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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Cybeats raises seed round of investment led by iNovia Capital to create ‘immune system’ for IoT devices

By Zenobia Hegde

Cybersecurity company Cybeats, which provides continuous cyber defence solution for Enterprise IoT infrastructure, announced it has raised a seed round of investment from iNovia Capital, Maple Leaf Angels (MLA48 II), and cybersecurity industry insiders Dr. Richard Reiner, Brian O’Higgins, and Brian Bourne.

“iNovia is excited to invest in Cybeats and its brilliant team, alongside a great group of investors. IoT and cybersecurity is a space that we have been looking into for a while, we believe Cybeats’ technology is solving a real problem, with the potential to become a global leader in the space”, says Magaly Charbonneau, principal at iNovia Capital.

“Maple Leaf Angels is pleased to participate in this round with iNovia, Richard and other angels, through its MLA48 Fund II. The cyber security problem is a growing global issue, particularly in IoT devices. We believe that Cybeats has the right team and technology to tackle this problem,” said managing director, Prathna Ramesh.

Brian Bourne added, “The Cybeats team has built a unique, efficient and highly effective solution to the IoT security problem. They have developed their technology with a keen eye to the needs of enterprise and I am excited to be involved with such a talented team.”

“IoT essentially equips the internet with arms and legs, and brings about a whole new level of concern with safety and security. New technology is needed to address the problem, and Cybeats is right on course to deliver solutions” said Brian O’Higgins.

New chairman for Cybeats

Cybeats is also announcing that Dr. Reiner, a renowned serial cybersecurity entrepreneur and executive with a long string of successful exits, is joining as chairman of the company. Dr. Reiner brings to Cybeats many years of experience at the cutting edge of the cybersecurity industry – his insights will enable Cybeats to better identify business opportunities in the IoT cybersecurity market and to deliver better products faster.

“Cybeats solves a critical problem for enterprises deploying IoT technology, and for the manufacturers of these devices”, said Dr. Reiner. “IoT devices, until now, have been vulnerable and easy targets for hackers. Cybeats protects IoT devices throughout their lifecycle, so enterprises can benefit from the value of IoT technologies without increasing their risk profile.”

The funding will be used to scale Cybeats’ sales team, to further develop new Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities for the Cybeats platform, and to expand the company’s services into APAC and EU markets. Cybeats builds an immune system-like cybersecurity software for Enterprise IoT (EoT), Industrial IoT (IIoT), and Critical Infrastructure IoT devices, such as those used in energy grids.

Taking an “inside out” approach to cybersecurity, Cybeats’ software is embedded into the devices to provide continuous protection, allowing devices to detect the most sophisticated threats instantly and gather data to help security professionals neutralise them. Cybeats’ Cloud service then analyses data from the infected device, and provides a full threat diagnosis and treatment plan.

With an estimated 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming an integral part of our world. But with the increased opportunity the IoT brings, so too come a multitude of new threats to cybersecurity […]

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Samsung is Betting Big on the Internet of Things. What Does That Mean For You?

By Chris Morris

Samsung is going all in on the Internet of things, betting that connected appliances and faster Internet speeds will result in happier customers.

Executives for the electronics giant, speaking at the 2018 CES technology show in Las Vegas on Monday, reconfirmed a vow made two years ago that all of the company’s products will be IOT-compatible by 2020–adding that 90% already are as of today. And it plans to use its existing SmartThings app to ensure that those devices can all talk to each other–from the TV to the phone to the refrigerator to the washing machine.

Samsung promised that the initiative would debut in the spring.

What that means for users will depend on which Samsung appliances they own, of course. One example is people who buy a new Samsung TV will no longer have to worry about entering user names and passwords for services like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify when they initially set up their TVs. That information will automatically entered into the TV by checking other systems in which the customer is logged in, making it a more seamless experience.

TV sets will also have personalized recommendations for movies and shows, based on a user’s overall viewing habits on all their devices. TVs will also include Bixby, Samsung’s voice-controlled digital assistant, and will be able to double as a central hub for smart products around the home, letting users do everything from see who is at the front door to adjust the thermostat.

The goal of the push, says Tom Baxter, president and CEO of Samsung’s North American division is to create an “eco-system of devices working together to produce unique experiences.”

As part of the initiative, Samsung will expand the number of smart refrigerator models it sells by introducing 14 new models that come with its integrated screen and newly expanded FamilyHub technology that lets owners stream music, leave notes to each other, and view the contents of the fridge in real time. Through Bixby, the FamilyHub will differentiate between users’ based on their voices and give custom information to them, such as their schedule for the day or commute times to school or work.

“IOT is still frustrating to a lot of people, but it doesn’t need to be,” said Yoon Lee, senior vice president at Samsung Electronics.

Samsung’s not stopping with its own products, either. The company is working closely with the Open Connectivity Forum, the world’s largest IOT standardization body, to have all SmartThings-compatible products work with the app. And the company said it has signed an agreement with a “leading European auto manufacturer” to extend this IOT integration to vehicles (letting, for instance, people check if they’re out of milk as they drive by the store).

Samsung has previously tried and failed to make its ecosystem more connected. To ensure this effort is more successful, Baxter said, the company has invested $14 billion in research and development over the past year.

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Can Blockchain ‘transform’ healthcare? Simple answer: no.

By Jon Collins

We’d all love to see technology improve patient care, reduce diagnosis and therapy times and otherwise help us live longer, wouldn’t we? So could distributed ledger technology Blockchain hold the key? In a recent article on PoliticsHome, Member of Parliament John Mann highlighted a couple of areas where Blockchain might offer “transformative potential” to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS):

“By enabling ambulance workers, paramedics, and A&E staff instant access to medical records updated in real-time, medical care could be carefully targeted to a person’s specific needs. The ability to upload results of scans, blood samples and test results and have them accessed by the next practitioner near-instantly, without the risk of error offers the chance to improve survival rates in emergency care and improve care standards across our health service,” he wrote.

While the Rt. Hon. Mr Mann (or his advisors) may be correct in principle, he is falling into an age-old trap by issuing this kind of statement without caveat. While it is a powerful tool (as I noted in my 2018 predictions), it isn’t true that Blockchain enables anything, any more than a chisel enables a sculptor to sculpt. Sure, it could help, but it needs to be in the right hands and used in the right way.

Of course, some might say, this point should be taken as read. If that were the case however, we would not see repeated money being thrown at technology as a singular solution to otherwise insurmountable problems, in healthcare and beyond. And then failing to deliver, to general wailing and gnashing of teeth.

To continue the sculptor analogy, if the poor fellow is asked to deliver the thing in impossible timescales, designed by committee and with conflicting expectations of what it will look like, the result will probably be a mess. As sculpture, so technology, whatever the chisel manufacturers or IT vendors might have us think.

A massively complex organisation seemingly ruled (depending on who you ask) by metrics, efficiency, litigation prevention and so on will see such criteria impact any solution — either by design, or in consequence. I’m not critiquing the NHS here, just observing that IT will always take a subordinate role to its context. It’s the same in the US or any other country.

Perhaps Blockchain could help, but so could any number of technologies — if used in the right way. Indeed, you could take the above quote and inert it into any data management capability or service from the past four decades, or indeed, mobile, IoT and so on, and it would still make sense. Indeed, as healthcare writer Dan Munro notes on,

“The technical reality is that all of the features of a blockchain – except double spending – can easily be created with other tools that are readily available – and cheap – without actually being a “blockchain.” ”

While I’m well aware of both the many potential uses of blockchain in healthcare and the dangers of simply being one of “those armed with spears” (according to my old colleague and healthcare author Jody Ranck), the horse needs to be put before the cart: tech will not, by itself, solve any problems for anyone. This is more than a glib riposte to a quote taken out of context. For Blockchain to work in the way Mr Mann suggests, it would have to be rolled out widely, across a health service. Flagging up technologies is easy, but delivering transformation is astonishingly hard: our representatives need to understand, accept and design this in from the outset, for any “transformative potential” to be achieved.

(Jon was CTO of healthcare startup MedicalPath2Safety)

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Root of Trust-based automatic registration to the AWS cloud

By Zenobia Hegde

Going to important conferences tends to concentrate the mind on what you want to talk about and what you want to demonstrate. This was definitely the case with the recent ARM TechCon in sunny Santa Clara. My team has been very busy working with our IoT products during 2017, and we were really excited when we managed to finalise a really exciting demo just in time to show it at the conference.

The cool thing about this demo was that we showed how to use our well-proven Root of Trust (RoT) injection, that we’ve repeated well over a billion times in smart phones, in a new environment: the micro controller space. Using this RoT, we have an established trust anchor in the device which can be used to sign things, says Chris Loreskar of Trustonic.

At any later date, this can then be attested by a remote entity… and this is what underpins the demo that we showed. Our demo showed a secure thermometer enrolling with its OEM cloud for the first time and then pushing sensor data to it, with the services being hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Before I describe the demo, it is worth emphasising that the RoT is typically generated in a factory, although for this demo, that step was merely simulated. The demo begins with the device being powered on for the first time and it creates a Certificate Signing Request (CSR), which the device subsequently signs with the RoT key it possesses. The CSR is needed because AWS uses MQTT for communication with edge nodes and requires that the edge devices are enrolled with the AWS X.509 PKI. For this reason, the device needs a client certificate for the TLS communication.

The signed CSR is then transmitted to AWS for an enrolment request with the fictional OEM’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). The OEM’s VPC forwards this signed statement to a Trustonic VPC (which hosts records [public statements] of all created devices), for device attestation purposes. The Trustonic VPC validates the RoT-signed CSR and returns this verdict to the caller, which subsequently asks for the device to become enrolled. Once this has happened, the certificate is created and returned to the device, where it is stored and used for subsequent secured communication of the sensor data.

Of course, this was simply a way to demonstrate the possibilities of a secured endpoint pushing sensor data to the cloud and could equally have been a fitness tracker or similar device. The fact that the device had an injected RoT enables OEMs to be sure that devices requesting to enrol with their services are actually genuine and not emulators or counterfeit.

However, having a RoT is usually not enough. Because a legitimate OEM and a counterfeit one, both using chips from the same SiP would equally pass our device attestation checks, but fear not! We solve this using our patent pending solution we call digital holograms. Read more about it here.

And for those of you who really want to know how we did this: we used […]

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