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- iot news week - IoT news for the week of July 20, 2018 – Stacey on IoT

Don’t count Low-Power Wide-Area Networks out just yet: ABI Research suggests that EU telecoms will face increased competition pressures from unlicensed spectrum providers for machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity. That’s good news for LoRA Alliance members and companies like Sigfox, which compete against traditional telecom providers using licensed (read: costly) spectrum for Narrowband of Things (NB-IoT) NB-IoT and LTE-M solutions. How big of an opportunity is there in the EU? ABI expects 416.5 million M2M connections in the region by 23. By the way, here’s a great comparison of LoRA and Sigfox technologies. (ABI Research)

Speaking of M2M, T-Mobile’s network is live in the U.S.: T-Mobile trialed its NB-IoT network last year and this week announced the service is available nationwide. While the service to connect devices to the internet uses licensed spectrum, T-Mobile’s service plans aren’t outrageously priced. Service starts at $6 per year per device for 1 MB of total data monthly. Compared to your smartphone data plan that’s clearly not a large data allowance, but this is aimed at remote and the like that transmit small bits of information on an infrequent basis. T-Mobile does have an unlimited NB-IoT data plan for $25 a year. (T-Mobile)

Google’s Fuchsia isn’t just for phones: We haven’t publicly heard much about Project Fuchsia, but we do know that Google intends to use it as an Android replacement in the coming years. This effort is a completely new platform built from the ground up as opposed to being built on Linux, which is how Android works. Why does this matter, from an IoT perspective? Two reasons. First, many IoT devices such as hubs or those with touchscreens (the June Oven, for example) run on Android. Second, Google’s plan is to bring Fuchsia to home devices first, within three years, and then move it to phones, tablets, and traditional computing devices. Expect some changes in the IoT device market as a result. (Bloomberg)

Microsoft’s Windows IoT Core Services in public preview: Recently announced for partners, Microsoft’s newest IoT product is now available to all in preview mode. IoT Core Services brings 10 years of OS support and device health monitoring features to IoT products. Along with the program availability expansion, pricing has been announced: 15 cents a month per device during the preview, which doubles to 30 cents a month per device after the preview period ends. While those fees don’t sound like much, when device makers provision thousands or even tens of thousands of IoT units using Microsoft’s services, the revenues will add up quickly for the company. (Microsoft)

Alexa for the hard of hearing? I love, love, love stories like this one about how a developer used Google’s TensorFlow to “teach” Alexa to understand sign language. Using a web app on a computer with a camera, people can sign words or sentences and Alexa can interpret the visuals into spoken commands. Additionally, she can type out her response while also speaking it as she normally would. TensorFlow is Google’s deep learning modeling service and was used to train the app to understand sign language. More of this, please! (Fast Company)

Swim.ai raises $10 million for machine learning at the edge:  loves edge computing, and has previously covered many companies in this space, including Swim.ai. This week, Swim raised $10 million in Series B funding to build a new research and development facility in the UK. Not familiar with Swim.ai? Both the City of Palo Alto and Itron use Swim’s technology for real- data analytics and machine learning at the edge as well as through peer-to-peer devices. (TechCrunch)

When anonymized data isn’t anonymous: Well, this is scary. Using a file filled with 2.9 million anonymized health data points, researchers at the University of Melbourne were able to re-identify records of individuals. Here’s the money quote from one of the researchers: “It’s convenient to pretend it’s hard to re-identify people, but it’s easy. The kinds of things we did are the kinds of things that any first-year data science student could do.” As machine learning and big data techniques improve, this is likely only going to get easier in the future. (The Guardian)

An inexpensive way to turn a FireHD tablet into an Echo Show: Recently, Amazon started selling a charging case for the latest generation of its FireHD tablets. That case will turn your slate into an Echo Show. Except you don’t need it. I own a FireHD 10, and after the last software update I saw an option to enable this feature without the charging case; you simply need to have your tablet plugged in for the Echo Show functionality. I mentioned this on our latest IoT podcast, so hit the link if you missed our other news and commentary. (IoT Podcast)

Siri’s revolving door: In April, Apple poached John Giannandrea, Google’s search guru and head of AI, and now two Siri execs are out at Apple as a result. Tom Gruber — one of the founders of Siri — and Vipul Ved Prakash, head of search at Apple, have left the company. While I feel bad for the pair, I can only hope that Giannandrea does what should have been done years ago, which is to bring Siri on par with Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa when it comes to interaction and utility. (The Information)

Build your own self-watering planter: I’m a bit of a tinkerer, so when I see projects like this one, I can’t help but share them. I usually add them to my “to do” for when I have spare time, but most of them just sit on the . Maybe you’ll have more initiative to build this Arduino-based planter, which monitors water moisture and even waters your houseplants when they’re thirsty. (Arduino Project Hub)

Wemo Mini Smart Plugs gain HomeKit compatibility: Good news if you own any of Wemo’s most current smart plugs; the company added HomeKit support through a software update. Not only does this bring compatibility to iOS households, it illustrates the benefit of Apple’s change from hardware- to software-based security. There’s no need to buy new hardware if you can implement security standards and compatibility through software updates. Unfortunately, both Stacey and I own older models of Wemo plugs, so we’re either skipping HomeKit support, using a bridge, or buying new devices after all. (Wemo)



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