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Aeris & MACH Networks collaborate to offer IoT solutions

By Zenobia Hegde

Aeris, a technology provider in the Internet of Things (IoT), said it has agreed to work with MACH Networks, one of the nation’s providers of last-mile IoT connectivity solutions, to offer 4G long-term evolution (LTE) IoT connectivity solutions for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and enterprises.

The fully managed bundled solutions available from Aeris and MACH Networks include enterprise-class 4G LTE routers, service plans on Aeris’ global IoT network and remote monitoring, management and ongoing technical support.

Aeris offers IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) services for a number of industries, including connected vehicle, telematics, fixed assets, healthcare, wireless point-of-sale and utilities. The Aeris® IoT Services platform provides in-depth visibility and control of devices, assets or sensors, regardless of time, number of assets or location.

The comprehensive Aeris IoT solution, with its suite of features built into the platform, is geared to help companies enhance revenue, create new services and business models and provide them with distinct market differentiation against their competitors.

MACH Networks provides fully-managed 4G LTE connectivity solutions for some of the largest landline carriers in the nation. By collaborating with Aeris, MACH Networks will be able to expand its product portfolio to include fully-managed primary and backup connectivity solutions for IoT across the globe.

It also will enable Aeris’ distribution channel partners to earn monthly recurring commissions selling connectivity solutions for IoT applications, one of the fastest growing segments of the telecommunications industry.

Aeris, in partnership with MACH Networks, will complement its existing IoT services platform with fully managed connectivity solutions for ATMs and kiosks, branch offices, business continuity, digital signage, industrial automation, point-of-sale, plain old telephone service (POTS) replacement, SD-WAN, transportation and video surveillance. Additionally, Aeris will be able to offer this functionality in an OpEx models as a fully managed IoT Solutions-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Don Ochoa, CEO, MACH Networks commented,“MACH Networks welcomes the opportunity to work with Aeris. The global market for machine-to-machine and Internet of Things solutions continue to grow at an unprecedented rate, and collaborating with Aeris represents a tremendous growth opportunity for both companies. We look forward to driving new business via Aeris’ global IoT network.”

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Found: New Android malware with never-before-seen spying capabilities

By Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: portal gda)

Last year, researchers found what at the time was quite possibly the world’s most sophisticated espionage app ever written for the Android mobile operating system. Now, in a discovery that underscores the growing arms race among competing malware developers, researchers have uncovered a new Android spying platform that includes location-based audio recording and other features that have never been seen in the wild before.

According to a report published Tuesday by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab, “Skygofree” is most likely an offensive security product sold by an Italy-based IT company that markets various surveillance wares. With 48 different commands in its latest version, the malware has undergone continuous development since its creation in late 2014. It relies on five separate exploits to gain privileged root access that allows it to bypass key Android security measures. Skygofree is capable of taking pictures, capturing video, and seizing call records, text messages, gelocation data, calendar events, and business-related information stored in device memory.

Skygofree also includes the ability to automatically record conversations and noise when an infected device enters a location specified by the person operating the malware. Another never-before-seen feature is the ability to steal WhatsApp messages by abusing the Android Accessibility Service that’s designed to help users who have disabilities or who may temporarily be unable to fully interact with a device. A third new feature: the ability to connect infected devices to Wi-Fi networks controlled by attackers.

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TiTAN AI Robot uses facial and speech recognition to read your emotions and make suitable recommendations

By Zenobia Hegde

TiTAN AI Robot from TiTAN Platform™, a smart content and device company, not only responds to verbal requests (What’s the weather forecast? Did the Cubs win? Play Bob Dylan! Turn on the house lights!) but also gets visual (showing your calendar for the day, home security cameras, your BFF on a video call,streaming content and more). In addition, it can interpret your moods through facial and speech recognition and will make movie, music and food recommendations accordingly.

Key features include a voice assistant, video and audio streaming, voice calling, app monitoring, search, visual display, and connectivity to smart home “Internet of Things” (IoT) solutions such as digitally controlled lights, thermostat and home security systems. The device also includes a swivel base that allows it to follow user movement and offers multiple colour designs for personalisation.

In addition, the TiTAN AI Robot can be used to access and control the company’s new TiTAN Core all-in-one smart home and entertainment hubs. These whole-house gateways enable consumers to manage smart home systems as well as retrieve videos, music, podcasts, e-books, games, VR and other digital content from a single device for the first time, bringing never-before-possible simplicity to the connected home.

“TiTAN AI is helping us rethink how we use devices through smart interaction,” said Brian Eble, president/CMO, Titan Platform US. “The ability of the Titan AI to understand our moods and behaviours is a real game changer in the industry, providing recommendations on music, movies, devices and more to reflect our current lifestyle.”

TiTAN AI Robot will be available at shop.titanplatform.us and at select retailers in Q2 2018.

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Five ways remote access will transform everything from cashpoints to living rooms

By Zenobia Hegde

As a digital economy breaks down boundaries between industries, supply chains, employees and customers, we will see new remote access technology creating interconnectivity between companies, workers and consumers in 2018. Company support staff will be able to ‘remote in’ to cars and set-top boxes, delivering connected customer support across millions of IoT devices from the road to the living room. Workers will increasingly ‘remote into’ devices in other departments, divisions or training centres, creating cross-departmental collaboration, learning and oversight, says Adam Byrne, COO at RealVNC.

Future remote access technology will even enable remote human intervention in vehicles, creating interconnected transport ecosystems where everyone from technicians to fleet managers can ‘remote in’ to cars to fix faults, warn drivers, reduce emissions or even view police car chases in real-time from any location.

Below RealVNC outlines five ways remote access is set to transform our lives:

Bank managers will help you from within cashpoints

2018 will see the transformation of the cashpoint into a smart, all-seeing, all-doing ‘bank in a box’ that enable people to obtain audio or video support from bank managers, deposit coins and even make ‘cardless’ withdrawals without ever entering a branch.

The key will be the creation of ‘smart’ cashpoints that replicate bank branches, by using the remote access technology that IT help desks use to allow bank staff to ‘log in’ to ATMs and guide customers through transactions in real-time. Crucially, banks will be able to see inside the ATM and fix faults or remotely update and even upgrade cashpoints from any location.

Banks are particularly sensitive to the loss of an older customer demographic because these are also the wealthiest customers and they are the most resistant to automation and branch closures due to the loss of human interaction. Financial institutions face the dilemma of ensuring that branch closures do not impact a lucrative market segment that attaches considerable importance to customer service and human interaction. Remote access technology will now enable banks to automate services without losing the human touch.

Trainees and support staff will be able to ‘remote in’ to training centres and even living rooms

As the digital economy increasingly pulls down the barriers between geographies, sectors and people, we will begin to see companies and consumers using remote access technology to deliver real-time, remote customer support inside everything from data centres to living rooms.

Already, some pioneering enterprises are reaching out into customer homes by enabling staff to ‘remote in’ to TV set-top boxes and deliver real-time customer support from any location. Other companies are conversely allowing customers to ‘log in’ to training servers in other countries and receive virtual training from any location in the world.

The same is happening for workers. Some enterprises will allow real-time interconnectivity between tens of thousands of employee devices by enabling employees to ‘remote into’ everything from ‘smartboards’ to tablets across departments in real-time, creating cross-sector training and collaboration and allowing companies to oversee and enforce policies from anywhere, on the move.

Vehicle fleets will be remote-controlled

The combination of remote access technology and live telematics data means […]

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Automotive consumers can now stream content in the car through a brought-in device, says Strategy Analytics

By Zenobia Hegde

While in the car, passengers and drivers are consuming infotainment in new ways. Rather than embedded devices and services, automotive consumers are increasingly reliant on a myriad of portable, connected, and streaming sources.

A new report from the In-vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics “Strong Shift Towards Brought-In and Streamed Content for Rear Seat Entertainment”, surveying consumers in the US, Western Europe and China regarding their interest in and willingness to pay for rear-seat entertainment systems, has found that this trend has now fully extended to rear-seat entertainment.

In key demographics, the majority of consumers are no longer interested in disc players, but rather ports which will allow them to stream content in the car through a brought-in device or dedicated service.

Click here for report.

Key report findings include:

Consumer interest in rear-seat entertainment has remained consistent in Western Europe and China since 2015.
Of those consumers interested, a there has been a dramatic shift from DVD and/or Blu-Ray players to preference for tablet docking stations and streaming video.
Willingness to pay for rear-seat entertainment systems is modest across all reasonable price points in all regions.

Monica Wong

Monica Wong, report author commented, “One key question product line managers must address in the short term is how this trend will affect desirability for dedicated screens. Although these systems were tremendous value-additions for many years, and will remain so for the immediate future, consumers’ expectations for rear-seat entertainment no longer require a dedicated seat-back screen.”

Added Chris Schreiner, director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “Though screens will remain desirable for the near term, the ability to stow or hide them will become increasingly important as well; particularly if smart surfaces become capable of accomplishing the same task.”

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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.

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Optoma Lights Up CES with First Alexa-Enabled Home Theater Projector

By IoT – Internet of Things

Optoma, a world-leading manufacturer of video and audio products, is taking CES 2018 by storm with the first Alexa-enabled home theater projector. As smart home and IoT adoption and integration gain momentum, home theater enthusiasts now have the ability to integrate large-screen video into their Alexa ecosystem, tying in with speakers, lighting and more. With […]

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DTS Play-Fi announces wireless speakers to support Works with Amazon Alexa

By Zenobia Hegde

DTS, a global provider in high-definition audio solutions and a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation, is pleased to announce the first DTS Play-Fi®-enabled wireless speakers to support the Works with Amazon Alexa functionality.

Initial products supported include the Pioneer Elite Smart Speaker F4, Onkyo Smart Speaker P3 and the Phorus PS10. Additional DTS Play-Fi-enabled products, including the Klipsch Stream wireless multi-room audio lineup, as well as McIntosh Laboratories, MartinLogan and THIEL Audio, will add the capability by the end of Q1 2018.

Available via a Works with Amazon Alexa over-the-air firmware update, consumers can now control audio playback on select DTS Play-Fi products from another room using an Amazon Echo, Dot or Show. This functionality allows users to verbally ask Alexa to play a song in a specific room, groups of rooms or the whole house, adjust volume, skip the track forward, mute, pause and stop the music.

“We continue to expand our range of Alexa voice control solutions available to licensees, making DTS Play-Fi the first open wireless multi-room audio platform to offer both integrated Alexa Voice Services (AVS) and Works with Amazon Alexa,” said Dannie Lau, general manager, DTS Play-Fi, at Xperi. “We look forward to continuing to forge a strong relationship with Amazon, the most widely recognized and adopted voice service on the market.”

“We’re thrilled to offer the Pioneer Elite Smart Speaker F4 and Onkyo Smart Speaker P3 as the first speakers in the DTS Play-Fi ecosystem that can be controlled via Amazon Alexa,” Nobuaki Okuda, director and CTO, Onkyo Corporation and president, Onkyo and Pioneer Technology Corporation. “With this update, consumers can not only control their whole-home music system using their voice with our speakers, but using a third party voice control product as well.”

DTS Play-Fi technology enables lossless multi-room wireless audio streaming from the world’s most popular music services including Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Juke, KKBox, Napster, Pandora, Qobuz, QQ Music, SiriusXM, Spotify and TIDAL, thousands of Internet radio stations, as well as personal music libraries, on any supported product. In addition, DTS Play-Fi features advance streaming functionality like wireless surround sound, stereo pairing, music station presets, and audio/video synchronisation.

The DTS Play-Fi ecosystem features the largest collection of products in the whole-home wireless audio space, with more than 200 interoperable speakers, sound bars, set-top boxes, and A/V receivers from the top names in premium audio including Aerix, Anthem, Arcam, Definitive Technology, DISH TV, Elite, Integra, Fusion Research, Klipsch, MartinLogan, McIntosh, Onkyo, Paradigm, Phorus, Pioneer, Polk Audio, Rotel, Sonus faber, Soundcast, SVS Sound, THIEL Audio and Wren Sound.

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