Flying IoT just took off following major deal with DJI and Microsoft

11 May 2018

A DJI drone flying. Image: Valentin Valkov/Shutterstock

This week, Microsoft turns its eyes skyward to push out IoT with drones, while device owners find out how much the Mirai botnet incident cost them.

Earlier this week in the world of the internet of things (IoT), we saw how researchers found a way for connected devices to not talk over one another, with help from a species of cave-dwelling fish.

Because the fish can’t see in the darkness of a cave, they emit an electrical field to communicate with other fish, but this could potentially jam the signal. However, the fish are able to naturally change the frequency to avoid such interference.

Future Human

Similar to the fish, a new device can detect whether another signal could present a jamming problem and then intelligently shift its emitting signal higher or lower in frequency.

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley IoT player Adesto Technologies announced that it has acquired Dublin-based S3 Semiconductors from its parent company, S3 Group, in a deal worth $35m.

The move expands Adesto’s portfolio of technologies with analogue, mixed-signal and RF solutions, and IP. It also potentially increases the dollar content potential for IoT edge notes.

Microsoft partners with DJI to merge drones and IoT

Microsoft is more than eager to tap into the IoT space, this time by looking skyward with a new collaboration with Chinese drone maker DJI.

According to GeekWire, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the deal, which will see the pair develop commercial drone solutions across a number of sectors, but particularly agriculture, construction and public safety.

Speaking at Microsoft’s Build conference, Nadella said: “Developers building commercial apps for a variety of different vertical industries now will have full access to the data as well as the flight plans, so you can imagine what you can do in agriculture, industrial safety.

“Many of these applications can get written in Windows as the control plane for the autonomous drone. You can deploy and compute artificial intelligence (AI) models that have been trained in the cloud to the edge right on the drones.”

Nadella also revealed a partnership with chipmaker Qualcomm to create an AI developer kit for computer vision in cameras.

Mirai botnet attack cost device owners $300,000

Remember Mirai? Many in the infosec community certainly do, but so do the owners of the devices affected by the DDoS attack.

Now, according to ZDNet, researchers have estimated that the attack cost these device owners upwards of $300,000.

Lasting 77 hours, the researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, estimated that a total of 24,000 unsecured IoT devices were involved in the attack, each of which supposedly cost an average of $0.42 per hour in power.

It is estimated that each device involved in the attack would have only cost the individual owners $13.50 per product, so, quite the loss on this occasion.

Nokia acquires SpaceTime Insight to add AI to IoT

Less than two weeks ago, we reported that Nokia was looking to return the digital health business it acquired from Withings two years ago, and now it hopes to focus its future on merging AI with IoT.

According to TechCrunch, Nokia has announced the acquisition of SpaceTime Insight, a California-based IoT start-up whose focus is on predictive analytics on big networks.

While terms of the deal have not been disclosed, the start-up is believed to have raised between $50m and $65m so far with an estimated value of more than $100m.

While not disclosing the terms of the deal, Nokia Software president Bhaskar Gorti said the company is keen to grow its IoT business from the relatively small segment it represents today.

“All devices [eventually] have to connect,” he said. “IoT is strategic for us, and we are moving in this direction.”

Things looking ship-shape for IoT cargo containers

IoT market researcher Berg Insight has released a new report, which finds that the goods being shipped around the world are being tracked at greater levels than ever before.

The number of active tracking devices deployed for cargo loading units – including trailers, intermodal containers, rail freight wagons, air cargo containers, cargo boxes and pallets – reached 3.7m worldwide in 2017, the study found.

Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 19.6pc, this number is expected to reach 8.9m by 2022 and, in particular, the markets for rail freight wagon and air freight cargo tracking will grow substantially during the coming five years.

“Customers today demand and expect information about the status and location of their shipments in real time, and shippers who cannot provide this type of data will miss out on business opportunities,” said Martin Bäckman, IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

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A DJI drone flying. Image: Valentin Valkov/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic