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Leave no machine behind – how to help customers get to vital IoT data

By IoT Now Magazine

Andrew Brown, the executive director of Enterprise and IoT Research at Strategy Analytics, interviews Telit executives Bill Dykas, the product manager for IoT Platforms, and Ricardo Buranello, the global vice president of sales for IoT Factory Solutions, to discuss what the company is doing in IoT and how it is addressing the needs of its customers

Andrew Brown: As one of the leading IoT hardware and software vendors for more than 20 years, can you give us insight into what Telit customers are looking for from an IoT solution and how has it changed?

Bill Dykas: Telit is a highly diversified company. We have many different technologies for supporting customers around IoT; including hardware modules to help customers wirelessly connect their IoT applications, with technology including 2G, 3G, 4G, Cat M1, NB IoT, to short range such as Bluetooth and ZigBee to Wi-Fi, LoRa, Sigfox, GPS and GNSS. This gives us a deep view of the industry and we now have more than 7,000 customers using our technology. On top of the hardware, we have our software and services business and are a global MVNO. We approach this industry from multiple angles, from companies that are building consumer goods, to tracking devices and smart meters, to security systems/smart home alarms, through to the industrial IoT where companies are integrating IoT on the shop floor in large enterprises.

In the last 10-15 years, the market has changed dramatically. Around 15 years ago, the market was highly concentrated among fewer players, while today the market is highly fragmented. For example, our revenue comes from seven thousand customers, not a few. This is going to be the reality for IoT for a long time. Larger companies are trying to innovate or develop products using IoT concepts, or sell the benefits of IoT based on new revenue generation or reduced costs. Consolidation is happening in the IoT market, as larger companies are investing in this space.

The exposure that these companies have brought to IoT, coupled with our experience in the industry, will help us expand our presence in the market. In terms of our deployments, the efficiency and relative return on investment is clear.

AB: What companies is Telit working with to bring solutions to market? Why are strategic partnerships so important when you are a customer looking at deploying an IoT solution?

RB: Partnerships are critical to helping fuel our future growth in the IoT market. We have many examples of important partnerships, but some of our key partners include SAP, TechMahindra, Wind River, Cisco and Mitsubishi. SAP offers our software platform to their customers. We work closely with SAP to offer our technology to every customer with whom SAP is engaged. We offer our device management to their customers to simplify IoT data collection and normalisation and quickly send that data to target SAP databases and business applications. It allows customers to fully integrate things with web-based solutions, mobile apps and enterprise systems. For example, a car manufacturing production line has multiple machines that connect […]

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Powercast to unveil FCC-approved consumer transmitter for power-over-distance wireless charging at CES 2018

By Zenobia Hegde

Powercast Corporation, the provider of radio-frequency (RF)-based long-range power-over-distance wireless charging technology, announced that it will unveil at CES its FCC-approved (Part 15, FCC ID: YESTX91503) and ISED-approved (Canada IC: 8985A-TX91503) three-watt PowerSpot transmitter which works in the far field(up to 80 feet) for over-the-air charging of multiple devices – no charging mats or direct line of sight needed.

Powercast used the experience it gained powering industrial and commercial devices with its initial Powercaster® transmitter (FCC and ISED approved in 2010) to develop the new smaller, smarter and less expensive PowerSpot transmitter specifically for the consumer market. The PowerSpot is the industry’s first long-range, far-field, power-over-distance wireless recharging transmitter for consumer devices to gain FCC and ISED approval.

How Powercast’s patented remote wireless charging technology works

Creating a coverage area like Wi-Fi, a Powercast transmitter automatically charges enabled devices when within range. The transmitter uses the 915-MHz ISM band to send RF energy to a tiny Powercast receiver chip embedded in a device, which converts it to direct current (DC) to directly power or recharge that device’s batteries.

Powercast will begin production of its standalone PowerSpot charger now that it is FCC approved and is also offering a PowerSpot subassembly that consumer goods manufacturers can integrate into their own products.

Consider lamps, appliances, set-top boxes, gaming systems, computer monitors, furniture or vehicle dashboards that become “PowerSpots” able to charge multiple enabled devices around them.

Powercast is in discussions with several manufacturers, and has inked deals with two household names, since releasing a wireless power development kit in early 2017 containing the PowerSpot subassembly.

“Consumer electronics manufacturers can now confidently build our FCC-approved technology into their wireless charging ecosystems, and offer their customers convenient far-field charging where devices charge over the air from a power source without needing direct contact, like inductive charging requires, or near direct contact, like magnetic resonance requires,” said Powercast’s COO/CTO Charles Greene, Ph.D.

The company’s vision is to enable long-range, true wireless charging where consumers simply place all Powercast-enabled devices for charging within range of a PowerSpot in their home or a public place.

“Others might be talking RF power possibilities, but we have consistently delivered far-field wireless power solutions that work, safely and responsibly, under FCC and other global standards providing power up to 80 feet,” said Greene. “Our robust technology has capabilities beyond today’s permitted standards, so our product releases will evolve as regulations do.”

The PowerSpot creates an overnight charging zone of up to 80 feet free of wires or charging mats

Enabled devices charge when in range, but don’t need direct line of sight to the PowerSpot. Powercast expects up to 30 devices left in the zone on a countertop or desktop overnight can charge by morning, sharing the transmitter’s three-watt (EIRP) power output. Charging rates will vary with distance, type and power consumption of a device.

TX91503 – PowerSpot Transmitter

Power-hungry, heavily used devices like game controllers, smart watches, fitness bands, hearing aids, ear buds, or headphones charge best up to two feet away; keyboards and mice up to six feet away; TV […]

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One small step for 5G, one giant step for wireless

By Zenobia Hegde

Today marks a momentous milestone for the wireless industry: the finalisation of the 3GPP Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) Standard. The formalisation of the NSA standard anchors the coming Standalone (SA) version and represents a remarkable step forward for the industry.

With NSA 5G NR, players across the ecosystem for the first time have rallied around a single internationally recognised specification for 5G radio systems. It provides the technological foundation for the industry to begin testing and commercialising the next generation of wireless services and devices, says Asha Keddy of Intel.

I’d like to congratulate the parties that contributed to the development of this standard, setting the foundation for an interoperable global marketplace ripe with economic opportunity and technological possibility. As I commented in the related news release, Intel participated in the process, working closely with mobile industry leaders to support the standard and accelerate the first NR trials.

Many of the early use cases will fall into the realms of enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as Vehicle-to-Everything Communications (V2X). Intel has already been innovating in many of these segments, conducting field trials with the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform (MTP) and the Intel GO 5G Automotive Platform. To prepare for the specification finalisation, we have to be two to three years ahead of the standards when it comes to gathering key learnings about use cases and their related performance requirements.

Intel is proud to have contributed to the development of NSA 5G NR with proprietary research, reference designs and insights from a range of trials. Intel’s many contributions spanned the specification, including coding, error correction, modulation, spatial sub-channelisation, beamforming, reference symbol designs, radio link adaptation and more. Intel also produced prototypes for use in the testing of pre-5G standards, including 5GTF.

Those system stacks were, in essence, the parents of NSA and SA 5G NR – providing evidence of what was possible and informing the standard’s specifications. During this process, we collaborated with industry innovators like Ericsson and Nokia, and leading operators like AT&T, Korea Telecom, NTT Docomo and Verizon.

We’ve rapidly evolved our MTP in lockstep with progress of the NR specification, preparing it for the finalisation of the standard. It’s NSA 5G NR-ready, giving equipment manufacturers the platform they need to test interoperability and operators the ability to simulate real-world use cases. Powered by high-performance Intel FPGAs and Intel® Core™ processors, the MTP will have a key role in informing the pending SA standard within Release 15 in June 2018.

We already have several NSA 5G NR trials lined up using the MTP alongside our 5G RFIC supporting sub-6 GHz and mmWave, and our 5G RFFE for operations in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands. The learnings from our interoperability testing and real-world trials are foundational for our first commercial NSA/SA 5G NR-capable multimode solutions, the Intel® XMM™ 8000 series modem, with customer devices expected in 2019. These solutions will support a variety of use cases, including PCs, mobile phones, fixed wireless CPE and even vehicles.

Of course, it’s important to remember that as momentous as this occasion is, it’s really just […]

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A Week in IoT: Never mind Predictions, there’s enough to focus on in the Here and Now

By Jeremy Cowan

At this time of year every editor is drowning in predictions for the year ahead. To be honest, I prefer more solid information, says Jeremy Cowan. There is so much enterprise restructuring going on that we’re frantically busy with hard facts in the inter-related worlds of security, billing, car charging, and data management.

Thales CEO goes off ‘merger’ script announcing Gemalto acquisition

The week got off to a bang with Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) and Gemalto (Euronext Amsterdam and Paris: GTO) agreeing to merge.

Patrice Caine, Thales’s chairman and CEO, said: “The acquisition of Gemalto marks a key milestone in the implementation of Thales’s strategy. Together with Gemalto’s management, we have big ambitions based on a shared vision of the digital transformation of our industries and customers. We have a tremendous respect for Gemalto’s technological achievements, and … I welcome warmly Gemalto’s 15,000 employees to our Group. By combining our talents, Thales and Gemalto are creating a global leader in digital security.”

Over the past three years, Thales has significantly increased its focus on digital technologies, investing over €1 billion in connectivity, cybersecurity, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), in particular with the acquisition of Sysgo, Vormetric and Guavus. The integration of Gemalto is expected to accelerate this strategy, reinforcing Thales’s digital offering, across its five vertical markets (aeronautics, space, ground transportation, defence and security). Altogether, this new business unit will represent approximately 20% of Group revenues and rank among the top three players worldwide, with €3.5 billion revenues in the fast growing digital security market.

Combined with Gemalto’s digital security portfolio, Thales will be able to offer an end-to-end solution, to secure the full critical digital decision chains, from data creation in sensors to real-time decision-making. Clients are facing data security challenges in all sectors, including telcos, governments, banks, utilities, and other industries.

Thales will combine its digital businesses into Gemalto, which will continue to operate under its own brand as one of the seven Thales global business units. Philippe Vallée, Gemalto’s erstwhile CEO, will lead the combined digital security business.

The deal is a recommended all-cash offer for all issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Gemalto, for a price of €51.00 per share cum dividend.

Smartly’s mobile app helped by Capgemini to bill
Norwegians accurately for electric car charging

It’s not just enterprises that are repositioning themselves, entire countries are refocusing their business models. Norway is well-known as a global leader in renewable energy, having launched an initiative in 2016 to power all cars with renewable energy by 2025.

As part of this process, the country now wants to provide car owners with easy access to charging stations through housing co-operatives. In a new project, Smartly will encourage Norwegians to use of community chargers and move towards electric car usage by 2025.

With help from Capgemini, and its subsidiary Sogeti, Microsoft is now to build Smartly a cloud connected multi-platform mobile app. Using its expertise in cloud-native technology and its commitment to create measurable digital customer experiences, Smartly said it has moved from a proof-of-concept to a working app in […]

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Phishing for Bitcoin

By Jeff John Roberts

It had to happen sooner or later: The two biggest tech stories of 2017–foreign cyber attacks and bitcoin–have come together perfectly in a single story. Namely, it looks like the infamous North Korean hacking outfit, The Lazarus Group, is running a spear-phishing campaign aimed at executives of cryptocurrency companies.

You may remember this gang from previous outrages such as the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, the hacking of Sony, and the $81 million cyber-heist from the Bangladesh Central Bank. Their latest scam, identified by Secureworks, involves sending emails about a Chief Financial Officer position that contain an infected Microsoft Word document.

As ZDNet reports, clicking on the document triggers a piece of malware that allows the attacker access to the victim’s computer. It’s unclear if any of the targeted executives have fallen for the phish or if the scheme has yielded the Lazarus Group any bitcoins. Let’s hope not–in part because crypto-currency companies know the risk of cyber-threats better than most, and should not be hiring people who click on random Word documents.

More broadly, the idea of North Korea phishing for bitcoin is intriguing because the phenomenon is at once so new and so old. It’s new because countries until very recently didn’t even take bitcoin seriously–and now, as the price of a bitcoin tops $18,000, rogue nations are telling their militaries to go forth and steal it.

At the same time, though, North Korea’s phishing antics can also be seen as a twist on the centuries-old military tactic known as privateering. Once upon a time, this tactic took the form of kings and queens granting letters of marque that allowed privateers to roam the oceans and plunder booty from enemy merchant ships. Today, North Korea is allowing its hackers to operate as digital privateers in search of crypto plunder like bitcoin.

This modern version of privateering is not as exciting as grand naval battles with cannons and cutlasses, but no doubt it’s just as lucrative. Have a good weekend.

Jeff John Roberts

@jeffjohnroberts

jeff.roberts@fortune.com

Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. You may reach Robert Hackett via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my about.me), PGP encrypted email (see public key on my Keybase.io), Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.

THREATS

Bailing on Blockchain: In theory, it sounds great to create a coalition and build a distributed ledger tool for everyone. The reality is more messy: more than 15 members of the Hyperledger Project recently bailed and/or cut off their funds to the much-hyped blockchain project. This follows a similar break-up at R3, the blockchain-for-banks consortium.

Cutting off Kaspersky: The popular anti-virus product is tangled up with a good part of the US government’s IT systems–a big problem since the software maker is strongly suspected of ties to the Kremlin. The White House has hurried up efforts to cashier Kaspersky with an order banning its use anywhere in the government.

Creepy Keyboards: Key-logging software, which lets a third party record what you type, is a popular tool among spies and hackers–it’s not something you want pre-installed on your new computer. Yet that’s what HP did with hundreds of lap-top models. A security researcher discovered that anyone with administrative privileges could activate it. HP is working on a fix.

Easy there, Anderson: The normally bland Twitter account of CNN host Anderson Cooper spat out a string of abuse at Donald Trump in a tweet this week. The network portrayed it as a hack, pointing out that Anderson was in a different city from where the tweet was sent–the latest is that Anderson’s aide left a phone with the Twitter account unattended at the gym.

Feds Nail Mirai Miscreants: Remember that nasty botnet composed of hijacked IoT devices that took down servers across the east cost last year? Well, it turns out Brian Krebs was right: a Rutgers student running a Minecraft scam was responsible for the botnet havoc. The student and two others pled guilty and say they’re sorry.

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ACCESS GRANTED

“If you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you,” Palihapitiya advised his audience. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, [but] misinformation, mistruth.”

Facebook’s former head of user growth, Chamath Palihapitiya, recently offered a contrite and frightening account of what the company has built. David Meyer has a nice summary of his remarks.

ONE MORE THING

The best holiday movie ever? It’s decided. Wonderful holiday classics include It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, but some (including me) believe the best of the bunch is a little action film called Die Hard. Objectors have claimed Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie but now a prominent head of state has settled the question. Thanks, Justin Trudeau, and Ho ho ho!

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