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Week in Review: IoT, Security, Autos

Huawei’s foldable phone; underwater IoT; North Korean malware.

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Products/Services
Huawei Technologies is again delaying the public introduction of its Mate X foldable smartphone. It is unlikely the product will be marketed in the U.S., given the ongoing trade war. The official rollout now seems likely to come in November, in time for the holiday shopping season. Samsung Electronics has had its problems with foldable phones, yet those were due to manufacturing and technical issues, not political problems. The Mate X will be a handsome handset with a hefty price tag – it is $2,600.

Owing to a supply glut, Samsung Display is considering suspending production at one of its LCD factories. Chinese competition, the transition to organic light-emitting diode displays, and decreased demand for smartphones and flat-screen televisions are among the factors in the Korean company’s decision. “Samsung Display has been adjusting the production output and facility operation due to oversupply and worsening profitability, and we are still considering the suspension of the line, but nothing has been decided,” the company said in a statement.

Honeywell unveiled new products for what it calls Enterprise Building Integration. At the same time, the company has new cybersecurity offerings to complement the building automation line. The Honeywell Forge for Buildings platform now incorporates a Command and Control Suite, plus the Digital Video Manager. New enhancements include the EBI R600 building management system, the DVM R700 digital surveillance system, and the CCS R300 facility visualization application. They all tie into Honeywell Forge for Buildings, new software tools called Enterprise Performance Management.

Filament adopted the MOBI Visual Identity Standard within its Blocklet Mobility Platform, a turnkey visual identity offering. The enhanced platform now includes a trusted vehicle wallet, fully managed hardware and data platform and secure transaction and contract execution in a MOBI VID and GDPR-compliant environment.

Internet of Things
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a low-power underwater sensor and communication system that doesn’t need a battery as a power source. The team turned to using piezoelectric resonators for transmitting and receiving data. The system’s transmitter sends out sound waves underwater, which in turn hit sensors with embedded receivers, transmitting a small amount of energy. The sensor can use that energy to respond, or not employ it, offering binary communication. The technology could be utilized in underwater Internet of Things networks, once the research team can extend the distance capability of the system.

Infineon Technologies introduced the OPTIGA Trust M SLS32AIA, a single-chip solution for securely storing unique device credentials and enables devices to connect to the cloud up to 10 times faster. There are two devices for different temperature ranges, the SLS32AIA010MS and the SLS32AIA010MH. OPTIGA Trust M is available now, along with an evaluation kit.

Renesas Electronics debuted the Renesas RX65N Cloud Kit with onboard Wi-Fi; environmental, light, and inertial sensors; and support for Amazon FreeRTOS connected to Amazon Web Services. The kit is said to give embedded designers a fast start and secure connection to AWS. Using Renesas’ e2 studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE), IoT applications are easily created by configuring Amazon FreeRTOS, all the necessary drivers, and the network stack and component libraries.

The Zigbee Alliance announced there are more than 3,000 Zigbee Certified products and Zigbee Compliant Platforms now available on the market. Certification for Zigbee 3.0 products is on the rise, the industry group reports, and this uptick is a clear indicator that major market influencers are choosing open technology for their IoT product designs.

Silicon Labs collaborated with Allegion to expand IoT capabilities to security products for smart homes and commercial buildings. Allegion worked with Silicon Labs in developing the Zigbee-certified Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt, a smart lock for consumers using a Zigbee home automation system.

Nodle is partnering with the City of Paris, France, to deploy 3,000 Bluetooth-enabled benches and other urban installations in new Métro stations and parks. Groupe Saint Léonard brought Nodle into the project to design and create the new smart benches, which will make use of Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity to transmit data to city officials.

Berkeley, Calif.-based Humm promises you can improve your memory (not your memory devices) by using its neurostimulation wearable for 15 minutes a day. The wearable, which goes on your forehead, is priced at $5. The company claims there is a 20% improvement in working memory with the wearable patch, along with a rate of learning 120 times faster than with a placebo.

Semtech says GND Solutions integrated its LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol into smart refrigerators for restaurants. A restaurant in Dubai reports a reduction of up to 40% in operational cost due to greater food management efficiency.

Cybersecurity
The U.S. Cyber Command released new samples of malware linked to North Korean hackers. The U.S. government refers to the uploaded malware sample as Electric Fish, a tunneling tool meant to exfiltrate data from one system to another over the Internet, once a backdoor is in place. The malware is attributed to the APT38 hacking group, which FireEye says has different motivations than other North Korean hackers. While Electric Fish was first discovered in May of this year, APT38 has been around for years, largely engaging in financial crimes.

The Confidential Computing Consortium has formed, promoting the use of trusted execution environments, also known as enclaves. Founding members include Alibaba Group, Arm, Baidu Group, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent Holdings. The CCC is a project community of the Linux Foundation.

This week in Huawei – the U.S. Department of Commerce gave American suppliers 90 more days to do business with Huawei, smoothing the way to completely ending trade with the Chinese company. Chip vendors to Huawei include Intel, Micron Technology, and Qualcomm. At the same time, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reported adding 46 Huawei affiliates to the department’s “entity list,” companies barred from doing business with U.S. firms. Huawei hit back at the latest moves, saying they had “nothing to do with national security” and were “politically motivated.” In a statement, Huawei said, “These actions violate the basic principles of free-market competition. They are in no one’s interests, including U.S. companies. Attempts to suppress Huawei’s business won’t help the U.S. achieve technological leadership.”

The Cloud Security Alliance surveyed 241 industry experts and came up with the “Egregious 11” cloud security issues. They include data breaches, lack of cloud security architecture and strategy, account hijacking, insider threats, and limited cloud usage visibility.

A simultaneous ransomware attack was carried out on 22 Texas towns last Friday. The Texas Department of Information Resources, a state agency, declined to identify the towns involved and wouldn’t reveal details of the attack, due to an ongoing investigation. “It’s limited to just a handful of areas,” said Elliott Sprehe, a spokesman for the department. “It’s not disparate throughout the state.” Governor Greg Abbott ordered an alert following the attack, classifying it as a Level 2 Escalated Response, indicating the episode was beyond the scope of local responders. “Governor Abbott is also deploying cybersecurity experts to affected areas in order to assess damage and help bring local government entities back online,” Nan Tolson, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a statement. Wilmer, Texas, a town of almost 5,000 people south of Dallas, was one of the cities affected by the ransomware attacks, which have proliferated around the U.S., this analysis notes. The National Guard and the FBI have deployed in response to the widespread attacks in the Lone Star State.

Luta Security founder and CEO Katie Moussouris doesn’t put much value in public bug bounty programs. “Not all bugs are created equal,” she told the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit in Sydney, Australia, on Monday. “Why would organized crime or nation-states pay for simple classes of bugs that they can find themselves? They’re not going to pay some random researcher to tell them about cross-site scripting bugs,” she added. “You should be finding those bugs easily yourselves too.”

Arrow Electronics and ON2IT are teaming to provide a security operations center-as-a-service, implementing Palo Alto Networks technology. These resources include Cortex Data Lake, Cortex XDR, firewalls, managed services, and traps. ON2IT is a pure-play cybersecurity service provider, operating around the world.

It will be a long time, perhaps two decades, before fundamental cybersecurity is firmly rooted in medical devices, this commentary asserts. “Anything you’re buying today has not been built secure-by-design, most likely. This is a problem that’s going to live in health care for another 15 to 20 years,” says Christopher Neal, chief information security officer at Australia’s Ramsay Health Care. A trial run with three hospitals took three months to complete. Neal chose the Forescout device visibility and control platform. “Did we find a lot more equipment with default credentials, default configuration, sitting not on the corporate network but in those DMZs? Yes, we found a lot of that,” he said. “I see visibility as the foundation to being able to start stitching things together.”

Automotive/Mobility
Velodyne Lidar filed patent infringement complaints against Suteng Innovation Technology (known as RoboSense LiDAR) and Hesai Technology, claiming those two Chinese companies are infringing on Velodyne’s patented LiDAR technology. The lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, shortly after Velodyne Lidar introduced the Puck 32MR sensor for use in industrial vehicles, robotics, shuttles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

At the Hot Chips conference, held at Stanford University, Tesla provided details on its artificial intelligence processors for autonomous vehicles. The AI chips contain 6 billion transistors; they run at 2GHz and perform 36 trillion operations per second; and the electric vehicle manufacturer plans to have two of these brawny processors on the company’s third-generation board-level computer for self-driving cars. Tesla previously employed Nvidia chips for its car computers. It claims the new AI chips outperform the Nvidia chips by a factor of 21, while presenting just 80% of the cost.

The United Kingdom now has about 9,300 charging stations, compared with 8,400 gasoline stations, according to Nissan UK. The U.S. Alternative Fuels Data Center says that there are 22,408 charging stations in the U.S., including 3,092 DC fast charging stations. The Environmental Protection Agency puts the number of gas stations in the U.S. at 168,000.

Employees of Uber Technologies will no longer receive helium balloons on their work anniversaries at the company, an observance known as an “Uberversary.” Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai sent an email to employees about the change, which will save more than $200,000 a year at the San Francisco headquarters office. Instead of the balloons, employees will receive a sticker commemorating the occasion.

Waymo will start highway driving tests in Florida to see how its autonomous vehicles can respond to heavy rainstorms. The testing with human drivers will begin in Miami and extend to Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa. The Alphabet unit is already road-testing its vehicles in the areas of Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and suburban Detroit.

The advent of autonomous vehicles is leading several American cities to look at their regulations in land use, transportation, and zoning, this analysis notes. Chandler, Arizona, last year amended its zoning code to lower the required number of parking spaces for new buildings, anticipating less demand for parking with AVs in play. Las Vegas is changing its zoning code to enable downtown ride-sharing lots that could serve as AV passenger zones. Minneapolis is looking to phase out its policy requiring off-street parking for new construction. On the other hand, the Los Angeles City Council overruled a plan by a panel of harbor commissioners to install infrastructure for driverless cargo handling at the Port of Los Angeles.

Bolt added food deliveries to its ride-sharing services in Tallinn, Estonia, where the startup makes its headquarters. The Bolt Food service will be expanded to Latvia, Lithuania, and South Africa later this year. While Bolt and Bolt Food aren’t likely to strike terror in the hearts of Uber and Uber Eats, Bolt has become a popular service in Africa and Eastern Europe, moving beyond ride hailing with food delivery and scooter rentals.

Electric rickshaws have proliferated across India, with 1 million vehicles serving 60 million people each day, this analysis notes. India’s government and domestic vehicle manufacturers are struggling with the mobility issue; more than 50% of the three-wheeled taxis are technically illegal, and their drivers typically don’t have licenses.

M&A
AMS is proceeding with a takeover bid for Osram valued at €4.3 billion (about $4.76 billion). Osram waived an agreement that was blocking the AMS bid. The next step is up to Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group, which previously agreed to acquire Osram for €4 billion, with that offer expiring on Sept. 5.

Splunk agreed to acquire San Mateo, Calif.-based SignalFx, the provider of an enterprise cloud monitoring platform, for $1.05 billion in cash and stock, with a 60/40 split on the compensation. SignalFx raised $75 million in Series E funding during June, bringing its total private funding to $178.5 million and placing its post-money valuation at $500 million. Its investors include Tiger Global Management, Andreessen Horowitz, CRV, and General Catalyst.

VMware is on an acquisition tear, just weeks after announcing its plans to snap up Uhana, the developer of a real-time deep learning engine for carrier networks and application quality. This week, the company announced a deal to buy Pivotal Software for an enterprise value of $2.7 billion. On the same day, VMware agreed to acquire Carbon Black, a provider of cloud-native endpoint protection, for an enterprise value of $2.1 billion. Earlier in the week, VMware confirmed its acquisition of Intrinsic, a San Francisco-based cybersecurity startup. Financial terms of that transaction weren’t disclosed.

Microsoft acquired jClarity, a British supplier of tools for Java software developers. “The jClarity team are JVM experts who have helped their customers optimize their Java applications while also providing leadership and support within the Java open-source community. For us, this is the perfect match. The relationship with this team is not new: since June 2018, Microsoft has sponsored the AdoptOpenJDK project to help build binaries of OpenJDK for different platforms, including Linux and Windows,” John Montgomery, Microsoft’s vice president of program management for developer tools and services, wrote in a blog post.

DoorDash purchased Scotty Labs, a developer of technology for remotely controlling driverless cars. The startup last year raised $6 million from Gradient Ventures and other investors. “Our core belief at Scotty has always been that Autonomy + Remote Assistance is the future,” Scotty CEO Tobenna Arodiogbu wrote on Medium. Meanwhile, DoorDash hired two co-founders of Lvl5, a startup that was working on high-resolution maps for autonomous driving. Lvl5 announced in April that it was closing following its acquisition.

Connectivity
Keysight Technologies joined the 6G Flagship Program, supported by the Academy of Finland and led by Finland’s University of Oulu.

Market Research
Frost & Sullivan forecasts the market for information technology and operational technology (IT/OT) security services in smart buildings will total $897 million by 2022, enjoying a compound annual growth rate of 37% up to that year.

Events
Arm TechCon 2019 is scheduled for Oct. 8 through Oct. 10 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in Silicon Valley. The 15th annual conference will focus on 5G cellular communications, artificial intelligence, and IoT security. The theme of the conference is “the New Era of Total Compute.”

Find more upcoming industry events here.


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