IoT News of the week for Dec. 10, 2021 – Stacey on IoT

Graphic showing Internet of Things news

Graphic showing Internet of Things news

A different perspective on the Matter standard: I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about TVs in part because I don’t spend much time watching one. This isn’t a snob thing, just a function of my family spending more time watching shows on an iPad and not spending much time with TV in general. But for those who love their televisions, this story about how Matter could make different smart platforms for TVs more compatible is great news. Now you won’t just get smart home interoperability for many devices; you’ll also be able to dump proprietary casting systems. (The Verge)

Edge Impulse has scored $34M in funding: Edge Impulse, a machine learning startup that makes it easy to build ML models for constrained hardware, has raised $34 million in additional funding led by Coatue. I profiled the company 18 months ago, and am excited by its progress because it signals more acceptance and interest in edge-based machine learning on microcontrollers. This focus on so-called Tiny ML is essential for the IoT because it’s an approach that will allow for more data privacy and lower power consumption, and will improve the resiliency of smart systems in case of slow or non-existent internet. Since its founding in 2019, Edge Impulse has attracted more than 30,000 developers who have used its platform, and I expect that number to grow as interest in Tiny ML grows. (ZDNet)

Researchers discover that smart homes do take more work: Many people might buy connected gadgets thinking they will make their lives easier, but researchers at the Royal Military College of Canada have discovered that while in most cases they looked at, smart home devices were very good at predicting a single occupant’s preferences, when the AI failed it required more work by the occupant to fix the problem. And when those researchers looked at how two people in a home might affect the AI, they found that people actually changed their habits to avoid interacting as much with the smart home. Yes, this sounds exactly like what I do. (IEEE Spectrum)

Put a camera on it: For years, if a company wanted to make something smart, they’d add a camera and some form of computer vision to try to solve problems that less privacy-invasive sensors could solve as well. People counting is one of my favorite examples of the put-a-camera-on-it phenomenon; plenty of companies can track people without capturing images. But according to this article, Qualcomm wants to improve the security of your smartphone by putting an always-on camera on it to ensure that the only face looking at secured data on your phone is yours. I don’t think my phone needs an always-on front-facing camera, but I can certainly see companies pushing for it. (The Washington Post)

Is this the next step to digital twin interoperability? Creating a digital twin of a machine, process, or building is a lot of work, so it’s reasonable to assume that once an organization creates a digital twin it would want to be able to use it across as many places as it could. But in the digital world, different software and different data models can make it hard to share information from one twin to another. That is why I am heartened to see that the Digital Twin Consortium has released a seven-step framework for digital twin interoperability that includes scaling, state information, and data models. (Digital Twin Consortium)

Airgapped networks are a myth: Slightly over half of internet-connected OT devices are connected to the internet, according to research produced for Microsoft. This means that former security tactics such as relying on airgaps between the IT and OT networks are no longer enough to secure the OT devices. Yet only 29 percent of survey respondents even know what OT and IT devices are connected to the internet, indicating that they don’t understand their attack surface and likely aren’t monitoring their assets for attacks. This means they may not realize when a breach has occurred. The report shares some pretty scary stuff, and at its core means Microsoft and others will sell their cybersecurity software even harder. (Microsoft)

The pandemic was good for smart home device sales: This isn’t news to any of us who purchased new connected cameras or light bulbs during the pandemic, but IDC’s latest third-quarter smart home device tracker reports that sales of such devices rose 10.3% year over year. Prices of smart devices also rose about 3% thanks to supply chain issues, and my expectation is they will rise slightly more. In some cases, we’re only now seeing the effect of component price increases as companies add higher bill of materials (BOM) costs into their price tags. (Ars Technica)

LoraWAN is now an official ITU standard: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has officially recognized LoRaWAN as a low-power protocol for wide-area wireless networks and put it under the ITU’s standardization expert group for IoT and smart cities and communities. The LoRaWAN Alliance worked with the ITU for much of this year to achieve this recognition, which basically means that governments or customers in different parts of the world that choose to install LoRaWAN networks will be assured that their networks will work with the published and internationally recognized standard. The ITU also has a standard for massive IoT, which I have written about. (LoRaWAN Alliance)

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