5G is real! This week the wireless industry took a big step forward in preparing for 5G. The cellular radio standards organization, 3GPP ratified the Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) specification for what will form the basis of commercial 5G products working on cellular networks. The standard isn’t totally complete, but this covers the radio access network with the rest set to become a standard by mid-2018. (Fierce Wireless)
Wait, why 5G? The cellular industry now has a standard for 5G, but it’s not clear if it has a business case for mobile. Several executives at large cellular carriers have questioned the need for network upgrades and cautioned that it might make networks more efficient, but it won’t allow carriers to offer services that will translate into greater revenue. So while margins might improve, sales may not. And because network upgrades are expensive, analysts and executives are concerned about the rush to 5G. (Bloomberg)
More bad news for telcos: While carriers hold the key to broadband infrastructure, they have failed in their efforts to move beyond providing a dumb pipe. This article argues that one reason for this is their failure to recognize cuckoo platforms that grow beyond the platform and cannibalize its opportunities. The writer sees this happening again when it comes to offering edge computing services. Telcos think they can become a version of AWS at the edge, while Amazon is also building similar tools and is likely better positioned to succeed because it already is its own anchor tenant. (Disruptive Wireless)
The OCF is back with Samsung certification: Last year Intel’s IoT standards-setting effort merged with Qualcomm’s standards-setting effort to create the Open Connectivity Foundation. The two groups spent a lot of time this past year merging their respective code to try to build a framework for connected devices. After months of relative silence, Samsung says it won Open Connectivity Foundation 1.3 certification for its ARTIK 05x series of modules.
Ooma just bought Butterfleye: Ooma, the VoIP provider, has turned into a home automation and security provider this year. Now it’s doubling down with the purchase of Butterfleye, which makes an IP video camera that has a host of cool features. Those features include facial recognition and thermal sensors, which made it relatively unique when it launched back in 2016. However, as competition in the smart home device market has risen, companies have been seeking buyers or shutting down. Ooma may have been a savior. (TechCrunch)
A hack shut down a plant: Malware shut down the safety system of an unnamed power plant as part of a sophisticated attack believed to have been undertaken by a nation-state. The attack, dubbed Triton, targeted a Schneider Electric controller to attempt to re-program the device. Instead the attack ended up triggering a plant shutdown as opposed to causing damage or a loss of life. (FireEye)
Check out this privacy app for iPhones: CMU researcher Yuvraj Agarwal has built a privacy app for iOS devices (specifically jailbroken iPhones). The idea is the app sits between the OS and the app, which Apple would never condone, and offers recommendations based on the permissions the app seeks. If Protect My Privacy can’t see why an app wants your contacts, for example, it will let the user choose to ignore, offer fake contacts or to carry on anyhow. It’s a powerful reminder of apps overreaching for your data, delivered in a non-utilitarian package. I want this functionality to extend to data collected by all of my devices. (PMP)
A way to think about competition in the data economy: One of the side effects of bringing computing and data to more places and making our user interactions more intuitive is we lose the ability to make informed choices. Instead, technology can influence us in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. Additionally the aggregation of user data can act as an effective moat against competition, which may lead to anticompetitive behavior. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and apparently so has the author of this piece. I recommend it as a way to dig into the issue of competition in a tech era. (Law and Political Economy)
Silicon Labs now has Z-wave: So I apparently missed this two weeks ago when Silicon Labs said it would pay $282 million for Z-wave radio maker Sigma Designs. However, the deal is worth a look because now Silicon Labs can design for all of the underlying radios for the internet of things. Even more interesting, it’s starting to move up the stack with software platforms that can provide more functionality on top of the radios, such as its purchase of Zentri, which offers software that manages Wi-Fi networks in the cloud. As radios become more of a commodity as the chip market consolidates, Silicon Lab’s efforts may become the only way to keep margins up. (Silicon Labs)
I really enjoyed this article from André Staltz.