Because we had sun in PNW I went on a hike and forgot to publish the news last week, so here it is.
Johnson Controls and Accenture team up for smart buildings: This week Johnson Controls said it would work with Accenture to operate two new buildings under Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue innovation concept, and said it would acquire a startup focused on network security. OpenBlue is Johnson Controls’ suite of smart building software. The software suite is part of an overall trend toward integrating IT and building OT together optimizing for sustainability and, in the wake of COVID, health and occupancy. But when you connect IT and OT you need more robust security because you’re putting critical infrastructure online. Thus, the announced acquisition of Tempered Networks, a Seattle company that provides network-based security for edge devices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Fierce Electronics)
Leviton now has a slick, customized HomeKit switch: Leviton has produced some nice smart home switches lately, and its latest is a HomeKit compatible wired switch that also comes with four custom scene buttons. The Decora Smart Wi-Fi 2nd Gen Scene Controller Switch has four buttons and the top three are programmable with HomeKit or the Leviton app. The switch costs $83, and you can order them with custom etching for the programmable scenes if you plan ahead. Because the switch works with Wi-Fi, you won’t need a hub. (9to5Mac)
Amazon builds an autonomous warehouse robot: Meet Proteus. It looks like a giant Roomba, but it’s Amazon’s first autonomous warehouse robot capable of picking up movable carts and moving them around the space. This is also Amazon’s first cobot designed to be safe working around humans thanks to a sensor array designed to turn the robot off when people step into its path. Is the first step to replacing humans in the warehouse? Amazon says no and I tend to believe it. But I do worry that more robots simply make the resulting jobs for humans less human friendly. (The Verge)
In AWS news, Amazon’s IoT security software is now available for everyone: Amazon ExpressLink, a software that runs on modules and secures links from the chips to Amazon’s cloud, is now generally available after its launch at Re:Invent in November. The software runs on the hardware modules from companies such as Espressif, u-blox and other Amazon partners, and adds security best practices such as having signed certificates on device, using encryption to protect data on device and as it travels to the cloud, and more. By using the modules running ExpressLink, companies can keep their existing hardware on their devices and simply use the wireless radio modules plus ExpressLink software to add that layer of security and connectivity to existing devices. When it was launched I received several excited emails from device makers who thought the service would become very popular. (AWS)
European industrial IoT platform gets funding: Aloxy, a Belgian industrial IoT platform provider, has raised €3.8M ($4 million). Aloxy was founded in 2018 and is a spin-off of chip manufacturing research group imec and the University of Antwerp. It develops modular IoT hardware and software to monitor valves and machinery in the chemical and oil and gas refining industry. (SiliconCanals)
Espressif has made a dual-band Wi-Fi chip that uses the RISC-V instruction set: Espressif, the designer of several popular IoT chips that used the Tensilica architecture, has released the ESP32-C5, which uses the RISC-V instruction set. This is the second RISC-V system on a chip that uses the RISC-V architecture, and Espressif has confirmed it plans to continue using the open source instruction set going forward. Espressif has gained a lot of attention in the IoT for cheap, capable chips and its ESP32 and ESP8266 can be found in a host of products. This system on a chip, if it continues with the cheap pricing could become a big deal for smart home gear since it supports BLE and dual-band Wi-Fi. (Espressif)
Hologram laid off 80 employees this month: Hologram, which this week launched a new dashboard feature for its IoT connectivity service, laid off about 40% of its workforce in preparation for the tech recession. A local business paper reported the layoffs of 80 employees, which mimics other layoffs by venture funded companies as they prepare for a downturn. Hologram raised $65 million in August last year and does have customers using its cellular services for their devices. But if I were in its shoes, I’d worry about how many of those customers are also venture-backed startups that might need to retrench. (Crain’s Chicago Business)
1NCE has grown its flat-rate IoT network to 140 countries: !NCE another IoT connectivity provider offering access to cellular for a simple rate and across many countries under one eSIM says it now has service in 140 countries after adding the U.S., Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Slovak Republic, Sweden and Taiwan. 1NCE charges $1 per a year per device for 500 MB of data and 250 SMS messages. (1NCE)
Foundries.io has scored some big name customers (and some cool ones): Foundries.io, a startup that is trying to provide what I think of as an OS layer for IoT security, has seen revenue growth of 30%in the last quarter according to its CEO George Grey. In an update from Embedded World, Grey shared that the startup has signed Schneider Electric as client as well as a robot vacuum company, and unu, the maker of an adorable electric scooter. I still love the concept behind Foundries.io’s security model and am excited to see it in more places. (Foundries.io)
Jerry Single says
No comment about Insteon one or two year license?
Stacey Higginbotham says
I didn’t see it in time for last week’s news, but we will discuss on the podcast.
Gregg Levine says
Well that is good news regarding AWS. As for the ones from Espressif I still find using their ESP8266 ones difficult, and their ESP32 (regulars) also difficult.