Qualcomm doubles down on IoT with new chips for smart cameras

13 Apr 2018

Person using VR headset at Qualcomm booth at CES 2017. Image: Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock

This week in IoT, Qualcomm reveals efforts to have its chips in every single device, with two new models specifically designed for connected devices.

There was cause for celebration among internet of things (IoT) device manufacturers this week with news that a ‘semi-infinite’ supply of rare Earth minerals was located off the coast of Japan.

The deposit – located entirely within Japan’s maritime boundaries – is believed to contain 16m tonnes of minerals necessary to build IoT devices, mobile phones and even electric vehicles.

With China holding much of the world’s supply right now, the discovery of another major source of rare Earth minerals could help manufacturers to avoid the knock-on effects of a trade war.

Qualcomm launches two new IoT chips

Not content with cornering the Android smartphone market, Qualcomm revealed this week that it is launching two new systems-on-a-chip for IoT. Called the QCS605 and QCS603, they will merge a multicore ARM processor with Qualcomm’s AI and image signal processor.

According to TechCrunch, the chips will be geared heavily towards vision devices such as security cameras, robotics and data-heavy 360-degree cameras.

The chips will support 4K video, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Qualcomm’s audio technologies.

“Our goal is to make IoT devices significantly smarter as we help customers bring powerful on-device intelligence, camera processing and security,” said Joseph Bousaba, vice-president of product management at Qualcomm.

“AI is already enabling cameras with object detection, tracking, classification and facial recognition; robots that avoid obstacles autonomously; and action cameras that learn and generate a video summary of your latest adventure – but this is really just the beginning.”

What is keeping IoT executives up at night?

The organisers of the upcoming IoT World event in Silicon Valley have revealed a new survey of more than 100 IoT executives, detailing what their biggest fears are for their sector.

The findings showed that nearly half of the respondents across a wide variety of sectors feel their companies lack a global IoT strategy, while 16pc of respondents admitted that they had yet to begin one.

Meanwhile, in terms of daily challenges, the executives’ greatest fear (53pc) involves dealing with legacy devices and software, followed by a need for highly specialised solutions (46pc) and managing the technology across different departments (37pc).

Additionally, less than two-thirds of respondents are staying up to date on security fixes and patches.

Perhaps most alarmingly, half of the respondents are not maintaining an inventory of connected devices while 43.4pc are not conducting vulnerability testing.

Spotify to launch voice-activated player for the car

Spotify looks destined to enter the world of hardware after it emerged it would be sharing some information for an event on 24 April.

According to The Verge, some randomly selected Spotify customers were asked in February if they would want a listening device for their car that would come with a $12.99-per-month subscription.

Preliminary images of the design appear to show a disc-shaped device that sticks to the dashboard and an LED that runs along the front to display what song is playing.

However, there appears to be conflicting information about the offer among those who were selected, with some being prompted with a higher price point of $14.99 and Amazon Alexa compatibility, while others were told that the device would have built-in 4G, allowing it to work independently of the user’s phone.

Spotify has yet to make an official comment, however.

Pokémon Go inspires explosion of MR apps

Pokémon Go might seem like a distant memory to some, but the industry certainly noted the immense initial success of the game and is now desperate to emulate it.

According to new findings from Juniper Research, the total number of mixed reality (MR) apps will reach 9bn by 2022, rising from an estimated 3bn in 2018.

In four years’ time – thanks to increased investment from the likes of Google, Facebook and Apple – the market will be worth $2.3bn. By then, the number of social media applications offering MR services will exceed 6bn.

The research also predicted that the high data rates and ultra-low latency of 5G cellular networks will become pivotal, providing the underlying mobile connection needed for the provision of MR services in a mobile environment.

Person using VR headset at Qualcomm booth at CES 2017. Image: Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic