AT&T and Vodafone partner for major automotive IoT deal

1 Mar 2019

Image: © kinwun/

This week in IoT, it seems fierce corporate rivals are willing to partner up in the name of greater connectivity in vehicles.

Barcelona was a focal point for much of the internet of things (IoT) news this week with Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in full swing.

Among the deals already revealed are Cubic Telecom’s plans to power always-on connected services for a new generation of Škoda vehicles.

Also, Wexford-headquartered IoT player Taoglas revealed a new 5G millimetre-wave beam-steering gateway antenna.

AT&T and Vodafone reveal partnership for autotech

It appears that when it comes to autotech, telecoms rivals are happy to lay down their arms and form partnerships. ZDNet revealed this week that AT&T and Vodafone Business are coming together to cooperate on IoT in everything to do with connected vehicles, such as security and entertainment.

The connected car solutions will be developed for customers across North American, European and African markets in an effort to “simplify the deployment process, improve operations, deliver innovative solutions and make the network certification process easier”.

Both companies said that they would be working across 5G and autonomous vehicle technology, as well as everything that connects them with smart city technology. By combining their resources, AT&T and Vodafone will work with almost 50 auto manufacturers, connecting more than 43m cars and trucks.

Will VW back Ford autotech venture with $1.7bn?

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the German auto giant Volkswagen (VW) has big plans for autonomous driving, and sees partnering with American rival Ford as a way to achieve this.

Sources close to VW claimed that it plans to pump $1.7bn into Ford’s autonomous car subsidiary, Argo, as part of an “equally held joint venture”. While not officially announced by either company, the sources claimed that discussions between the two companies were progressing well, but it is too early to confirm that a deal is assured.

Volkswagen is also set to partner with Cubic Telecom and Microsoft to develop the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP).

Contactless ticketing set to reach 468m users in 2023

Juniper Research has published a report that claims the number of contactless ticket users will jump to 468m by 2023, up from an estimated 180m in 2019. This, it said, will mean that one in four digital tickets will be contactless in 2023.

Transport ticketing, particularly the metro/bus ticketing arena, will contribute to this growth of contactless adoption. Successful deployments include Transport for London, which accounted for 760m contactless journeys in the year up to September 2018. The research predicts that metro/bus ticketing will account for 86pc of all contactless ticketing in 2023.

However, the report showed that the concept of wearable tickets – such as wristbands for events – will remain a niche feature, with less than 5pc of total digital ticketing transactions expected to be done this way by 2023.

“With far higher compatibility with devices and lower installation costs than with contactless, QR-code mobile app ticketing will dominate events ticketing,” said research author Nick Maynard. “Mobile app ticketing for events will allow targeted advertising to fans, as well as ticketing anti-fraud measures, which will add value for venues.”

Researchers reveal ‘unclonable’ IoT security feature

Rice University researchers have unveiled technology they claim is 10 times more reliable than current methods of producing ‘unclonable’ digital fingerprints for IoT devices.

The physically unclonable function (PUF) technology uses a microchip’s physical imperfections to produce unique security keys that can be used to authenticate devices linked to the IoT.

“Basically, each PUF unit can work in two modes,” said Kaiyuan Yang of the research team. “In the first mode it creates one fingerprint, and in the other mode it gives a second fingerprint. Each one is a unique identifier, and dual keys are much better for reliability.

“On the off chance the device fails in the first mode, it can use the second key. The probability that it will fail in both modes is extremely small.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic