Dear lord, it's another standards group!
Ericsson and Intel have created the 5G Innovators Initiative (5GI2
) which aims to build some kind of standard for connecting devices to 5G networks. The challenge here is considerable, since 5G is a nebulous term, so the effort to build a standard for it should be fun. It's also a challenge because 5G networks are going to be mixed networks using different cellular, Wi-Fi and other technologies, while trying to make them a seamless whole. It will be a standard comprised of standards! It reminds me a lot of the Industrial Internet Consortiums. The first target is the Industrial Internet of Things. With that in mind, Honeywell, GE and the University of California - Berkeley are the first participants to join the initiative. (Ericsson
Disney's tech team makes wireless charging real:
Engineers at the Magic Kingdom just tested the boundaries of physics (it's like magic) by showing off a wireless power solution that charged devices inside a specially designed room. Instead of devices needing to rest on a special charging pad, the specially designed walls of the room and electricity flowing up a copper pole in the middle of that room generated enough juice to theoretically charge a device. This isn't commercial yet, and there are a lot of caveats (there's a danger zone within 46-centimeters of the conducting pole) but it's pretty exciting research. I could deploy a lot more sensors if I knew I wouldn't have to wander around changing batteries every three months. (Ars Technica UK
Are you ready for connected power tools?
Actually, based on this article, why would you want a connected power tool? The added cost and the irritation of having another app on your phone make dumb power tools look just fine. Looks like so far instead of cool features, like the ability to better take measurements or plan a project, these apps are pretty basic. (Huffington Post
Calling all SDN nerds
: I used to write a lot about software defined networking, which is a way to make it easier to manage networks as software as opposed to hardware (that's the super short version). It's pretty game-changing stuff because it makes network management easier and scalable. Now Avaya is using SDN to provide security for the internet of things. Basically, each device on the network gets assigned a profile and a zone where it can communicate. Devices that violate that zone or profile by trying to talk to other devices they are not supposed to or to outside sites that are abnormal for it, get flagged. I like it. (Network World
Where is the uncanny valley for personal assistants?
Do you want Alexa calling you by your name? Or your nickname? (Medium
A deep dive on IoT and insurance
: Sure, we've all discussed how connectivity and sensor data change the insurance industry at a high level, but if you want to go really deep into the language used in policies then this story is for you. It's filled with jargon, but it also presents excellent questions such as, "If you incorporate another organization’s IoT technology into your product, how will your business interruption insurance respond if that technology malfunctions?" That's something I know contract lawyers for enterprises are working on right now. (The Indiana Lawyer
Good news and bad news on IoT security
: After the Mirai botnet attacked networked DVRs and routers, the internet of things took a lot of flak for being insecure. I hated this characterization because it lumped newer smart home tech with older insecure connected gear. This story outlining the threats posed by the internet of things gets it right. It lays out why there's a real problem and explains which devices people should worry about. (Internet Society
Fitbit reported its first loss as a public company:
Lackluster holiday sales pushed Fitbit to a loss for the fourth quarter of 2016. The wearable maker this week reported a loss of $146.3 million down from a profit of $64.2 million a year ago. Revenue also declined, falling to $573.8 million, which was down 19% from the previous year. Analysts are worried that fitness trackers are more of a fad than a necessity for users. However, Garmin saw its revenue
rise 10% on sales of wearables. Hmmmm (Fitbit
Ready for Property as a Service?
This blog from an architecture firm discusses how the nature of renting and owning property will change as sensors invade corporate campuses, apartments and hotels. The idea is like office rental community WeWork, which offers users a subscription to office space in their locations around the world. What if we applied that model for vacation rentals or retirement homes? Hat tip to Open Sensors
for the discovery. (Woods Bagot
Idea for an insanely cheap Bluetooth radio
: Cambridge consultants says it can cut the cost of Bluetooth radios tenfold to 7 cents by eliminating the analog components of the radio. It's using its all digital radio tech called Pizzicato to cut costs, and engineers at the firm anticipate using the same tech to shrink radios to such a small size, that a cheap "smart dust" becomes possible. I'm eager to see this, but I'm not holding my breath. (Cambridge Consultants
If you want a cool podcast
: This episode of the Smart Kitchen Show discusses how flavor can be considered a technology and how smart home tech can make even exotic flavors more accessible. It's a nice listen. (The Smart Kitchen Show
Indiana just built an IoT Lab
: It looks
A pest firm just built an IoT mousetrap
: It looks
: My smart home column in PC Magazine deals with geofencing your garage door and an effort to find connected candelabra bulbs. (PC Magazine