The Week in Review: IoT

Qualcomm’s woes; Atos seeks Gemalto; Si Labs deal.


NXP Semiconductors is partnering with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing business unit of Alibaba Group, to develop secure smart devices for edge computing. The companies will also work together on Internet of Things offerings. AliOS, the Alibaba IoT operating system, has been integrated with NXP’s application processors, microcontrollers, and Layerscape multicore processors. The chip company’s i.MX and Layerscape processors are said to be the only embedded systems employing the Alibaba Cloud TEE OS platform.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Xage came out of stealth mode this week with a blockchain-based security platform for the Industrial IoT. The startup’s customers include ABB Wireless and Itron. Xage (pronounced “zage” and formerly known as Sensify Security) has added entrepreneur Duncan Greatwood as its CEO; he was previously involved in Topsy (sold to Apple) and PostPath (sold to Cisco Systems). The Xage Security Suite is now available.

TrapX Security of San Mateo, Calif., brought out version 6.1 of its DeceptionGrid platform, supporting IoT devices. New capabilities in the software include setting cybersecurity traps for attackers in printer/copier servers, security cameras, and smart lighting products.

Redpine Signals introduced the low-power, multiprotocol RS14100 wireless microcontroller for battery-operated IoT devices. It also debuted the RS9116 line of wireless chips and modules, which are available in embedded and hosted configurations.

Bsquare unveiled new DataV software implementations for Amazon QuickSight and Microsoft Power BI, to drive cross-system interactive data visualizations and reports. DataV is aimed at industrial organizations in manufacturing, oil and gas, and transportation, among other industries.

At International CES, January 9-12 in Las Vegas, Nevada, BeBop Sensors will introduce the Forte Wireless Data Glove for gaming and augmented/virtual reality applications. The company will also demonstrate a foot mat and a trackpad for medical and consumer electronics. has introduced the PocketBeagle development board, which is said to be smaller than a Raspberry Pi single-board computer. The Linux-based computer is available from Arrow Electronics, Digi-Key Electronics, Newark element14, and Mouser Electronics.

The Broadcom-Qualcomm-NXP saga took some turns this week. Broadcom proposed 11 candidates to replace the directors on Qualcomm’s board, ahead of Qualcomm’s annual meeting in March. Elliott Management, an activist hedge fund that has a small equity stake in NXP, wants Qualcomm to increase the purchase price to $135 a share, significantly higher than the $110 a share the chip companies settled on a year ago. Qualcomm responded in a statement, “Elliott’s value assertion for NXP is unsupportable and is clearly nothing more than an attempt to advance its own self-serving agenda. We remain fully committed to closing the acquisition of NXP and believe that the agreed-upon price of $110 is full and fair.” Stay tuned!

Atos made an unsolicited $5.1 billion offer to acquire Gemalto, the supplier of security software, biometrics, and encryption technology, which the Dutch company promptly rejected, saying it undervalued Gemalto. (Where have we heard this before? Hint, hint: See above item.) Gemalto CEO Philippe Vallee said in an interview, “The approach of Atos is opportunistic. That’s smart on their side, but we need to defend ourselves.”

Silicon Labs reached a definitive agreement to acquire Sigma Designs for $7.05 a share in cash, a transaction worth about $282 million. The companies expect to close the deal in the first quarter of 2018. Silicon Labs would broaden its IoT chip portfolio with the purchase, taking in Sigma Designs’ Z-Wave products for the smart home. Sigma Designs is in talks to divest its Media Connectivity line, and plans to divest or wind down its Smart TV business.

Senseye Ltd., a developer of predictive maintenance software, has raised £3.5 million (about $4.7 million) in Series A funding led by MMC Ventures. Breed Reply, IQ Capital, and Momenta Partners, all existing investors, participated in the new round. The company will use the money to meet customer demand for its automated condition monitoring diagnostics and prognostics software. Founded in 2014, Senseye previously received seed funding of £1.3 million (around $1.75 million), among other early investments.

Lafayette, Colo.-based Alchemy IoT announced receiving $4 million in seed funding from Aweida Venture Partners and several angel investors. The startup specializes in IoT asset intelligence, offering its cloud-based Clarity application, combining artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Industrial IoT technology. Alchemy IoT was founded in 2016 as a business unit of TerraXML.


CENTRI Technology’s Atonomi unit is initiating a research partnership with John H. Clippinger, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and a co-founder of the Token Commons Foundation. Dr. Clippinger will join Atonomi’s board of advisors, providing counsel on the Atonomi Network, a crypto-security protocol to enable advanced trust and identity validation for IoT devices.

ZTE and velcom, part of A1 Telekom Austria Group, have deployed a commercial narrowband IoT network in Belarus. The NB-IoT network is being used for smart metering and smart city offerings.

Market Research
Strategy Analytics has a new report, From Alexa to Industry: Opportunities for a Voice-powered Internet of Things (IoT).


Bill Martin says:

Jeff: I hope you are correct about a great disturbance in IoT. But if these are products targeted for the masses (and not industrial use), the product developers better make sure their products are rigidly designed and tested.

Each person has their own home setup with various ISPs, Modems, WiFis, etc and each of these components have their own configuration setups. This is far from a uniform environment, let alone the skills of the users.

The worst thing that could happen is mass support on new IoT products. I even contemplated purchasing one of the heavily advertised IoT and after reading the various reviews (new and old), it appears it is not ready for prime time. Too many issues are red flags on the maturity of the product (hw, sw, documentation, support, etc).

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