Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Meet the French startup set to revolutionize the Internet of things

Sigfox plans to launch its low-cost Internet of things platform in the U.S. this year.

This fall a new kind of wireless network will launch in a metropolis near you. This network won’t connect to phones or tablets. Instead it will provide the wireless links necessary to connect devices, appliances and sensors that make up the Internet of things (IoT).

The company building the network is called Sigfox, and it’s based in Europe (Toulouse, France, to be exact) where it’s already set up networks in France, Spain, the U.K., and five other countries. Sigfox-powered sensors are being slapped on fire hydrants (to monitor water pressure), embedded in home alarms (to alert the authorities when they’re tripped), and even buried in the dirt (to monitor the soil density of farmland). This year, however, it’s moving to its largest country to date, the U.S., where it plans to build networks covering the ten largest cities.

Wireless connectivity that covers a wide swath of land is nothing new for the IoT. In fact, the Internet of things got its start in industrial machine-to-machine communications using mobile operators’ 2G networks to track vehicle fleets and monitor remote equipment. What Sigfox offers, however, is a much cheaper and more efficient alternative to cellular networks, said Thomas Nicholls, EVP of communications for Sigfox. It’s a platform that will make long-range wireless connectivity accessible for any company, device or application.

See more at fortune.com

UK Government sets up £10m Internet of Things fund

Start-ups challenged to innovate as multi-million pound competition looks to harness the power of technology to create the cities of the future…

A £10 million Internet of Things (IoT) fund has been established by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Innovate UK, with the idea of encouraging UK businesses to envision how the IoT could benefit the general public. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs who wish to get involved are required to produce a research and development project, detailing how new technology could benefit the economy, local transport networks or healthcare services. To be eligible for funding the the project must involve at least one local authority, have a specific benefit to the general public and be workable across more than one sector.

"The Internet of Things is rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. The UK technology sector is renowned for its creativity and pioneering research and development. This competition will be instrumental in discovering new connections between city services and their users," commented digital economy minister Ed Vaizey.

See more at virgin.com

Monday, 20 July 2015

Google Funds University Living Lab for Internet of Things

Carnegie Mellon University’s campus could soon transform into a living laboratory for testing how Internet-connected sensors, gadgets, and buildings might change our daily life. Google has awarded half a million dollars to Carnegie Mellon and a broader university coalition to develop the technologies needed to make that vision a reality.

Google’s funding comes from the tech giant’s Open Web of Things initiative aimed at creating a “research and open innovation expedition… to enable easy development of smart and secure Internet of Things applications and services.” The $500,000 awarded to the university coalition will help create an Internet of Things (IoT) platform called GloTTO that aims to create a complete interoperable system of IoT technologies. The platform would also allow researchers to figure out how to create a secure system that protects personal privacy in a sensor-filled environment.

“The goal of our project will be nothing less than to radically enhance human-to-human and human-to­-computer interaction through a large-scale deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) that ensures privacy, accommodates new features over time, and enables people to readily design applications for their own use,” said Anind Dey, director of CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute and lead investigator of the GloTTO project, in a press release.

See more at spectrum.ieee.org

The future of health rests on the internet of near things

The Internet of Things promises to transform the way humanity operates and while some wearables have disappointed, our personal existence and survival is going to depend on this technology, says Monty Munford.

The hype behind the Internet of Things (IoT) appears well-founded. According to the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills the world market for smart city technology services will be more than £250 billion by the end of the decade. Products, however, that come with fanfare means there is always a lot of space for disappointment. The ludicrous launch of Google Glass and the mounting desperation of smart people at a smart company when showing off an unfinished product was an early mistake.

Even earlier was the overused example of the ‘internet fridge’ that was supposed to transform grocery shopping and still hasn’t reached critical mass. We also have the latest anticlimax; sales of the Apple Watch are alleged to have been underwhelming and it may take a new version to catch consumer attention.

The IoT’s dazzling future appears to trailing a little behind, but there is one area where the hyperbole is justified and that is in the field of healthcare. The IoT is going to influence, even dominate, the way humanity will exist.

Take artificial pancreas, for example. Smart sensors inside the body will be able to monitor the blood-sugar level and be networked to an internal insulin pump, creating an artificial pancreas.

Similar applications can work with blood, endocrine and other systems in the body. This is likely to be the first step in having the IoT inside our bodies, like a co-processor network. It won’t even need to be surgically implanted, it can be swallowed orally, because these devices won’t need batteries; instead they will work from heat-exchange or movement and still be wirelessly connectable.

Remote monitoring is another interesting aspect. Take heart attacks, which are the number one killer in the western world. There is now a lot of work going on around how to detect a heart attack from simple sensors, attached to wearable devices. That is a giant leap from pacemaker technology.

Inside hospitals and not bodies, it will also have a huge beneficial effect. The IoT means patients will be monitored with greater accuracy and reliability. Sensors can transmit data about their blood, heart and temperature, and correlate it to prevent problems.

See more at telegraph.co.uk

The Search for Solitude in an internet of things

In a lecture course that he delivered in 1929-30, the German philosopher Martin Heidegger identified boredom as the defining mood of the 20th century. Whereas the Romantics were enraptured with the world, modern people simply shrug at it. This ubiquitous, insidious ennui plucks at our sleeves– but technology steps in, and we bury our boredom under a heap of gadgets.

In a technologically saturated world, Heidegger argues that we never truly inhabit time: we either manage it or while it away. The physical world is treated as a “standing reserve” of resources to be plundered by the onward march of innovation. The distractions of technology must be resisted, for Heidegger – but doing so requires embracing solitude, which means confronting boredom. The road is hard, but the alternative is worse. “He who completely entrenches himself against boredom also entrenches himself against himself,” warns Nietzsche: “he will never get to drink the strongest refreshing draught from his own innermost fountain.”

Solitude in the Internet of Things Even though Heidegger thought that technology was fundamentally aimed at distraction and self-avoidance, it doesn’t have to be. Technology does what we design it to do. And the internet of things could help us in our search for solitude.

The philosopher and the staircase Facebook Twitter Pinterest The philosopher and the staircase Photograph: Chris Waits/flickr In the homes of the future, the mundane tasks that can interrupt concentration – regulating the heating, or taking out the bins – could be fully automated. But smarthomes are only the start. Because the internet of things could help us not just to connect more objects, but also to disconnect ourselves when we need space to think.

Studies have shown that even spotting a notification on a smartphone is distracting. So what if all home offices were equipped with physical kill-switches for notifications, which could mute all but the most urgent messages? And what if we could work not on multi-function laptops, where the temptations of the internet are just a new browser window away, but on smart typewriters with only minimal email connectivity? The homes of the future could be like the great houses of the past, run discreetly and efficiently by considerate butlers – quiet havens where the need for solitude and privacy is respected, rather than disregarded by default.

Rethinking the internet means rethinking ourselves As the boundary between the physical and the digital grows increasingly blurred, imagining the internet of tomorrow just becomes an exercise in envisioning the future. Do we want to march onwards as mindless consumers – avaricious, fearful and jealous of our peers? Or do we want to reclaim creative space, gather our wits and face the world carefully, thoughtfully and with curiosity?

Montaigne thought that the most admirable way to live was not to seek to own more, to do more, or to be more. “The greatest thing in the world,” he wrote, “is to know how to belong to ourselves.” The internet of things doesn’t have to usher in the death of solitude. On the contrary: it could herald its return.

See more at theguardian.com

Computers are going to take over from humans

Your office knows to turn on the lights when you arrive and turn them off when you leave. Your copier knows when to order more toner. Your car knows the best path to your next client meeting. Your building management system detects who is where and the optimal environmental controls. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices are all great, until someone hacks them and turns them against you. From cars to buildings to medical devices to the infrastructure that supports all of it—as we become more dependent on technology, we become more exposed to those technologies being turned against us.

The revolution of the Internet was the catalyst that changed the future of communication forever. It allows for the transfer of information despite the geological barriers that separate the computers. As time has progressed, we have developed new technologies that have allowed us to move from the First generation of the Internet into the current transition into the Fourth generation. This generation has been propelled by the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT).

We cannot leave Hollywood Sci-Fi movies when we talk about AI and IoT. Billionaire genius Tony Stark created a “shield around the world” to protect humanity from an ever increasing universe of threats. Unfortunately, once Ultron has achieved sentience, he takes his prime directive (to achieve peace in our time) to hyperlogical, human-life-ending conclusions. Coming back to reality Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has revealed that he's increasingly worried about the threat that Internet of Things (IoT) poses to humanity.

"Computers are going to take over from humans," Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak the 64-year-old engineer told the Australian Financial Review. "No question." "People including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have predicted and I agree that the future is scary and very bad for people. If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they'll think faster than us and they'll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently." - Woz

The billionaire engineer/inventor and owner of Tesla Motors recently donated $10 Million to the Future of Life Institute, a non-profit group working to “mitigate the existential risks to humanity” inherent in developing A.I and IoT. These aren’t sci-fi fan-groups or fringe thinkers forming these organization. Smart, prominent people are committing their time to this threat.

We know smartphones and smart watches. Our TVs and appliances have gone smart; smartcars are starting to show up on streets. At what point do these machines go from smart to intelligent? And if this intelligence threat is legit, and yet so many scientists are pursuing it, what are the benefits they find that could possibly outweigh such risks?

According to HP's report,"Internet of Things Security: State of the Union", a total of 250 security holes have been found in the tested IoT devices — on average, 25 per device. The issues are related to privacy, insufficient authorization, lack of transport encryption, inadequate software protection, and insecure Web interfaces. The report shows that 80% of the tested devices, including their corresponding cloud and mobile apps, raised privacy concerns regarding the collection of user data such as names, email addresses, physical addresses, date of birth, financial and health information.

When it comes to authorization, many of the products fail to enforce strong passwords, allowing customers to set passwords like "1234" not only on the devices themselves, but also on websites and mobile apps.

Three of the main concerns that accompany the Internet of Things are the breach of privacy, over-reliance on technology, and the loss of jobs. Also, companies could misuse the information that they are given access to. This is a common mishap that occurs within companies all the time. Just recently Google got caught using information that was supposed to be private. Information, such as the data collected and stored by IoT, can be immensely beneficial to companies.

See more at

Internet of Things: End of Human Race?

Your office knows to turn on the lights when you arrive and turn them off when you leave. Your copier knows when to order more toner. Your car knows the best path to your next client meeting. Your building management system detects who is where and the optimal environmental controls. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices are all great, until someone hacks them and turns them against you. From cars to buildings to medical devices to the infrastructure that supports all of it—as we become more dependent on technology, we become more exposed to those technologies being turned against us.

The revolution of the Internet was the catalyst that changed the future of communication forever. It allows for the transfer of information despite the geological barriers that separate the computers. As time has progressed, we have developed new technologies that have allowed us to move from the First generation of the Internet into the current transition into the Fourth generation. This generation has been propelled by the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT).

We cannot leave Hollywood Sci-Fi movies when we talk about AI and IoT. Billionaire genius Tony Stark created a “shield around the world” to protect humanity from an ever increasing universe of threats. Unfortunately, once Ultron has achieved sentience, he takes his prime directive (to achieve peace in our time) to hyperlogical, human-life-ending conclusions. Coming back to reality Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has revealed that he's increasingly worried about the threat that Internet of Things (IoT) poses to humanity.

"Computers are going to take over from humans," Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak the 64-year-old engineer told the Australian Financial Review. "No question." "People including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have predicted and I agree that the future is scary and very bad for people. If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they'll think faster than us and they'll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently." - Woz

The billionaire engineer/inventor and owner of Tesla Motors recently donated $10 Million to the Future of Life Institute, a non-profit group working to “mitigate the existential risks to humanity” inherent in developing A.I and IoT. These aren’t sci-fi fan-groups or fringe thinkers forming these organization. Smart, prominent people are committing their time to this threat.

We know smartphones and smart watches. Our TVs and appliances have gone smart; smartcars are starting to show up on streets. At what point do these machines go from smart to intelligent? And if this intelligence threat is legit, and yet so many scientists are pursuing it, what are the benefits they find that could possibly outweigh such risks?

According to HP's report,"Internet of Things Security: State of the Union", a total of 250 security holes have been found in the tested IoT devices — on average, 25 per device. The issues are related to privacy, insufficient authorization, lack of transport encryption, inadequate software protection, and insecure Web interfaces. The report shows that 80% of the tested devices, including their corresponding cloud and mobile apps, raised privacy concerns regarding the collection of user data such as names, email addresses, physical addresses, date of birth, financial and health information.

When it comes to authorization, many of the products fail to enforce strong passwords, allowing customers to set passwords like "1234" not only on the devices themselves, but also on websites and mobile apps.

Three of the main concerns that accompany the Internet of Things are the breach of privacy, over-reliance on technology, and the loss of jobs. Also, companies could misuse the information that they are given access to. This is a common mishap that occurs within companies all the time. Just recently Google got caught using information that was supposed to be private. Information, such as the data collected and stored by IoT, can be immensely beneficial to companies.

See more at linkedin.com

Washington D.C. has met the Internet of things and it's freaked out

The Capitol is awash in articles about the Internet of things. Here’s what politicians really need to know.

The Internet of things has gone to Washington and the Capitol has responded with confusion and fear. This week Politico devoted an entire issue of its new magazine to the internet of things, and the content vacillates between trying to get politicians to understand the issue and making sure they are scared out of their minds at the technological change headed for us all.

Add to the Politico issue a column that ran Monday in the Washington Post by Vivek Wadhwa that claims that when your fridge stops ordering you cheesecakes because your scale told it you were overweight, the internet of things will have gone too far. Apparently it’s open season on scaremongering in D.C.

These stories suss out how much politicians know about the internet of things (some are confused and some have FitBits!) and tell us that our privacy – or in Wadhwa’s case, our free will – is about to disappear. But what’s lost is the nuance of how governments should respond. Not only do these articles paint a somewhat unrealistic sense of what is likely to occur using the internet of things, they neglect to offer concrete solutions for managing what is an inevitable shift in how our society will operate.

In the 15 stories the Politico mag The Agenda offers, more than half are designed to scare with headlines like “Your Fridge is Spying on you” (what is with the fear of fridges?) or “I coined ‘Internet of Things.’ Now I think it’s the first big tech race the U.S. might lose.” Only one is designed to offer any actual solutions and is a Q&A with a lawyer on how to regulate the Internet of things.

See more at fortune.com

Where Is The Internet-Of-Things Being Invented? Not In Silicon Valley

The emerging consensus view of humanity’s imminent future is that just about everything will soon be interconnected with just about everything else.

In a recent report on Digital Life in 2025, the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project predicted that the internet would soon become a “global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment built through the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases, and massive data centers in a world-spanning information fabric known as the Internet of Things.”

Like big data and the smart grid, the Internet of Things (IoT) concept has become a buzz word in the technology trade press. The IoT is predicted by many technology experts to be as – if not more – transformational than the internet itself on the way we live.

Apparently, nobody bothered to mention this to the folks out in Silicon Valley.

See more at forbes.com