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IoT platform collaborations and consolidation are coming

By Zenobia Hegde

The Internet of Things (IoT) is hotter than ever and in 2018 there will be more collaboration between market leaders, even as the community of 300+ platforms begins inevitable consolidation. According to Matt Smith, CTO at Software AG, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will begin to infiltrate IoT platforms and devices and new business models will flourish.

If you can’t beat them, join them

Realisation dawns that IoT market leaders must embrace collaboration, even with competitors, to achieve innovation.

The trick to working with competitors, without compromising integrity and intellectual property, is standardisation. A set of common standards, developed by practitioners applying their domain knowledge, can benefit everyone. Joint ventures are the name of the new game.

The game is ON

IoT platforms won’t survive without leveraging AI and ML.

Platform vendors will evolve from device connectivity and data collection and push forward into data analysis using AI and machine learning. Data-driven analysis leads to process-driven actions as part of the maturity curve. Highly complex use cases such as predictive maintenance and self-driving cars lower the barriers to adoption.

Honey, I shrunk the community

Shake-out on IoT Platform community is imminent.

There are over 300 IoT platforms on the market, from B2B to B2C to industry-specific, specialising on data connectivity and/or management. Next year we will see the first real shake-out, as closures and takeovers – mainly by large software companies and the newly formed joint ventures from prediction No.1- take place.

Vertical is the new horizontal

Platforms will get more specialised as standards and protocols such as MQTT and OPC/UA gain common ground and simplify adoption.

Horizontal, agnostic IoT platforms are maturing and have gained market share. As standardisation continues, differentiation through specialisation is the way going forward. New and existing vendors will want to add value and distinguish themselves by offering tailored solutions to certain markets, or even certain industry verticals.

Are you Ready to Rumble?

New business models will influence and inspire new business opportunities such as assets-as-a-service.

As efficiency use cases such as predictive maintenance begin to lower costs and provide a deeper understanding of assets, organisations will be able to leverage new concepts. Offering things as a service, tighter SLAs, optimising spare parts inventories or improving service excellence and maintenance are all new models which will be implemented by manufacturers.

Smart Devices are sooo 2017

Never mind smart devices with analytics on the edge, analytical devices will be the next great trend.

Hardware vendors will come up with out-of-the-box solutions where IoT and advanced analysis capabilities are pre-installed on the devices and ready to use. For example, control capabilities will increase with the advances made in real-time Ethernet (TSN) and the emergence of 5G, allowing for virtualisation of the controller.

Analytical devices could be how we define robots going forward. Intelligence does not have to reside in a walking, talking human facsimile. Intelligence can live inside a pill that we swallow, which finds and kills a cancer and then keep an eye on whether it returns.

The author of this blog is Matt Smith, CTO at Software AG

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Tantalum Corporation, signs up Bristol Waste Company and the University of Oxford to take part in Air.Car trial

By Zenobia Hegde

Bristol Waste Company, which operates Bristol City Council’s waste collection service, and the University of Oxford have signed up to take part in Tantalum’s trial with Imperial College London to road test its unique Air.Car technology.

A range of vehicles, from waste trucks to minibuses, vans to heavy goods vehicles, will be connected to Tantalum’s technology. Through a device connected to the on-board computer of any vehicle, Tantalum’s Air.Car can accurately estimate real time, secondby-second, toxic Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.

CO2 is a greenhouse gas and NOx emissions lead to NO2, a poisonous gas that irritates the lungs and affects children’s lung development. Towns and cities across the UK have dangerous levels of NO2 significantly over legally allowed limits, with streets in London breaking annual limits within a week.

Local, regional and national governments are looking at new technologies which can help them better measure and therefore manage and reduce NOx emissions.

Adam Bows

Tantalum has received, along with its academic partner, Imperial College London, a £1.1 million (€1.24 million) grant from Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles to develop Air.Car. A vital part of the research and development is a 1,000 vehicle trial, where units will be installed in diesel vehicles to estimate real-time NOx emissions.

Last summer the Government published its latest Air Quality plan, which names 29 local authorities in England, including Bristol, which need to clean up the air in their towns and cities and Oxford City Council has set itself an ambition to have a zero-emission zone from 2020. The Mayor of London has already announced his intention to develop an emissions-based road user charging scheme. This would charge drivers depending on the miles driven and the vehicle’s emissions.

The project will help Bristol Waste Company to make informed choices around vehicle choice, routing and operating times to minimise environmental impact. The project’s outputs will also allow the University of Oxford to measure, manage and mitigate NOx emissions from its vehicles.

The Government’s Air Quality Plan expects a number of charging Clean Air Zones by 2020, where older more polluting vehicles will have to pay to enter. The Mayor of London has already introduced the “T Charge”, will bring in the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2019 and has plans to hugely expand it in 2021.

Air.Car will be able to enforce such Clean Air Zones in a smarter, fairer and cheaper way through incentivising better driving and so reducing toxic emissions. NOx emissions can be halved through a more ecological driving style and co-benefits captured, such as fewer accidents along with lower maintenance and cheaper insurance.

The Air.Car solution will also enable vehicles quickly to find and pay for parking, taking traffic off the road and pollution out of the air. It is estimated that 20% of all congestion is parking related.

New emissions models will also be developed to inform city authorities about what the air pollution impacts are from traffic lights and speed bumps so that congestion and its impact on air quality can […]

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Smart devices connectivity startup Triggi raises $1.3M

Triggi, an IoT device connectivity startup from the Netherlands raised $1.3M. The investment round was led by Pim Schmitz, the CEO of Talpa.

Triggi Android App

Triggi helps Philips Hue, Fitbit, Amazon Alexa, Next Thermostat, and other connected devices talk to each other. The founding team previously launched Toon, a European equivalent of Next Thermostat. Triggi will use the funding proceeds to fast-track the development of the platform.

Customers can connect online services and smart devices to each other using Triggi. For instance, one can set the alarm automatically if not at home. Or switch on the lights when the sun goes down.

The startup defines a ‘Trig’ as a “personal selection of conditions and actions to make something happen through the Triggi app. A condition is a thing that should happen for the trigg to start. A trigg consists of at least one WHEN condition and one THEN action”.

There are other connectivity services as well, like IFTTT and Zapier primarily for connecting web services. However, Trigg is aimed towards ‘connected devices’ that might need multiple conditions and triggers to be able to connect to each other.

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French company Thales Group to buy Gemalto for $5.4B

Thales Group, French aerospace brand delivering software and services announced that it will acquire Gemalto, a company offering identity verification software. The all-cash deal is valued at $5.4B (€4.8B) based on 51 euros ($60) a share for Gemalto.

Gemalto has a strong footprint in the IoT market where it offers solutions for connectivity, security, monetization, M2M and consumer electronics. The company has customers across a wide range of industries including enterprises, industrial OEMs, consumer OEM, mobile network operators and cloud service providers.

IoT Security

Digital security has become an important market as the number of devices and customer- and partner-touchpoints increases. After the merger of Gemalto into Thales, the new division will focus on security software, biometrics, multifactor authentication and issuing secure electronic and physical ID cards. “We share the same values and Gemalto will be able to pursue its strategy, accelerate its development and deliver its digital security vision, as part of Thales,” said Gemalto chief executive Philippe Vallee.

The acquisition was finalized at a crucial stage as Gemalto received other offers too. Atos, another French firm also showed interest in acquiring Gemalto for €46/share (with an unsolicited $5.1 billion offer. The acquisition is expected to complete by the second half of 2018, with the only caveat being that should Gemalto receive an acquisition offer 9% higher than that of Thales Group’s $5.4B, the deal will stand terminated.

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The installed base of fleet management systems in Russia/CIS and Eastern Europe will reach 9.1 million by 2021

By IoT – Internet of Things

According to a new research report from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, the number of active fleet management systems deployed in commercial vehicle fleets in Russia/CIS and Eastern Europe was 4.8 million in Q4-2016. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5 percent, this number is expected to reach 9.1 million by […]

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Renesas Electronics and Dibotics realise real-time, power-efficient LiDAR processing based on R-Car SoC to boost autonomous driving

By Zenobia Hegde

Renesas Electronics, a supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, and Dibotics, a provider in real-time 3D LiDAR processing, announced their collaboration to develop an automotive-grade embedded solution for LiDAR processing used in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving applications.

The jointly-developed solution will enable system manufacturers to develop real-time 3D mapping systems with high level functional safety (FuSa) and low-power consumption.

LiDAR processing today requires an efficient processing platform and advanced embedded software. By combining Renesas’ high-performance image processing, low-power automotive R-Car system-on-chip (SoC) with Dibotics’ 3D simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) technology, the companies deliver a SLAM on Chip™. The SLAM on Chip implements 3D SLAM processing on a SoC, a function that used to require a high-performance PC.

It also realises 3D mapping with LiDAR data only, eliminating the need to use inertial measurement units (IMUs) and global positioning system (GPS) data. The collaboration enables a real-time 3D mapping system with low power consumption and high-level functional safety in automotive systems.

As the automotive market prepares for the autonomous-driving era, optimising the sensor technology required for autonomous vehicles, including real-time, high-definition perception of the environment, precise localisation of the vehicle, and real-time sensor fusion, remains a significant challenge.

LiDAR has become a key sensor, providing higher-precision obstacle sensing around the vehicle and real-time electric control unit (ECU) management for vehicle control compared with alternative methods such as cameras and radars. The rapid increase in the amount of data delivered by new LiDAR sensor technologies is driving a growing need for high-performance real-time processing of all this data.

“The seamless combination of Renesas and Dibotics technologies realises a real-time and power-efficient solution for advanced LiDAR data processing on top of a high FuSa-level capability,” said Jean-Francois Chouteau, vice president, Global ADAS Centre, Renesas Electronics Corporation.

“For autonomous driving, Renesas is optimising its end-to-end Renesas autonomy Platform by working with innovative market players, and we are excited to announce our collaboration with Dibotics, who is delivering game-changing technology for the LiDAR market.”

Jean-Francois Chouteau

“LiDAR sensors will play a crucial role for all ADAS and automated driving functions,” said Raul Bravo, CEO and co-founder of Dibotics. “This cooperation ideally combines the best of Renesas design expertise and the unique technology of Dibotics to deliver cutting-edge performance and enable OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers and LiDAR manufacturers to reduce development cost and accelerate time-to-market. We are delighted to join forces with a market leader like Renesas.”

Unlike existing approaches, Dibotics’ Augmented LiDAR™ software realises 3D SLAM technology that only requires data from the LiDAR sensor to achieve 3D mapping. It does not require additional input from IMUs, GPS, or wheel encoders, which eliminates extra integration efforts, lowers bill-of-material (BOM) costs and simplifies development. In addition, the software realises point-wise classification, detection and tracking of shape, speed, and trajectory of moving objects, and Multi-LiDAR fusion.

The high-performance capabilities of the R-Car SoC enables it to run Dibotics’ Augmented LiDAR software. The R-Car has low power consumption and also meets the ISO 26262 (ASIL) FuSa standard for high functional safety. Renesas R-Car is part […]

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MediaTek Sensio: New Biosensor Solution Brings Health Monitoring to Smartphones

By IoT – Internet of Things

MediaTek Inc. recently unveiled MediaTek Sensio™, the first 6-in-1 smartphone biosensor module. MediaTek Sensio is a powerful advanced health monitoring solution which makes it easy to track heart rate information, blood pressure trends, peripheral oxygen saturation levels and more. Available as an embedded module in smartphones, MediaTek Sensio makes it possible for consumers to quickly […]

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AI Heads to Factory Floor

By George Leopold

AI pioneer Andrew Ng is launching a startup that would initially focus on revitalizing manufacturing, a strategy that parallels the first enterprise deployments of Internet of Things technologies.

Separately, Ng announced partnership with Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn to develop AI technologies and expertise.

Ng, who led artificial intelligence development at Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and served as chief scientist at China’s Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), said the goal of his startup, Landing.ai, is to extend AI beyond the IT sector and scale the technology in manufacturing settings. Ultimately, he asserted in a blog post, the technology can be used to free users from “repetitive, mental drudgery.”

The focus on manufacturing is seen as a way to scale AI and flesh out amorphous concepts like “digital transformation.” “It is through manufacturing that human creativity goes beyond pixels on a display to become physical objects,” Ng stressed. “By bringing AI to manufacturing, we will deliver a digital transformation to the physical world.”

AI is suited to a variety of manufacturing challenges ranging from capacity management and improving production yields to reducing production costs and other efficiencies, he asserted.

“The strategy of integrating AI — everything from data acquisition, to organizational structure design, to figuring out how to prioritize AI projects — is as complex as the technology, and good AI strategists are even rarer than good AI technologists,” Ng said in announcing the AI startup on Thursday (Dec. 14).

Meanwhile, the partnership with Foxconn (HKG: 2038) gives the AI manufacturing startup “a platform to jointly develop and deploy AI solutions and training globally,” Ng noted.

As automation expands across the factory floor, AI proponents note that manufacturing jobs will require new skills requiring extensive retraining. Ng said his Silicon Valley startup is discussing skills training programs with unnamed partners, including local governments.

The Landing.ai web site notes that it intends to develop technologies and “provide in-house AI solutions” through a variety of manufacturing partnerships. Among the initial offerings are adaptive manufacturing approaches, automated quality control and predictive maintenance. Other AI-based applications include visual inspection systems, calibrating and tuning manufacturing equipment along with “automated issue identification.”

The push to move AI to the factory floor parallels early efforts to forge an industrial Internet of Things in which sensor networks are embedded to streamline manufacturing operations and gauge, for example, when production lines need to be shut down for maintenance.

Ng and others are looking to take factory automation a step further by integrating AI technologies into industrial IoT frameworks.

Among the earliest AI manufacturing applications is visual inspection systems that can outperform human inspectors while operating around the clock. Ng said the startup’s deep learning algorithm was trained on only five images while traditional computer vision systems often must be trained on millions of images.

Besides Foxconn, Ng said his startup is also working with leading global manufacturers to deploy AI systems.

Recent items:

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Apple’s innovations continue to provide superior user experiences, finds Strategy Analytics

By Zenobia Hegde

Apple’s launch of the original iPhone in 2007 was a game changer – Apple turned the smartphone into a mainstream consumer device through great hardware design and an intuitive user interface. Since its launch, Strategy Analytics estimates that Apple’s global wholesale iPhone revenues now exceed three-quarters of a trillion US dollars while shipment volumes have reached 1.25 billion units.

A new report from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) group at Strategy Analytics “Apple iPhone: 10 Years of UX Innovation”, has looked back at the key UX highlights and innovations of the Apple iPhone since its launch 10 years ago.

Key report findings include:

Apple’s key innovations over the last 10 years have included the launch of the Apple App Store, Siri, Touch ID, Apple CarPlay, Apple Pay, Apple Watch and 3D Touch.
Over time however, there has been a perception that Apple has become less innovative; but Strategy Analytics does not believe this to be the case. Instead, many of Apple’s innovations are the ones that go unnoticed or unreported; but are extremely important in providing the seamless user experience that Apple has become known for.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Apple launched the iPhone X. Bringing an edge-to-edge display to Apple, facial recognition software and removing a physical home key, the iPhone X features some of the biggest design changes of any iPhone in recent times.

Paul Brown, report author and director, UXS commented, “In recent times other smartphone OEMs have typically been the first to bring new hardware and features to the market. But, in the rush to get these features to market, there are all too often sacrifices in quality, usefulness, and/or usability. By delaying implementation of these features into their devices, Apple can spend longer working on their quality and usability, maintaining their superior user experience.”

Added Kevin Nolan, VP, UXIP, “In the future, Strategy Analytics expects Apple to continue in provide a superior user experience in its smartphones; all while looking to launch innovative new products in emerging categories such as augmented reality.”

Click here for report

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Taoglas opens office in Shenzhen to meet growing demand in Asia-Pacific region

By Zenobia Hegde

To support growing demand for its high-quality, precision antenna solutions in the Asia-Pacific region, Taoglas, a provider of IoT and M2M antenna products, announced the opening of its new office in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China. The office, which will have full RF design and testing facilities, demonstrates Taoglas’ strong commitment to providing wireless and IoT manufacturers in the region with the expertise and support they need to bring innovative products to market quickly.

Known as China’s “Most Innovative City” and home to more than 1 million companies, Shenzhen provides Taoglas with the expansion capabilities to accelerate the adoption of IoT and Connected Automotive technologies throughout the country and region. The Shenzhen office will work hand-in-in hand with Taoglas’ development centers in Taoyuan and Tainan, Taiwan, to deliver high-quality antenna, filter and connector solutions to its Asia-Pacific customers.

Taoglas has appointed new vice president of sales Lawrence Lin, a Silicon Valley veteran and a native of nearby Hong Kong, to drive business traction throughout the region. Lin has more than 18 years of global experience in product development, business development, marketing and sales management.

Prior to joining Taoglas, he was the vice president of marketing and sales at Laxcen, a RFID company located in Hong Kong. He also held various engineering and marketing positions at Analog Devices and Atmel in the U.S. Lin earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State University, and is now pursuing his EMBA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“The opening of our new office in Shenzhen underscores our long-term commitment to providing our customers around the world with not just the antenna solutions they need to accelerate the product development cycle, but also the hands-on RF expertise to help deliver successful connected products to market,” Lin said. “Our Asia-Pacific customers have been clamoring for deeper local support to help drive new wireless and IoT product development, and Taoglas’ state-of-the-art facility in Shenzhen will help them achieve their goals.”

To learn more about Taoglas’ new Shenzhen office, click here

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