networks

Itron completes acquisition of Silver Spring Networks to drive innovation and growth in IoT

By Zenobia Hegde

Itron, Inc (ITRI), a provider of technology and services dedicated to the resourceful use of energy and water, announced that it has completed its acquisition of Silver Spring Networks, Inc. With this acquisition, Itron strengthens its ability to deliver a broader set of solutions, increase the pace of growth and innovation in the smart city and industrial IoT markets, and provide customers with greater choice and flexibility when deploying technology to improve their operations and services.

“The addition of Silver Spring Networks comes at a time when industry dynamics are changing: utilities and cities want to invest in IoT and connectivity to modernise critical infrastructure to reduce operating expenses, enhance services and create new revenue opportunities,” said Philip Mezey, Itron’s president and chief executive officer. “This acquisition enhances Itron’s capabilities and advances our strategy of delivering highly-secure, value-generating solutions for utilities, smart cities and the broader industrial IoT sector.”

By integrating Silver Spring Networks’ platform and solutions, including its smart street light offering, into Itron’s broad portfolio, the combined expertise in delivering smart utility, smart city and industrial IoT solutions provides the industry with an unparalleled offering.

With a focus on open-standards platform development for connectivity and automation, alongside a robust partner ecosystem, Itron is ideally positioned to promote a path for adoption of IoT technology and to more reliably, efficiently and securely connect devices that matter.

“This is a tremendous step forward for Itron and our growth as a company,” continued Mezey. “Bringing together our two companies ties directly to Itron’s strategy to deliver valuable outcomes to our customers as they manage the world’s energy and water resources—and build the cities of tomorrow. Together, our strong engineering talent, leading technology and deep domain expertise will unlock incredible innovation, choice and value for customers around the world.”

The legacy Silver Spring Networks business is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Itron, Inc. and will be integrated and reported as a new business segment, Itron Networked Solutions.

Itron will provide total consolidated company revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share guidance for full-year 2018, inclusive of the addition of Silver Spring Networks, in conjunction with its fourth quarter and full-year 2017 financial results.

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Nuance shows AI-powered developments for the car and smart home of the future at CES 2018

By Zenobia Hegde

New conversational artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions asre being shown at CES 2018 by Nuance Communications, Inc..Through advancements in conversational AI, Nuance is empowering solutions that hear, understand, learn, and use language to interact with consumers, providing personalised experiences and aiming for new levels of convenience, engagement, security and satisfaction.

The next generation of Nuance solutions, designed for both today and the future, represent an evolution of technology that will allow for more dynamic and collaborative interactions with assistants that will complete more complex, realistic tasks with higher accuracy. In addition, Nuance is pioneering a way to bring the world of disparate virtual assistants together into one seamless interface through its new cognitive arbitrator.

Seamless interoperability across the assistant ecosystem

Nuance’s new cognitive arbitrator combines conversational and cognitive AI capabilities to connect disparate virtual assistants, third-party services and content, and intelligent agents through an interoperable interface that meets the unique needs of the connected lifestyle across the smart home and car.

Cognitive arbitration will be demoed across Nuance’s CES experiences, including interoperability between the home and car and the ability to connect whether at home or on the go with restaurant, bank, airline, telco, and retail brands through Nina, Nuance’s virtual assistant for customer engagement. For more information on the cognitive arbitrator, check out last week’s press release.

New AI-powered Dragon Drive features

Nuance’s CES Innovation Award-winning-car experiences and brings a more human experience to the automotive assistant. Dragon Drive now tightly integrates conversational artificial intelligence with non-verbal modalities such as gaze detection, enabling drivers to get information about and interact with places outside the car simply by looking at them; enhanced interoperability with other assistants, including in the smart home, virtual personal assistants and bots; and Just Talk, the capability to invoke the automotive assistant without pushing a button or using a wake-up word. For more on the latest Dragon Drive innovations, check out last week’s press release.

AI-based solutions for mobile carriers

Nuance is utilising AI to enhance subscriber engagement for mobile service providers, supporting carriers’ transformation to digital service providers and reinventing their relationships with their subscribers through intelligent solutions.

New for CES 2018, Nuance will showcase enhanced capabilities for Loop, its AI- and data analytics-powered marketing platform for mobile operators that delivers new revenue streams by connecting subscribers to compelling services on the channels that are most relevant to them, including social networks, SMS, Web and USSD. New features provide subscriber offers and new subscriber touchpoints for top-ups, financial services, and contextual ads features using customised shortcuts.

For example, new AI-powered chatbots will deliver personalised services, such as top-ups, via social networking channels like Facebook Messenger, creating a seamless user experience within the most relevant channel for each subscriber.

Interactive entertainment experiences

Nuance is pioneering how conversational AI can make media and entertainment more interactive and immersive. Nuance will be showcasing a prototype of an interactive gaming experience, which will demonstrate the power of speech in enabling conversations with non-player characters (NPCs).

Partnerships to deliver powerful solutions

Nuance is also showcasing a variety of solutions built in partnership with other leading technology providers, including:

Toyota – Nuance’s Dragon Drive connected car […]

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Nuance shows AI-powered developments for the car and smart home of the future at CES 2018

By Zenobia Hegde

New conversational artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions asre being shown at CES 2018 by Nuance Communications, Inc..Through advancements in conversational AI, Nuance is empowering solutions that hear, understand, learn, and use language to interact with consumers, providing personalised experiences and aiming for new levels of convenience, engagement, security and satisfaction.

The next generation of Nuance solutions, designed for both today and the future, represent an evolution of technology that will allow for more dynamic and collaborative interactions with assistants that will complete more complex, realistic tasks with higher accuracy. In addition, Nuance is pioneering a way to bring the world of disparate virtual assistants together into one seamless interface through its new cognitive arbitrator.

Seamless interoperability across the assistant ecosystem

Nuance’s new cognitive arbitrator combines conversational and cognitive AI capabilities to connect disparate virtual assistants, third-party services and content, and intelligent agents through an interoperable interface that meets the unique needs of the connected lifestyle across the smart home and car.

Cognitive arbitration will be demoed across Nuance’s CES experiences, including interoperability between the home and car and the ability to connect whether at home or on the go with restaurant, bank, airline, telco, and retail brands through Nina, Nuance’s virtual assistant for customer engagement. For more information on the cognitive arbitrator, check out last week’s press release.

New AI-powered Dragon Drive features

Nuance’s CES Innovation Award-winning-car experiences and brings a more human experience to the automotive assistant. Dragon Drive now tightly integrates conversational artificial intelligence with non-verbal modalities such as gaze detection, enabling drivers to get information about and interact with places outside the car simply by looking at them; enhanced interoperability with other assistants, including in the smart home, virtual personal assistants and bots; and Just Talk, the capability to invoke the automotive assistant without pushing a button or using a wake-up word. For more on the latest Dragon Drive innovations, check out last week’s press release.

AI-based solutions for mobile carriers

Nuance is utilising AI to enhance subscriber engagement for mobile service providers, supporting carriers’ transformation to digital service providers and reinventing their relationships with their subscribers through intelligent solutions.

New for CES 2018, Nuance will showcase enhanced capabilities for Loop, its AI- and data analytics-powered marketing platform for mobile operators that delivers new revenue streams by connecting subscribers to compelling services on the channels that are most relevant to them, including social networks, SMS, Web and USSD. New features provide subscriber offers and new subscriber touchpoints for top-ups, financial services, and contextual ads features using customised shortcuts.

For example, new AI-powered chatbots will deliver personalised services, such as top-ups, via social networking channels like Facebook Messenger, creating a seamless user experience within the most relevant channel for each subscriber.

Interactive entertainment experiences

Nuance is pioneering how conversational AI can make media and entertainment more interactive and immersive. Nuance will be showcasing a prototype of an interactive gaming experience, which will demonstrate the power of speech in enabling conversations with non-player characters (NPCs).

Partnerships to deliver powerful solutions

Nuance is also showcasing a variety of solutions built in partnership with other leading technology providers, including:

Toyota – Nuance’s Dragon Drive connected car […]

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Deep Integration: Comcast Bolsters, Scales Smart Home Technology

By Alex Silverman

Comcast is taking its quest for home automation domination to the next level, enabling a slew of new smart home functionality that it introduced to the media Wednesday morning at CES. The tech, which the company is extending to 15mln homes, links all of Comcast’s Xfinity services—X1 video; xFi WiFi, Xfinity Home security and Xfinity Mobile—to create a comprehensive, easily accessible household-management system.

The MSO is leveraging technology to let customers use either their X1 voice remote or any internet-connected device to control virtually any function around the house. In fact, the system will even enable a situational series of commands throughout the home. For example, a user can set up an “I’m Leaving” scenario that, when triggered, turns off all the lights, locks the door and arms the home security system simultaneously. Leave the house without locking up? The system will prompt the user via their mobile device to do so remotely. Beyond that, the system will eventually recognize patterns through machine learning and actually suggest other options to make a user’s life easier.

“We really see this opportunity around the notion of the digital home to be part of our customers’ lives every day, and our ability to really tap into these different products and bring them together in a more integrated and seamless way,” said Comcast evp, Xfinity Services Matt Strauss. “Where today we typically sell on price, in time, our ambition is to sell on experience. The more products and services you take from us, the better that experience.”

Comcast evp and chief product officer Chris Satchell said the company plans to work with any and all smart device manufacturers to integrate their IoT-based products into the Xfinity system. It will certify those devices with a “Works with Xfinity” stamp of approval. As customers add devices to their network, the system will suggest new automation scenarios and potential synergies between devices. Satchell suggested this “deep integration” is a departure from a current IoT pain point.

“A lot of people want to sell you devices, and that’s great; they’re phenomenal devices,” Satchell quipped. “But the problem is they leave it up to the customer. They say, ‘Buy our smart stuff and magic will happen.’ How does magic happen? ‘I don’t know. That’s up to you. You’re the customer.’”

Satchell pointed to the company’s partnership with Tile, a company that manufacturers tracking devices, as an example of third-party device integration. Using the Xfinity voice remote, a user can simply ask for the location of whatever object the Tile is attached to, which will instantly be displayed on the TV screen. Other brands Comcast has partnered with include August, Honeywell, Kwikset, Lutron and Nest. Comcast introduced a wide range of features for both xFi and Xfinity home that give customers greater control over their networks and homes.

Device Intelligence, for instance, is designed to simplify the process of adding smart devices to the network by identifying the specific type of device (i.e. 3rd Gen Apple TV, Nest thermostat) and offering troubleshooting steps. Another feature called Away Mode doesn’t let any new devices join the network—even with the correct login information—when a user is out of the home. In the event someone attempts to access the network, the system will notify the customer on their mobile device.

Secure Connect Mode allows customers to accept or deny requests to join the network. On the physical security side, the system can alert customers about unusual times of entry. Satchell said users can also request to be notified if there is no entry by a certain time, notifying parents in the event their child doesn’t make it home. Users with cameras hooked up to their system can remotely view entry attempts and any other disturbance on the property.

The post Deep Integration: Comcast Bolsters, Scales Smart Home Technology appeared first on Cablefax.

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Dynamic Spectrum Alliance announces the publication of new model rules for TV White Space technology

By Zenobia Hegde

The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) has announced the publication of new model rules for TV White Space (TVWS) technology. The new model rules will provide governments, policy makers and regulators with the tools necessary to enable the quick and efficient deployment of TVWS networks to help bridge the digital divide and support the Internet of Things (IoT).

Replacing the original version published in 2014, the updated model rules offer higher availability for dynamic spectrum devices and stronger protection for incumbent users. They are based upon the regulatory environments already put in place by Ofcom in the UK and the Federal Communications Commission in the US, incorporating learnings from the operation of TVWS networks, including DSA member Nominet’s experiences running its TVWS services.

“We are very proud to be releasing the latest TVWS model rules, incorporating the experience of many DSA members who are leaders in TVWS technology and deployment,” said Kalpak Gude, president of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance.

“The Alliance has long been championing TVWS technology to connect those in underserved and rural locations, which will in turn help to bridge the digital divide. Our membership consists of organisations at the forefront of TVWS developments, and we will continue to work together to ensure global connectivity, while maintaining the most effective and efficient use of spectrum, is achieved.”

Adam Leach

TVWS refers to unused frequencies in the wireless spectrum between TV broadcasts. The new rules are designed to facilitate and encourage international regulatory harmonisation for TVWS, and to help countries where creating a bespoke regulatory environment for TVWS from scratch is difficult and time intensive due to limited resources and the nature of the process of developing new regulations.

Instead, regulators can use the new model rules as a customisable out-of-the-box solution, for a faster and more efficient way to enable TVWS networks to be launched in their markets.

Adam Leach, director of Emerging Technology at Nominet, an Ofcom-approved white space database operator and member of the DSA, said: “We’re delighted to publish the new set of model TVWS rules and hope they’ll help to accelerate new deployments all over the world. TVWS has the potential to bring connectivity to people and places that have never had it before, and truly revolutionise their lives in the process.”

“We’ve worked hard to build on the foundations laid by Ofcom and the FCC, and hope the new rules offer the best of both worlds to countries that are considering TVWS technologies. Once adopted, operators, device manufacturers and database providers alike will be able to enter new markets very quickly, and with minimal start-up costs – meaning they can launch and start delivering benefits to local communities faster than ever before.”

The revised DSA model rules enable flexible network topologies such as mesh networks, TVWS in high-speed, long-distance scenarios such as on trains, and a more streamlined regulatory framework to facilitate market growth. In any location, rules must be in place to ensure that TVWS users will not cause interference to incumbent users, such as television broadcasters and domestic television users. […]

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Manchester scientists develop graphene sensors that could revolutionise IoT

By IoT Conference

Researchers at The University of Manchester have devised graphene sensors embedded into RFIDs, which have the potential to revolutionise the Internet of Things (IoT).

By layering graphene-oxide (a derivative of graphene) over graphene to create a flexible heterostructure the team have developed humidity sensors for remote sensing with the ability to connect to any wireless network.

Graphene was the world’s first two-dimensional material isolated in 2004 at The University of Manchester, it is stronger than steel, lightweight, flexible and more conductive than copper.

Since then a whole family of other 2D materials have been discovered and continues to grow.

Using graphene and other 2D materials, scientists can layer these materials, similar to stacking bricks of Lego in a precisely chosen sequence known as van der Waals heterostructures to create high-performance structures tailored to a specific purpose.

As reported in Scientific Reports, the groundbreaking nature of this development is that such sensors can be printed layer-by-layer for scalable and mass production at very low cost. The device also requires no battery source as it harvests power from the receiver.

Sensors with a RFID enabler are at the heart of the IoT. This new development can provide various applications such as battery-free smart wireless monitoring for manufacturing processes that are sensitive to moisture, food safety, healthcare and nuclear waste.

The excitement does not end with this new application here, but leads to the future possibilities of integrations of this technique with other 2D materials to open up a new horizon of wireless sensing applications.

Dr Zhirun Hu

The developed technique has the potential to simplify how the information is gathered through its wireless system, nor is it is limited to a particular wireless network and has the ability to be compatible with networks including WiFi and 5G.

Dr Zhirun Hu who led the work said: The excitement does not end with this new application here, but leads to the future possibilities of integrations of this technique with other 2D materials to open up a new horizon of wireless sensing applications.

Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics and coordinated the project, added: It is the first example of the printable technology where several 2D materials come together to create a functional device immediately suitable for industrial applications. The Internet of Things is the fast growing segment of technology, and I’m sure that 2D materials will play an important role there.

Advanced materials is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons – examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet. #ResearchBeacons

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Mining businesses identify IoT as essential to gaining a competitive edge, finds Inmarsat

By Zenobia Hegde

Businesses in the mining industry are backing the Internet of Things (IoT) to help them retain their market share, as competition in the sector intensifies, the quality of seams decreases and profit margins are put under pressure.

According to the latest research from Inmarsat, the Internet of Things (IoT) will play a critical role in helping mining businesses to increase the level of automation and improve production efficiency, enabling them to compete with rivals operating in lower cost markets.

Market research specialist Vanson Bourne interviewed respondents from 100 large mining companies across the globe for Inmarsat’s ‘The Future of IoT in Enterprise’ report, and found that 70% of mining businesses agreed that IoT would give them a significant edge against their competitors.

Mining operators further identified how IoT would help them to bolster this competitive edge, with 41% reporting that they would use IoT to increase the automation of business processes, and 44% saying that it would help them to identify cost saving and efficiency opportunities.

Joe Carr, director of mining at Inmarsat, commented on the findings: “It is no surprise to see that mining businesses are looking to IoT to help them gain a competitive advantage. Mining businesses across the world are under constant pressure to produce the same product at a lower price than their rivals. At the same time, it is becoming harder to find high quality deposits in lower sovereign risk countries.

“This pressure is amplified in developed economies, such as Canada and Australia, where labour costs are much higher than in emerging markets, leaving operators in these territories at a significant competitive disadvantage. These businesses must drive down operating costs and improve productivity to remain competitive, and the most effective way to do this is the adoption of IoT and automation.

“Using automation to reduce labour requirements can make a big difference to an operator’s bottom line. For example, an Australian open pit mine might employ 100 truck drivers each earning AUD$200,000+ per annum (€130144.19+ per annum), which is then replicated on staff working on the trains, and the maintenance personnel.”

“IoT will be critical in enabling mine operators to reduce the amount of manual extraction and transportation of raw materials, as it will allow for the introduction of more autonomous infrastructure, such as fleets of unmanned trucks and trains. Autonomous technology can also enable an around-the-clock, 365 days-a-year operation, removing the need for shift change and improving safety by removing the person from the environment, further increasing productivity.”

Carr concluded: “We are currently working with some of the mining industry’s largest operators to deliver increased automation, which in turn results in increasing speed across the mining process, helping to reduce average cycle times and improving productivity. Mining technologists are increasingly aware of the importance of satellite connectivity in their mines, understanding that IoT solutions cannot function without reliable connectivity to gather and transmit data from connected sensors and devices to control rooms.”

With many mines located outside terrestrial or cellular network coverage, satellite communication networks can offer more reliable connectivity that is central […]

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China puts 5G in the fast lane but could strain operator resources until 2020, says Strategy Analytics

By Zenobia Hegde

China is accelerating 5G development and hopes 5G will become an engine for the country’s new industrialisation and digital transformation, replicating its industrial policy that produced success in 4G.

This is the conclusion of Strategy Analytics in their report “China Government Sees 5G as an Engine of Industry Development, but Will Operators Have Enough Fuel?” The report from the Strategy Analytics Networks and Service Platforms also points out that the required investment will challenge Chinese service providers financially.

Guang Yang, the analyst firm’s director of Wireless Networks and Services commented, “China hopes 5G will not only boost network infrastructure and smart devices but also accelerate development of emerging sectors such as connected vehicles, artificial intelligence, and semiconductors.

Sue Rudd

However, 5G will be the third ‘New Generation Mobile Technology’ that Chinese operators must roll out in under a decade. The high concentration in the Chinese market could strain the investment capability of smaller operators.”

Sue Rudd, director of Service Provider Analysis added, “Mobile operators could take various approaches to lower their investment risks such as network sharing or domestic roaming agreements. Considering the huge size of the Chinese market, large scale 5G trials in 2018 will be important indicators for 5G regulatory policy and operators’ strategies in China.

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

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Designing low-power applications for LTE-M and NB-IoT LPWA networks

By Izabela Pronko

1st February 2018
Webinar online

If you’re thinking of deploying a battery or solar operated application or just require very low power for your IoT deployment, this webinar on LTE-M and NB-IoT is for you. Learn the main differences between the cellular LPWAN technologies and the power saving techniques required on both the network and device side to ensure your deployments last for years in the field. We’ll also discuss the merits of going directly to the deep edge to get your data versus relying on a gateway to do the collection.

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