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The Week in Review: IoT

Auto lighting analysis; faster wireless for cars; last-level cache; Rockwell invests in PTC; Arm buys Stream; Ring kits.

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Tools/Chips
Synopsys rolled out a new release of its automotive exterior lighting design and analysis software. The tool calculations and generates images for multiple viewing directions and different lighting conditions. Lighting on vehicles has become far more complex than just shining a beam on the road. The latest technology can adapt to road conditions, other cars, and help illuminate the path that vehicles take as they turn corners.

ArterisIP uncorked standalone last-level cache for SoCs, including distributed, shared and dedicated partitioning. The cache improves performance and reduces power consumption, according to the company.

Marvell introduced an 802.11ax SoC for next-generation connected vehicles, including 2×2 concurrent dual Wi-Fi, dual-mode Bluetooth 5/Low Energy, and 802.11p for connected vehicles. The chip adds gigabit-level security, along with enhanced reliability and security.

Finance
Rockwell Automation agreed to acquire an 8.4% equity stake in PTC for $1 billion. Blake Moret, Rockwell Automation’s chairman and CEO, plans to join the PTC board once the transaction is completed within the next two months. PTC CEO Jim Heppelman said the tie-up between the companies will help them in the Industrial Internet of Things.

New York-based Claroty raised $60 million in Series B funding led by Temasek, bringing its total private funding to $93 million. Rockwell Automation, Aster Capital, Envision Ventures, Next47, and Tekfen Ventures participated in the new round, joining existing investors Team8, Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors, and ICV. Claroty offers an integrated cybersecurity platform for industrial control networks.

France’s Exotec Solutions received €15 million (about $17.4 million) from Iris Capital and from existing investors 360 Capital Partners and Breega Capital. The startup develops automated robots, which it calls Skypods, for use in e-commerce warehouses. The Cdiscount e-commerce website is experimenting with Skypods and plans to acquire more robots, racks, and stations from Exotec.

IOTech Systems of Newcastle, England, took in $2.5 million in seed funding from Dell Technologies Capital and Innovate UK, providing research and development funding to the startup. IOTech offers IoT edge platform technology for the IIoT, utilizing the Linux Foundation’s EdgeX Foundry project technologies.

M&A
Arm acquired Stream Technologies, a provider of software tools for managing the connectivity of IoT devices; financial terms weren’t revealed. Stream’s technologies will be integrated with Arm’s Mbed IoT Device Management Platform. Stream was established in 2000 and has more than 770,000 managed subscribers, it was said.

Products/Services
Ring Alarm, the Amazon subsidiary’s home security system, is now available for pre-order at $199. It comes with a monthly charge of $10 for round-the-clock monitoring and cloud-based storage for Ring cameras. The kit can be ordered through Amazon.com, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Ring.com, with shipments scheduled to start on July 4. Amazon acquired Ring earlier this year.

KDDI and Toyota Motor collaborated on an automotive connectivity platform that could be used in linking cars with wireless networks. KDDI hopes IoT platforms for connected cars will be a growth application in the future. Toyota expects to sell connected cars with the platform devices beginning in 2020.

Juniper Networks this week brought out the latest version of its MX routing platform, featuring the new Juniper Penta Silicon, a custom-designed processor, along with built-in encryption and end-to-end security. The MX Series 5G Universal Routing Platform is meant for not only 5G cellular communications, but also for cloud-based business services, the IoT, and software-defined wide-area networks.

NXP Semiconductors announced that its Kinetis microcontrollers are now specified to operate for 15 years. Emerson Electric, a customer for the Kinetis MCU line, credits the devices for its market leadership in industrial automation and climate control.

Silicon Labs debuted software options for its Wireless Gecko product line, enabling sub-gigahertz and 2.4 GHz Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity on one chip. The multiprotocol software is available on the company’s EFR32MG and EFR32BG Wireless Gecko system-on-a-chip devices.

Dana Point, Calif.-based Firestorm UAV introduced the TigerStrike Lite mobile device with the company’s Intelligent Radio Direction Finding (iRDF) technology for applications in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The device is said to read distress signals from personal locator beacons, emergency locator transmitters, and emergency position indicating radio beacons.

Market Research
Ericsson predicts there will be about 3.5 billion connected cellular IoT devices in 2023, up from a forecast of 1.8 billion connected cellular devices last November. “The forecast for cellular IoT connections has almost doubled, due to ongoing large-scale deployments in China,” Ericsson said in its semi-annual mobility report. North East Asia, mainly China, is expected to account for a substantial majority, 2.2 billion, of the connected devices in 2023, Ericsson estimates.

Connected IoT sensors and devices will top more than 50 billion units by 2022, up from an estimated 21 billion this year, according to Juniper Research. It ranks the leading IoT vendors as IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Bosch, and Nokia, in that order. The Internet of Things: Consumer, Industrial & Public Services 2018-2023 is available here.

Sikich, a professional services firm, surveyed more than 200 respondents at companies in various industrial sectors and found that fewer than 10% of those respondents were employing IoT technologies. The survey also turned up the information that 30% said they didn’t have a clear understanding of IoT. The firm’s 2018 Manufacturing Report can be downloaded here.

Investing
Eric Jhonsa of TheStreet.com recommends the stocks of six semiconductor companies expected to benefit from the IoT boom. They are Skyworks Solutions, Qorvo, Qualcomm, NXP Semiconductors, Cypress Semiconductor, and Semtech.



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