October 2020 IoT News

By Pilgrim - October 19, 2020

This is my 19th monthly IoT update.

I've been investigating the topic of "How to prove the Return-on-Investment (RoI) for an IIoT project?":

EVs: As California bans the sale of fossil-fuel cars from 2035 and the UK considers accelerating its own ban to 2030, EV charging company ChargePoint (which hit 100k charging points in 2019) has gone public at $2.4bn. Total just acquired London's biggest EV-charging network, will power it entirely on renewables, and is aiming for 100k points deployed across the entire Total fleet by 2025. Tesla Powerwall (which hit 100k installs back in April) has hiked the price, as installation dates stretch into next year, buoyed by customers wanting to access subsidies (California's clever subsidy tranche mechanism automatically reduces the subsidy as installation numbers increase).

Security: The first hospital death due to ransomware has been identified in Germany, while in the UK ambulances still running Windows XP are vulnerable to cyberattack. Although the hackers are immediately to blame, I'd anticipate a strong legal case for negligence against operators who leave their systems so vulnerable, by not upgrading them.

Connectivity+ platforms: Cavli Wireless have an interesting IoT proposition: they bundle the cellular modem hardware into their connectivity costs, reminiscent of how you can get a smartphone "free" with your telco contract. Likewise Electric Imp, recently acquired by connectivity provider Twilio, has announced Microvisor, their integrated hardware+comms proposition.

Japanese telco DoCoMo has cancelled its NB-IoT service, probably because it's not economical. Next Thursday you can hear the alternatives discussed at this CW event.

Luos announces microservices for IoT – an interesting idea (people have been trying to make IoT deployment modular for more than 20 years - since the days of OSGi).

Given the current interest in Nvidia's acquisition of ARM, you might find it interesting to understand how DevicePilot is different from ARM Pelion.

Two years after announcing it, Amazon has finally launched its Timestream time-series database. We work a lot with streaming time-series databases so can understand why it's taken them so long. 

Amazon has expanded on their vision for Sidewalk – as an ad-hoc local network which now extends to support LoRAWAN too. As I understand it, if you have e.g. a Tile tracker on your child's bike, and they leave it at their friend's house, then the friend's Echo hub or whatever will route messages from the Tile back to Amazon and thence to you (because you own that Tile) to help you find it again. With strong security. These kinds of ad-hoc networks have the same property as the original internet: the more participants, the stronger and more useful the network. I sometimes wonder why there aren't more successful networks with this property, apart of course from the internet itself (Nodle is another, wide-area example). In the UK, British Telecom tried to do this a while back with their Fon shared WiFi network but either didn't execute well, or maybe it's just an idea whose time has not yet quite come.

Amazon Ring announced that next year it will release its Always Home automatic camera drone. From a technical perspective, the most significant thing about this is that it automatically navigates around your house, meaning they've crammed effective at-edge machine vision and SLAM navigation into a very small, light, low-power package. What could possibly go wrong. No really, what could go wrong.

Oh, and the machines are starting to talk to each other.

Until next month.


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