It's a time for the fresh IoT digest. Check out news about Internet of Things hardware, software and industry in general.

Hardware news

Quectel BG96 Multimode LPWA Module Earns TELUS Certification

Quectel Wireless Solutions, announced that its BG96 module has achieved technical compatibility certificate with the wireless network of TELUS, a leading global telecommunications service provider in Canada.

Based on Qualcomm’s MDM9206 modem, BG96 is global multimode Cat M1/NB-IoT/ EGPRS module with integrated GNSS, offering a maximum data rate of 375Kbps downlink and 375Kbps uplink, fully compliant with 3GPP R13 of LTE Cat M1 and Cat NB1 specifications.

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Tele2 first Swedish operator to launch eSIM connectivity through Windows

Tele2 and Microsoft has cooperated intensively in order to develop everything necessary to offer the new technology. Starting now, laptops with the latest version of Windows 10 and an embedded SIM (eSIM) chip will be able to connect to Tele2’s net anywhere, at any time. The technology is expected to be included in most future laptops and tablets, with an increasing number launching during the second half of 2018.

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Robotic hand uses AI, 100 simulated years to achieve dexterity

AI researchers from non-profit organisation OpenAI have created a system that allows a robotic hand to learn to manipulate physical objects with unprecedented dexterity, with no human input.

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The AI of the beholder: Eye movements can predict personality

New machine learning research has established links between how we move our eyes and our personalities.

The team used a state-of-the-art machine learning algorithm to demonstrate the link between personality and eye movements.

It found that eye movements can reveal whether someone is sociable, conscientious, or curious, with the algorithm reliably recognising four of the ‘big five’ personality traits: neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. (‘Openness to experience’ is the fifth.)

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Google announces new Edge TPU and Cloud IoT Edge products

On the back of last night’s unveiling of its enterprise Cloud Services Platform, Google has just announced two new products aimed at helping customers develop and deploy intelligent connected devices at scale.

Edge TPU is a new IoT-focused chip for the edge environment, and Cloud IoT Edge is a software stack that extends Google Cloud’s AI capability to gateways and connected devices.

Together, the two products allow users to build and train machine learning models in the cloud, then run them on Cloud IoT Edge devices via the Edge TPU hardware accelerator.

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Facebook to launch internet satellite Athena

According to emails obtained from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Facebook is working on a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite that will provide internet coverage.

Many city dwellers have access to superfast broadband, giving them the connectivity they need to do business, stream video, and most importantly to Facebook, engage in social networking.

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British Army testing autonomous vehicles to supply frontline troops

The Financial Times reports that Stork, the firm’s autonomous paraglider, is one of five unmanned transport concepts chosen by the British government’s Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory for assessment during a four-week military exercise on Salisbury Plain this November.

The Stork consumes less fuel than a conventional drone and can carry up to 100kg of supplies over 100km. Its large inflatable wing can be used to glide without the use of the propeller, while most drones use fuel to keep themselves aloft.


Health IoT: Wearable can predict older adults’ risk of falling

However, another route to providing non-invasive help in the homes of vulnerable people is through dedicated health wearables. This week, researchers in Illinois revealed the foundations of a device that could actively predict when elderly people are at risk of falling.

In the UK, around one-third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, fall at least once every year. In the US the numbers are similar, and with brittle bones and the risk of broken hips ever present, a serious fall can have serious – sometimes fatal – consequences.

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Software news

Microsoft unleashes Windows 10 IoT Core Services

IoT Core Services enables solutions running on Windows 10 IoT Core to be commercialised and companies to create long-term business models for ongoing value.

One of the most important components of the service is the Device Update Center, where an overview of all devices can be seen and updates scheduled for when appropriate. All updates are delivered using the same CDN (Content Delivery Network) as Windows Update.

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LG CNS announces CityHub platform for smart city management

CityHub, the platform’s tentative name, is able to collect data from IoT sensors across the deployed smart city. This could be sensors installed on things such as vehicles and buildings, or infrastructure like street lights and traffic cameras.

The platform supports the international oneM2M standard in addition to 98 other IoT standards used by specific industries like manufacturing and logistics.


Soracom simplifies secure provisioning of IoT devices in field

Soracom, Inc., provider of the leading cloud-native connectivity-as-a-service platform for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced released of its Krypton service, which simplifies and lowers the cost to securely provision connected devices in the field.

Krypton uses SIM authentication to identify each unique device the first time it is connected to a cloud service. This allows shipment of devices with a common firmware image to end customers, who can then add unique device information and keys at deployment using the Soracom web console or API.

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IoT security: Serious vulnerabilities found in Samsung SmartThings Hub

Bozzato discovered firmware vulnerabilities that made it possible for an attacker to take control of the Hub and, by extension, access sensitive information, monitor and control devices within the home, and perform other unauthorised activities – with potentially devastating consequences.

The seriousness of the flaw would, in some senses, depend on how many smart devices the homeowner had connected to the device. For example, Cisco Telos found that using the exploit, smart locks under the control of the SmartThings Hub could be unlocked, literally opening the front door to an attacker. Security systems could also be disabled, including motion sensors and smoke detectors.

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Google unveils enterprise Cloud Services Platform – AI, on-premise options

As of today, these are the three leading options for organisations that want to start driving off premise and into the cloud – still a much bigger enterprise opportunity than many people realise after years of cloud hype and hybrid solutions, given that 95 percent of data still resides on premise.

The hood has been up on the Google car for a couple of years, but Google’s Cloud Next conference, which kicked off yesterday in San Francisco at a revamped Moscone Centre, slammed the bonnet shut and revved up the engine to launch the Google Cloud Services Platform as a new enterprise-focused suite.


Blockchain smart contracts project Oasis Labs launches

The privacy-first, high-performance cloud computing platform, built on blockchain, is designed to allow greater innovation between collaborating parties, while enabling users to reclaim control of their data without relying on a central organisation.

The Oasis Labs team has been assembled from both business and academic spheres, with backgrounds in security and deep learning.

The startup is also promising high performance at scale, not just when it comes to transaction throughput, but also in the face of complex workloads such as machine learning (that will be enabled by a rich programming framework).

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Snowflake announces availability on Microsoft Azure

Snowflake Computing, the data warehouse built for the cloud, announces immediate availability of its data warehouse-as-a-service on for Microsoft Azure preview. Customer demand for Azure, and the need for large organisations to have flexibility across their cloud strategy,has prompted Snowflake to offer Azure as a cloud computing option to run Snowflake’s cloud-built data warehouse.

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Qoitech’s Premium software for Otii now available from Digi-Key

Qoitech AB announced as part of its worldwide distribution agreement, Digi-Key Electronics will be offering Qoitech’s Premium software for use with its energy optimisation tool Otii. The Otii solution provides developers with the means to simplify power measurement of applications and devices, especially those targeting the IoT space and aiming for optimised, long battery life.

The Otii solution combines the measurement capabilities of several different test and measurement hardware tools into the Otii Arc, a device that makes it substantially easier for developers to pinpoint which sections of code, associated peripherals, and hardware contribute most to the application’s power consumption.

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Stage Intelligence deploys AI platform in Helsinki to grow bike share scheme

Stage Intelligence, the provider of Bike Share Scheme management solutions, has partnered with Moventia, an urban transport operator, and CityBike Finland OY, the Bike Share operator for Helsinki. Together they will deploy its BICO Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform in Helsinki’s Bike Share Scheme.Helsinki CityBike has gone live with Stage’s AI management platform and is supporting over 600,000 residents with their new season of Bike Sharing.

The BICO solution is actively collecting citywide data and optimising Bike Share operations in Helsinki. The partnership with Stage Intelligence enables CityBike to use its BICO AI platform to drive usability of its more than 2,000 bikes and increase ridership for the new season of Bike Sharing as the CityBike scheme continues to expand into the city of Espoo.


General news

Nokia and Current by GE teaming up to bring smart city technology across Canada

Both companies will help cities in Canada improve operational infrastructure and expand new services to citizens. Under the commercial partnership agreement, Nokia will be able to gain access to Current by GE’s CityIQ platform technology.

CityIQ will repurpose outdoor street lighting into digital infrastructure that collects data and distributes valuable insights to cities via Nokia’s safe and secure communications networks. This builds on Nokia’s steady expansion of its smart city capabilities, which consist an entire portfolio of network solutions designed to provide IoT connectivity to municipal and utility infrastructure. 

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Three primary urban problems which can be solved by IoT and AI

More than half of the world’s population now live in cities - and the figure will rise to more than two thirds by 2050, according to a United Nations forecast. Growing numbers of city residents put pressure on energy and water resources, transport networks, environment, national healthcare budgets as well as many more aspects of the city.

Problem 1: Mobility challenges – How to improve citizens’ lives and bring them closer.

Problem 2: Air pollution – how to do urban planning and reduce air pollution.

Problem 3: Home care for elderly and vulnerable people.

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Leading firms pressure the EU to back connected car standard

The companies want the European Commission to put its weight behind the C-V2X (Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything) standard instead of the WiFi-based alternative ITS-G5.

By adopting C-V2X, the companies believe Europe will be in a better position to speed up the rollout of 5G networks.

In a letter addressed to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other commissioners, the companies say ITS-G5 “has no relationship to 5G technology and certainly no evolutionary path toward compatibility with 5G".

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Liege gets smart parking through NB-IoT technology – and a new partnership

Belgium-based CommuniThings has partnered with Orange to launch the first smart-parking solution over NB-IoT technology for commercial use.

Dubbed as "Shop & Drive", the solution assists commuters to find available parking space via a mobile application at the same time as stimulating shopping activities through increased vehicle rotations at each spot. This Shop & Drive smart parking solution running on Orange Belgium's Mobile IoT network introduces low-power wireless sensors and open-data applications serving residents, retailers and municipalities.

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China using artificial intelligence to make foreign policy: report

The Ministry confirmed the plan to use AI, adding that it would explore “the use of emerging technology for work enhancement and improvement”.

The system itself draws data from various sources from local gossip to images taken by spy satellites. A diplomat can make decisions to achieve specific foreign policy goals, with the system providing a range of options and recommendations, suggests the report.

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The generation game: How two IoT startups are changing the UK’s energy consumption habits

The application is brilliant in its simplicity. Young people are told they can win big prizes. In order to start doing this, all they have to do is charge their mobile and other devices at night. This involves a simple two-step process: download an app onto their mobile phone, then clip a device to the mains electricity in their house, just at the point where it runs into the meter.

The widget can measure exactly how much electricity is passing through the cable, and when. It reports this information back to Ecotricity, via the user’s mobile phone. So the company knows exactly who among their subscribers is obeying their request to run machines, dishwashers, and mobile phone chargers overnight and can reward them accordingly.

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Japanese researchers use AI to diagnose stomach cancer

The Japan Times reports that the AI developed by Riken and the National Cancer Centre took just 0.004 seconds to judge whether an endoscopic image showed early-stage cancer or normal stomach tissue.

The AI was able to match the diagnosis abilities of an experienced doctor, correctly detecting cancer in 80 percent of cancer images, while displaying 95 percent accuracy for healthy tissue images.

The team of researchers employed 100 endoscopic images of early-stage stomach cancer and 100 images of normal stomach tissue to test the AI, following its deep learning training.

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Europe hits Google with record antitrust fine

The European Commission (EC) has hit Google with its largest ever fine, €4.3 billion ($5.07 billion), for antitrust violations relating to its Android mobile operating system.

The EC said that Google had used Android, the world’s most popular mobile OS, to unfairly strengthen its dominance in search by forcing phone makers to pre-install both Google Search and the Chrome browser, hindering rivals and damaging consumer choice.


160 AI companies sign pledge against lethal autonomous weapons

Over 160 AI companies and organisations from 36 nations have signed a pledge to “neither participate in, nor support, the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons”.

The pledge, which has also been signed by 2,400 interested individuals from 90 countries, begins with the statement: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to play an increasing role in military systems. There is an urgent opportunity and necessity for citizens, policymakers, and leaders to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI.”

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