effective.

1) Secure software: Building new devices on a foundation of robust and secure software is critical. Best practice encompasses a variety design considerations including:

Proper and secure authentication for each individual device, so organisations can quickly confirm that any individual device is the one it claims to be
The use of secure coding practices, focusing on QA and vulnerability identification as part of the development lifecycle in order to streamline security and mitigate risks
Industry standard encryption of all data flowing between the IoT device and backend servers, meaning that even if the data is intercepted, it is meaningless without the correct encryption key
Making provision for the deployment of new firmware on the device over time. Moving to more advanced and versatile processing units will allow device software to be […]

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