Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto

Top IoT trends; Kaspersky moves; EU and 5G.


Internet of Things
Gartner identified what it says are the top 10 strategic Internet of Things technologies and trends. Number one, no surprise, is artificial intelligence. Nick Jones, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement, “AI will be applied to a wide range of IoT information, including video, still images, speech, network traffic activity, and sensor data.” Other top trends include ethical, legal, and social issues in IoT; infonomics and the monetization of data; the shift to edge architectures will be succeeded by a dynamic, intelligent mesh architecture; sensor innovation; trusted hardware and operating systems; silicon chip innovation; and new wireless networking technologies.

This Wall Street Journal analysis looks at whether the federal government should require companies that operate critical infrastructure to observe cybersecurity standards. Some observers say it would be better to leave such precautions up to industry.

Although cybersecurity researchers now control the website critical to the function of the WannaCry cryptoware that devastated so many Windows PCs around the world in May of last year, the ransomware’s spreading mechanism is still active, Kaspersky Lab says. In its third-quarter report on cyberattacks and threats, WannaCry accounted for 28.72% of ransomware attacks in Q3, according to the company.

Speaking of Kaspersky Lab – the Russian company is moving key parts of its business out of Moscow to address suspicions that the cybersecurity firm is exposed to the Russian intelligence services. As part of a $12 million initiative to regain trust in the firm, Kaspersky Lab is now processing data in Zurich, Switzerland, at a facility hosted by Interxion. The Zurich facility is called a Transparency Center, and Kaspersky plans to open a second, similar facility next year in the Asia/Pacific region.

At last weekend’s Paris Peace Forum in the capital of France, more than 50 nations, 130 private-sector groups, and 90 charitable groups and universities signed the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace agreement. The United States was not among those countries; neither was Australia, China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia, or Saudi Arabia. Kaspersky Lab joined Cisco Systems, Dell Technologies, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and other tech companies in signing the agreement.

Automotive Tech
BMW, Vodafone Group, and Ericsson petitioned the European Commission for a decision on 5G technology in vehicles – they support the C-V2X standard, a cellular connectivity technology, along with Deutsche Telekom, Ford Motor, Huawei Technologies, Intel, and Qualcomm. The EC is considering a Wi-Fi technology in the ITS-G5 standard for self-driving cars. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission this week held its first auction for high-band 5G spectrum, in the 28GHz and 24GHz bands. FCC auctions of three more millimeter-wave spectrum bands are scheduled for 2019.

Abellion London, a bus operator in the capital of the United Kingdom, is trying out safety technology from Mobileye under a grant from Transport for London. The trial involves the Israeli company’s collision avoidance technology, with such features as forward collision warning, lane departure warning, speed limit indicator, and traffic sign recognition.

PSA Group, which is the parent of Peugeot, Citroën, Opel Automobile, and Vauxhall Motors, is making a return to the U.S. market, but not with its vehicles. The company is rolling out the Free2Move mobile application, which offers car rentals, ride-sharing services, and other aspects of mobility in general. Signing up for Free2Move costs $10. The app is currently available for use in Washington, D.C., and it will be launched in other U.S. markets.

Boston-based Optimus Ride picked Nvidia’s Drive AGX Xavier as its development platform for self-driving vehicles. The autonomous technology startup will upgrade its autonomous vehicles in Boston’s Seaport District and the Union Smart Point development in Weymouth, Mass., with the Drive AGX Xavier. Optimus is a spinout from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with $23.25 million in private funding, including an $18 million round a year ago led by Greycroft Partners.

Daimler Trucks North America is working with Filament, a blockchain technology startup, to develop a peer-to-peer platform for automating and streamlining its aftermarket remanufacturing supply chain operations. DTNA completed a proof-of-concept project with Filament’s proprietary Blocklet USB device. Filament this week separately introduced Blocklet for Trusted Vehicle Applications, an end-to-end automotive blockchain platform, part of the company’s Blocklet Kit for Trusted Vehicle Applications.

Los Alamos National Laboratory awarded funding to Marvell Technology Group for accelerating the architecture, design, and development of advanced server technology. The company will focus on key areas of system architecture and silicon design for maximizing the efficiency and overall performance of large-scale supercomputers. In addition, Marvell noted the launch of the Isambard Cray supercomputer in the U.K., which is based on Marvell’s 64-bit ArmV8-A ThunderX2 processors. HPC Systems brought out the Science Cloud with Arm HPC, an Arm-based cloud service that can be used in research for artificial intelligence, big data analytics, deep learning, machine learning, and scientific computing. The Science Cloud with Arm HPC was developed in collaboration with Arm, Marvell, and HiSilicon Technologies. Meanwhile, Verne Global expanded hpcDIRECT, its bare-metal infrastructure offering, including servers with Arm-based Marvell ThunderX2 processors. Finally, Marvell announced the opening of its Operations Center of Excellence at the Tai Seng Center in Singapore. The facility will serve as the company’s headquarters for the Asia/Pacific region.

Achronix Semiconductor launched the Research eFPGA Accelerator Program and the Test-Chip eFPGA Accelerator Program to provide greater access to its high-performance Speedcore embedded field-programmable gate array technology. Government agencies, industry consortia, and universities can join the research program, using preconfigured Speedcore eFPGA IP to build programmable hardware accelerators into their system-on-a-chip device research projects. Companies can take advantage of the low-cost test-chip program, incorporating eFPGA IP into their ASICs and SoCs.

ClioSoft introduced SOS for Tanner, an SoC design management platform developed in collaboration with Mentor, a Siemens Business. ClioSoft’s SOS7 platform is integrated into Mentor’s IC Design Tool Flow for the development of analog and mixed-signal SoCs.

Also this week, Mentor announced the new Xpedition printed circuit board design platform, featuring multi-dimensional verification. The platform now provides “shift-left” upfront verification capability within the engineer’s authoring environment to minimize design re-spins and improve overall product quality, it was said.

FogHorn Systems will work with Dell EMC OEM Solutions to provide end-to-end Industrial IoT edge computing. Foghorn will integrate its Lightning edge computing technology with Dell EMC offerings for industrial and commercial customers.

Johnson Controls International will sell its automotive battery business to Brookfield Asset Management for $13.2 billion in cash. The transaction, which will help Johnson Controls pay down debt, is expected to close by mid-2019.

Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital entered into a definitive agreement to acquire athenahealth for about $5.7 billion in cash. Shareholders of athenahealth will receive $135 per share. After closing, the buyers will combine athenahealth with Virence Health, GE Healthcare’s Value-based Care assets acquired earlier this year by Veritas. The combined company will operate under the athenahealth brand. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2019.

Vista Equity Partners agreed to acquire Apptio, a provider of technology business management software for $38 a share in cash, with a total value of $1.94 billion. The deal is scheduled to close in the first quarter of next year.

BlackBerry agreed to acquire Cylance of Irvine, Calif., for $1.4 billion in cash. The transaction is expected to close by the end of February. The cybersecurity startup, which Business Insider reported was expected to go public, raised more than $320 million in private funding from investors that included The Blackstone Group, Insight Venture Partners, Capital One Growth Ventures, Citi Ventures, KKR, In-Q-Tel, and Khosla Ventures.

NSO Group is negotiating to acquire Fifth Dimension, a developer of intelligence prediction software, according to media reports in Israel, where both companies are based. NSO specializes in cybersurveillance, providing mobile surveillance tools to governments and law enforcement agencies.

AGC Networks has agreed to acquire Black Box for $1.08 per share in cash. The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2018. AGC has expertise in digital applications and cybersecurity, while Black Box specializes in designing, building, maintaining, and securing IT infrastructure.

Pareteum this week agreed to acquire iPass in a stock-swap transaction valued at more than $21 million. Mobile connectivity and location/performance data are the specialties of iPass, which has been working with Pareteum for a year. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2019.

Honeywell completed its acquisition of Transnorm, a German company specializing in warehouse automation, in a transaction valued at around €425 million (about $481.6 million). Transnorm becomes part of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions.

Vestar Capital Partners is buying an equity stake in Chicago-based Information Resources, a provider of data and predictive analytics software for manufacturers of consumer packaged goods, over-the-counter health care organizations, retailers, financial services firms, and media companies, from New Mountain Capital, which retains an ownership position in the company. The transaction is expected to close in this quarter.

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