The Week in Review: IoT

Security focus; BeBop funding; Qualcomm-NXP.

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Cybersecurity
The U.S. and U.K. governments collaborated on an unprecedented message on Monday, together warning that Russian cyberattacks may extend beyond government and private organizations to individual homes and offices. The attacks may focus on Internet of Things devices, said Rob Joyce, the cybersecurity coordinator for the National Security Council, who soon after resigned from the White House post to return to the National Security Agency.

The departures of Rob Joyce and his superior, Tom Bossert, came after President Donald Trump named John Bolton as his third national security adviser. Bossert and Joyce were working on a national cybersecurity doctrine, which may finally be released this summer, according to Kenneth Rapuono, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, who testified Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee.

Microsoft this week unveiled Azure Sphere, a bundle of products and services meant to provide greater security for IoT devices. They include a microcontroller design with a custom Linux kernel, a Linux-based Azure Sphere operating system to help secure the microcontrollers, and the Azure Sphere Security Service.

Thirty-four companies signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, agreeing to work together on cyberattack defense, refusing to help governments launch cyberattacks, empowering developers to work in the field, and taking collective action with a variety of parties. Companies participating include Arm, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, and Trend Micro.

Meanwhile, the Broadband Forum debuted its User Services Platform, a standard for implementing, deploying, and managing IoT devices in a broadband-enabled home network. USP builds on the established TR-069 protocol used by Internet service providers.

Finance
Berkeley, Calif.-based BeBop Sensors reports receiving more than $10 million in Series A funding led by Bullpen Capital. The startup will use the money to accelerate product development and for penetration into multiple markets, including augmented/virtual reality, automotive, health, and IoT. “We see the market for sensors in wearables including gloves for VR, automotive and gaming applications to grow rapidly, reaching $5 billion by 2027,” Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, said in a statement. “This market is also transitioning from rigid sensors such as FSRs to fabric-like, flexible, stretchable sensors. BeBop Sensors is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this transition and rapid growth in the market.”

M&A
At the request of China’s Ministry of Commerce, Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors withdrew and refiled their notice of acquisition for the $44 billion merger. NXP and Qualcomm also extended the end date for their purchase agreement from April 25 to July 25 of this year. China represents the final regulatory hurdle for the Qualcomm-NXP combination, and there are concerns that the current trade tensions between China and the U.S. may complicate or delay conclusion of the transaction. Qualcomm would have to pay NXP a $2 billion break-up fee if the merger isn’t completed.

Silicon Labs completed its acquisition of the Z-Wave business of Sigma Designs for $240 million in cash. The Austin, Texas-based buyer is taking on about 100 Z-Wave employees in the deal. “Adding Z-Wave to Silicon Labs’ extensive IoT connectivity portfolio allows us to deliver a unified vision for the wireless technologies underpinning the smart home market,” Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs, said in a statement.

Products/Services
The Arm SDK-700 System Design Kit was launched this week, providing help in system-on-a-chip device design for rich IoT nodes and gateways, using the company’s Platform Security Architecture. The SDK-700 is said to provide a secure SoC foundation for Microsoft’s Azure Sphere offering.

Sundelin & Kouri Engineering introduced the Frostbite development board for working with IoT devices and embedded systems. The board is based upon Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 SoC. It can be programmed with Nordic’s software development kit or the Snowflake IoT framework, supporting C++17 standards.

Organizations
Toronto-based MMB Networks, an IoT integrator, elevated its membership in the Zigbee Alliance to the Promoter level and gained a seat on the alliance’s board of directors.



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