Samsung takes steps toward making its IoT vision real: In 2015 I sat in a CES hall listening to the head of Samsung describe his vision of a connected world where all devices worked together. This was after Samsung had purchased SmartThings, which also had pledged to be open and interoperable for all of the expected connected devices out there. Almost three years later much of Samsung’s vision is coming to pass. At its developer event this week the company unveiled plans to link Samsung Connect, the SmartThings home hub, and its ARTIK cloud connection service to the new platform it has built for SmartThings. It will be called SmartThings Cloud, and it should function as a one-stop shop for tying connected devices together. ARTIK’s connections are awesome ways to link two different IoT services or products together, while SmartThings has built an app-layer that allows consumers to build experiences (schedules, recipes) for connected devices. It also unveiled a newer version of its Bixby voice service and said it would put Bixby in more places. But if Bixby isn’t your thing, the SmartThings Cloud does have a link to Alexa.
Qualcomm tests its first 5G modem chip: As our dependence on wireless speeds and coverage grows, we need more efficient ways to deliver data over the airwaves. 5G is an effort to use more spectrum in areas that were neglected and also to create standards that can work for different use cases like automotive or tiny sensors. That’s why so many types of companies will tell you 5G is the best thing since the internet. Qualcomm is a big believer so it’s no surprise it has tested its first 5G chip. The chip delivered 1.25 gigabits a second (Gbps) in the 28-GHz band, and it should reach up to 5Gbps. Wheeeee! (VentureBeat)
Good ideas making cars safer: While there are plenty of efforts around autonomous cars or ways to predict traffic using sensors and analytics, this heartbreaking blog post from someone whose brother was killed in an Uber accident has a lot of good ideas that are worth reading. They highlight how connectivity, data analytics and mobile phones can make a wide variety of new options available to use when it comes to assessing the safety and quality of a driver. (Medium)
Intel goes deeper into the smart home with Alexa: Last December Intel created a reference design for an Amazon Echo-like device but now it’s going direct with the Intel Speech Enabling Development Kit. The kit contains two boards that are tuned for hearing the Alexa wake words and are designed for companies that just want to plop some far-field mics into their existing products to tie into the Alexa juggernaut. (Cnet)
GE ties into Apple for industrial IoT: GE and Apple signed a deal that links Apple’s software to GE’s Predix data platform for the industrial IoT, while GE will outfit its 330,000 employees with Apple devices. Since Apple doesn’t have an awesome lead in the connected home, it’s tough to see it doing much in the connected plant that GE is trying to target. However, Apple gets a big new customer and perhaps developers familiar with iOS can help turn the typically-hard-to-use industrial data into something more user friendly. Especially given that younger plant workers are often far more comfortable with mobile phones as opposed to some of the old industrial software efforts. (Ars Technica)
Turning businesspeople into AI experts: One of the challenges facing the industrial internet of things is that it will generate massive quantities of data that most people will have no idea how to use. To solve this problem researchers are trying to teach a machine to use AI that applies other types of AI to business problems. This sounds a bit Inception-like but without it, we’re going to face a skills gap that will leave a lot of useful data sitting on AWS storage for no reason at all. (MIT Technology Review)
Edible sensors could take calorie counting to the next level: Researchers at MIT have built an energy-harvesting sensor that people can swallow. The sensor uses a foldable piezoelectric material to convert stomach rumblings to energy that can power the sensor. The plan is to eventually add a radio so it can pass through a human body, although the researchers tested a wired version on a pig. I’m not sure I want to imagine the retrieval process. (IEEE Spectrum)
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs chooses Toronto for its smart city plan: I don’t have much to say about this, but we all should probably keep an eye on what happens here. In general it’s going to be easier to build a smart city from relative scratch than layer intelligence into existing infrastructure, but there’s still a lot to learn about how to use the data produced and what it means for people living there. (Wired)
This internet of water idea is timely: I loved my podcast interview this week about how the Lower Colorado River Authority handles real-time flood tracking. John Miri, the chief administrator of the LCRA, said he’d love to get more water quality data. These researchers are proposing that every manager of a water system think like Miri does to create a accessible data source on water quality and where it comes from. (TechCrunch)
Here is a really long story about GE’s IIoT efforts: I didn’t learn anything new except for some new plant efficiency details that are always nice to have, but the story is a good overview of how people are thinking about the industrial internet of things at this point in time. (Industry Week)
The wrong data is as bad as no data: This paper argues that the government and companies are not tracking the right metrics to understand how technology is changing jobs or the workforce. And that lack of information means we can’t make reasonable or informed policy decisions. One of the paper’s author’s is Erik Brynjolfsson who co-wrote a book about the coming era of AI and jobs. (Nature)
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