Internet of Things (IoT) Tech Digest - February 2017

Biometric ID platform

Fujitsu, a Japanese electronics company, has developed a biometric authentication platform for IoT devices. The system works by requiring the user to verify themselves biometrically via a smartphone when attempting to access an IoT device. At the same time, NFC technology is used to confirm the proximity of the user to that IoT device. Having identified the user, the system communicates with the cloud service provider using FIDO (a secure authentication protocol that uses public key infrastructure, and passes no biometric data). The cloud service provider then enables usage of the IoT device. Fujitsu sees this approach being used for applications such as secure storage or vehicles in a car-sharing service. It negates the need to install authentication hardware on each IoT device, and avoids the need to transmit biometric information.

Singtel IoT device monitoring platform and AT&T’s new IoT network

Singaporean telecom company, Singtel, a will be conducting trials in the third quarter of 2017 that will enable customers to monitor IoT devices, such as wearables, connected cars and smart homes sensors from a single platform  . That platform - jointly developed by Ericsson and Singtel - is called Assured+ and aims to unify the IoT market while simplifying and expanding developers’ jobs. 
Meanwhile, American telco AT&T will be rolling out an LTE-M network US-wide in the second quarter of 2017. LTE-M is an IoT technology that can be used to connect sensors and smart water meters, and to track assets. This announcement comes on the back of an LTE-M pilot in 2016. 

Micro Mote

A group of computer scientists from the University of Michigan have created a 1 millimetre cubed computer. The team developed the ‘Michigan Micro Mote’ (M3) computer for use in medical devices and as IoT sensors. They have shown that M3, that uses only nanowatts of power, can detect the sound of a passing car or measure light and temperature. The M3 is solar powered, and can transmit data up to 2 meters to a base station. The scientists are currently working with TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) to embed flash memory and deep neural network systems onto the device. 

San Diego smart city plans

San Diego, USA, has invested USD30 million into creating a smart city infrastructure through deployment of an IoT sensor platform. 3200 CityIQ sensor nodes will be installed on San Diego’s streetlights using technology from Current, a subsidiary of GE (General Electric). Current is working with AT&T (which is providing an LTE network) and Intel (which is providing chips and processors to run analytics and extract meta-data). Apps are also being developed, such as ShotSpotter which can detect gunshot locations in real-time. 
The installation of the CityIQ sensors will begin in July 2017. There are plans to install a further 3000 sensor points later in 2017. 

Softbank CEO says ARM will be producing a lot of IoT chips

At Mobile World Congress, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son predicted that its chip making subsidiary ARM will produce one trillion chips for the IoT over the next 20 years. The intention seems to be supported by the recent acquisition by ARM of NextG-Com and Mistbase, that both create radio signal processing technology for IoT chips.

Visa and IBM partner

Visa and IBM have partnered to work on secure payments from IoT devices such as finger-worn rings,   connected cars, or appliances. Visa is offering companies secure payments across devices using its Visa Token Service, a digital identifier system which doesn’t contain account information, on IBM’s Watson IoT platform. All IBM Watson IoT platform customers will have access to Visa payment services via the cloud. 

GSMA API for IoT Solutions

The GSMA, a network operator trade group, has launched a directory of APIs (application programming interfaces) to help developers find and create new IoT solutions. The database is called IoT Big Data API Directory and contains information about IoT and context data sets on projects related to machines and device, automotive, roads, the environment, smart homes and agriculture. The GSMA hopes that opening up this big data will remove the commercial and technical barriers to developers which in turn will create more IoT solutions and help the market to scale. 

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