The Week In Review: IoT

TDK buys InvenSense for $1.3B; PARC gets $19M for peel-and-stick sensors; Honeywell and Dover unit team up.

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M&A
TDK has agreed to acquire InvenSense for $13 a share, representing a total of $1.3 billion in cash. The transaction must be approved by InvenSense shareholders and regulatory agencies; TDK expects to wrap up the deal in the second quarter of its fiscal year ending in March of 2018 (the third quarter of the calendar year). Apple accounted for 40% of InvenSense’s revenue for the fiscal year ended April 3, 2016. Samsung Electronics was its second-largest customer for fiscal 2016, at 16% of revenue. InvenSense will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK under the merger agreement. TDK President and CEO Shigenao Ishiguro said in a statement, “TDK’s sensor business, one of its strategic growth areas, can be strengthened by merging TDK’s portfolio of magnetic sensor technologies (where its strength lies) and its wide range of sensor products with InvenSense’s expanding sensor technology. This acquisition is a fundamental element in TDK’s strategy to provide unique and high-value-added products and services in IoT. We aim to become a strong player in the sensor business with InvenSense as our perfect partner.”

Deals
Honeywell and Dover Energy Automation will work together on Industrial Internet of Things technology and software. “It is clear that a robust ecosystem is key to successfully implementing an effective IIoT solution for manufacturers,” Andrew Hird, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Process Solutions’ Digital Transformation business, said in a statement. “The need for deep domain knowledge and experience across a range of applications to quickly and fully evaluate a plant’s needs cannot be overstated. Dover’s expertise in equipment condition monitoring and asset integrity management is superior and makes it a powerful collaborator to provide expertise for our customers.”

R&D
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $19 million to PARC to develop peel-and-stick sensors that can monitor IoT activity, using radio-frequency power. The wireless devices could be easily installed in homes, hospitals, offices, restaurants, schools, and stores. “If you can measure the temperature in different parts of a building, you can operate the energy system more efficiently,” said David Schwartz, project lead and manager of Energy Devices and Systems at PARC. “But deploying sensors can be expensive. This idea lets you facilitate the deployment of the sensors, without the cost. You just peel and stick.”

Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore and Splunk have opened the NYP-Splunk Industrial Internet of Things Analytics Living Lab. The new laboratory joins the NYP-Splunk Operational Intelligence Lab, opened in 2013.

Market Research
ABI Research forecasts shipments of cellular machine-to-machine modules will reach more than 400 million units in 2021, increasing earlier forecasts, citing the accelerated rollouts of narrowband Internet of Things networks. “In the mid to latter half of 2016, several mobile operators, including DT, Vodafone, China Mobile, and China Unicom announced NB-IoT network availability as early as 2017,” Dan Shey, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research, said in a statement. “While this may not equate to full regional coverage across all operator properties nor service availability, it demonstrates operator commitment to the technology to help drive OEM product development and eventual customer adoption.”

Networking
The Wi-SUN Alliance, which is working in the areas of field area networking and the Internet of Things, said it completed an interoperability testing event of the IEEE 802.15.4u physical layer radio-frequency specification for India. The test event was hosted by TUV Rheinland at their Wireless Test Laboratory in Bangalore, India. Analog Devices, Landis + Gyr, Procubed, Renesas Electronics, and Silver Springs Networks were among the companies participating in the interoperability test.

Sigfox announced this week it has installed its low-power wide-area networks in more than 100 U.S. cities, covering 20% of the American population. The sites include Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. The company intends to reach 40% of the U.S. population in 2017. Sigfox last month received €150 million (about $156.7 million) in new funding from Salesforce Ventures and Elliott Management, among other investors; much of the money will go toward U.S. network deployment and expansion. “We are thrilled to celebrate this significant benchmark – in 100+ U.S. cities in one year – and we can attribute strong customer demand for connectivity to driving our aggressive network deployment in the U.S., as it is a priority growth market for IoT and Sigfox,” Allen Proithis, President of Sigfox North America, said in a statement.

Products
STMicroelectronics and Valencell have collaborated on a development kit for biometric wearables, pairing ST’s SensorTile turnkey multi-sensor module with Valencell’s Benchmark biometric sensor system. “Valencell’s Benchmark solution leverages the high accuracy of ST’s MEMS sensor technology along with SensorTile’s miniature form factor, flexibility, and STM32 Open Development Environment-based ecosystem,” Tony Keirouz, Vice President Marketing and Applications, Microcontrollers, Security, and Internet of Things for STMicroelectronics, said in a statement. “Combined, SensorTile and Benchmark enable wearable makers to quickly and easily develop the perfect product for any application that integrates highly accurate biometrics.”

Digi-Key Electronics will distribute a new IoT software platform from enmo Technologies. The platform enables any mobile IoT device to connect to any cloud service, utilizing Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity. Mike Speckman, Chief Business Officer at enmo, said in a statement, “We are very excited to work together with Digi-Key to address customer needs in the rapidly growing global IoT market.”

Rigado has introduced the Rigado IoT Gateway, based on the Modular IoT Gateway Solution stack from NXP Semiconductors. It is a configurable, white-label product conforming to industry-standard protocols, according to the company. The Rigado IoT Gateway will be showcased at CES next month and will be available in February, with pricing ranging from about $100 to $250. “Gateways play a crucial role in connecting both low-power wireless and WiFi-enabled devices to cloud and data services for IoT,” said Kevin Tate, Rigado’s chief marketing officer. “Our experience building integrated IoT solutions has taught us that companies prefer their gateways to be designed to meet their specific performance needs and cost targets, especially for large-scale deployments. We’re excited to offer them a new option to customize and order their own gateway to meet their current and future connectivity needs.”

Gobot this week released version 1.0 of its open-source robotics and Internet of Things framework. It supports more than 24 hardware and software platforms, it was said, along with machine-to-machine communication standards, such as MQTT. “We created Gobot to make IoT development easy, and at the same time provide industrial-strength tools,” said Ron Evans, the creator of Gobot and Ringleader of The Hybrid Group, the software consultancy that has sponsored the open-source project.

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