Ring’s founder steps down as CEO: Jamie Siminoff, the founder of Ring, which was purchased five years ago by Amazon, is stepping down as the CEO of the business to become a chief inventor. He will be replaced by Elizabeth Hamren, the chief operating officer at Discord, who was a former Meta and Microsoft executive. The transition takes place March 22. It’s a bittersweet thing to say goodbye to Siminoff, who I’ve known for almost a decade. From going on SharkTank to hawk the DoorBot and getting passed over, to meeting Richard Branson in an elevator and pitching his idea, Siminoff is the quintessential founder. He had an idea, and then continued to build on it. Hearing him pitch his idea for a “ring of security” around your home and neighborhood was exciting because he was so excited. And like most founders, he could sell that vision even in the face of reporters and experts pointing out the inherent flaws. After the Amazon acquisition Siminoff helped develop the plans for what became the Amazon Sidewalk Network in another feat of entrepreneurial vision. And yes, I’m aware of the flaws associated with Ring in particular and video doorbells in general, but video doorbells are now everywhere and Siminoff managed to define the product even if he wasn’t the first or only person wandering around in 2012 pitching a camera on a doorbell. So I hope he actually keeps inventing, because to me, this move signals that connected video doorbells and connected security are pretty much so mainstream that they are boring. Siminoff isn’t the guy to run an established business. He’s a guy who builds something new and sells it to the rest of us. (Ring)
Here’s an update on the Zephyr RTOS: There are dozens of real-time operating systems (RTOSes) used in embedded computing, so it’s no joke when we discuss fragmentation and the challenges that presents for software developers trying to build IoT devices. One of the rising stars of the RTOS world is Zephyr, which has been gaining big-name supporters such as T-Mobile, Meta, NXP, and Google. And now we have an update noting that three new members have joined the Linux Foundation’s Zephyr Project: Blues Wireless, IRNAS, and Sternum. As part of the update, the Zephyr Project also notes that it’s in use on more than 450 different boards that use a vast range of instructions sets, from ARM to RISC-V. (Embedded)
What’s next for microcontrollers? As a chip nerd and an IoT nerd, this story was tailor-made for me. It asks what’s next for the microcontroller, which has historically been a low-performance chip used in embedded computing. However, over the last decade, as the IoT has expanded and computing has once again become more niche, microcontrollers have widened their scope and can range from 8-bit (are these still in use?) to multicore gigahertz behemoths. This story asks where the once-humble microcontroller is heading, and the answers are not surprising. The big investments are in lowering power consumption, adding cores dedicated to machine learning, and a focus on microprocessors (MPUs) as opposed to microcontrollers (MCUs). And if you’re wondering what an MPU is, it’s a more complex chip that runs its own OS (as opposed to an RTOS) and can handle more advanced software and peripherals. (EETimes)
Citizen science meets the IoT: One of the things I think is so compelling about the internet of things is that the democratization of computing and sensors means that anyone can participate in gathering data and sharing it. This is huge for citizen science, whether it is an organization trying to measure the temperature in various parts of a city or a global effort to track earthquakes. This story focuses on folks using a Raspberry Pi and seismology sensors to track the Earth’s movement, and is so cool. I actually think my mom, who was a geophysicist, might enjoy getting a Raspberry Shake sensor as a present. Note that these are still pretty pricey, ranging from $175 to $800 depending on the configuration. Citizen science is cheaper, but it isn’t always cheap. (Tempest News)
More info on a pretty awesome presence detection sensor: At CES this year, we were excited to learn about a new presence sensor from Aqara that would use millimeter-wave sensing as opposed to infrared, making it more accurate. The Verge has seen specs from the sale of the sensor in China, and shared more information on its capabilities. They are pretty compelling. The sensor can track up to three people in a room and can also track if they are sitting, standing, or lying down. This information will be invaluable in providing more context to a smart home’s “brains” when it comes to automations. For example, if someone is lying down in a room when another person enters it standing, the smart home may decide not to turn on the lights so as to avoid waking the person lying down. For more info, including cost, check out the story. (The Verge)
Yes, cars are computers now: Mercedes-Benz previewed its own operating system for applications running on its cars last month, and is planning to roll it out next year in its new E-Class vehicle. The MB.OS will sit between the hardware and all of the vehicle software and manage entertainment, dashboards, and automated driving features. I understand why Mercedes wants to control its own destiny and own its OS, but it’s going to fragment the world of computing even more. I am curious if we’ll see the development of startups building containers that integrate easily with vehicle OSes. Or maybe Platforms as a Service designed to handle apps for cars? (Car and Driver)
Hologram is bringing fallback capabilities to its new SIM: Hologram, a connectivity provider for the IoT, has launched a new global eUICC SIM that will connect devices to carriers in the U.S. and Canada, and will also offer fallback capability. That means if the device loses its initial connection, it will fall back to a second, pre-selected network. This turns the concept of roaming into a thing of the past, because manufacturers can choose direct connections with carriers using Hologram, and if those fail, the device can switch to a different network. This is the power of SIMs that aren’t tied to a specific carrier, and also indicative of the importance of connectivity. Because it’s increasingly not OK to have a blip in your internet connection. (IoT Business News)
Unabiz’s unified LPWAN is coming into view: After Unabiz won control of Sigfox’s assets, it promised to create a unified low power wide area network (LPWAN) business that combined LoRaWAN and Sigfox’s proprietary technology. That vision is coming into view at Mobile World Congress with Unabiz signing a deal to bring in The Things Industries LoRaWAN software and devices into it’s Unabiz platform. Unabiz has also launched devices that combine LoRaWAN and NB-IoT cellular connectivity with other companies. It’s clear that so far there isn’t one LPWAN to unite them all, so Unabiz is instead trying to unite multiple connectivity options under its platform. (RCR Wireless)
Semtech is also buying into a unified LPWAN: Also at Mobile World Congress, Semtech, the LoRa chip provider which just closed a deal to buy cellular IoT module maker Sierra Wireless, signed a deal with The Things Industries to combine LoRaWAN and cellular LPWANs. The next step for many of these unified LPWAN companies will be adding satellite connectivity as well. (RCR Wireless)
Rockwell Automation buys Knowledge Lens for data analytics expertise: Industrial automation and equipment company Rockwell Automation said it has acquired Knowledge Lens, a Bengaluru, India services company. Knowledge Lens deals with data science and AI, helping customers combine data from enterprise applications and manufacturing data to generate some kind of business insight. Since figuring out what to do with data is tough, data services are an essential element for any company that wants to sell connected factory equipment and software. Knowledge Lens will join Rockwell’s Kalypso digital services business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Rockwell Automation)
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