Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto

OCF and IoT; Toyota and Uber; NIO’s IPO.


Internet of Things
Electrolux, Haier, LG Electronics, and Samsung Electronics announced they are working with the Open Connectivity Foundation, an Internet of Things standards body, to build, commercialize, and deploy interoperable OCF-Certified connected products during 2019. In addition, the OCF is launching an enhanced security model and secure cloud management capabilities, making use of public key infrastructure technology. “With security and integration being quoted as top key challenges across organizations deploying IoT, according to the latest IDC IoT European survey, a unified approach towards interoperability and secured connected devices like the one announced by the OCF today is certainly welcome. It should help reassure organizations in their current and future IoT plans of these vendors’ intentions to address their key concerns,” Marta Munoz, research director, IDC EMEA, said in a statement.

AT&T worked with Softbox Systems to show how unmanned aerial vehicles could be used to transport and deliver temperature-sensitive medical supplies. The carrier employed Softbox’s Skypod thermally-insulated packaging during a trial in Puerto Rico. An LTE-connected drone contained a smartbox with AT&T’s IoT technology.

Verizon Communications now offers fixed voice capability on its Cat M IoT service and will introduce mobile voice capability in the next month. The company early last year set up its Cat M network and later in 2017 successfully tested voice-over-LTE on that network.

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law this week a bill creating an office of elections cybersecurity for California. The new office will work with state, local, and federal agencies, sharing information on cyberattacks and cyberthreats, developing emergency preparedness plans, and recommending ways to protect election-related infrastructure. It will also combat false online information, such as election dates and voter registration.

FireEye helped Facebook and Google to identify and root out disinformation campaigns aimed at American users of social media, originating in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Automotive Tech
Toyota Motor is investing $500 million in Uber Technologies, enhancing joint development of self-driving car technology by the two companies. The ride-hailing startup will provide its autonomous vehicle technology for a fleet of Toyota minivans, which will also have the automotive manufacturer’s Guardian safety software. Toyota and Uber plan to initiate a pilot program by 2021. Uber is currently testing its driving autonomy tech in Pittsburgh with a fleet of vehicles made by Volvo Car; Uber will make a transition from owning and operating a fleet of Volvo-made autonomous vehicles to providing its self-driving car technology to Toyota. Meanwhile, four Toyota suppliers agreed to form a joint venture early next year to develop software for automated driving, controlling such components as brakes, sensors, and steering. They are Aisin Seiki, Aisin’s Advics subsidiary, Denso, and Jtekt.

Dyson, the UK-based consumer products company famous for its high-end vacuum cleaners and fancy fans, is investing almost $3 billion in electric vehicles that it will bring to market in 2021. The company is spending $260 million to establish an automotive research and development center in Hullavington, Wiltshire, England, restoring two abandoned hangars that were built for the Royal Air Force’s former Hullavington Airfield during the Second World War. Dyson will set up 10 miles of test tracks at the former RAF and British Army base.

The development of driverless-car technology is leading to another application – pilot-less aviation. This feature describes how an emergency service is being developed in Tracy, Calif., by SkyRise, a Silicon Valley startup aiming to outfit small helicopters with cameras and radar sensors so they can transport first responders without needing a professional pilot. The Sikorsky subsidiary of Lockheed Martin and another Silicon Valley startup, Xwing, are pursuing similar programs, while Boeing-owned Aurora Flight Services is working on electrical aircraft for flying taxi services.

Shanghai-based NIO set terms for its U.S. initial public offering, planning to sell 160 million shares at a range of $6.25 to $8.25 per share. At the top end of pricing, the IPO would raise $1.32 billion. NIO plans to trade on the New York Stock Exchange, with Morgan Stanley as its lead underwriter.

Another Chinese company, Viomi Technology, filed for a $150 million IPO, also with Morgan Stanley as its lead underwriter. The manufacturer of smart-home products partners with Xiaomi and plans to trade on Nasdaq as VIOT. Viomi reports $11 million in net income on revenue of $157 million during the first half of this year.

Philadelphia-based Livent filed for a $100 million IPO, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch as the lead underwriter. The company makes lithium batteries for electric vehicles and is being spun out of FMC Corp. Livent plans to trade on the Big Board as LTHM. It reports $70 million in net income on revenue of $211 million for the first six months of 2018.

Intel Capital led a Series B round of funding for Beijing ICE TECH Science & Technology, a developer of artificial intelligence technology in Shenzhen, China. It was joined by Green Pine Capital Partners and Frees Fund. The amount of the investment was not revealed. ICE TECH received Series A funding in 2015 from investors led by Dongchen Fund. The startup will use the new money for R&D in AI algorithms and chip technologies.

Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z dedicated cryptocurrency fund and the Polychain Capital hedge fund led a $102 million round of funding for Dfinity, which is developing a blockchain-based supercomputer for “Cloud 3.0.” The startup’s total private funding now stands at about $195 million, after completing a $61 million round in February. Dfinity is based in Switzerland.

Cloudian, a provider of data management and storage, raised $94 million in Series E funding from Digital Alpha, Eight Roads Ventures, Goldman Sachs, INCJ, Japan Post Investment, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, and WS Investments. Cloudian, which has employs about 160 people and has 240 enterprise customers, has raised a total of $174 million from private investors.

Brazil’s CargoX received $60 million in Series D funding led by The Blackstone Group and Hudson Structured Capital Management. Also participating in the new round are Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm Ventures, George Soros, and Oscar Salazar. CargoX provides blockchain-based bill-of-lading technology, helping shippers and trucks more efficiently manage their logistics.

San Francisco-based Puls Technologies raised $50 million in a funding round led by Temasek. Sequoia Capital, Red Dot Capital, Samsung Next, and Viola Ventures, all existing investors, were joined by new backers Hanaco Ventures and Hamilton Lane. A year ago, the company raised $25 million. Puls competes with Geek Squad, Angie’s List, and other companies in providing technicians who can install, maintain, and repair home electronics.

Yihang.ai of Beijing, China, received $32 million in Series B funding led by CICC Jiacheng Investment, which was joined by Source Code Capital and CICC Alpha, along with an existing investor, Matrix Partners China. Yihang.ai is developing autonomous driving technology and expects to have a production model out with Level 2.5 autonomy in June of next year.

Irvine, Calif.-based Zadara Storage raised $25 million in new funding led by Israel Growth Partners, along with existing investors. Established in 2011, Zadara offers enterprise software-defined data storage in the cloud.

Lacework of Mountain View, Calif., received $24 million in Series B funding led by Sutter Hill Ventures, bringing its total private funding to $32.7 million. Liberty Global Ventures, Spike Ventures, Webb Investment Network, and AME Cloud Ventures also participated. The startup provides the Lacework Cloud Security Platform.

Indegy, an industrial cybersecurity company, raised $18 million in Series B funding led by Liberty Media. New investors are Centrica PLC and OG Tech Ventures. Returning backers are Cato Networks CEO Shlomo Kramer, Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures, and Aspect Ventures. Indegy provides control and visibility for industrial networks.

Belmont, Calif.-based Avegant received $12 million in Series AA funding from Walden SKT Venture Fund and China Walden Venture Investments III, along with existing investors. Avegant is developing next-generation display technology.

Fake news? New Knowledge of Austin, Texas, doesn’t like it either. The cybersecurity startup raised $11 million in new funding from GGV Capital, an existing investor, joined by Lux Capital. The company uses AI and machine learning to combat covert coordinated disinformation campaigns. New Knowledge was founded in 2015 and has clients in energy, entertainment, financial services, and other industries.

Mitte of Berlin, Germany received $10.6 million in new funding led by Danone Manifesto Ventures. Also participating are VisVires New Protein Capital and Kärcher New Venture. Mitte is taking orders for its residential water system, which offer filtration with healthy minerals.

Itochu is investing approximately $9 million in Singulato Motors, an EV startup in China. Intel holds a small equity stake in the startup.

San Francisco-based Very Good Security, a data security startup, raised $8.5 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Other investors are NYCA, Vertex Ventures, Slow Ventures, and Max Levchin. VGS was founded in 2015.

Rambus renewed its patent license agreement with Infineon Technologies, extending the pact for another 10 years. The German chipmaker is licensing Rambus’ Differential Power Analysis Countermeasure portfolio, taking in software, hardware, and protocol techniques to protect devices from side-channel attacks.

Source Code of Waltham, Mass., acquired specific assets of Seattle-based Silicon Mechanics, which makes dedicated servers and provides IT services to developers. Source Code is a portfolio company of JMC Capital Partners.

New Plymouth, Idaho-based Truckstop.com purchased D&S Factors of Fruitland, Idaho, a factoring service for the transportation industry. Truckstop.com was founded in 1995.

The Edge and IoT Solutions Division of Dell Technologies this week brought out new hardware and software, including the IoT Solution for Surveillance and IoT Connected Bundles from the company’s IoT Solutions Partner Program. Those are available now or in the near future.

Guardhat, a provider of Industrial IoT safety technology, is relocating its entire executive management and software development team from Southfield, Mich., to downtown Detroit, making its corporate headquarters to the 1520 Woodward Avenue Building, operated by the Bedrock real-estate firm.

Synopsys presents the annual ARC Processor Summit on Tuesday, September 11, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in San Jose, Calif. Topics at the conference include AI, automotive safety, edge computing, embedded systems, and the IoT. Register here.



Mary Chensee says:

Hopefully, the new array of OCF products will be good. While I was initially really hyped about the smart homes after reading besttechexpert.guide advice on what device you need, right now it feels like the industry is stalling. They’re not really renovating anymore or even refining what’s already there, just slapping on more features purely for the sake of bloating the features list.

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