This week in IoT, a start-up with big ambitions bags major funding, pacemakers are vulnerable again and the US expands its 5G network.
Only a week after confirming that it was to roll out a narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) service in Ireland by the end of this year, Vodafone officially switched on the first national network of its kind.
The low-power wide-area network technology is designed to wirelessly connect millions of devices that have low bandwidth requirements, and will aim to provide benefits to communities in rural Ireland.
These would include advances such as remote healthcare, first-responder connectivity and emergency alert monitoring for the sick or elderly.
Despite its welcome reception, the launch was delayed by a number of months having originally been planned for an early 2017 start date.
Start-up promising to index all IoT devices bags $40m in funding
A start-up called Qadium, led by a former CIA analyst, is making big promises within the IoT space with a service that can supposedly index every device connected to the public internet in the space of an hour.
Now, according to Forbes, the Peter Thiel-backed cybersecurity operation has secured $40m in Series B funding, coinciding with it making public that some of its customers include PayPal, Dell and US Cyber Command.
By tracking the number of IoT devices, Qadium is able to offer customers the ability to monitor hidden IoT devices on their networks, with the aim of closing off these vulnerabilities to prevent cyberattacks – similar to the Mirai botnet last year – from affecting them.
Bolstering its abilities, the company’s CEO, Tim Junio, told Forbes that none of his customers were affected by WannaCry, the ransomware virus that occurred after leaked weapons were obtained from the NSA.
Pacemakers: The IoT vulnerability that keeps on ticking
Almost half a million people with pacemakers in the US are being urged to seek a firmware update for their devices after yet another discovery of a vulnerability that might put them in harm’s way of a fatal hack.
According to Ars Technica, the vulnerability in the Abbott Laboratories pacemaker affects its radio transmitter, which is included in the unit to make changes remotely without needing to open up the patient again in surgery.
In an open letter, the pharma manufacturer wrote: “If there were a successful attack, an unauthorised individual could gain access and issue commands to the implanted medical device through radio frequency transmission capability, and those unauthorised commands could modify device settings or impact device functionality.”
Earlier this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a similar warning that a number of pacemakers – not including Abbott Technologies – were vulnerable to hackers, who could potentially stop the devices and kill people.
AT&T expands 5G test network in another three US cities
AT&T has been gradually expanding its 5G test network across the US, and now the company has revealed that this will include another three new cities: Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana, all by the end of the year.
In Austin, Texas, where it launched its last 5G site in June, AT&T said that it is finding speeds of up to 1Gbps with latency rates under 10 milliseconds.
“In Austin, we see all types of weather and substantial foliage,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice-president of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T.
“Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G. And, in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future.”
The telecoms company said that if all goes well, it will speed up standards-based deployment as by the end of 2018.
Watch out, pizza delivery people! Self-driving cars are coming
Ford has teamed up with Domino’s Pizza to start testing self-driving cars to deliver pizza, in an effort to figure out how people interact with autonomous vehicles.
According to The Verge, random customers in one town in the state of Michigan will receive their pizza from a car filled with engineers and researchers, all there to note the whole experience.
When the person orders their pizza, they will receive a four-digit code to unlock the boot of the car, where the pizzas are kept.
In a statement, Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s US, said: “We’re interested to learn what people think about this type of delivery. The majority of our questions are about the last 50ft of the delivery experience.”
This isn’t the first time that Domino’s has dabbled in autonomous technology, having already revealed plans to use robots to deliver pizzas in the years to come.
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