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Sierra Wireless integrates SIM, security and GNSS into industry’s smallest, lowest power multi-mode LPWA modules

By Zenobia Hegde

Sierra Wireless, the provider of fully integrated device-to-cloud solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the industry’s smallest, lowest power, multi-mode Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) cellular modules targeted at rapidly growing markets in asset tracking and connected industrial equipment, smart city, healthcare, agriculture and wearables.

AirPrime® HL78 modules, featuring Altair Semiconductor’s integrated ALT1250 chipset, deliver best-in-class power performance extending the life of battery operated devices by 5-10X compared to other available LTE-M/NB-IoT modules. This new level of power saving modes, with improved wake-up and sleep mode responsiveness, as well as ultra-low sleep mode power, make HL78 the module of choice for any power-constrained IoT application.

“With the HL78 modules, OEMs and system integrators have the most scalable, lowest power module platform to build their global IoT applications on,” said Dan Schieler, senior vice president and general manager, OEM Solutions, Sierra Wireless. “And to make it even simpler for our customers, we’ve integrated the SIM and cloud, as well as GNSS and security features, to drive down the size of LPWA connected devices while enhancing tamper resistance and security.”

In addition to low-power performance unique to the HL78 design, the modules integrate GNSS tracking capability, security and an embedded SIM in a new compact CF3® size (18mm x15mm) that is pin-to-pin compatible with other HL Series modules.

Customers have the flexibility to deploy the same device on global LTE-M (Cat-M1/eMTC) and NB-IoT (Cat-NB1) networks, with support for more than 20 LTE frequency bands in addition to optional 2G fallback. Built-in security, including HTTPS, secure socket, secure boot and free unlimited firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updates from the AirVantage® device management IoT Platform, helps customers ensure HL78 deployments are future proof and secure.

“More than 690 million LTE-M and NB-IoT connected devices are expected by 2022, and the market needs a low-power, compact embedded module to connect their industrial, smart city, smart home and simpler static sensor applications,” said Dan Shey, managing director and vice president at ABI Research. “With the addition of the HL78 product line, Sierra Wireless has amassed a broad portfolio of low power devices to drive the billions of advanced IoT connections we expect in the next decade.”

LTE-M and NB-IoT LPWA networks deliver a new class of wireless technology specifically designed for low-power IoT applications [see infographic]. LPWA technologies combine lower cost, broader coverage and better battery life with globally available and secure cellular networks ready to connect hundreds of millions more things to the Internet.

“The ability to switch seamlessly between any commercially deployed LTE-M or NB-IoT frequency band gives HL78 customers the flexibility to choose which network they want to deploy their low bandwidth application on. And for those regions where LPWAN coverage is not as widely available, optional 2G fallback ensures their devices stay online,” said Ilan Reingold, vice president, Business Development and Marketing at Altair Semiconductor (A Sony Group Company). “Incorporating Altair’s advanced IoT chipset, HL78 devices will also enjoy an extended life of up to 15 years on a single battery.”

Availability

The AirPrime HL78 modules are fully compliant with the 3GPP Release […]

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Saving cities US$5 trillion with smart, sharing technologies

By Zenobia Hegde

The rate of global urbanisation is growing exponentially. But while living in cities offers both social and economic opportunities, the rising costs of living are threatening to increase social inequality, slow down economic growth, and increase levels of crime.

Smart cities, and the technologies that underpin them, are hailed as a significant solution to this problem, and are set to reduce costs for governments, citizens and enterprises alike. In fact, a recent report published by ABI Research, in partnership with Chordant and CA Technologies, reveals smart city and IoT technologies have the potential to save governments, enterprises and citizens globally over $5 trillion (€4.09 trillion) by 2022, says Jim Nolan, executive vice president, Chordant at InterDigital.

Specifically, it is new sharing and service economy paradigms, and the “Internet of Things” along with artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, that will play a leading role in driving these cost savings.

Cutting costs for governments

Governments can benefit tremendously from the implementation of IoT technology and sharing economy business models in energy, water utilities, transportation, and crime and vandalism.

Energy savings is perhaps the first, and most obvious cost benefit of IoT and smart city technology. Turning street lights into smart, connected systems with intelligent on/off cycles, for example, could yield a 30% cost saving for governments.

When it comes to water utilities, advanced leak detection systems can drive direct cost savings by removing the need for manual inspection, while opportunity cost savings can be made through water waste management and waste prevention systems. These cost savings, in turn, help to reduce end-user prices.

Transportation is a major cost centre in government budgets, but adding smart technology such as electronic toll collection (ETC) vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) technology, as well as intelligent traffic light systems, can optimise the use of existing road capacity.

In regard to government services such as waste collection, mobile resource management (MRM) technology can dispatch, manage and monitor field workers, while the deployment of smart garbage bins can enable real-time, remote fill-level monitoring, and therefore the timely dispatch of garbage collection trucks. This isn’t a fantasy, they’re already in use in Dubai. This enables waste collection fleets to run more efficiently and results in fewer trucks on the road. In fact, this form of smart waste collection has the potential to reach cost savings of 30%.

Finally, AI-based automation for surveillance cameras, along with data optimisation, can reduce the costs associated with monitoring and analysing video footage in support of crime reduction. AI technology can also be used to complement surveillance cameras with crowd sourced intelligence such as data captured from social sites, as well as smartphone footage from citizens.

By taking advantage of these different technologies, city governments in mega cities (a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of ten million people) globally could save up $58 billion (€47.40 billion) annually.

Affordable services for citizens

Smart city technologies are not only key for driving cost savings for governments – they play just as important a role in reducing costs for citizens. After housing, mobility presents the second largest item in family […]

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Grid networking options expected to be dramatically enhanced by 5G communications technology

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report from Navigant Research examines the 5G technology standard and its use cases, focusing on smart grid applications and possible business model opportunities. 5G communications technology is expected to underpin the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where the confluence of ubiquitous mobile broadband, pervasive sensing, and artificial intelligence promises to drive massive change across industry and society.

This coming generation of wireless communications promises to make the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Energy (IoE) a reality, while delivering added benefits for power utilities. According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, 5G’s flexible, multi-spectrum, multi-function architecture will provide a platform able to support critical latency-sensitive applications as well as low power, low cost applications such as ubiquitous sensing throughout the distribution grid.

“5G will deliver a step-change in public wireless networking that has the potential to dramatically enhance the way utilities network their grid assets and systems,” says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Many of the concerns utilities have historically had with public networks should be alleviated, and the opportunity for a truly ubiquitous, future proof network is one that utilities should not overlook as 5G networks come to fruition.”

Richelle Elberg

In addition to enabling smart fleet management as well as edge computing and cloud technologies for distributed automation and intelligent control, 5G networks may also provide new business model opportunities to power utilities, according to the report. Because the technology depends upon dense small cell architecture, opportunities for utilities to partner with carriers could arise, making dispersed assets such as poles, wires, and rights of way valuable assets.

The report, 5G and the Internet of Energy, provides an overview of the 5G technology standard and its use cases. It discusses the many smart grid applications these networks will support and proposes certain business model opportunities it may create. The report also provides a discussion of the global carriers and infrastructure vendors that are leading the charge toward the 5G future.

Utilities—and their vendors—planning network upgrades over the next 5-10 years must fully understand the longer-term implications of the 5G evolution as they consider their need for future-proof and holistic connectivity.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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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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Verizon to launch 5G residential broadband services in up to 5 markets in 2018

By IoT – Internet of Things

Leading the industry with the first commercial application of next-generation broadband services, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) recently announced it will launch wireless residential broadband services in three to five U.S. markets in 2018. As a first application of fifth-generation – or 5G — wireless, these services will use radio signals, rather than copper […]

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Emerging markets: a breeding ground for cyber attacks

By Zenobia Hegde

As emerging markets race to join the digital revolution they are fast becoming a fruitful feeding ground for cybercriminals, who are preying on their security weaknesses and using them to launch attacks on the rest of the world.

The United Nations (UN) recently reported that that shockingly only 38% of countries have a published cybersecurity strategy, highlighting a huge chasm between countries in terms of awareness, understanding, knowledge and the ability to deploy cybersecurity capabilities and programs “to ensure a safe and appropriate use of technology as an enabler for economic development”, says Jan Howells, contract media specialist at Futurity Media.

The increasing use of mobile technology, the internet, online banking, ecommerce and social media have marked out developing countries such as Brazil, India, Zambia, Vietnam and Namibia as targets for cybercriminals who are singling out everyone from consumers to government and commercial organizations as a potential hit.

Due to increased cybersecurity and data privacy laws throughout developed countries, hackers are using emerging markets to test attacks and later launch them on wealthier countries with advanced defense strategies as it is much easier to protect their anonymity. The Wannacry ransomware attack, which caused more than 45,000 infected machines globally, was felt strongly in India which accounted for 5% of all infected machines, according to Kaspersky Labs. Hackers have also been known to test spear phishing attacks in French and English speaking African companies to iron out any flaws before launching the malware on advanced nations.

A recent report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS), for example, highlighted the fact that four out of five countries in the Latin America and Caribbean regions have “potentially devastating” vulnerabilities. Two out of three countries do not have a command and control center for cybersecurity, for example, and the majority of prosecutors lack the capacity to punish cybercrimes.

While some countries such as Colombia, Jamaica, Panama and Trinidad are working to put cybersecurity strategies in place, although at varying degrees of maturity, others such as Costa Rica, Dominica and Paraguay are only just beginning the process.

Opening the doors to cybercriminals

The risks have grown as emerging markets have rushed to join the digital revolution, often without regard for security or viewing it as an afterthought. Latin America and the Caribbean region is now the fourth largest mobile market in the world and half its population have internet access. These risks will multiply with the advent of IoT, warns the IDB and OAS, if action isn’t taken now.

Consider El Salvador. It has a 30% internet penetration which is growing. However there are no awareness campaigns regarding the threats of cyberattacks, phishing and hacking and general public awareness is low. The private sector, however, has been quick to recognize its importance and is providing training for employees.

Barbados on the other hand has a much higher internet use rate, so you think would be switched on to cybersecurity. But you would be wrong. Around 75% of Barbados’s population is now connected to the internet, but cybersecurity stakeholders are still […]

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Libelium releases a cloud programming software service for the IoT

By Zenobia Hegde

At Smart City Expo in Barcelona (Spain), Libelium has unveiled a cloud software service to enhance its wireless sensor platform with intelligence based solutions. The Spanish company has released the first Programming Cloud Service that will reduce development costs, increase security and speed up the time to market of Waspmote and Waspmote Plug & Sense! users by removing both the code training and the “try and test” stages in the deployment process.

On the one hand, the new service facilitates the access to develop new IoT projects to technology companies that do not count with a special engineering team for the IoT. On the other hand, the new Programming Cloud Service is thought too for those companies that want to save time and resources getting the IoT technology ready for their applications.

The new strategic tool allows to create binary files for the Libelium’s Plug & Sense! sensor nodes in minutes by just filling in an online form with all the working options like sleeping cycle, data to include in the sensor frame, Cloud destination URL, networking options, etc. “After more than 10 years of experience in one of the most complete IoT programming API’s in the world, we have realised that our clients looks for simplicity: they just want to use the full programming potential in one click.

This is how we came with the idea of relaying all this complexity to a Cloud service that could create code and compile it for them in seconds”, David Gascón, Libelium’s CTO, points out.

Due to the importance of the security in the IoT, it is crucial for companies managing real deployments to have the ability to configure nodes correctly and easily with the appropriate encryption options.

The Programming Cloud Service creates the binary files based on solid and tested source codes generated during years by the Libelium engineering team. Then it generates the algorithm specified by the user and compile it on the Cloud using the last version of the API and libraries. This way users may be confident that all the binaries generated contains all the improvements of the latest API versions.

“Smart Cities projects based on IoT need less costs and more simplicity on development stages to see the light and Libelium is working in both objectives to ease the IoT really take off”, Alicia Asín, Libelium’s CEO.

Alicia Asín

With this launching, Libelium offers different types of licenses for small, medium and large IoT deployments. Licenses titled as “Basic” and “PRO”, that enable the management from 5 to 20 nodes, are perfect to create binary files one by one. Besides, “Elite” licenses allow to create up to 100 binary files in batch by just one click. With the new service no SDK’s, API’s or compilers are needed any more. “Now you can program the sensor nodes using a mobile phone or a tablet, as just a web browser is required to fill the programming options form”, Libelium’s CTO says.

Anyway, the libraries and compiler keep accessible for experienced developers who want to keep coding and using all the API options and the flexibility of programming their own binaries.

In the near future, Libelium will offer on its cloud services platform new licenses for the management of MySignals […]

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Global customer engagement spending by utilities is expected to exceed $5 billion in 2026

By Zenobia Hedge

A new report from Navigant Research analyses the market for utility customer engagement solutions across the web, call center, billing, and outage notification segments, providing forecasts through 2026.

Today’s electric utility customers expect more insight into their energy usage, as well as a service experience on par with that of industry leaders such as Amazon, Google, Netflix, and Uber. Changing tools for engagement, such as online, mobile, and social networks, are helping utilities to meet those expectations in the face of the most competitive environment that the electric power industry has ever experienced.

“Engaging customers used to entail sending a monthly energy bill, dealing with high bill complaints, and finding resolutions for customers experiencing power outages,” says Michael Kelly, research analyst with Navigant Research. “Today, utilities must work to engage customers proactively through multiple channels—and for multiple purposes.”

Michael Kelly

Websites with sophisticated self-service capabilities, mobile applications, and online chat support are just a few of the engagement channels now considered standard, according to the report. Investment and support from senior utility leadership is growing as utilities adapt to evolving customer expectations and explore new technologies aimed at improving the customer experience.

The report, Customer Management and Experience Technologies, examines the drivers and challenges related to customer engagement solutions. The study focuses on four key segments for applications and technologies aimed at improving the customer experience: web, call centre, billing, and outage notification. Global market forecasts, segmented by region, technology segment, type, and category, extend through 2026.

The report also provides in-depth profiles of key vendors in the customer engagement market and examines several utility deployment case studies. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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Amazon Echo & Google Home to reside in over 50% of US households by 2022, as multi-assistant devices take off

By Zenobia Hedge

A new study from Juniper Research has found that smart speakers such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the Sonos One will be installed in over 70 million US households by 2022, reaching 55% of all homes. Total installed devices will exceed 175 million.

Juniper forecasts that Voice Assistant devices across all platforms – smartphones, tablets, PCs, speakers, connected TVs, cars and wearables, will reach 870 million devices in the US by 2022, an increase of 95% over the 450 million estimated for 2017.

For more insights, download Juniper’s complimentary whitepaper: Voice Assistants – The Next Advertising Battleground.

Omni-platform assistants & multi-assistant platforms to proliferate

The new research, Digital Voice Assistants: Platforms, Revenues & Opportunities 2017-2022, found that the ability to pass information between device platforms will become critical for digital assistants in future, due to many users engaging multiple assistants.

However, despite rising numbers of smart home assistants, Juniper forecasts that most voice assistant usage will be on smartphones, with over 5 billion in use globally by 2022.

The research found a growing trend for devices with multiple assistants (eg, Google Assistant and Cortana being available on the same speaker). The current experience with multi-assistant devices is unwieldy, and Juniper argues that hardware and software vendors need to make cross-assistant usage smoother and more intuitive.

Voice assistant ad-spend to reach $19 billon by 2022

The research notes that end-user monetisation is uncertain for digital voice assistants, with most either provided for free or only charging developers for language processing.

Juniper believes that advertising is the biggest revenue opportunity for voice assistants, forecasting ad-spend to reach nearly $19 billion (€16.38 billion) globally by 2022; although it is not without pitfalls:

“Voice-based interaction presents less options than other forms of advertising, meaning less adverts are possible”, notes research author James Moar. “Not all voice interactions are product searches, meaning advertisers will need to adjust their strategies to build a brand’s voice strategy around information provision as well as sales.”

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

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A Week in IoT: Broadcom mulls $100bn bid for Qualcomm, as Ayla banks $60m Chinese backing

By Jeremy Cowan

Broadcom Ltd. is rumoured to be considering a bid of more than US$100 billion for Qualcomm Inc., according to a report by Bloomberg. As Jeremy Cowan writes, if it goes ahead this could be one of the biggest ever acquisitions of a chipmaker. In separate news, Ayla Networks, a provider of enterprise-grade IoT Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) has won $60 million in new funding.

With data storage and networking interests ranging from the automotive sector through industrial and medical to energy providers, Broadcom is understood to be talking to its advisers this weekend about a potential deal. If it goes ahead, an offer of approximately $70 a share may be made in the next few days. The scale of this deal would eclipse Softbank’s acquisition of ARM Holdings in July 2016. (See our report: Three IoT lessons from the Softbank acquisition of ARM.)

Writing exclusively in IoT Now in November 2016, Frost & Sullivan called this new wave of acquisitions in an article headlined, Will Qualcomm’s acquisition of NXP Semiconductors trigger a new wave of market consolidation?

Qualcomm shares had been depressed lately by an ongoing legal battle with Apple. Another problem for the company’s management has been its inability to close the planned $47 billion purchase of NXP Semiconductors NV. This follows a regulatory hold-up in Europe and shareholder opposition from hedge fund investor Elliott Management Corporation which says the offer undervalues NXP. (Also see our report: Qualcomm focuses on IoT as it agrees to buy chipset maker NXP Semiconductors for US$47bn.)

Qualcomm shares closed up 13% at $61.81, valuing the company at $91 billion. Broadcom stocks also rose 5.5%, giving the company a market capitalisation of almost $112 billion. (Also see: Qualcomm introduces new platform naming structure as ‘processor’ doesn’t capture its anthology of technology.)

IoT platform provider Ayla Networks wins $60m in Series D funding

Santa Clara, California-based Ayla Networks has raised $60 million in Series D financing led by China’s Run Liang Tai Fund (RLT) and Sunsea Telecommunications Co. Ltd. The funding will be used to further expand Ayla’s product capabilities to help large enterprises extract IoT data and transform it into business intelligence, and to expand its ecosystem network of partners and application providers.

David Friedman, Ayla Networks’ CEO and founder.

To date, Ayla’s focus has been in markets such as heating, ventilation & air-conditioning (HVAC), water management and home control. More recently, the company has expanded into serving large retail, industrial, telco and service provider, and medical markets. From these markets, the amount of data being fed into the platform is said by Ayla to be growing 500% year-on-year.

David Friedman, Ayla CEO and co-founder says, “The Ayla platform (offers) a massively configurable capability for our customers to ingest data from any sensor and IoT cloud. The platform makes it easier for enterprises to apply intelligence and analytics to broad sets of heterogeneous data sets to transform the data into real business value.”

Run Liang Tai says it is investing to enable Ayla to grow much faster. Ayla is partnering with Sunsea Telecommunications, a public company […]

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