Avnet acquires Dragon Innovation: Avnet, the giant systems integrator that handles big budget IT implementations, has been moving steadily into the IoT for the last few years. Its emphasis has been on the maker and prototyping side of the business, as it seeks to understand what the nuts and bolts of IoT entails. It launched hackathons for IoT and purchased the Hackster.io community last year. This week it went another step further with the purchase of Dragon Innovation, a hardware production shop that helps companies bring their IoT hardware visions to life.
OSRAM acquires Digital Lumens: OSRAM, the makers of Sylvania brand of light bulbs, has seen the future for connected lighting, and it’s not in bulbs. It’s in providing services. This week OSRAM said it would purchase Digital Lumens, a nine-year old company that installs sensor networks as part of LED lighting upgrades in commercial buildings. (Fortune)
Andy Rubin sees the future, but is his the right bet? Andy Rubin has guided the creation of the current mobile OS ecosystem perhaps as much as Steve Jobs. As the creator of Android and the Sidekick, an early smart phone, he’s now back with The Essential Phone. His goal is to take us beyond the handheld computer to a true AI. This interview offers an explanation for the creation of a new phone, as a tool that uses context and machine learning to determine when it should interrupt you. Given this context, I can see why Rubin’s Essential effort, which also includes the Essential Home (coming soon), also needs to take on the home with a new OS designed for our living spaces. That helps it derive even more useful context to build a truly useful AI. (Bloomberg)
Physics is the key to the next cycle of disruption: Disruption is an overused word in the tech press, but true disruption tends to come from a few places. Changes can be in the economics of building a product or delivering a service, which happens more often than you might think. For example, the internet changed the economics of delivering content while better math has changed the economics of high-priced dedicated sensors. Lower costs can remake an entire industry or even society, but underlying those economic shifts are often changes in our understanding of basic science and materials. For a reminder of that, plus a sense of what it means to reach the end of the road for silicon chips, check out the paper discussed in this article. (MIT Technology Review)
Blockchain matters for IoT infrastructure: Many industrial connected systems use proprietary controls and messaging protocols, which can make sharing data between different types of machines and machines from different manufacturers a challenge. The argument for proprietary systems is that are a bit more secure by virtue of both obscurity and because manufacturers have more control over who can access them. But for industrial IoT to scale at a reasonable cost we’re going to need easier access that’s more secure. The solution may be a form of blockchain based technology. (Medium)
This is an MVNO for the IoT: Cubic Telekom, an Irish company that provides software to connect cars and other devices to more than 30 telecom companies worldwide has raised $46.5 million in funding from Qualcomm Ventures and Audi’s venture arm. It has signed a deal with U.S. carriers to bring the service to North America soon. (Reuters)
Are doctors buying into wearables? This story about Aetna aiming to give its customers an Apple Watch to help promote better health is unique in that it mentions the hospitals and doctors that would have to validate the Apple Watch as a useful tool for improving health. As many companies going after the connected health market have discovered, you need patients, doctors and insurers all to buy into a solution. That’s a tough sell, but Apple could certainly be credible enough and big enough to make the case. (Engadget)
But what about FitBit? If Apple gets Aetna to sign off on the Apple Watch that’s bad news for FitBit, a lower cost activity tracker that has seen its market share start to slide. But in addition to newer hardware, FitBit is trying to boost its utility to both consumers and to the medical institutions with better detection of health problems such as atrial fibrillation. (Time)
Germany sets rules for self-driving cars: While we here in the U.S. are merely proposing basic cybersecurity rules and worrying if AI will kill us, Germany has taken the very practical step of making some basic ethics rules for self-driving cars. Basically they must be programmed to avoid people. However, they can’t prioritize which people to save if there’s a choice. So the threat to an old lady and young boy would register the same for an autonomous car. Robots don’t need chivalry. They just need instructions. (Reuters)
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