Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto

IP security; Equifax breach; NXP buys OmniPHY.

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Internet of Things
Silicon Labs worked with Norway’s Q-Free to create the ParQSense Smart Parking Sensor, which helps drivers find available outdoor parking spaces. ParQSense uses the chip company’s Wonder Gecko wireless microcontroller for connectivity and control. Having gone through pilot testing in the European Union and North America this year, ParQSense is being released for commercial use on Monday, September 17.

Cybersecurity
The Accellera Systems Initiative announced formation of its IP Security Assurance Working Group, which will meet every two weeks beginning Tuesday, October 2. The group will develop a security assurance standard for third-party intellectual property going into chip designs. “As an industry organization, we are continually in search of and open to new opportunities to develop standards that improve design and verification productivity,” Accellera Chair Lu Dai said in a statement.

It’s been one year since Equifax disclosed the data breach that exposed the Social Security numbers of 145.5 million Americans. What have lawmakers done in response? Nothing, essentially. Bills introduced in Congress have died for lack of action, and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reportedly killed its investigation into the Equifax breach last November. There has been some regulatory action in California and New York State.

The Equifax breach and similar episodes have drawn attention to cybersecurity precautions and brought new business to companies in the field. Gartner forecasts enterprises around the world will spend $96.3 billion on security this year, an 8% increase from 2017. Zacks Investment Research highlights six cybersecurity stocks that could gain momentum as the midterm elections draw near: Fortinet, Radware, Proofpoint, FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, and CyberArk Software.

Here’s a potential growth market: Cybersecurity insurance. Apple and Cisco Systems teamed up earlier this year with Allianz and Aon to offer cyber resilience evaluation services and cybersecurity insurance coverage. One challenge in the nascent business: Not having decades of actuarial data to determine coverage and premiums.

L3 Technologies completed its acquisition of Azimuth Security and Linchpin Labs, two information security businesses. The acquired companies will operate as L3 Trenchant under L3’s ISR Systems business segment.

Automotive Tech
NXP Semiconductors purchased OmniPHY, a provider of automotive Ethernet subsystem technology; financial terms weren’t revealed. Ian Riches of Strategy Analytics said in a statement, “Cameras and displays will ramp the number of high-speed links in the car to 150 million by 2020 and by 2030 autonomous car systems will aggressively drive that number to 1.1 billion high-speed links.” NXP noted that OmniPHY has started translating 1000BASE-T1 Ethernet technology to automotive applications.

AutoX Technologies is using its two autonomous vehicles to deliver groceries to about 400 homes in northern San Jose, Calif. The pilot project is in partnership with GrubMarket.com and DeMartini Orchard, a high-end grocery store in nearby Los Altos. The startup plans to extend the pilot to Mountain View and Palo Alto, using its mobile application. Two-year-old AutoX has $43 million in private funding.

M&A
China Telecom may merge with China Unicom, forming a strong second-place competitor to China Mobile, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The two companies publicly said they were not aware of such plans, which could only take place with the blessing of the national government in Beijing.

Ericsson agreed to acquire CENX, a provider of closed-loop automation and service assurance capabilities, subject to regulatory approval. The Swedish telecom equipment vendor holds a minority equity stake in CENX, which was established in 2009 and is based in Jersey City, N.J. The proposed purchase is said to boost Ericsson’s Operations Support Systems portfolio.

Munich Re, a reinsurance group in Germany, acquired Berlin-based relayr, which provides an Internet of Things middleware platform, for $300 million. Founded in 2013, relayr has refined its IoT business to offer a hardware-agnostic cloud-based services platform for developers of Industrial IoT products. The startup raised $66.8 million in private funding, including a Series C round of $30 million in February, led by Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners. Munich Re previously was an investor in relayr.

Finance
Vapor IO of Austin, Texas, closed on Series C funding led by Berkshire Partners, with participation of Crown Castle, an existing investor. The startup will use the money to offer colocation and interconnection services around the U.S. with its Kinetic Edge platform. Making use of software-defined networking technology, Vapor IO will expand from its data centers in Chicago to have 13 sites going by the end of this year, almost 50 facilities by the end of 2019, and more than 100 sites by the end of 2020.

El Dorado Hills, Calif.-based ThinCI raised $65 million in Series C funding led by Temasek and Denso. Also participating in the new round are GGV Capital, Wavemaker Partners, SG Innovate, Mirai Creation Fund, and Daimler. ThinCI develops computing platforms for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and vision processing applications, such as drones, smart cities, and smart homes. It offers an AI and deep learning processor.

Wunder Mobility received $30 million in Series B funding led by KCK Group. An existing investor, Blumberg Capital, was also involved. Founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 2014, Wunder now has 70 employees in four offices located in Asia, Germany, and South America. The company provides car-pooling and fleet management services, along with smart shuttles, in a dozen countries.

Avrios International of Zurich, Switzerland, raised $14 million from Notion Capital and Lakestar, among other investors. The firm offers a fleet management software-as-a-service platform.

Austin, Texas-based Infinite.io received $10.3 million in Series B funding, bringing its total private funding to $13.7 million. David Galvin, the former CEO of Motorola, led the new round and was joined by Chicago Ventures, Equus Holdings, and PV Ventures. Founded in 2014, Infinite.io provides data storage intelligence systems.

JumpCloud of Boulder, Colo., got a $10 million credit facility from Comerica to hire more than 50 new engineers for its “directory-as-a-service” offering. The company last year raised $20 million in Series C funding, bringing its total private funding to more than $43 million. JumpCloud was founded in 2012.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Bear Flag Robotics, a developer of autonomous farm tractors, received $3.5 million in seed funding led by True Ventures. The startup was established last year.

Deals
Ericsson and Sprint will work together on developing a virtual core IoT network and operating system. Using Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator platform, the companies plan to support 5G cellular communications with the virtual network.

STMicroelectronics collaborated with TomTom to provide development tools in the STM32 Open Development Environment that connect directly with TomTom Maps application programming interfaces for location, tracking, and mapping services. The related hardware and software will be available next month.

Cloudera brought out an end-to-end, modular, open-source IoT architecture developed in collaboration with Red Hat and Eurotech, a provider of industrial embedded hardware. The new architecture is said to offer data management and analytics capabilities.

Jabil and TIBCO Software are partnering to provide IIoT offerings, using TIBCO’s Project Flogo framework and ecosystem. Jabil will develop embedded applications with machine learning capabilities for smart appliances, industrial equipment, and IoT-enabled consumer products.

Products/Services
Synopsys says Artosyn Microelectronics has adopted its DesignWare tRoot Hardware Secure Module for developing a system-on-a-chip device for use in drones. The HSM includes cryptography accelerators, root-of-trust capabilities, and a true random number generator. Synopsys also announced its support for the Open Neural Network Exchange format in the forthcoming DesignWare ARC MetaWare EV Development Toolkit, which enables the creation of artificial intelligence and vision applications for the ARC EV6x Embedded Vision Processors.

The U.S. Navy awarded a contract to Boeing to provide MQ-25A Stingray drones, which would deliver fuel from aircraft carriers to combat planes. The award is worth $805.3 million, with an initial award of $79 million, and could lead to billions in business for Boeing.

Smith Micro Software said it is exploring strategic options for its QuickLink IoT product line. Palmares Advisors is serving as the company’s financial advisor in the evaluation process.

Sierra Wireless is opening a Global Service Center office in Atlanta, Ga., to serve its customer base in IoT services. The company last year acquired Numerex, an Atlanta-based company in the IoT business.

NetComm Wireless this week introduced the NetComm NTC-100 device for IIoT applications. The product leverages 4G LTE connectivity, working with Cat M1 and narrowband IoT networks.

Organizations
Filament joined the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, which counts BMW, Bosch, Ford, General Motors, and Groupe Renault among its founding partners. Filament supplies blockchain-based systems for enterprises and the IIoT.



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