Come say hi! I’ll be at the Target Open House on Nov. 30 to talk about building an IoT business model with Rob Martens of Schlage, Adam Sager of Canary and Rob Vella of Hive. The event is free and we’re going to explore controversial topics such as when and why to brick a device, how to calculate the costs of a connected product over time and how to establish policies around support that work for both consumers and the business. Register here.
Amazon’s Key system has already been hacked: The newly launched combination of a door lock and an Amazon security system that lets Amazon delivery drivers unlock your door to place packages inside your home has been hacked. Researchers showed how a driver with a laptop or a Raspberry Pi could issue an attack against the home’s Wi-Fi network that would force the Amazon camera offline. Once offline the camera shows a user in the Amazon Cloud Cam app the last frame it saw (the driver presumably would make sure that image is the closed door) while in the real world the door could be open and the home robbed. Amazon plans to address the vulnerability by updating the app to notify the user when the camera goes offline. Amazon is willing to guarantee its service for now, but I’m curious what the eventual losses might be and how insurers feel about a homeowner making it somewhat easier to steal items from their home. The takeaway here isn’t that this system could be hacked, but that if we want to offer new services based on connected devices, companies may need to involve insurance firms to ensure their success. (Wired)
This isn’t the right model for connected clothes and shoes: Every tech company out there wants to develop a platform, which is why there are so many companies trying to make smart clothing, as opposed to companies designing basic commodity tech that goes into mass produced apparel. I used to hope that the reference-design approach would win out because it would make the tech cheaper and focus more on fashion while hopefully creating something that interoperates. However, that’s not happening, and even if it did we’d probably still be stuck downloading apps from our favorite brands to get the information we want. That’s why a company called Sensoria that has developed sensor-infused fabric is moving from making smart socks to making smart sneakers. The sneakers will offer detailed analytics on the wearer’s running stride. I wish this was tech they had instead licensed to Nike and Adidas. Maybe one day. (Gadgets and Wearables)
The Apple Watch can now diagnose sleep apnea: I am glad to see third-party testing of the efficacy of wearable devices that track heart rate, activity and sleep. I do wish that these tests would go beyond the Apple Watch and test other wearables and their respective algorithms. The survey designer says most of these devices have the same underlying hardware, but the algorithms used to detect these conditions matter too. (TechCrunch)
The IoT can turn a nudge into a shove: This week’s big health news was the FDA approval of a pill that contains a sensor that can share data on when the medicine In the pill was taken. The first drug inside the pill is an antipsychotic, and patients are able to opt into the program offering the digital pill. The patient has the ability to control who sees the data and they can revoke that data sharing at any time. The idea behind such pills is to ensure that people take the right amount of medicine at the right time. Non-adherence to prescriptions is a huge problem that can cost the healthcare system billions. However, as this type of technology becomes more commonplace it’s easy to see that insurance companies might want to cut their costs by getting consumers to use a digital pill to ensure compliance. Or a school might demand certain students take ADHD drugs and and offer proof that they have as part of a probation process. What’s opt-in today may not be opt-in in the future. (The New York Times)
This is a good take on 5G: The coming wireless standard known as 5G is mostly a bunch of tech jargon wrapped in marketing fluff. There are some real technical innovations happening within the rubric of 5G, but they are often occluded. The big tech innovations will be figuring out how to use spectrum that was previously underused and the ability to set specific technical parameters for different use cases. However, as this discussion points out, 5G means very little and the telcos have done nothing to help customers understand how to make it work for them. This lack of clarity is opening up an opportunity for other companies to take the 5G mantle and disrupt the existing telecoms ecosystem. I’d say it’s about time. (Martin Geddes)
Meanwhile BT’s CEO doesn’t see a business case for 5G anytime soon: Even though the 5G hype is a big part of the internet of things (oh the connectivity it will bring!) the current connectivity we have is enough for now according to BT’s CEO. Because 5G will involve upgrade costs and may offer new business models, the telcos aren’t crazy about pursuing it aggressively while they still try to recoup their investments in 4G. This is rational, yet it also ignores the innovations that companies like Facebook and Google have brought to the telco industry and how those firms might use their tech chops to undercut the carriers while they dither. (Telecoms.com)
Meanwhile, at the other end of the connectivity spectrum: Senet, one of the large LoRA low power wide area network providers has built a physical network for IoT devices that covers 50 million people and 255 cities. LoRa is ideal for the internet of things because it offers low data rates at low power over a very long range. It’s also proving useful for creating private networks inside corporate campuses and warehouses. Senet wants to take it nationwide though, by created a virtual LoRa network. Something like this could help make LoRa more competitive than the carriers’ own low power wide area network offerings, which use NB-IoT or LTE-M.(Light Reading)
A security firm is using FaceID for authentication: Wow, Apple just launched another successful biometric technology with Face ID. Duo, a security provider, has decided it is comfortable enough with the security behind FaceID that it will let clients use it as a second form of authentication. (Duo Security)
Bosch has a lot of data! The Economist has a nice profile on Bosch, one of the better and more aggressive companies focused on the internet of things. I like its approach because it’s well aware of the disruption caused by connected tech and it is actively reorganizing its business to face the disruption. Plus it makes a lot of things, from components in cars to dishwashers. And that breadth gives it a ton of information; the article says it “hosts” over 100,000 terabytes annually. (The Economist)
Not sure how to organize an IoT effort? The Eclipse Foundation has a project for that. The Foundation has released Eclipse Duttile, which isn’t a technology, but rather a methodology for building out an IoT project. It covers the process, which is actually where a lot of companies get bogged down, even before the tech challenges appear. (Eclipse Foundation)
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