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IoT news of the week for Sept. 7, 2018 – Stacey on IoT

New IdentityTheft Scam

Industrial IoT platform Relayr acquired: Good news for those invested in the industrial IoT. Munich Re, an insurance firm, acquired Relayr for $300 million this week. Relayr helps industrial and enterprise clients connect their machines to the internet (or intranets) to gather and analyze information.  From there, clients can predict when machines might fail. This sort of deep analytics capability is interesting to insurers as a way to manage their risk. If you insure a paper plant against downtime, for example, it would be nice to have better data to prevent it. The potential for collaboration and a shift in how the insurance industry evaluates and prices risk make this deal a fascinating one to watch. (Relayr)

KB Homes creates a Google Home: Move over, Alexa; homebuilder KB Homes has decided that future homebuyers want Google as their chosen assistant. The efforts will combine Google mesh Wi-Fi (as opposed to Cat-6 cabling in the walls) with a variety of smart home products such as locks, video doorbells, and connected lights. Google will send people to help the homeowner select their smart home options and set them up, much like other efforts by homebuilders in this space. Some things to think about include, what happens when people move? Do they take the Google Assistant with them? Does a Google worker come help the new owners change the programming? The other thing worth noting is that builders are now working with tech firms much earlier in the home-building process to ensure good Wi-Fi coverage and pre-plan for device placement. That has been common in custom, high-end homes but with the smart home, it’s moving down-market. It also feels like a missed opportunity for some of the other home automation providers like Savant and Control4. CEDIA as an organization should really step up here. (Builder)

ADT takes security to the cyber level: I am somewhat surprised this took so long, but ADT is now offering a cybersecurity service for customers. ADT is the most well-known brand in home monitored security, so I can see how the company decided that the next step should be cybersecurity. It plans to offer protection against identity theft, track customers’ personal information on the “dark web,” provide a VPN, and supply a router that tracks network traffic and monitors it for bad behavior. As far as services go, some of these are pretty standard (Comcast has launched a similar service on its routers that tracks network traffic) and some of them seem fairly mundane. ADT plans to charge $4.99 to $29.99 per month for the new Digital Security products, depending on which ones are ordered. And while such steps are likely enough to protect or notify the average person that something has happened, I’m not sure services like ID protection do more than let you know something bad has happened a bit earlier than you otherwise would. The VPN and the router-based monitoring are decent steps, although a VPN does come with drawbacks. But some of the best ways to stay safe are also free. Change your password on your router and devices, practice good password hygiene, and check your credit reports once a year. Yes, it’s work, but it’s pretty easy and much cheaper than $30 a month. (ADT)

You will love this breakdown of smart home ecosystems: One of the most common questions we get is: “What smart devices should I buy?” Our answer is always: “It depends.” Everything from your use case, your phones, any existing devices you have, and your level of comfort with technology play into the type of devices you should buy. This story discusses all of those things across Alexa, Google, HomeKit, Nest, SmartThings, Wink, and more. So if you are eyeing an ecosystem, read this first. And yes, I probably should have written one of these for y’all. (The Ambient)

Nanoleaf’s new lights will be out in November: Nanoleaf makes LED light panels that currently come in a triangle shape. The lights are super fun to play with — and expensive. At IFA this year, the company said the square panels (called Nanoleaf Canvas) will be available in November and will cost $199 for nine panels. The square pattern adds touch sensitivity and lets you control up to 1,000 panels as one unit (as compared with the 30 allowed by the triangular Aura panels). I played with these at CES and I thought they were awesome. (Ubergizmo)

Get Cortana and Alexa to turn on your Xbox: Microsoft has brought Cortana and Alexa to certain players’ Xbox gaming systems. U.S. customers who are part of the paid Xbox Insiders program will get the ability to tell Alexa or Cortana to turn on their gaming platform and even say things like, “Alexa, start Rocket League” and have the game console turn on, sign you in, and launch your game. I have something similar for my TV and I can tell you it’s pretty freaking amazing. (Xbox)

This is old but fascinating: After getting my FitBit and wearing it all day, every day for years, I became obsessed with my resting heart rate. At 50, it seemed ridiculously low. I worried that I might have something wrong with me. To be sure, I do faint at the slightest provocation. But my doctor did the tests and assured me I was fine. He then said that he now has so many patients who come in with their FitBit or Apple Watch data worried about how far off they seem to be from the baseline for normal that he wishes the devices would offer some kind of caveat. They needlessly freak some people out, he said. (He also admitted that efforts to use trackers to detect serious conditions such as atrial fibrillation make them worth the trouble.) I thought of my doctor when I ran across the idea of orthosomnia. Orthosomnia is what happens when people believe their sleep tracker data over the peer-reviewed tests conducted by doctors and worry about their resulting sleep “problems.” I read a study explaining the idea that covered some patient case studies, and what struck me is how similar the belief in tracker data over medical expertise mirrors the attitude one finds on the internet, where “experts” claim any number of unbelievable things, such as the idea that vaccines cause autism, and are believed. (NCBI)

Let’s talk about the cow supply chain: This story lays out six different ag tech startups using connected sensors, AI, and other technologies associated with the internet of things to improve farming. I like the ideas presented and the global nature of the list, but my favorite phrase can be found in the first profile. It’s of Stellapps, a Bangalore-based startup that tracks sensors across “the cow supply chain.” (Nanalyze)

Source: on 2018-09-07 12:41:15

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