Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto

IoT law; Honda investment; Synopsys news.


Internet of Things
Amazon Web Services announced that Iridium Communications has joined the AWS Partner Network. AWS and Iridium have collaborated on development of Iridium CloudConnect, a service that enables worldwide coverage for Internet of Things applications through Iridium’s satellite network. AWS IoT is being paired with Iridium IoT services as a result. IHS Markit forecasts there will be about 75 billion IoT devices deployed around the world by 2025.

Itron is supporting the Wi-SUN Alliance’s Field Area Network Certification Program. The company will use the Wi-SUN FAN standard as a basis for its network platforms.

Researchers at Drexel University report development of a method for creating spray-on antennas that could be used for IoT applications. Titanium carbide compounds are dissolved in water to make a paint-like substance. The compounds are derived from the inorganic, ultrathin MXene material, originally developed at Drexel. The team used a craft-style airbrush to spray the material on an object. After the water evaporates, the antenna material remains on the object.

It’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. See, you’re already more aware about cybersecurity.

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the nation’s first IoT cybersecurity legislation. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. In June, Brown approved a data privacy law that was unanimously adopted by the California Legislature. Not everyone is unanimous in praising the cybersecurity law, however. Jake Sprouse, director of software engineering at Synapse, said in a statement, “Legislation requiring security measures in IoT devices can do little harm, but it’s a half measure at best. New exploits to existing security protocols are found on a regular basis, so those responsible for building IoT devices need to make sure those devices can be patched and upgraded to address new security flaws after they’ve been shipped. But this is a big shift in management: manufacturers can no longer ‘ship and forget.’ Instead they need to invest, continually improving their embedded software after launch and for the lifecycle of their devices. And there’s a looming iceberg. For IoT devices at or beyond the edge, security updates can be orders of magnitudes larger than the data payloads the system was designed to transmit. The industry cannot afford to let this get in the way of securing the IoT.”

Palo Alto Networks agreed to acquire RedLock of Menlo Park, Calif., for about $173 million in cash. The cloud security startup had raised $12 million in private funding from Dell Ventures and other investors, who will enjoy a tremendous return on their investments. The RedLock acquisition is set to close in the acquirer’s fiscal first quarter, which ends on October 31. In March, Palo Alto Networks purchased Evident.io, a cloud infrastructure security startup, for $292.7 million in cash. In April, the company bought Cyber Secdo, an Israeli provider of endpoint detection and response capabilities, for $82.7 million in cash.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Super Micro Computer servers made in China had chips implanted by the People’s Liberation Army so they could monitor data flowing through the computers. Supermicro denies the report, although it is confirmed by six current and former senior national security officials in the U.S. government. The article says the infected servers were used by Amazon and Apple, but those companies deny the allegations.

Two Northern Virginia companies, eVigilant Security and Evolver, merged into one firm called Converged Security Solutions, based in Reston, Va. The combined company has annual revenue of more than $50 million, 200 employees, and clients that include the General Services Administration and the Transportation Security Administration. CSS provides cybersecurity and physical security services to commercial and government customers.

The American Consumer Institute examined 186 small office/home office Wi-Fi routers from 14 vendors and found that the firmware in 155 of those routers had known vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. “Our analysis shows that, on average, routers contained 12 critical vulnerabilities and 36 high-risk vulnerabilities, across the entire sample,” ACI stated. The organization blamed the flaws on the manufacturers’ use of open-source libraries and said all routers should be able to have their firmware updated on a regular basis.

Another busy week at Synopsys. The company collaborated with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing to come up with DesignWare Interface IP, Logic Libraries, and Embedded Memories for the foundry’s N7+ finFET process. The Synopsys Cloud Solution is certified by TSMC to meet the chip manufacturer’s performance and security requirements. The Synopsys Design Platform now supports TSMC’s advanced packaging technologies, namely wafer-on-wafer direct stacking and chip-on-wafer-on-substrate (CoWoS).

Marvell said its products complying with the IEEE 802.11ax protocol standard will be branded as Wi-Fi 6, following an announcement by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Marvell offers 8×8, 4×4, and 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 radios for applications in automotive electronics, carrier gateways, enterprise and retail access points, and home automation systems.

Arm is working with Xilinx to provide Arm Cortex-M processors for FPGA designs through the Arm DesignStart program. The company also announced the Arm Treasure Data Audience Suite, said to be an actionable and intuitive customer data platform. Treasure Data was bought by Arm in August.

Autotalks, a developer of V2X chipsets, licensed the FlexNoC Interconnect and the FlexNoC Resilience Package from Arteris IP. The technology will be used in Autotalks’ system-on-a-chip devices, which comply with the ISO 26262 functional-safety standard.

Automotive Tech
Honda Motor agreed to invest $750 million in General Motors Cruise Holdings (formerly known as Cruise Automation), GM’s self-driving car subsidiary, while committing to invest up to $2 billion over 12 years in the unit. GM Cruise and Honda will collaborate on developing autonomous vehicle technology. SoftBank Group in May announced a $2.25 billion investment in GM Cruise.

Meanwhile, SoftBank is partnering with Toyota Motor in a mobility services joint venture called Monet Technologies, capitalized with $20 million. SoftBank owns 50.25% of the JV and Toyota holds 49.75%. Monet will start operating by the end of next March and will provide its services first in Japan, before a worldwide rollout.

There’s another LiDAR startup in town. Aeva this week came out of stealth mode with its device, which it says uses a continuous beam with a unique signature to detect objects, rather than discrete laser pulses. The two co-founders, Mina Rezk and Sorosh Salehian, previously were engineers at Apple’s Special Projects Group. Established in 2017, the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup just raised $45 million in Series A funding led by Lux Capital and Canaan Partners.

Reuters reports that AM General, the manufacturer of Humvee military vehicles, is looking for a buyer, citing people familiar with the matter. The company has reportedly hired Macquarie Group, an investment bank, to help with the sale process. Potential bidders are said to include General Dynamics, Oshkosh, BAE Systems, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and General Motors. AM General is currently owned by private equity firms, including MacAndrews & Forbes and The Renco Group.

Microsoft is helping Volkswagen Group with the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud service, using Microsoft Azure, IoT Edge, PowerBI, and Skype in the process. As part of the deal, VW will construct an auto cloud development facility near Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. The carmaker hopes to deploy the auto cloud platform to more than 5 million electric vehicles in 2020 and following years.

Boeing extended its partnership with Siemens PLM Software to use Mentor Graphics software as part of its Second Century Enterprise Systems initiative, part of the aerospace manufacturer’s digital transformation efforts. Meanwhile, Mentor reports its Calibre nmPlatform and Analog FastSPICE Platforms are certified to support Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing’s 7-nanometer FinFET Plus and the latest version of the foundry’s 5nm FinFET processes. In addition, Mentor is enhancing features of its Xpedition Package Designer and Xpedition Substrate Integrator products to keep up with TSMC’s advanced packaging offerings.

Elastic set the terms of its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The enterprise search firm is selling 7 million shares at $36 per share, raising $252 million from the IPO. The stock trades under the ESTC ticker symbol.

Philadelphia-based Livent, a manufacturer of lithium batteries for electric vehicles, set its latest IPO terms at 20 million shares, tentatively priced at $18 to $20 a share. The FMC spinout plans to list on the NYSE with Bank of America Merrill Lynch as its lead underwriter.

LeasePlan of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, will reportedly pursue an IPO in its headquarters city, seeking a valuation of up to €7.5 billion (about $8.6 billion). The company operates vehicle fleets throughout Europe.

Startup funding rounds:
Tanium of Emeryville, Calif., raised $200 million in private funding led by Wellington Management, giving the cybersecurity company a post-money valuation of $6.5 billion. The startup took in $175 million from investors in May, at a valuation of $5 billion. Tanium has now raised a total of almost $800 million in private funding.
• Sunnyvale, Calif.-based JFrog received $165 million in Series D funding led by Insight Venture Partners, at a post-money valuation of more than $1 billion. The startup offers software update management products and services. Investors have put more than $226 million into the company.
OmniSci, formerly known as MapD, raised $55 million in Series C funding led by Tiger Global Management. The San Francisco firm has rebranded itself and provides an analytics platform that originated within a Massachusetts Institute of Technology project.
• Chicago-based project44 received $45 million in funding led by Sapphire Ventures, valuing the startup at almost $500 million. The company develops a shipping logistics platform with enterprise software-as-a-service. It will use the money to increase headcount, while expanding into international markets and ocean shipping.
ClimaCell of Boston raised $45 million in Series B funding led by Clearvision Ventures. It provides extremely detailed microweather conditions for airlines, autonomous vehicles, drones, mobility services, and utilities.
IDx Technologies received $33 million in private funding led by 8VC, bringing its total private funding to more than $54 million. The startup in Coralville, Iowa, developed the IDx-DR system, which uses artificial intelligence technology to detect diabetic retinopathy through analyzing images of retinas. The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of IDx-DR in April, and the system is now installed at University of Iowa Health Care for use in clinical practice.
• New York-based CTERA Networks, which offers cloud-based data storage services, raised $30 million in Series D funding led by Red Dot Capital Partners. The company was founded in 2008.
Softomotive received $25 million in Series A funding from Grafton Capital and has used part of the money to relocate its operations to London, England, where Grafton is based. The startup provides robotic process automation software for enterprises in a variety of industries.
Cargo raised $22.5 million in Series A funding led by Founders Fund. The New York-based startup, founded in 2016, has an in-car commerce service. Cargo struck a deal with Uber Technologies in July to be the ride-hailing service’s exclusive provider of snacks, cosmetics, electronics, and other items that can be sold to riders, using Android Pay, PayPal, and similar payment systems. The new investment raised the company’s total private funding to about $29.5 million.
• San Diego-based Netradyne received $21 million in Series B funding led by Microsoft’s M12 venture capital fund, Point72 Ventures, and Reliance Industries. The startup has AI technology in the service of driver and fleet safety. The company was founded in 2015 by former executives of Qualcomm.
Capella Space of San Francisco, which provides on-demand Earth observation data through space-based radar, raised $19 million in Series B funding led by Spark Capital and DCVC, bringing its private funding to around $35 million in total.
• San Francisco-based Gremlin, an application stress-testing service startup, received $18 million in private funding led by Redpoint Ventures. The company was founded in 2016 by two engineers who had worked at Amazon and Netflix. Gremlin’s total funding is now $23.75 million.
Hysolate of New York raised $18 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Innovation Endeavors. It offers the Hysolate Platform to protect endpoints from cyberattacks.
• San Mateo, Calif.-based Arcadia Data received $15 million in Series B funding led by Pelion Venture Partners. The startup provides visual analytics software. Its private funding now totals $27 million.

General Electric agreed to sell its intelligent platforms business to Emerson Electric; financial terms weren’t revealed. The transaction is scheduled to close in the first half of fiscal 2019.

Honeywell will buy Transorm, a German supplier of warehouse automation products, from IK Investment Partners for about €425 million (around $489.4 million).

Cloudera and Hortonworks will merge in a stock-swap transaction, creating a $5.2 billion provider of cloud-based data management software. Cloudera shareholders will own about 60% of the combined company. The companies expect to wrap up the merger during the first quarter of 2019, following shareholder approvals, U.S. antitrust clearance, and other customary closing conditions.

Cisco Systems this week completed its $2.35 billion acquisition of Duo Security, a provider of network identity and authentication technology for cybersecurity.

Arm TechCon is coming up on October 16-18 at the San Jose Convention Center in Silicon Valley. Arm will put on a program of presentations by Arm executives and others. There will be an exhibition at the center’s halls.


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