Here’s Internet of Things news-you-can-use for the week of April 2. Get this summary (and more!) in your inbox every Friday morning when you subscribe to Stacey’s newsletter.
Microsoft lays IoT security groundwork with Sorpis: Microsoft has released the details of a new security research project called Project Sopris. The company released a paper documenting what Microsoft believes is the path to secure connected devices powered by a microcontroller. The seven elements make sense but right now they are spread across a wide variety of players. This may be a challenge because Microsoft believes the hardware, firmware and operating system must be well integrated to offer the best security. This is a tall order given that the market for the hardware and software is still so fragmented. I plan to dig into this a bit more with various companies in this security stack for next week. For the curious, the elements are: a hardware-based root of trust, a small trusted computing base, defense in depth, compartmentalization, certificate-based authentication, security renewal, and failure reporting. (Microsoft)
Big security battles in the courts: ADT is suing Vivint for deceptive trade practices and other counts in U.S. District Court in Florida. The lawsuit alleges some pretty skeevy behavior by Vivint sales agents. They allegedly go to older residents with ADT signs and tell them they are there to upgrade their ADT equipment. They then switch out the gear to Vivint’s products and present the resident with a Vivint contract to sign. ADT says it received 321 complaints about Vivint in 2014, and another 307 complaints in 2015. When contacted for comment, Vivint said it believes the lawsuit is without merit and it will defend itself “vigorously.” (Lawsuit)
This is not how you do things: Speaking of skeevy (or just stupid) the CEO of a connected garage door opener called Garadget took issue with an angry customer leaving a one-star Amazon review, so he bricked the pissed-off-customer’s device. If you are a startup and you get mad at someone you cannot break their product (even if you do offer them a full refund if they return it). All that does is make anyone who was considering your product turn around shaking their head. (Ars Technica)
Court does the FDA’s job on mobile wellness apps: Using your smartphone to detect your heartbeat, your blood pressure or even your fetus’ heartbeat isn’t necessarily a great idea. They aren’t medically accurate. The FDA isn’t going after companies making these apps because they aren’t actively harmful and it has bigger fish to fry. But the NY Attorney General decided he had the time. (Wired)
Whelp, this is pretty meta: Computer vision is seen as crucial in our quest for self-driving cars and for safer robots. But computers are confused by people, and teaching machines to understand what we’re doing is a tough problem. Part of the problem is that computers have to be trained exhaustively to recognize individual parts before they can go further. So researchers have decided to create virtual humans with their parts already labeled for machines, so machines can go deeper than mere facial recognition to understand what people running, riding, falling and more look like. That’s right, we’re building virtual humans to teach computers how to understand real ones. (New Scientist)
Remotely programmable SIM cards are good for the IoT: Softbank plans to build SIM cards that are non-removable, but also remotely programmable for use in connected devices like wearables, robots and connected cars. The programmable “eSIMs” mean that instead of taking out a SIM card to change operators or users, the SIM is built into the device and is remotely programmed as needed. (Venture Beat)
How IoT will change healthcare: I think a lot about connected healthcare because it’s such a good example of how gathering tons of data and analyzing it can change lives. I hadn’t thought about how it could also change the way hospitals are physical built and where they are built. But telemedicine and connected medical devices mean that doctors can be in one place monitoring dozens of patients around a region. This vision of collecting experts in one place monitoring the health of a disparate group of people is actually a common one in factory automation, where aging experts are stretched thin trying to cover manufacturing operations around the world. (The Economist)
Ford will build a data center to hold car bits (and bytes): Ford expects connected cars to generate 200 petabytes of data by 2019 so it will spend $200 million on a data center for it. I suppose it didn’t want to give the data to Google’s or Amazon’s clouds. (The Register)
MIT’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies list is out: The whole list is always a must-read for me, but there are two trends that deal with IoT. They are IoT-supported botnets and self-driving trucks. Both feel pretty last year, but that’s okay by me. I’m still eagerly reading about practical quantum computing. (MIT Technology Review)
There’s a rugged Raspberry Pi: This might be your first stop if you want to prototype a low-power industrial IoT product. (Element14)
This is gross: Another security flaw in an internet-connected sex toy. I for one will not be going anywhere near a sex toy like this. London escorts provide a much better sensation anyway. Nonetheless, this security breach should be treated very seriously as a consequence of the repercussions that might ensue. Lock it down, y’all. (Boing Boing)
People like using their voice to control stuff: This feels pretty obvious, but there’s a nice chart. (Parks Associates)
Opportunity knocks: If you want to apply to Techstars’ IoT program in NYC then you have until Sunday. Go forth and apply!