The Week in Review: IoT

SenseTime gets $620M; security woes; Internet Trends 2018.

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Finance
SenseTime of Beijing, China, received $620 million in Series C+ funding, valuing the company at more than $4.5 billion. Alibaba Group led the new funding, as it did with last month’s Series C round of $600 million. Qualcomm, an existing investor, participated in the latest round, along with new investors Fidelity International, Hopu Capital, Silver Lake Partners, and Tiger Global. SenseTime uses artificial intelligence technology for a wide variety of applications, including smart cities and facial recognition.

Toronto-based Ecobee, a developer of smart thermostats, raised $36 million from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, AGL Energy, and BDC Capital, bringing its total private funding to $155 million. Less than two months ago, Ecobee raised $80 million (earlier reported as $61 million) from investors that included Amazon’s Alexa Fund.

OnTruck of Madrid, Spain, received €25 million (about $29.2 million) in Series B funding led by Cathay Innovation. Also investing were Atomico, Idinvest Partners, All Iron Ventures, Total Energy Ventures, GP Bullhound, Point 9 Capital, and Samaipata Ventures. OnTruck helps companies and truckers fill up trailers with freight for deliveries in Spain, with operations now expanding to the United Kingdom.

M&A
Verint Systems of Melville, N.Y., is reportedly negotiating to acquire Israel’s NSO Group, a military-grade cybersurveillance firm, for about $1 billion. Verint supplies cyberintelligence software to government intelligence agencies and to law enforcement agencies. Francisco Partners, a private equity firm, owns the controlling interest in NSO.

Éric Carreel, a co-founder of Withings, closed a deal to buy the company back from Nokia, which acquired the health wearables firm for $192 million in 2016. Nokia this year decided to fold its digital health business and entered into talks with Carreel. Financial terms of the proposed transaction were not revealed.

Cybersecurity
A White House report, ordered last year by President Trump, concludes that about three-quarters of federal government agencies have cybersecurity programs that are “at risk” or “at high risk,” almost three years after the Office of Personnel Management had a significant data breach, exposing security clearance information about more than 20 million current and former federal employees. Meanwhile, an episode in Portland, Ore., where an Amazon Echo device mistakenly recorded a conversation between a husband and wife, then forwarded an audio file of the conversation to someone on their contact list, is raising questions about security measures for Internet-connected devices in the home. “Experts say the expanding ecosystem of internet-connected devices such as smart thermostats, home security systems, and electric door locks are increasingly susceptible to hackers, including those trying to leverage voice-command devices,” Olivia Beavers writes in this piece.

Market Research
Venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends presentation was unveiled this week. At 294 presentation slides, it is exhaustive and exhausting. When it comes to IoT topics, there are references to the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Nest Labs, predictive maintenance, fitness tracking, and precision cooking, among others.

Products/Services
The kitchen is becoming the focus for Internet of Things devices in the home, Angela Shah writes in this article. Electrolux is partnering with Innit, an application developer, while London-based Moley Robotics has come up with a commercial-grade kitchen for homes that includes robotic hands trained by chef Tim Anderson.

Organizations
Google Cloud became a sponsor member of the LoRa Alliance and will give a keynote address at the 10th annual LoRa Alliance Open House in Vancouver, Canada, on Thursday, June 7. The open house theme is “Achieving Business Value with LoRaWAN.”

Conferences

The Internet of Things Developers Conference takes place next week in Silicon Valley. IoT DevCon will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 5-6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. It will run concurrently with Machine Learning & AI DevCon.



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