Chinese tech superpower joins growing list of LoRa Alliance partners

3 Aug 2018

Tencent’s headquarters in Shenzen, China. Image: NAYUKI/Shutterstock

Chinese tech superpower Tencent is gearing up for global IoT connectivity by signing a deal to join the LoRa Alliance.

Cybersecurity was again one of the big issues in the internet of things (IoT) this week with the discovery that a Swann security camera was found to have a major security loophole.

Rather than only being accessible to skilled hackers, researchers found that anyone with one of its cameras could watch another user’s feed, with a little effort.

Each Swann device uses a hard-coded serial number to communicate with its cloud service, provided by New York firm OzVision. Researchers simply replaced a serial number with another using proxy software to model network traffic.

Tencent joins the LoRa Alliance

Low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) appear to be the future of IoT, connecting hundreds or thousands of data points across a city or country.

One of those standards competing to be on top – LoRaWAN – has just won a major ally in the form of Chinese tech company Tencent. The company announced it has joined the LoRa Alliance, a global association of companies backing the LoRaWAN standard.

Tencent also announced plans to build a LoRaWAN network in Shenzhen with local partners. This will provide device-edge-cloud LoRaWAN solutions on its network for a wide variety of IoT applications and end users, such as government public services.

Hongtao Bie, vice-president of Tencent, said: “It is clear that LPWANs are essential for the IoT technology and applications, and the market is quickly growing in China, especially in areas like government public services, industry manufacturing, personal IoT devices etc.”

Alibaba signs major IoT deal with Infineon

Staying with deals made with China, German company Infineon Technologies announced that it has signed a deal with Alibaba’s cloud computing unit to jointly promote IoT.

According to Reuters, the deal will focus on IoT security solutions, especially those at the lower-cost scale among SMEs.

“This partnership combines Alibaba Cloud’s capabilities in operating systems with Infineon’s semiconductor technology solutions,” said Wei Ku, vice-president of Alibaba and general manager of Alibaba Cloud IoT.

“We believe that this will effectively promote the deployment of IoT in smart industries.”

Irish public reveal their thoughts on future transport

Fujitsu has commissioned a report on the Irish public’s attitudes towards future transport technologies, showing changing opinions towards things such as electric vehicles (EVs).

Among the findings was that 65pc of those surveyed believe EVs are having the most positive impact on transportation in Ireland today, followed by drones (26pc) and robotics (20pc).

However, there is a reluctance to embrace some new technologies, with 51pc of those surveyed saying they are uncomfortable with the idea of autonomous cars.

“IoT plays a huge role in the value of our transport systems and this technology is making it possible to learn more about passenger decision-making,” said Craig Sutton, client managing director of transport at Fujitsu Ireland.

He added: “[By] embracing sensor technology, operators can greatly improve route planning, accident prevention and greatly improve safety so we can work together with passengers to develop a more efficient, effective and safer experience.”

Uber dumps its self-driving truck division

Less than two years after the controversial fallout of its purchase of the autonomous trucking company Otto for $680m, Uber has decided to end its attempts to develop self-driving trucks.

According to TechCrunch, the company’s division has closed and it is now totally focusing its efforts on autonomous cars instead.

In a statement, the head of the Uber Advanced Technologies Group, Eric Meyhofer, said: “We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh and, as we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward.”

However, the company has not given up on the trucking industry entirely as this decision does not affect its other division, Uber Freight. Founded in 2017, the service follows the familiar Uber model, connecting truckers with jobs nearby.

Tencent’s headquarters in Shenzen, China. Image: NAYUKI/Shutterstock

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic