Sierra Wireless is behind thousands of connected air compressors: The internet of things is filled with fairly esoteric things that have introduced me to entire new worlds of equipment. I’ve written about connected centrifuges, connected steam traps, and now, connected air compressors. In this case, the machines are made by Atlas Copco. According to Jason Krause of Sierra Wireless, Atlas Copco has been working with that company for the last five years to bring hundreds of thousands of its machines online. Krause says the machines have generated a positive return for Atlas, which is using the connectivity to anticipate machine breakdowns and also to help customers reduce energy usage associated with their compressors.
Dell and Microsoft double down on jargon: Y’all, I am so excited to offer you this sentence: “Dell Technologies and Microsoft are collaborating to deliver a joint Internet of Things (IoT) solution designed to help vertical customers simplify deploying their end-to-end IoT solutions, from the edge to the cloud.” It comes from a press release issued this week out of Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas. If you’re wondering what it means, let me help. Dell hardware will run Microsoft’s software to tie Dell gateway machines back to Microsoft’s Azure IoT Cloud. Customers can manage their Azure edge and cloud implementations using VMware’s IoT products. Put that way, it’s kind of boring, but a necessary step in helping customers create complex IoT use cases without too much specialized knowledge. (Dell)
Ericsson’s 5G trials prove it’s good for real-time data: I meant to include this one in last week’s issue, but even though it’s a bit old, it’s too good to neglect. Ericsson performed 5G tests that showed 1 millisecond latency in factory settings, meaning that cellular 5G wireless might be a viable option for some factory automation and controls. Today those processes are either wired or wireless using a proprietary standard. During the Ericsson test case, 5G networks were used to receive feedback from a milling machine that was making a blade integrated disk (blisk) for airline engines. The latency was so low that the machines making the “blisk” could react to measurements taken during the manufacturing process to make the blisk more efficiently. The 5G-enabled blisk case alone can save approximately EUR 27 million ($32.3 million) for a single factory, according to the latest Ericsson Consumer and Industry Lab Business Value Report. From a sustainability perspective, CO2 emissions from both the production of the blisk and their operation in jet engines can be reduced by some 16 million tons annually on a global basis. (Ericsson)
Another IoT shut down: I suppose this isn’t surprising, but Hiku, a connected magnet that recorded your voice or used scanned bar codes to create a shareable grocery list is shutting down. I had tried the device a while back, and found that it worked, although my husband (and our chief grocery shopper) didn’t love it enough to change the way he currently shopped or meal planned. The Hiku service will shut down at the end of May making the device inoperable. The company’s email to subscribers indicates that it couldn’t raise more money or create a business model that allowed it to continue operating the 6-year-old service. If you bought a Hiku in the last 30 days the company will refund your money, but all else are out of luck. It’s not a surprise, but it is sad.
Google wants to fund assistant tech: Like Amazon with its Alexa Fund or any number of other tech giants trying to build an ecosystem of companies to provide services, Google has created a fund for those that aim to build skills and tools to help others build skills on the Google platform. So far the fund has made four investments, as detailed in the linked article. (GeekWire)
One of the earlier IoT platforms gets scooped up: The parent company of Carriots, which launched in 2012 to help folks build connected devices, has been purchased by Altair. The provider of simulation technology is hoping that the purchase will boost its ability to offer customers services associated with digital twins of their machines. A digital twin is a digital simulation of a physical device that is fed sensor data from the physical device. That sensor data gets applied to the digital twin so manufacturers can understand how various stresses or environments will affect the physical machine. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Altair)
ARM launches new secure IoT IP: ARM, the chip design firm behind a lot of the silicon in the connected world, has created a new set of designs with security in mind. The Arm Cortex-M35P adds elements that help secure many higher-level processors from physical attacks to microcontrollers, the chips you find inside appliances and wearables. ARM’s focus here is on preventing attacks that result from someone having physical access to a device, since with that access they might try to change the software or override controls that prevent tampering. That’s the focus of the new designs. Which makes sense, given that we’re increasingly adding computers to devices that are at large in the physical world as opposed to being locked up in a data center or server closet. (ARM)
The company supplying robots to make Peeps raises $20 million: Soft Robotics, a company that makes pick-and-place robots specifically designed to handle delicate items such as food, has raised $20 million. The company’s robots are already in use in warehouses and manufacturing lines in the food industry, but with Honeywell as an investor in the new round, it might find use cases in other industrial settings. (TechCrunch)
New smart home security company launches: Minim, which is using device fingerprinting to secure devices in the home and office, has raised $2.5 million and launched. The company’s software — which lives on the router — basically looks at the devices on a network and determines if they are behaving properly. Eventually the company plans to open-source it. This is a common approach to the problem of IoT device security, so it seems like Minim will have plenty of competition. (Minim)
The FDA paves the way for companies to use software in medicine: This Twitter thread offers a good explainer of a very cool proposal that could leave to better apps and even using AI in medicine. Basically the FDA recognizes that software is an essential component to medical devices now, so they need to get with the times. (Twitter)
Here are two stories about privacy worth a read: One at Five Thirty-Eightdiscusses the “privacy of the commons,” whereby once someone you know gives up their privacy it risks your own. The other at Motherboard asks for a consumer uprising against the increasingly dystopian privacy atmosphere that we currently live in. (Five Thirty-Eight, Motherboard)