Sigfox is in receivership: Low-Power Wide-Area Network provider Sigfox has filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has six months to find a new owner or financing. The French company started over a decade ago with a proprietary solution to send small amounts of data at a low cost for the Internet of Things. It found customers in Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia, but never made inroads into North or South America. The company blames COVID-19 and the chip shortage for its financial challenges, but I think its biggest problem is that it’s very hard to build a network. Companies have to invest upfront in providing the coverage and convince other businesses to build radios and devices that run on the network. This is a very hard sell, especially if coverage is sporadic or ad hoc. Another challenge for IoT networks is that users don’t want to pay high prices for modules or connectivity fees to connect what can be essentially low-value devices. I’ll be writing more about Sigfox next week, but for now, Sigfox’s challenges mean those building other IoT networks, such as LoRaWAN or NB-IoT, should double down on getting coverage. (La Tribune)
AccuWeather has acquired Plume Labs: Weather data provider AccuWeather has acquired a Parisian company called Plume Labs for an undisclosed amount. AccuWeather had been working with Plume for the last year using Plume’s outdoor air quality monitoring sensors to generate forecast data. The deal is interesting mostly because it shows how important owning your own sensors can be, especially if you are a company providing insights based on that sensor data. Having access to the ability to calibrate and deeply understand where the data is coming from can help drive more accurate insights. This is especially important in a lucrative data field such as weather. It’s also a commentary on how important indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring is, especially as climate change becomes more prevalent. (AccuWeather)
ML on the edge to detect Alzheimer’s: A speech recognition company called Canary Speech is working with chip maker Syntiant to put an algorithm on a chip that parses speech to detect Alzheimer’s. Canary says its system is 92.5% accurate in detecting early-onset Alzheimer’s based on how a person’s speech patterns change. Canary has been offering its detection algorithm in the cloud, but this deal brings the application to the chip, which means it stays local. This is especially important for health use cases because it enhances the user’s privacy. Canary is not the only company trying to detect diseases using speech; other efforts include algorithms that can detect depression and Parkinson’s. (IEEE Spectrum)
Mirai is still out there, and it’s going after the IoT: Researchers from threat intelligence group Intel 471 have documented continued use of the Mirai botnet codebase being used to attack connected devices over the past two years. And they expect the use of that botnet to continue in the coming year, especially against connected devices. The larger attack surface of relatively insecure devices, and the ability to profit off such attacks, are driving the use of Mirai against connected devices. The Intel 471 researchers are also concerned that ransomware attacks against IoT devices might be next. (Dark Reading)
Does your company follow California’s consumer privacy act requirements? Data from Cytrio, a data privacy compliance company, shows that only 11% of companies fully meet California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, requirements. Cytrio studied 5,175 U.S. companies with revenue between $25 million and $5 billion. Its research also showed that 44% of companies aren’t providing any mechanism for consumers to exercise their data rights, which includes asking companies to delete their data and trying to correct inaccurate data. As a caveat, Cytrio was looking for companies that have some sort of software that helps manage data subject access requests, which are required by the legislation. The survey found that consumer services, media, and hospitality were the industries most likely to have a management system able to handle such data requests. While this lack of attention to privacy law isn’t surprising, it is disappointing. (Cytrio)
Honeywell invests in RapidSOS for bringing smart home data to first responders: Honeywell, a maker of professional security alarm and building systems, has made a strategic investment in startup RapidSOS, which provides a framework and software to pull data from connected building sensors and share that with first responders in an emergency. For example, if a building is on fire, having access to camera or motion sensor data to understand where people might be in a burning building could be incredibly helpful. Even just knowing that a building is empty would be helpful. RapidSOS is trying to provide this sort of data to more than 5,000 emergency response centers that it already counts as customers, while partnerships with Honeywell and other building sensor and smart device companies will help broaden the type of data RapidSOS can share. (Honeywell)
Helium has signed a partnership to start roaming in Canada: Helium, the distributed, peer-to-peer LoRaWAN network, has signed a roaming agreement with X-Telia. This is one of a few recent deals designed to expand Helium’s network coverage. It signed another roaming agreement late last year, with Senet. As the Sigfox challenges show, coverage and low cost are everything in IoT networks, so expect more of these deals to join previously separate networks together where technically feasible. (Helium)
Great work as always Stacey, I’m following Helium and your IoT stories closely!
Would you mind if I shared this post on my blog, in particular extracts about Sigfox & Helium, highlighting the relevance between them? Credit to be given to you of course! 🙂
Stacey Higginbotham says
You can link to my posts, but please don’t copy them in full.