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AI and digital assistants to surge in 2018, IHS Markit says

By Zenobia Hegde

As they become more ubiquitous in homes and in various consumer electronics products, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital assistants are likely to be two of the major overarching themes at this week’s 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Accelerating growth in both of these markets underscores their surging role in the overall consumer electronics landscape. More than 5 billion consumer devices supporting digital assistants will be in use in 2018, with almost 3 billion more added by 2021, according to IHS Markit, a global provider of critical information, analytics and solutions.

Despite this growth, there are still some hurdles to overcome, before consumer adoption is widespread. “Amazon has a clear lead over rivals Google, Apple and Samsung, in terms of the numbers of skills and third-party apps and services supported by its Echo products, but more needs to be done by all platforms, to help users discover new skills and uses for the technology,” said Jack Kent, director, operators and mobile media, IHS Markit.

Jack Kent

“Major technology companies continue to make investments and acquire companies that increase AI expertise. Apple has been the most acquisitive to date, but Google has been the most active investor in third-party AI-centric companies.”

Following are more key points to bear in mind about AI and digital assistants, as leading technology companies converge on Las Vegas for next week’s conference:

Smart home security

Video surveillance will continue to be a critical component of the smart home in 2018, with video cameras and video doorbells representing nearly 20% of devices shipped into the smart home globally this year. As such, video surveillance will become even more intelligent, by pairing noise classifications, voice and facial recognition, and allowing consumers to filter what is most important in their daily lives. Moreover, there will be more all-in-one devices launched in 2018, which will combine smart speakers, video cameras and hubs connecting all devices in the home.

Blake Kozak

“As smart home players look to differentiate themselves and grow market share, smart home products will achieve more proprietary expansions through acquisition and in-house research and development,” said Blake Kozak, principal analyst, smart home and security, IHS Markit, “These deals will likely enhance the opportunities for AI and home automation. For example, although Amazon and Google will continue to ramp up partnerships, Amazon will direct its focus on developing equipment in-house, while Google will revamp relations with Nest.”

Smart speakers

Dinesh Kithany

With heavyweights Google and Amazon aggressively ramping up competition in the space, smart speakers have risen in prominence over the last year, as both standalone products and voice-based interfaces to the smart home. In fact, 39 million smart speakers are forecast to be shipped globally in 2018, up sharply from 27 million units shipped in 2017.

“The smart speaker surge is only just beginning,” said Paul Erickson, senior analyst at IHS Markit. “2018 is the year competition in this market truly begins – and the year true mainstream adoption accelerates. We expect numerous third-party smart speakers built around one or more digital assistants, so consumers will have more choices, […]

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Senet and Kerlink announce a collaborative expansion of Senet’s LPWA Network in Las Vegas

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 Kerlink, a provider in network solutions dedicated to the IoT, have announced a collaborative expansion of Senet’s Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) in the Las Vegas area to support a variety of commercial solution offerings, market trials and proofs of concepts.

Powered by Kerlink’s 64-channel WirnetTM iBTS gateways to expand Senet’s public outdoor network coverage, the network also will provide indoor connectivity for Senet’s partners to demonstrate IoT applications at this year’s CES. In addition to expanding Senet’s network coverage and capacity, the roll out represents the first production network in North America to support LoRaWANTM geolocation. This functionality uses a different technology than GPS, eliminating the requirement for costly and battery hungry processing GPS requires.

This functionality is supported by Senet’s LoRa end nodes, and can be used for a wide range of applications requiring location determination for battery powered endpoints that do not require the precision of GPS. Demand for these services is significant, with a third of the world’s 15 billion connected devices forecasted to be critically dependent on geodata by the end of 2020 according to Machina Research.

The IoT is a broadly covered topic at CES, including sessions on smart homes, connected cities, healthcare and wearable technology, along with several dedicated demonstration areas for IoT infrastructure. To run demo applications on the Senet network during CES, companies simply need to register on Senet’s Developer Portal to coordinate access.

Carlos Briceno

“Strong ecosystem partnerships and critical technical advantages have allowed Senet to become a leading IoT connectivity software and solutions provider,” said Dave Kjendal, CTO of Senet. “We are pleased to be working with trusted partners like Kerlink to bring geolocation and other enhanced features to market in order to meet the demands of mass scale IoT deployments.”

“We are excited to support expansion of Senet’s Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network in Las Vegas, which will bring new IoT benefits like geolocation to companies in the region, and enable a variety of innovative IoT demos at CES,” said Carlos Briceno, senior director of sales and business development for Kerlink Inc. “It also marks Kerlink’s first large IoT network deployment in the U.S. and an expansion of our international footprint, following roll outs across Europe, and in South America, New Zealand and India.”

Senet partners demonstrating applications on its network at CES include MultiTech (booth #2214, Westgate Resort & Casino), Sagemcom (Venetian, Lvl 3 – Murano 3201B), Semtech (booth #2215, Westgate Resort & Casino), ST Microelectronics (Wynn Encore Hospitality Suites), Tektelic (Venetian Tower – Suite 31-201), and TrackNet (LoRa Alliance booth #2121, Westgate Resort & Casino).

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Collaboration with large health insurer claimed to affordably improve independent living for the elderly

By Zenobia Hegde

Qorvo®, a provider of innovative RF solutions that connect the world, is helping seniors live more independently in their homes with the help of a new eHealth system powered by the company’s chipsets for the Internet of Things (IoT). Health insurer CZ will provide the system to 3,000 elderly customers in the Netherlands, marking the first deployment of a senior smart home solution by a large health insurance company.

eHealth technologies with whole-home sensor systems present an opportunity for health insurers and consumers to reduce healthcare costs and enhance quality of life. According to Grand View Research, the global eHealth market is expected to reach US$308 billion (€256.33 billion) by 2022, and the transition of the healthcare industry into a digital healthcare system for management and analysis of patient health is expected to be the most vital driver of the market.

The system that CZ will deploy consists of a non-intrusive set of motion and open/close sensors, and a gateway. It combines proven cloud algorithm expertise from Sensara with industry-leading Zigbee® Green Power RF solutions from Qorvo. Zigbee Green Power is optimised for ultra-long coin-cell battery life sensors (10-year replacement) and provides secure, long-range and highly reliable wireless data transmission. These features are essential to the evolution of the smart home.

Menno Janssen

Menno Janssen, strategic program manager of CZ, said, “We believe that seniors using reliable eHealth systems will gain a wide range of benefits, enhancing their quality of life and enabling their families or caregivers to have peace of mind that they are safe and healthy.”

Cees Links, general manager of Qorvo’s Wireless Connectivity business unit, said, “The innovation that Qorvo delivers in its Zigbee Green Power RF solutions, combined with behavior analysis algorithms, helps elderly people live longer and more independently at home.

We’re excited about our partnership with CZ, a large health insurance company, and commend them for being a frontrunner in deploying eHealth solutions to improve lives. The IoT lifestyle market is quickly growing, and Qorvo is proud to play a more significant part.”

Qorvo products that solve the IoT’s toughest RF challenges will be showcased during CES 2018 (#CES2018) in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 9-12, in booth #42531, Halls A-D of Sands Expo.

More information about the IoT is available by downloading the Qorvo free e-book series, “Internet of Things For Dummies®.” The two-volume series is designed to help technical and nontechnical professionals understand the intricacies of the IoT. The e-books are available here. In addition, a video about Qorvo’s senior lifestyle system – can be accessed here.

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Programming’s Heavy Hitters Will Make Presence Felt at CES

By Alex Silverman

The convergence of programming and distribution into an all-in-one video business will be on display this week at CES 2018, as media stalwarts and digital disruptors come together to offer insight into where the business is headed. OTT and streaming video will once again be a well-covered subject, as more established players embrace direct-to-consumer offerings.

Disney, whose transition to OTT is perhaps the most-anticipated in the industry, will be well represented. Disney evp, publishing and digital media Andrew Sugerman’s Wednesday afternoon appearance on the “State of the Stream” panel is a chance to glean more insight into the company’s plans for its supposed Netflix competitor (expected in 2019). Disney ABC Television Group pres Ben Sherwood is also slated to discuss streaming during a “headliner conversation” Wednesday morning.

Also on Wednesday, Discovery pres/CEO David Zaslav will participate in a “Future of Video” panel alongside A+E Networks pres/CEO Nancy Dubuc, YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl and Comcast Cable pres of advertising Marcien Jenckes, among others. Zaslav, who will likely address the company’s pending merger with Scripps Networks, has been vocal about what he perceives to be a lack of quality virtual MVPD options in the US market. Fox, Scripps, Turner, Starz and NBCU are among the other programming groups represented in this year’s lineup. Digital players like Amazon, Hulu and Facebook —all of whom have multibillion-dollar content budgets this year—are also sending execs to discuss the OTT landscape. In addition to streaming video, attendees can expect to hear plenty about emerging technologies like 5G, the Internet of Things and AI.

The broadcast industry will have a revelatory moment Tuesday when the Advanced Television Systems Committee hosts a ceremony commemorating the first complete set of standards for ATSC 3.0 deployment. ATSC pres Mark Richer, CTA pres/CEO Gary Shapiro and NAB pres/CEO Gordon Smith will lead the celebration surrounding the hotly anticipated advancement. On the show floor, Comcast is focusing its efforts this year on its home automation business as one of the featured exhibitors in the Smart Home Marketplace. Turner is the presenting sponsor of the CES Sports Zone, a 4,900-square-foot installment at the Sands. Scripps will host tech consultant Shelly Palmer’s annual “Best of CES This Year” address in its invitation-only space just off the show floor. Palmer will also interview the Property Brothers of HGTV fame about home technology.

On the regulatory front, FCC chmn Ajit Pai withdrew from his highly anticipated appearance in the wake of his rollback of net neutrality. Still, a session featuring three FCC commissioners—Republicans Brendan Carr and Mike O’Rielly alongside Democrat Mignon Clyburn—could produce fireworks of its own. Clyburn has been vocal about her disdain for the FCC nixing net neutrality. FTC commish Terrell McSweeny and NTIA asst secretary David Redl are also slated to sit on the panel moderated by CTA vp, regulatory affairs Julie Kearney. Other hot regulatory topics will likely include spectrum allocation, infrastructure regulations, 5G deployment practices and IoT. Check back with Cablefax throughout the week for dispatches from CES.

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Bsquare partners with Amazon QuickSight and Microsoft Power BI to help drive and share industrial IoT data visualisations

By Zenobia Hegde

Bsquare, a provider of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions, announced new DataV software integrations with Amazon QuickSight and Microsoft‘s Power BI that allow industrial organisations to quickly create and share powerful new cross-system interactive data visualisations and reports.

Customers can now leverage these popular reporting platforms to take connected device information from within DataV and combine it with other enterprise system data to create new data views that can be critical for business success.

“Data generated from connected equipment is allowing industrial companies to make quicker and more accurate decisions about their business,” said Dave McCarthy, senior director, products at Bsquare.

“The ability to quickly create new visualisations of that information by combining it with other data – and easily sharing the results with others in the organisation – is critical to achieving that goal. DataV currently offers native reporting based on the functionality within our apps. By providing an open standard connection to tools from third party vendors like Amazon and Microsoft, we’re helping customers extend the value they can get out of their IIoT data sets.”

With connected endpoints in businesses poised to grow from 3 billion in 2017 to 7.5 billion by 2020, being able to capture device data and turn it into actionable intelligence is fundamentally changing how industrial organisations operate. From predicting equipment failures to better utilisation of assets, DataV already helps organisations drive powerful business outcomes from connected device data.

These new integrations help extend the functionality of DataV so customers can build even more powerful cross-system visualisations and reports. Teams can create custom visualisations or select from a list of pre-built reports that map to the apps available in DataV.

DataV enables industrial organisations, such as those in manufacturing, transportation, and oil and gas industries to use data generated by connected devices to make smarter operational decisions.

DataV IoT applications and platform help businesses translate insights generated by industrial assets into critical operational improvements, such as better managing devices, increasing production volume, or reducing operating costs. Visualisation tools are a critical component to realising these and other benefits from IIoT.

Amazon QuickSight is a fast, cloud-powered business analytics service that makes it easy to build visualisations, perform ad-hoc analysis, and quickly get business insights from data.

Power BI from Microsoft is a suite of business analytics tools that enable organisations to connect to hundreds of data sources, simplify data prep and drive analysis. Rich, custom visualisations can be viewed from browsers or mobile devices. DataV also integrates with the Tableau visual analytics platform.

To learn more about how DataV is driving powerful business outcomes from IIoT, click here.

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IoT device security startup Cog Systems closes $3.5M Series A

Cog Systems, an IoT device security startup from Sydney raised a $3.5M Series A round from the Grok Ventures led by Co-founder of software firm Atlassian.

D4 Secure Mobile – Architecture

Cog Systems primarily provides device protection and secure communication via its D4 platform offering non-bypassable full disk encryption, nested VPNs, separation kernel protection, and isolated key store.

It also provides embedded software SDKs (software development kits). The startup is targeting enterprise and government customers as it recently named Immix Group as the distributor to US Local, State, and Federal government. Customers can use the technology to secure their voice, video, and call data using Cog System’s D4 encryption technology. Mobile, gateways and IoT devices are the main devices secured by Cog Systems.

“Security of connected devices is increasingly an important challenge to solve. The team at Cog is world-class with deep expertise in solving complex problems.”Cannon-Brookes, co-founder Atlassian

The startup plans to use the funding proceeds to open a new office in San Francisco. It already operates offices in Sydney and Chicago. “By steering the security architecture from monolithic to modular, we have brought proactive security to governments and the enterprise without compromising the user experience,” said Cog Systems CEO Daniel Potts.

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Vodafone UK and Ericsson successful in the UK with live pre-standard 5G test

By Zenobia Hegde

Vodafone UK and Ericsson, in partnership with academics at King’s College London, have successfully tested standalone pre-standard 5G using a prototype device in a central London 3.5 GHz spectrum field trial.

This is claimed to be a first in the UK and the initial step in further collaborative work between the three parties. Until now, no one in the UK has shown pre-standard 5G working independently of existing 4G network technologies.

Vodafone will continue to test 5G technology and evaluate opportunities to provide better services to consumers and businesses prior to its commercial deployment from 2020. The live trials will help to establish the innovative uses of 5G services that will benefit both industry and society in the future – in areas such as factory automation, smart energy grids and remote surgery.

Engineers were able to showcase a number of technologies at King’s College London, including Massive MIMO. The technology, which is already being deployed by Vodafone in its network, is the key building block for 5G. Massive MIMO uses multiple antennae to send and receive data more efficiently to boost capacity where lots of people connect to the network at the same time.

The project is also combining or “aggregating” different bands of mobile spectrums across the UK to increase capacity and boost data speeds. By combining four bands of spectrum, for example, Vodafone enables the latest smartphones to achieve data speeds in excess of 500 megabits per second (Mbps). These fast and ultra-reliable technologies are becoming essential for data-hungry video applications and as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands into people’s homes, vehicles and the workplace.

Vodafone UK head of Networks, Kye Prigg says: “We’re delighted to be the first provider to test standalone 5G in the field, however, building a 5G network will take time. Right now, we’re also modernising our network by making smarter use of our existing mobile technology to keep ahead of consumption demands and provide the mobile coverage our customers deserve.

“5G also needs fibre optic cables. Together with CityFibre, we will soon start work installing the advanced fibre networks providing high-capacity backhaul connections required for 5G mobile services.”

Marielle Lindgren, head of Ericsson in the UK and Ireland, adds: “Supporting our customers in making 5G a reality is key for us. This is a live trial in a densely populated central London urban area and the first time in the UK that we’ve been able to show pre-standard 5G working independently. We remain committed to advancing 5G development in the UK, working closely with leading operators and ecosystem players to enable global scale and drive the industry in one common direction.”

Commenting on the news, Mischa Dohler, professor of Wireless Communications and director of the Centre for Telecommunications Research at King’s College London, says: “We are immensely proud to support two of the industry’s biggest names in one of the most exciting technology trials of our era. It is the product of years’ long engagement with both Ericsson and Vodafone, and testimony to King’s incredible research and innovation capabilities.

To be the first in the UK to showcase live […]

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Hydrogen drone with claimed 3-hour flight time and up to 2kg payload enters UK market

By Zenobia Hegde

UK drone technology and service provider uVue has taken delivery of what is believed to be the world’s first ever production hydrogen drone – the MMC Hydrone 1550 – enabling a new era for drone technology services in the UK to begin.

According to uVue, the MMC Hydrone 1500 is a huge breakthrough for the drone services industry because it is now a viable alternative for many services providers using manned helicopters and light aircraft. As a comparison, current battery powered drones average a 30 minute flight time with the voltage constantly dropping during flight. This compares to the MMC Hydrone 1500’s equivalent of three hours with a consistent voltage throughout.

The ultimate cost savings for many industries choosing an MMC Hydrone 1500 solution are therefore transformational. Examples of application industries that will benefit from this ground-breaking drone include precision agriculture, security & surveillance, traffic monitoring, emergency services and construction, to name a few.

Russ Delaney, director of Tech Ops at uVue, an ex-British Army helicopter instructor and drone pilot with more than 20 years’ experience of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) comments, “After extensive research into drone technology and potential solutions, we are delighted to be the first company to have been appointed to distribute and licence this incredible machine in the UK.

Aside from its robust performance, I am particularly impressed by the endurance of the MMC Hydrone 1500 – up to three hours flight time with a 2kg payload – making this a genuine game changer in our industry. The endurance of this particular Hydrone is so strong that it offers a real alternative to full-sized rotary aircraft.“

The key focus for uVue during the introduction of the Hydrone 1550 was that all of the onboard systems met the very high safety standards required to operate the drone safely within the UK commercial drone airspace, whilst also remaining within the regulations set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

uVue is the exclusive licensed distributor for all MMC Drones and the MMC Hydrone 1550 is available to be bought or hired as a service proposition from uVue here.

Click here to see a video of the drone in flight.

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ARIN by the Numbers

By Erin Scherer

22 December 2017 marks 20 years since ARIN was founded. We’ve been busy celebrating our anniversary these last few weeks, alongside our community. There is so much that we’ve accomplished together with you over these last two decades through outreach events, IPv6 campaigns, and our community-driven policy development process.

Since 22 December 1997, we’ve held 40 Public Policy and Members meetings, 47 ARIN on the Road events, and awarded 98 fellowships. We’ve received 187 community-proposed policies and implemented 105 of them! We happily congratulated 3,098 organizations for receiving an IPv6 allocation or assignment and have served a total of 5,560 members.

As a way to commemorate this special anniversary and collect all the memories, milestones and achievements we’ve made together, we set up a dedicated anniversary page on TeamARIN. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to check it out and even tweet us your favorite ARIN memory!

We want to thank each and every one of you for the support you’ve shown us these last two decades. We have accomplished so much together, and look forward to an even brighter and more successful future. Thank you!

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Open standards are key to increasing value from IoT value chain

By Zenobia Hegde

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) must adopt an open standards approach if they are to make the most of the revenue opportunities presented by Internet of Things (IoT) applications that use Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks. A common IoT service layer will result in increased cost-effectiveness, improved scalability and greater confidence that today’s IoT deployments will be future-proof.

That is the finding of Boost LPWA revenue through oneM2M, a new white paper published today by oneM2M, the global IoT standards initiative. This most recent white paper is part of oneM2M’s ongoing work to accelerate mass deployment of the IoT which will bring value to both CSPs and end-users.

“While the latest figures from Analysys Mason suggest there could be 3.4 billion LPWA connections by 2025, the forecasted revenue per connected device is relatively low unless CSP strategies to tap into the larger revenue opportunity provided through application enablement become mainstream,” said oneM2M’s technical plenary chair Dr. Omar Elloumi.

“With the recent ramp-up of LPWA deployments worldwide, we have seen an increasing number of CSPs adhering to the oneM2M value proposition, but they will need to expedite their strategies to improve the value they are seeing from the IoT. oneM2M provides a great opportunity to monetise LPWA, effectively making it application developer-centric.”

Open standards for the IoT were developed after enterprises that deployed the early wave of IoT connections found themselves restricted by a vertical approach to platform management.

Working in this way restricted the applications’ scalability, limited cost-effectiveness and stifled interest from device manufacturers and app developers, who found themselves repeating efforts to integrate different connections and device management protocols.

“The need for interoperability is what drives oneM2M’s architecture, which allows CSPs to break down the silos that inhibit growth and creates a single, horizontal platform for data sharing between applications,” said oneM2M’s regional marcom vice chair Chris Meering, of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

“This not only delivers OpEx savings from not having to manage multiple horizontal silos, but also opens up new service innovation opportunities. LPWA provides the means to deliver the IoT and a standards-based, horizontal approach makes it a stronger business case.”

The white paper discusses the importance of normalising data from different devices within a single platform – a common IoT service layer – that is agnostic of hardware and connectivity type. This gives app developers the confidence to create new and innovative services through easy-to-use application programming interfaces, knowing that they will work with all service provider networks and IoT deployments.

By forming partnerships with these developers and device manufacturers through the use of oneM2M, CSPs can create value in the app space and ultimately via data analytics.

Chris Meering

“Using oneM2M makes it possible for app developers to build once and reuse often,” said Andreas Neubacher, Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom. “This creates a win-win situation – developers can create tailor-made apps that can easily be scaled, while CSPs and platform providers have a larger pool of resources as the developers reuse code and avoid duplication of efforts.”

HPE’s Universal IoT Platform and InterDigital’s oneTRANSPORT concept […]

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