Thursday, 16 March 2017

UK 'internet of things' startup EVRYTHNG raises $24.8 million to help it connect every physical product to the web

UK-based "internet of things" startup EVRYTHNG, has raised a $24.8 million Series B round of funding that it hopes will help it give every physical product a digital identity.

EVRYTHNG works with clients such as Coca-Cola and packaging companies like Avery Dennison RBIS, Crown Holdings, and West Rock to connect consumer products to the web as soon as they are manufactured.

The company describes itself as a data management platform that allows businesses to have a more complete overview of their supply chain by assigning digital identities to products, allowing them to be tracked.


Niall Murphy, EVYRTHNG cofounder and CEO, told Business Insider: "We called the company 'EVRYTHNG' because we wanted to manage the digital identity of all the products in the world and that mission and vision is what we are after. To get there we have to build a relationship with product manufacturers and a tighter integration with the way products are built and sold so we can build at scale."


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Internet Of Things Connectivity Options Come Into Focus

Normally, silicon chip announcements don’t catch my eye. This is not to say that chips are unimportant; they are critical to achieving the goals for the IoT. Generally, however, I tend to take a higher level and more holistic approach to IoT subjects. That’s why, when 3 recent announcements caught my eye, I thought there might be more here than just “typical” chip announcements. These may be signals of some significant future direction for IoT communications.

The first announcement was ARM Holdings ’s acquisition of two companies providing NB-IoT technologies. NextG-Com offers a complete layer two and three software stack for NB-IoT, and Mistbase provides a complete NB-IoT physical layer implementation solution. As a reminder, ARM had already ventured into the wireless space, having acquired Wicentric for its Bluetooth stack, and Sunrise Micro Devices for its integrated Cordio Bluetooth 5 and 802.15.4 intellectual property (IP) short-range technologies.

Last week I provided my thoughts (Hype Vs. Reality: When Will Internet Of Things Networks Appear?) on the timing of NB-IoT (now called LTE-NB1). LTE-NB is going to be one of the most pervasive IoT connectivity technologies for at least the next 5 years—when it finally arrives. What is significant is that ARM, the leader in core technologies for IoT applications, has bet on LTE-NB for its long-range customers. To me, that speaks volumes as to the desire for system providers to use these three connectivity technologies for their IoT applications.

The second announcement was by Qualcomm QCOM +0.52%, who announced two chips: the QCA4020 and QCA4024. The SoC QCA4020 is a tri-mode device, integrating Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy 5, and 802.15.4. As a reminder, 802.15.4 is the basis of both ZigBee and Thread. The QCA4024 is dual-mode, and integrates Bluetooth Low Energy 5 and 802.15.4.

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Most security pros expect increasing attacks on Industrial Internet of Things

A new Dimensional Research survey looked at the rise of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) deployment in organizations, and to what extent it is expected to cause security problems in 2017.

IIoT are the connected devices in critical infrastructure segments such as energy, utilities, government, healthcare and finance. The study revealed that:
- Ninety-six percent of those surveyed expect to see an increase in security attacks on IIoT in 2017.
- Fifty-one percent said they do not feel prepared for security attacks that abuse, exploit or maliciously leverage insecure IIoT devices.
- Sixty-four percent said they already recognize the need to protect against IIoT attacks, as they continue to gain popularity among hackers.

“Industry professionals know that the Industrial Internet of Things security is a problem today. More than half of the respondents said they don’t feel prepared to detect and stop cyber attacks against IIoT,” said David Meltzer, chief technology officer at Tripwire. “There are only two ways this scenario plays out: Either we change our level of preparation or we experience the realization of these risks. The reality is that cyber attacks in the industrial space can have significant consequences in terms of safety and the availability of critical operations.”

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

‘Alexa, make me comfortable’: How the Internet of Things is hitting home

Most consumers don’t know what “the Internet of Things” means, and People Power’s David Moss thinks he knows why.

“Before you can experience what an Internet of Things is, you actually first have to go out and buy an internet-connected thing,” he said Wednesday night at Town Hall Seattle, during an MIT Enterprise Forum presentation about intelligent homes. “And why would you go buy an internet-connecting thing if you don’t know what value it can add to your life?”

To capitalize on the Internet of Things, or IoT, People Power came up with a free app called Presence, which turns a spare smartphone or tablet into a Wi-Fi home security camera.

Moss said he was amazed to discover that the app was being used for much more than home security.

“We had created a new thing, but I soon found out that the Internet of Things is actually not just about things,” Moss said. “While I was enamored with how cool it was to check in on my house from anywhere in the world, the stories that we were getting from our users were really about how they were connecting with other people, and their pets. The thing they had, this app, was just a way to connect with what mattered most to them.”

The way Moss sees it, calling the technology the “Internet of Things” doesn’t describe its true power. “I personally prefer the term ‘ambient computing,'” he said.

And however you call it, the technology is on track to become much more powerful, thanks to cloud computing – which provides the “brains” for the Internet of Things – as well as the social dimension.

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

There's no easy way to do IoT management

The pitches have already started: Various vendors promise to help you manage the tsunami of internet of things (IoT) devices coming. But beware: IoT management will be very difficult for a long time, and it may never reach the steady state of mobile management.

Potential good news: You likely won't have a flood of IoT devices coming from all quarters as we saw in the early days of mobile BYOD. But what IoT devices you have will be very hard to manage.

Remember when there were iPhones, Android smartphones, BlackBerrys, WebOS phones, Windows Phones, and legacy Windows Mobile devices? IT shops freaked out at all the variations they'd have to support.

Imagine an IoT world where thermostats, door locks, light switches, elevator stop regulators, smart glasses, Bluetooth internal-location sensors, comm badges, security cameras, heat sensors, conference gear, alarms, and the gazillion other devices and sensors that might exist in the products you use and environments you manage -- as well as the possible IoT devices and sensors in health care, transportation, oil exploration, logistics, retail, and public safety. In comparison, the half-dozen mobile devices that so freaked out IT look as frightening as a sleeping cat.


The best example here is Wi-Fi. Until the Wi-Fi Alliance, a vendor group, came up with the Wi-Fi wireless compatibility standard, businesses refused to adopt wireless LANs in any volume because pre-Wi-Fi devices could only talk to other devices from the same company, though they all used the same 802.11 transport protocol.

One example in IoT is the Data Distribution Service, a set of APIs and data transfer protocol from the Object Management Group. This lets various manufacturers' devices talk to various manufacturers' analytics back ends.

We'll see both patterns occur in IoT. But it will take years for the shift to either approach in each domain. In the meantime IT will be faced with a grim reality: Most IoT products will have their own security models and management tools, creating an unwieldy mess for IT. That'll slow IoT adoption out of necessity.

In the industry standardization game, someone has to blink first, but the stare-down will go on for years until someone finally has to back off. In the meantime, pick and choose your IoT initiatives carefully -- you'll be able to handle only so many of them.

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The EU’s latest idea to secure the Internet of Things? Sticky labels

The EU has floated a new idea to boost the security of Internet of Things (IoT) products – get manufacturers to stick labels on them telling buyers how secure they are.

It sounds simple enough. Products such as fridges, washing machines and ovens are already sold in the EU with mandatory energy efficiency ratings, so why not something similar for security?

In comments made at a weekend press conference, EU deputy commissioner for digital economy and society, Thibault Kleiner, spelled out some of the organization’s worries about the state of IoT.

Ever greater numbers of products were being sold with an IoT connectivity as a standard feature, he said.


Despite there being at least five billion devices in service with IoT capability – Gartner reckons that this is expanding by 5.5 million new devices every day – security standards are only just emerging. Meanwhile, default security is often weak.

A warning of the potential for trouble came with the recent record-breaking DDoS attack on cybersecurity blogger Brian Krebs. The ‘Mirai’ botnet that generated this huge wave of traffic came from an army of poorly-secured network cameras, digital video recorders (DVRs), routers and printers.

The Commission believes that labels guaranteeing adherence to basic security standards would encourage manufacturers to work together more closely in the spirit of common interest.


The EU is doing its best to speed up development, investing €192 million in IoT research as part of its Horizon 2020 programme.

Unfortunately, IoT devices need better security now, not years from now when the EU has agreed what the labels should look like – and mean.

What consumers and businesses will think about having another label to peel off shiny new IoT products when pulling them out of the box remains an unknown.

Will they have faith in them? Or will they end up feeling disappointed should securing IoT devices from real-world threats turn out to be more complex than the label suggests?

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This Mega Tech Consortium Wants to Connect All Our Devices

The AllSeen Alliance, a pioneer in the so-called Internet of things, and Open Connectivity Foundation, a rival group, said on Monday that they will combine their efforts to speed up the adoption of connected devices.

In theory, this means that appliances or other gadgets using either the AllSeen-backed AllJoyn technology to connect online or OCF’s IoTivity technology will work together and that the combined alliance will sponsor both AllJoin and IoTivity as open-source projects, meaning that the related software will be freely available.

That newly expanded group, which will go by the OCF name, brings together a host of tech companies including Microsoft MSFT -1.31% , Intel INTC -1.84% , LG Electronics, Qualcomm QCOM -1.62% , and Samsung. They all have a vested interest in selling either the devices themselves, the connective tissue that ensures the devices can communicate, or associated services delivered by the connected system.

Executives from various member companies including AB Electrolux, Canon, Cisco Systems CSCO -0.99% , GE GE 0.42% Digital, Haier, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics will sit on an expanded OCF board of directors.

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