Week in Review: IoT, Security, Autos

M&A; Vegas smart city; Cloudflare; Didi Chuxing spinoff.


Synopsys agreed to acquire QTronic, a German company specializing in simulation, test tools, and services for automotive software and systems development. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of the company’s 2019 fiscal year. “The terms of the deal, which is not material to Synopsys financials, are not being disclosed,” Synopsys said in a statement.

Cadence Design Systems reports that the Cadence analog/mixed-signal IC design flow is certified for the 28HPC+ process technology of United Microelectronics. The Cadence tools can be used for artificial intelligence, automotive, and Industrial Internet of Things chip designs.

Marvell Semiconductor is expanding its NVMe over Fabrics product portfolio. The company is pairing Toshiba Memory’s native NVMe-oF Ethernet solid-state drive with Marvell’s NVMe-oF SSD converter controller, delivering a direct-to-Ethernet SSD. The second is a Marvell NVMe-oF Ethernet SSD controller, optimized to expedite SSD makers’ time-to-market and to drive wider data center adoption of Ethernet Bunch of Flash architectures.

Keysight Technologies touts its automotive cybersecurity test portfolio, along with its Automotive Cybersecurity Program. The company says it can provide extensive security validations of the 4G/5G infrastructure connecting vehicles, using security products and services offered by its Ixia Solutions Group.

Trend Micro is going beyond the legacy endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities with its XDR offering, which covers cloud, email, endpoints, network, and server workloads. The company also offers the Managed XDR service, augmenting internal teams with Trend Micro threat experts, providing 24/7 full threat analysis, threat hunting, response plans, and remediation recommendations.

Fastly, which provides an edge cloud platform, launched a new set of tools enabling developers to discover, test, customize, and deploy edge cloud offerings. These tools grew out of collaborations and problem-solving discussions with the company’s worldwide customer base.

Cloudera discusses how manufacturing companies are using Cloudera Enterprise and Microsoft Azure to power their Industrial IoT analytics platforms. The customers involved are Komatsu Mining, Zoomlion, and Faurecia.

Internet of Things
Cisco Systems and other technology companies are teaming with real-estate developers to build Bleutech Park Las Vegas, a six-year project expected to cost $7.5 billion. The aim is incorporate smart city technology within one development in Sin City. Bleutech Park Properties, a real estate investment trust, is leading the project, which will employ artificial intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous transportation, and Internet-connected devices.

Taoglas acquired Firmwave, an IoT product design and engineering company. Firmwave will complement the IoT antenna and radio-frequency offerings of Taoglas for IoT applications in agriculture, construction, energy and utilities, health care, logistics, and supply chain.

StoreBound introduced its Sobro smart side table, which can function as a smart nightstand. It comes with Bluetooth speakers, a cooling drawer for beverages, light-emitting diode lights, and wireless charging, all with a companion application. The nightstand works with Alexa and Google Home systems. The Sobro brand was launched two years ago with a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a smart coffee table.

Amazon announced that its Scout autonomous delivery robots are now ferrying packages in Irvine, Calif. The company tested the internally developed, cooler-shaped robots near its headquarters in Seattle. “While in the Pacific Northwest, Scout has experienced all of the region’s weather—from the expected rain shower, to the infrequent sun, and even the biggest snowstorm the area’s seen in the last decade. It’s now time for Scout to experience a little more sunshine,” Sean Scott, vice president of Amazon Scout, wrote in a blog post.

Cloudflare, the Internet security and content delivery company, is reportedly going to float an initial public offering next month, after recently filing a confidential S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is quite well-funded, with just over $332 million in private funding, including Series E funding of $150 million in March. This week, however, the news spotlight focused on Cloudflare for its business relationship with 8chan, the anonymous message board where the suspect in the El Paso mass shooting posted a manifesto shortly before the attack. Matthew Prince, the CEO of San Francisco-based Cloudflare, was torn about continuing to provide cybersecurity protection to 8chan. At first, he responded to calls for cutting off its service to 8chan by saying his company was “a neutral utility service.” Later, Prince changed his mind about the hateful content on 8chan. “They’ve been not only actively ignoring complaints they receive, but sometimes weaponizing those complaints against people who are complaining about them,” he told The New York Times. Cutting off 8chan made the site less available, as it tried to migrate to the dark web.

There’s been a rise in cyberattacks not meant to steal sensitive data, but to actively destroy their targets. The IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services reports some hackers are using ransomware that contains a destructive element. “In the past, destructive malware was primarily used by sophisticated nation-state actors, but new analysis from X-Force’s incident response data has found that these attacks are now becoming more popular among cybercriminal attackers, with ransomware attacks including wiper elements to increase the pressure on victims to pay the ransom. As a result of this expanding profile, X-Force IRIS noted a whopping 200% increase in the amount of destructive attacks that our team has helped companies respond to over the past six months (comparing IBM incident response activities in the first half of 2019 versus the second half of 2018),” the X-Force IRIS team writes. “Combating Destructive Malware: Lessons from the Front Line” may be downloaded here.

IBM will lead the development of a new blockchain network called “Trust Your Supplier.” Chainyard, a firm that specializes in blockchain technology, will build the network using its technology and IBM’s blockchain platform. Also participating in the project are Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo Group, Nokia, Schneider Electric, and Vodafone. Gartner forecasts blockchain annually will support the worldwide movement and tracking of $2 trillion in products and services by 2023.

Netscout Systems brought out its Threat Intelligence Report for the first half of 2019. Some key findings in the report, which is available here: Botmasters are getting smarter, a focus on mid-size distributed denial-of-service attacks, firewalls are getting hit, and geopolitical skirmishes go cyber. “Our latest Threat Intelligence Report underscores how cybercriminals and crimeware have not only gone to business school, but they can now teach classes,” Hardik Modi, Netscout’s senior director of threat intelligence, said in a statement. “With the cadence of attacks on the rise, businesses can no longer afford to compromise on security. IoT devices are under attack often within just five minutes of being powered up. The threats are real, and Cyber Threat Horizon gives businesses extensive visibility and clarity into the threat landscape, helping them to make the right security choices.”

This week in Huawei – as required by the 2018 military spending bill, the Trump administration this week released a rule prohibiting federal government agencies from purchasing products and services from Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Hikvision, and other Chinese companies. The rule takes effect on Tuesday, August 13. Meanwhile, Huawei notes that it purchases $11 billion worth of American goods and services each year, with responsibility for 40,000 to 50,000 jobs. On Friday, the company released its Harmony mobile operating system at a developer conference in Dongguan. The open-source OS, under development for two years, will first be implemented in “smart screens” and other mobile devices, but not on Huawei phones for now. Harmony (known as Hongmeng in China) provides the company with an alternative to Android if the U.S. trade war with China continues.

Proofpoint researchers report that a new strain of malware, which they call SystemBC, is infecting computers and installing a proxy on those computers. In addition to an on-demand proxy component, the malware seems to be installing another cyberthreat at the same time. Proofpoint also reports that hackers tried last month to infiltrate U.S. utilities, using phishing emails purporting to be from the U.S. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, an engineering licensing board. The firm suspects a nation state-supported hacking group was involved.

The VxWorks real-time operating system from Wind River Systems contained 11 zero-day vulnerabilities, some of which have been there for a dozen years or more, according to Armis. Wind River last month released VxWorks 7, which is said to patch those flaws.

At the Black Hat 2019 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft launched the Azure Security Lab, inviting security researchers to test its cloud security in a sandbox-like environment. The company also doubled its top bug bounty award to $40,000 for finding vulnerabilities in Microsoft Azure. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center says an elite state-sponsored hacking group in Russia is targeting IoT devices to breach corporate networks. It calls that group Strontium; it is also widely known as APT28 and FancyBear.

Fortinet issued a batch of announcements tied to Black Hat. It also published its quarterly Threat Landscape Report, which can be read here.

At Black Hat, Tenable had several announcements. Tenable.io and Tenable.sc have new predictive prioritization capabilities for vulnerability management in the cloud and on-premises, tending to vulnerabilities before they are published in the National Vulnerability Database. New features in Tenable.io and Tenable.sc (formerly SecurityCenter) allow users to discover and assess known and unknown assets across on-premises and cloud environments. These features are based on the company’s Nessus Network Monitor for passive network monitoring. Tenable also expanded its Cyber Exposure Ecosystem with the addition of ServiceNow, AWS Security Hub, and IBM QRadar as partners.

Beijing Xiaoju Technology, better known as Didi Chuxing, announced that its autonomous driving unit is being spun off into an independent, stand-alone company. “Autonomous driving will greatly enhance the safety and efficiency of travel and help cities to be smarter and more sustainable,” Didi chair and CEO Cheng Wei said in a statement. “Technology serves people; in the future, people’s transportation needs in different scenarios will be met by the combination of seamless autonomous driving technology and human driving services that are indispensable for their quality and warmth.” Zhang Bo, the company’s chief technology officer, will lead the autonomous driving technology company, which originally started in 2016 and has 200 people in China and the U.S. working on autonomous driving.

Uber Technologies wants to move you. Not just in its ride-hailing vehicles, but in buses and trains, too. The idea is for users to take Uber rides to bus depots and train stations, then provide a ride when people return from their rail and road trips. The company is making deals with cities and public transit agencies to sell bus and train tickets. Lyft is also following that model, this analysis notes.

While Pizza Hut does business with the Grubhub delivery service, Domino’s Pizza will compete with DoorDash, Uber Eats, and other food delivery services by going its own way. The pizza chain tested self-driving vehicles made by Ford Motor for several years. Domino’s announced in June that Nuro will develop and deliver a fleet of custom driverless cars to transport pizza orders in Houston, starting later this year.

Bird, the electric bicycle and electric scooter company, debuted Bird Two, its second-generation e-scooter, which boasts a longer-lasting battery, anti-theft encryption technology, and a more durable frame. The new e-scooter’s “automotive-grade” battery is more than 50% larger than those in the Bird One. The Bird Two is hitting the streets now.

The Cars.com board of directors completed its strategic review process, saying there were “no actionable bids for the company,” after soliciting takeover proposals last January. Instead, the board “will focus on executing its strategic plan as an independent public company,” Cars.com said in a statement.

Nuance Communications announced the naming of Cerence, which will be spun off as an independent, publicly traded automotive software company effective on October 1. Arun Sarin, the former CEO of Vodafone, will serve as Cerence’s chairman of the board.

Harley-Davidson is getting into the electric vehicle market with the introduction of LiveWire, its first production EV. The electric motorcycles will roll into dealerships next month. Their retail price is $29,799.

Broadcom will acquire Symantec’s enterprise security unit for $10.7 billion in cash. The companies were unable to agree last month on pricing for acquiring all of Symantec. SYMC gained $2.51 to $22.92 a share on Thursday, a jump of 12.3% after The Wall Street Journal reported that a deal was near.

Takeaway.com reached an agreement with Just Eat, another food delivery company, in a deal valued at almost £5 billion (more than $6 billion). The merged companies will be known as the Just Eat Takeaway.com group. It will compete with Uber Eats as the largest food delivery service outside of China.

Salesforce.com said it will acquire ClickSoftware from Francisco Partners, a private equity company, for about $1.35 billion in cash and stock. ClickSoftware provides workforce management software and will be grouped with Salesforce’s Service Cloud organization. The transaction is expected to close during the fall.

Guidehouse, a portfolio company of Veritas Capital, agreed to acquire Chicago-based Navigant Consulting, a business and technology consulting firm, for $1.1 billion. The parties expect to close the deal in the fourth quarter.

DoorDash made a deal with Square to acquire Caviar, a competing food delivery service, for $410 million in cash and stock. Square was reportedly trying to sell Caviar since 2015.

Cisco agreed to acquire Voicea of Mountain View, Calif., a developer of workplace voice assistants. The startup had raised $20 million in private funding from Cisco, GV, Salesforce Ventures, Mindset Ventures, and Battery Ventures. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise bought the business assets of MapR, a data platform for artificial intelligence and analytics applications. This asset acquisition adds to the capabilities of HPE’s Intelligent Data Platform.

Nike purchased Boston-based Celect, a startup specializing in predictive analytics for retailers. Founded in 2013 by two MIT professors, Celect attracted $30.2 million in private funding from August Capital, Fung Capital, NGP Capital, In-Q-Tel, and Activant Capital Group. The firm will become part of Nike’s Global Operations Team.

Microsoft purchased New York-based PromoteIQ, which provides digital advertising and e-commerce offerings for retailers, such as Kohl’s, Kroger, and Overstock.com. The startup will operate under its own name as a division of Microsoft Advertising.

Accenture acquired Northstream of Stockholm, Sweden, a consulting firm to communications service providers and networking services vendors. The Swedish firm was established in 1988. The Northstream team of about 30 professionals will join Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology operating group.

With his SoftBank Vision Funds, Masayoshi Son exerts an unparalleled force in the venture capital business, this analysis notes. The Japanese billionaire says he seeks dominant market share in emerging markets in selecting his investments. Meanwhile, SoftBank Group last year paid no tax in Japan, largely thanks to a legal yet complex move to transfer its ownership of Arm Holdings to the original SoftBank Vision Fund. There was an investigation by tax authorities in Japan, who ultimately concluded there was no wrongdoing in the transaction yet forced SoftBank Group to revise its tax filings.

Flux Power Holdings plans to raise $12.6 million by offering 1.4 million shares at $9.00 apiece. The Vista, Calif.-based manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries and energy storage products currently trades over-the-counter as FLUX and plans to list on the Nasdaq under the same ticker. Roth Capital and Maxim Group serve as joint bookrunners for the offering. Flux Power was founded in 1998 and had $7 million in sales for the past 12 months.

AT&T this week extended its millimeter-wave 5G network to New York City. The 5G service is currently limited to business customers in three Manhattan neighborhoods. The carrier plans to expand its 5G coverage over time. T-Mobile US now is providing 5G service in NYC, with Sprint and Verizon planning their launches for the Big Apple.

Awarding of the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, which could be worth more than $10 billion over 10 years, is being pushed back for a few more weeks while Mark Esper, the new Secretary of Defense, considers the competition for the contract. Oracle tried its best to keep Amazon Web Services from getting JEDI but lost out in a legal appeal. AWS and Microsoft remain in the running for the massive cloud-computing contract.

Mesosphere changed its brand name to D2iQ. It still uses Mesosphere as the name of a product line. The company was founded in 2013. It counts Andreessen Horowitz and Hewlett Packard Enterprise among its investors.

Cambium Networks made available its PMP 450 Platform in the Citizens Band Radio Service spectrum. The fixed wireless platform provides purpose-built fixed-point-to-multipoint broadband technology.

Market Research
Juniper Research forecasts more than 74 million consumer robots will be shipped by 2024, up from an estimated 28 million this year. Their new research, Consumer Robotics: Sector Analysis, Leading Innovators & Market Forecasts 2019-2024, is available here. Juniper also offers a free whitepaper, Why Evolution is Key to Consumer Robotics Survival.

Find upcoming industry events here, including the upcoming Drive World Conference & Expo and the AI Hardware Summit.


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