IoT global round-up: Ericsson in China, Alexa on the road and Raspberry Pi

27 Jan 2017

Interior of a Volkswagen Golf. Image: MeskPhotography/Shutterstock

As the world focuses on science wars in the US, internet of things developments continue unabated across the globe.

While the scientific community tears itself apart following the inauguration of US president Donald Trump, within the world of the internet of things (IoT), there was some rather positive news.

The European Space Agency had a busy week funding tech companies in Ireland, following up its deal to bring OCE Technology’s software into space with a €633,000 Taoglas deal to commercialise its IoT tech.

The people behind Taoglas, provider of antenna products and radio frequency solutions within the IoT ecosystem, have previously been described as the ‘Irish high kings of IoT’.

Elsewhere in the world of academia, there was a long-term collaboration between Intel and Dublin City University announced to foster talent and develop advanced technologies for both parties.

Some of the key areas of research activity will include IoT and data analytics for application in areas such as connected health, water quality management and STEM education innovations.

Across the pond, Intel have IoT to thank for its healthy returns in its latest quarterly earnings report, as it revealed earnings of $16.4bn, compared with $14.9bn at the same time last year.

This was largely down to Intel’s IoT division showing a 16pc year-on-year growth margin.

Here are some of the other global IoT stories you might have missed during the week.

Ericsson out east

Ericsson is trailing new cellular IoT technologies in China, after striking up a deal with China Mobile Group Shanghai Company and Mobike, a bike-sharing service.

Operating on a live network, the trial utilises Ericsson’s tech to allow Mobike’s IoT-enabled bikes to be located more accurately, as well as extending the coverage beyond current barriers.

Moving forward, the new technologies will also significantly reduce the time taken to unlock the bikes and users will enjoy ‘open upon scanning’ without waiting.

Saying his group is excited by the partnership, Gang Huang, deputy GM of China Mobile Group Shanghai Company, wants to build a new suite of technologies.

“Ericsson is determined to drive the development and commercialisation of the cellular IoT ecosystem and, in doing so, unleash the full potential of the networked society,” said Ericsson’s Chris Houghton.

Threats are mounting

AdaptiveMobile has released new research into the biggest mobile threats of 2016, and how 2017’s mobile security landscape will take shape. The security company expects to see a large-scale signalling attack on an operator network in 2017, a sophistication of messaging threats and a rise in phishing attacks as well as IoT attacks running behind the public firewall.

The research identifies five vectors through which cyber-criminals made their attacks in 2016, from SMS to OTT carriers.

Adaptive Mobile

Infographic: AdaptiveMobile

Alexa on the road

Amazon’s AI Alexa is making inroads into an increasing number of homes through the Echo device, but it’s focusing on roads for now. Hyundai and Volkswagen (VW) cars are the latest to embrace the technology (Ford and BMW have already made moves).

VW is the first to actually install Alexa directly into the vehicle’s infotainment system, with drivers able to control lights, heating or entertainment functions through connected devices. One clever tweak allows users to ask Alexa how much petrol is in the car, from the comfort of their home.

It’s not a whole lot different for Hyundai, with the manufacturer ‘bringing the car to Alexa’, rather than the other way around, whatever that means. This can be upgraded in old Hyundai vehicles.

“We are first and foremost trying to give customers what they want,” said Cason Grover, who manages Hyundai Motor America’s connected car programme. “We know that customers have oriented and invited certain experiences into their life via their phones and via the devices in the home.”

Google fancies some Raspberry Pi

Earlier this week, Google provided a market research survey to the makers’ industry, sounding out what people want, when and how. Following that, news of a Raspberry Pi project emerged, with Google deciding between bringing IoT devices to its Pi 3 platform, or Intel’s Edison platform.

“We don’t have any specifics to announce right now, but we’re excited to keep sharing open-source machine learning tools with the community – stay tuned for more this year,” a Google spokesman told CIO.

Raspberry Pi seems enthusiastic, blogging the significance of this project’s potential. Noting the huge range of tools developed by Google (Home, Maps, Google Now etc), Raspberry Pi is banging the tech giant’s drum.

“The survey will help them get a feel for the Raspberry Pi community, but it’ll also help us get the kinds of services we need,” it reads.

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Interior of a Volkswagen Golf. Image: MeskPhotography/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic