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Week in Review – IoT, Security, Autos

Arm and Swift Navigation; Avnet and Trusted Objects; Trend Micro.

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Products/Services
Arm and Swift Navigation will collaborate on providing technology to developers of autonomous vehicles and connected cars. San Francisco-based Swift Navigation, which offers Global Navigation Satellite System positioning technology for AVs, is teaming with the chip design company to offer Swift’s solutions as an option on Arm-based platforms, the companies say. Swift’s Starling positioning engine is now available for Arm-based processors. “Autonomous prototype vehicles today are very dependent on their sensor suite to effectively determine what is going on around them. For cars to be able to make autonomous maneuvers safely, they need to know where they are with a high degree of accuracy,” Robert Day, Arm’s director of automotive solutions and platforms, writes in a blog post. “Navigation systems are commonplace on the cars of today, but these types of systems are only accurate to around 3-5 meters, which is not sufficient for lane-level positioning accuracy. Accuracy is not the only requirement here – high-integrity measurements are critical to meeting the strict safety requirements of autonomous vehicles, demanding full confidence in that positioning.”

Synopsys will work with Google Cloud to provide a full end-to-end offering to perform functional verification workloads in the computing cloud. “Together, Synopsys, Google Cloud, and NetApp Cloud Volumes Service enable customers to transform their EDA workflows with the simplicity and flexibility of the cloud, backed by the reliability, performance, and availability required for even the most demanding applications like Synopsys’ VCS functional verification,” Anthony Lye, NetApp‘s senior vice president and general manager of Cloud Data Services, said in a statement. Synopsys also announced the availability of its DesignWare Compute Express Link (CXL) intellectual property consisting of controller, PHY, and verification IP for artificial intelligence, memory expansion, and high-end cloud computing system-on-a-chip devices.

Rambus revealed the signing of an asset purchase agreement to acquire Verimatrix’s Silicon IP and Secure Protocols business for $65 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2019. As usual, the proposed acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including certain regulatory approvals, the company said.

McDonald’s USA made a deal with Grubhub to expand the McDelivery service to about 500 restaurants in New York City and the tri-state area. McDelivery will be available on the Grubhub marketplace and the company’s New York brand, Seamless.

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority barred Deliveroo from repeating a television commercial showing a sushi delivery to an astronaut in outer space and a pizza delivery to a prisoner digging an escape tunnel. Those faux deliveries are silly, of course, but 22 U.K. residents objected to a voice-over saying, “Order what you want, where you want, when you want it,” while the London-based Deliveroo has yet to deliver food in many neighborhoods of England. The controversial advert will also be pulled from YouTube.

Hitachi Vantara of Santa Clara, Calif., uncorked Lumada Manufacturing Insights, an Industrial Internet of Things suite which makes use of AI, machine learning, and data-ops technology. “Data and analytics have the power to modernize and transform manufacturing operations. But for too many manufacturers today, legacy infrastructure and disconnected software and processes slow innovation and impact competitive advantage,” Brad Surak, chief product and strategy officer at Hitachi Vantara, said in a statement by the Hitachi subsidiary. “With Lumada Manufacturing Insights, customers can lay a foundation for digital innovation that works with the systems and software they have already to operationalize immediate gains in uptime, efficiency and quality and transform for the future.”

Lattice Semiconductor will be at the Operational Safe Systems Conference, Sept. 24-25, in Berlin, Germany, where it will demonstrate automotive-grade solutions based upon its field-programmable gate arrays. “Our portfolio of AEC-Q100 qualified FPGAs and ISO 26262 functional safety certified design software enables customers to implement low-power programmable solutions for ADAS and infotainment systems,” JP Singh, Lattice’s automotive marketing manager, said in a statement. “Our specialized FPGAs provide value-added capabilities to the automotive market like high-speed MIPI sensor bridging, hardware-based security, and low-power processing for 360-degree surround-view cameras.”

Cepton Technologies introduced its Vista-X120 LiDAR sensor for advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous vehicle applications. Vista-X120 offers a 120-degree horizontal field-of-view, 0.15-degree angular resolution, and a maximum detection range of up to 200 meters at 10% reflectivity, according to the company.

Internet of Things
Avnet is partnering with Trusted Objects, a software specialist in IoT security, to offer an end-to-end security solution for low-power IoT devices. “With Trusted Objects, we are able to more flexibly design secure IoT solutions that match our customers’ needs and, ultimately, their unique business cases,” Lou Lutostanski, Avnet’s vice president of Internet of Things, said in a statement. “The real difference in our approach is our ability to accommodate solutions that are both low-power and large-scale. Together with Trusted Objects, Avnet’s ecosystem offers customers a complete Industrial IoT solution that’s simple to integrate and unique to the market—one that makes IoT security more scalable and easier to implement.”

CEVA is licensing its CEVA-Dragonfly NB2 IP to WiSig Networks for use in a 3GPP Rel.14-compliant eNB-IoT SoC. WiSig Networks was incubated by the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad.

Sprint took part in this week’s grand opening of the Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, located in Peachtree Corners, Ga. The laboratory includes a 1.5-mile autonomous test track within an existing 500-acre technology park. Other companies participating in the opening were Local Motors, CloudMinds, SoftBank Robotics, Autonodyne, Valqari Drone, Georgia Power, Reef Kitchens, and Kia Motors.

At IFA 2019 in Berlin, Signify exhibited a suite of new Philips Hue products, including the new Filament collection, smart buttons, smart plugs, and an upgraded Hue Go.

Semtech says France’s itk, a developer of IoT-based smart agriculture applications, came up with a cattle health monitoring offering based on Semtech’s LoRa devices. The FarmLife smart agriculture service and its LoRa-enabled sensors detect cattle estrus, drive improved nutrition, and predict the onset of disease to help ranchers better monitor their herd, it was said.

Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, and OMRON are jointly conducting field trials of 5G cellular communications at their plants and other production sites. The companies will test the feasibility of a layout-free production line with autonomous mobile robots.

Cybersecurity
Trend Micro Research surveyed and analyzed forums used by cybercriminals, looking at those in the Arabic, English, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish languages in particular. The most advanced criminal markets are the Russian- and Portuguese-language forums, the researchers found. “We’ve lifted the lid on the IoT threat landscape to find that cybercriminals are well on their way to creating a thriving marketplace for certain IoT-based attacks and services,” Steve Quane, Trend Micro’s executive vice president of network defense and hybrid cloud security, said in a statement. “Criminals follow the money – always. The IoT market will continue to grow, especially with landscape changes like 5G. While IoT attacks are still in their infancy, we also found criminals discussing how to leverage industrial equipment for the same gain. Enterprises must be ready to protect their Industry 4.0 environments.” The company also launched the latest version of Trend Micro Security, its flagship consumer offering. Some 90% of global threats blocked by Trend Micro in the first half of 2019 came via the email channel. Increasingly, many of these attempts don’t contain malicious URLs or attachments, making them hard for traditional security tools to spot. “Identity fraud is a big issue with victims’ out-of-pocket costs more than doubling to reach $1.7 billion last year. That’s why we’ve added new fraud-busting technology to keep Trend Micro Security customers safe from the scammers,” said Akihiro Omikawa, executive vice president for Trend Micro. “Leveraging AI, features like web protection, Pay Guard for secure online banking, and Folder Shield for ransomware protection, our latest version of Trend Micro Security is the most comprehensive yet: offering all the tools you need to protect everything you do online.”

Augmented reality technology is being implemented in many applications, raising concern over whether the AR tools are secure against cyberattacks, this analysis notes. “To appreciate how quickly new realities can replace old assumptions, consider the extraordinary speed with which quantum computing capabilities — which are already starting to make standard RSA encryption look vulnerable — are increasing,” writes Paul Ryznar, president and CEO of OPS Solutions. “At that pace, new threats can emerge and reliable security protocols become obsolete quite literally overnight. Implementing your cyber strategy is an ongoing process to keep up with the sophisticated threats of an increasingly connected — and increasingly augmented — world.”

This week in Huawei – the Chinese telecom giant may start sales of its Mate X foldable phone in October, providing competition for Samsung’s Galaxy Note Fold. Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei Technologies, said at the IFA 2019 conference in Berlin, “Maybe next month we can start to sell it globally. The manufacturing of this phone is not only very expensive but has some challenges for volume and mass production.” He added that the new handset may incorporate the company’s brand-new Kirin 990 mobile processor. Meanwhile, Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times, interviewed Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. “If the U.S. reaches out to us in good faith and promises to change their irrational approach to Huawei, then we are open to a dialogue. The U.S. shouldn’t try to destroy Huawei over something trivial. If the U.S. feels we have done something wrong, then we can discuss it in good faith and find a reasonable solution. I think we can accept that approach,” Zhengfei said. He added for emphasis, “There are no restrictions on what we would be willing to discuss with the Department of Justice.”

The Texas Department of Information Resources reports that none of the small municipalities that recently were hit by a coordinated ransomware attack paid the ransoms demanded. More than half of those entities have resumed normal operations in recent weeks. “All the impacted entities had transitioned from assessment and response to remediation and recovery with business-critical services restored by August 23,” only a week after the cyberattack, the state agency notes.

IBM Security said a survey of 2,200 U.S. adults last month found 56% of respondents said local governments should not use tax dollars to pay ransoms. The survey was conducted by Morning Consult, a market research firm. One-third of the respondents said they could not support paying a single cent of public funds, even if that meant that 911 services would remain offline.

Thousands of web servers have been infected by a new ransomware strain called Lilocked or Lilu since mid-July, this article notes. The ransomware seems to target only Linux-based systems. Benkow, a French cybersecurity firm, estimates Lilocked has encrypted more than 6,700 servers. Lilocked doesn’t encrypt system files, but only a small subset of file extensions, such as HTML, SHTML, JS, CSS, PHP, INI, and various image file formats.

A United Nations panel recommends that the Security Council draft new sanctions against North Korea for its continuing cyberattacks. The panel’s report looks at activity over six months of this year, from February 2 to August 2. The country’s regime has allegedly acquired more than $2 billion over the years through its cyberwarfare, the panel estimates.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. says that a cyberattack on the U.S. power grid last spring successfully created blind spots at a grid control center and several small power generation sites in the western U.S. The unprecedented cyber disruption this spring did not cause any blackouts, and none of the signal outages at the “low-impact” control center lasted for longer than five minutes, NERC said in a document posted online.

Three former secretaries of Homeland Security are warning that a cyberattack as devastating as the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, could strike the U.S. at any time. “Perhaps it is time for the country to have a 9/11 Commission for cyber before we have massive ransomware attacks conducted around the country or where we suffer, once again, a direct attack on our democracy,” said Janet Napolitano, the secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, referring to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Automotive/Mobility
Nissan Motor CEO Hiroto Saikawa resigned effective Monday, September 16. The revelation that he was improperly overpaid was the final blow for the executive’s tenure at the top. Chief Operating Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi will serve as an interim CEO until Saikawa’s successor is selected by the end of next month. In the past year, the Japanese automotive manufacturer has seen its chairman, Carlos Ghosn, arrested by the authorities in Japan and kept in detention for months while there was an investigation into financial misconduct at Nissan. The company’s troubles are compounded by a global downturn in vehicle sales. The next CEO will have to focus on implementing a recovery strategy for the company and the Renault Nissan Alliance, which also includes Mitsubishi Motors.

Is this the end of the gig economy? Probably not. Things will be changing, however. Assembly Bill 5, which serves to classify independent contractors as employees, cleared the California Legislature and is likely to be signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Uber Technologies proposed alternative legislation to AB5, yet lawmakers were done with accepting modifications in the bill. Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are gearing up to lessen the bill’s impact on their labor costs; Postmates is another company that could be significantly affected by the law, which goes into effect on the first day of 2020. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, compared the treatment of drivers to feudalism. The ball got rolling last year with the California Supreme Court ruling on a case filed 14 years ago by delivery drivers in LA. Newspapers across the Golden State have questioned whether they will have to treat their delivery drivers as employees, not independent contractors. Ride-hailing and delivery drivers may be recruited to join the Teamsters and other labor unions. Meanwhile, Uber laid off 435 employees in the company’s product and engineering teams, weeks after laying off 400 employees in marketing. Finally, the ride-hailing giant took out a 10-year lease on the Old Main Post Office in the Chicago River district, with plans to hire thousands of new employees in the Windy City. The Chicago office will serve as headquarters for the Uber Freight subsidiary.

Ford Motor agreed to sell Canvas, its vehicle subscription business, to Fair, a startup led by former TrueCar CEO Scott Painter; financial terms weren’t disclosed. Fair just raised $100 million in debt and equity financing. In other news this week, Ford announced it will launch eight electric vehicles in Europe this year. The models were unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.

Congress failed to pass the proposed Self-Drive Act bill, so a consortium of a dozen automotive manufacturers is developing a framework for automotive cybersecurity best practices. “Cyber threats are increasing as more vehicles become connected, and as connected vehicles become more sophisticated. Current solutions are not advanced enough to satisfy the spirit of even the strictest security and privacy guidelines. Updating the solutions and frameworks should go hand in hand,” writes Yossi Vardi, CEO of SafeRide Technologies, an automotive cybersecurity startup.

Daimler is testing autonomous trucks on Virginia highways, working in concert with Torc Robotics. The German automotive manufacturer recently invested in that startup, based in Blacksburg, Va. The companies outfitted Freightliner’s Cascadia trucks with arrays of LiDAR sensors, cameras, radar devices, and Torc’s self-driving software. Meanwhile, Daimler made a deal to buy lithium-ion battery cells from Farasis Energy, a Chinese-American supplier building a battery factory in eastern Germany. The factory will provide batteries for Mercedes-Benz EVs.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether four carmakers violated federal antitrust law by reaching an emission standards agreement with the state of California, Reuters reports, citing people briefed on the matter. The Trump administration is apparently unhappy with the end-around approach taken by BMW, Ford, Honda Motor, and Volkswagen.

TomTom reports its navigation technology is now integrated with the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform. Through the linkage, navigation usage and diagnostics data can be transmitted by vehicles to the Microsoft Azure public cloud service.

M&A
The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Permira and Advent International, two private equity firms, are making a $16.4 billion bid to acquire Symantec, apart from the enterprise security unit which is being sold to Broadcom for $10.7 billion. Whatever does transpire for the cybersecurity giant, the company gave notice that it is eliminating 152 positions at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., and another 36 jobs in Culver City, Calif. Symantec has more than 11,000 employees around the world. The company has said it is going through a 7% reduction in force.

Alibaba Group agreed to acquire Koala, an e-commerce business, from NetEase for $2 billion. Koala provides a platform for supplying curated luxury goods to consumers in China.

Carbonite, a publicly held provider of data protection services, received takeover interest and is exploring a sale, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The company is working with a financial adviser and drew interest from private equity firms.

Accenture acquired Spain-based Pragsis Bidoop, a firm specializing in AI, advanced analytics, and big data; financial terms weren’t revealed. More than 200 employees of the Spanish company will join Accenture’s Applied Intelligence business.

Cisco Systems completed its acquisition of Mountain View, Calif.-based Voicea, which combines meeting transcription, voice search, meeting highlights and action items with data privacy.

Shopify agreed to acquire 6 River Systems, a provider of warehouse fulfillment robotics in Waltham, Mass., for $450 million in cash and stock. The consideration is 60% cash and 40% stock. The startup had raised $47 million in venture capital funding, at a most recent valuation of $150 million. Its investors included Norwest Venture Partners, Eclipse Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and iRobot Ventures.

AMS CEO Alexander Everke says the sensor supplier already has a list of companies that would buy Osram’s digital business, if the AMS bid for the German company is successful.

Luokung Technology agreed to acquire Beijing-based eMapGo Technologies for $119 million in cash and stock. The startup developed mapping technologies and related data sets for location-based services.

Finance
Cloudflare raised $525 million in its initial public offering, selling 35 million shares at $15 a share. The stock will trade as NET on the New York Stock Exchange. The underwriters hold an option to sell an additional 5.25 million shares if there is more demand for the stock. In its first day of trading on the Big Board, NET opened at $18.00 and closed at $18.00 for an increase of $3.00 and 20% on the day. The stock price ranged between $17.50 and $19.41 during the first day.

New York-based Datadog set its IPO terms at 24 million shares at $19 to $22 a share. The stock will trade as DDOG on the Nasdaq. Morgan Stanley is the lead underwriter.

Ping Identity of Denver set its IPO terms to 12.5 million shares at $14 to $16 a share. The stock will trade as PING on the Nasdaq. Goldman Sachs is the lead underwriter.

Peloton Interactive set its IPO terms to 40 million shares at $26 to $29 a share. The stock will trade as PTON on the Nasdaq. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters.


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