Week in Review: IoT, Security, Autos

Mazda & Mentor; UPS drones; GM Cruise delays.


Siemens announced that Mazda Motor adopted the Capital electrical design software suite from Mentor, a Siemens Business, for the design of next-generation automotive electrical systems. Mazda is said to use Capital for model-based generative design for the electrical and electronic systems of the entire vehicle platform.

Synopsys will host the 11th annual Codenomi-con USA during Black Hat USA in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Codenomi-con offers exclusive cybersecurity thought leadership and networking. Chenxi Wang, managing general partner at Rain Capital, will moderate a DevSecOps panel discussion, and Chris Roberts, chief security strategist at Attivo Networks, will give a keynote presentation. The event will benefit Girls Who Code.

Verizon revamped its ThingSpace Internet of Things platform, dropping the application enablement piece since it was duplicating functions provided by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and other public cloud services. Shamik Basu, Verizon’s director of product management for the IoT platform and services, says the carrier built a services layer close to the network edge for diagnostic and security services, in addition to connectivity. The company is combining ThingSpace with its LTE-M network and its narrowband IoT network. Verizon has shuttered the Exponent unit, formed in 2017 to offer ThingSpace and other digital technologies to other carriers, especially those outside the U.S. Other operators preferred to work with neutral parties, such as software-as-a-service firms, to develop and deploy their IoT products and services, according to Basu.

Internet of Things
UPS wants to go big in drone delivery and logistics, forming the UPS Flight Forward subsidiary, which has applied to the Federal Aviation Administration for Part 135 flight certification, potentially gaining more leeway in operations than that provided by Part 107 certification, the FAA’s basic rules for unmanned aerial vehicles. The Wing unit of Alphabet in April received Part 135 certification from the FAA, allowing the company to conduct pilot programs in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia. “UPS is committed to using technology to transform the way we do business,” says Scott Price, the company’s chief transformation and strategy officer. “UPS’ formation of a drone delivery company and application to begin regular operations under this level of certification is historic for UPS and for the drone and logistics industries overall.”

Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrum of the Seas cruise ships can accommodate more than 6,000 passengers and 2,500 crew members on their voyages. That’s thousands of people to feed each day when the ships are at sea. The company is using computer vision to keep tabs on crowding at each ship’s onboard dining destinations. “We don’t want guests’ first experience on the ship to be waiting in line,” said David Milone, project manager and lead user experience strategist at Levatas, an AI consultancy firm that’s working with Royal Caribbean to implement an AI-powered people-counting system built in partnership with Microsoft.

Boston Dynamics is famous for its robot videos, such as the human-like bot climbing big boxes. Now owned by SoftBank, the company is developing robots that can go beyond nifty tricks. It now touts the Spot robot, which CEO Marc Raibert asserts could become the “Android of robotics.” Boston Dynamics has addressed the issue of balancing movements with robots through what he calls “low-level AI.”

The rise in bigger IoT botnets could be perilous to the Domain Name System, according to IBM’s X-Force security researchers and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee states that “a significant number of IoT devices will likely be IP-enabled and will use the DNS to locate the remote services they require to perform their functions. As a result, the DNS will continue to play the same crucial role for the IoT that it has for traditional applications that enable human users to interact with services and content.” It added, “The role of the DNS might become even more crucial from a security and stability perspective with IoT devices interacting with people’s physical environment.”

Claroty reports making several enhancements to its Continuous Threat Detection offering, enabling enterprises to discover and monitor their IoT devices, providing customers with greater network visibility, reducing deployment time, and eliminating the noise of non-critical alerts. The company also reports joining the Industrial Internet Consortium.

The International Society of Automation announced the founding members of its new Global Cybersecurity Alliance. They are Claroty, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Nozomi Networks, Rockwell Automation, and Schneider Electric.

Arrow Electronics is joining with ADLINK and Microsoft to provide faster deployment of industrial IoT offerings. It is said to combine ADLINK’s Edge IoT Solution for Machine Condition Monitoring with hardware and software support from Arrow and Microsoft’s Azure IoT Central application platform.

OneCare and Sequans Communications are teaming to offer health wearables using the Sequans Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT chip platform. The first resulting product is the OneCare Carewatch, a remote monitoring care platform, connecting with a leading U.S. mobile network.

The National Security Agency is establishing a new division called the Cybersecurity Directorate, which begins operations on Oct. 1. Anne Neuberger, a veteran NSA executive, is tapped to serve as director of cybersecurity, reporting directly to General Paul Nakasone, the NSA’s director. Neuberger previously served as the lead of NSA’s Russia Small Group, a collaboration between NSA and the U.S. Cyber Command, which defended against Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

Atlanta-based Equifax will pay at least $575 million to settle a case with the Federal Trade Commission over the company’s massive data breach two years ago, which affected more than 140 million people. The penalty may go as high as $700 million. “The FTC alleges that Equifax failed to patch its network after being alerted in March 2017 to a critical security vulnerability affecting its ACIS database, which handles inquiries from consumers about their personal credit data. Even though Equifax’s security team ordered that each of the company’s vulnerable systems be patched within 48 hours after receiving the alert, Equifax did not follow up to ensure the order was carried out by the responsible employees,” the commission said in a statement.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, appointed Shelby Pierson as an official to oversee the government’s efforts in protecting election security. Coats also announced the formation of the Election Executive and Leadership Board, which will coordinate election security activities among all U.S. intelligence agencies.

This week in Huawei – President Trump met Monday with the CEOs of seven technology companies to discuss the expediting of licensing decisions to be made by the Department of Commerce regarding doing business with Huawei Technologies. The CEOs of Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Google, Intel, Micron Technology, Qualcomm, and Western Digital participated in the meeting. Meanwhile, Huawei laid off more than 600 employees of Futurewei Technologies, the company’s research and development arm in the U.S., which employed about 850 people prior to the layoffs. The workforce reduction affected facilities in Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, and Silicon Valley. Finally, Mark Esper, the new Secretary of Defense, said Wednesday after his confirmation by the U.S. Senate that the trade war between China and the U.S. involves economic and national security issues. “I’ve been studying China for quite some time now and I’m big on China as well,” he told reporters at the Pentagon. “And I think we need to be very concerned about Chinese technology getting into our systems or the systems of our allies. Huawei is the poster child right now for that,” he added.

McKinsey & Co. published an article, “Cybersecurity: Linchpin of the digital enterprise,” which can be downloaded here. “As IT organizations seek to digitize, however, many face significant cybersecurity challenges. At company after company, fundamental tensions arise between the business’s need to digitize and the cybersecurity team’s responsibility to protect the organization, its employees, and its customers within existing cyber operating models and practices,” its authors write.

IBM Security estimates that the average financial impact of a data breach now reaches up to $3.92 million, a 12% increase in the past five years. It released its annual Cost of a Data Breach Report, which can be downloaded here.

Ransomware attacks are spreading from big multinational corporations to county and municipal governments, this analysis notes. Two cities in Florida paid the demanded ransoms to regain access to their IT systems. “They’re paying because it’s the quickest way to get your operations back up and running. If you look at some incidents that have impacted critical services, those are highly disruptive and definitely felt by the citizens of the city. That’s probably factoring into cities’ decisions to pay,” says Kimberly Goody, manager for intelligence analysis at FireEye.

Tenable reports on a critical vulnerability in the GlobalProtect Secure Socket Layer virtual private network provided by Palo Alto Networks. It also dishes on the latest version of Comodo Antivirus, with an accompanying video.

The CyberArk Global Advanced Threat Landscape 2019 Report notes that 50% of organizations responding to a company survey said they can’t defeat cyberattacks on their networks. Less than half of the respondents reported having a privileged access security strategy in place to protect DevOps, IoT, robotic process automation, and other technologies implemented in digital transformations. You may register here to download the free report.

Attorney General William Barr warns that time is running out for Facebook and other companies to reduce their restrictions on encrypted communications by their users. “It is prudent to anticipate that a major incident may well occur at any time that will galvanize public opinion on these issues,” Barr said. “Whether we end up with legislation or not, the best course for everyone involved is to work soberly and in good faith together to craft appropriate solutions, rather than have outcomes dictated during a crisis,” he said at a cybersecurity conference in New York City, hosted by the FBI and Fordham University.

Computer scientists say “anonymized” data may not be as anonymous as claimed, this analysis notes. European researchers report developing an algorithm that can identify 99.98% of Americans from almost any available data set with as few as 15 attributes, such as gender, marital status, or ZIP codes.

SonicWall says the mid-year update to its 2019 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report shows an increase in ransomware-as-a-service, open-source malware kits, and cryptojacking by cybercriminals. “Organizations continue to struggle to track the evolving patterns of cyberattacks — the shift to malware cocktails and evolving threat vectors — which makes it extremely difficult for them to defend themselves,” SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner said in a statement. “In the first half of 2019, SonicWall Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI) technology unveiled 74,360 ‘never-before-seen’ malware variants. To be effective, companies must harness innovative technology, such as machine learning, to be proactive against constantly-changing attack strategies.”

GM Cruise put off its goal of offering robotaxi services by the end of this year, without saying when it might realize that goal. Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said the company would continue working with Honda Motor and General Motors on developing purpose-built autonomous vehicles, while expanding its testing in San Francisco. GM stock, which is up nearly 21% for the year, wasn’t heavily affected by the news, holding at above $40 a share this week.

Toyota Motor committed to investing $600 million in Didi Chuxing, the Chinese provider of ride hailing and other services. The companies will form a joint venture that includes Toyota’s partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group.

As expected, Beijing Automotive Group acquired an equity stake of about 5% in Daimler, and the German automotive manufacturer is down with that. Daimler has been an investor in the BAIC Group since 2013. “We are very pleased that our long-standing partner BAIC is now a long-term investor in Daimler. This step reinforces our successful partnership and is a signal of trust in the strategy and future potential of our company. The Chinese market is and remains a crucial pillar of our success – not only for sales, but also for our product development and production,” Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said in a statement.

In a rebuff to the Trump administration, Ford Motor, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW of North America reached an agreement with the California Air Resources Board to make more fuel-efficient cars available in their U.S. fleets. “What we have here is a statement of principles intended to reach out to the federal government to move them off the track that they seem to be on and onto a more constructive track,” said Mary Nichols, the state’s top regulator of air pollution.

Nissan Motor plans to eliminate more than 12,500 jobs after reporting dismal financial results for the quarter ending on June 30. Revenue declined almost 13% from a year earlier, while profit dropped to $59 million, a year-to-year drop of 94.5%. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa may step down within the current fiscal year, as the automotive manufacturer makes changes in senior leadership.

Use of electric scooters is increasing across the U.S., and so are visits to emergency rooms for scooter-related injuries. E-scooters and e-bicycles face the same challenge in urban environments that were planned and built for automobiles and mass transit, this analysis notes. They tend to go faster than traditional bicycles, which can often result in first-time riders losing control.

Cummins offered to acquire MAN Energy Solutions, VW’s manufacturer of large engines, Reuters reports, citing people close to the matter. VW CEO Herbert Diess wants to reduce the company’s portfolio of businesses, which incorporates a dozen brands. MAN Energy makes large diesel engines for power plants and ships.

Bosch and Daimler received regulatory approval to operate a Level 4 self-parking system at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. “Automated valet parking is the world’s first infrastructure-based solution for a fully automated parking service to have been approved by the authorities,” said Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the Robert Bosch board of management. “Driverless driving and parking are important building blocks for tomorrow’s mobility. The automated parking system shows just how far we have already progressed along this development path.”

Lyft e-bikes are available for rental in San Francisco under the Bay Wheels brand. The ride-hailing company last year acquired Motivate, a bicycle-rental operator which included Bay Wheels, formerly known as Ford GoBike. The e-bikes, which feature a new design, are also available in Oakland and San Jose. Lyft first needed to settle a legal battle with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, also known as Muni, to get the e-bikes back on the streets of San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Lyft brought out an open-source data set for autonomous vehicle development. The data set is available in the existing nuScenes format, initially developed by Aptiv.

Here is a very brief history of Tesla. The EV producer reported a net loss of $408 million on revenue of $6.3 billion for the second quarter, compared with a net loss of $702 million on revenue of $4.5 billion during the first quarter of 2019. Those Q2 figures were short of Wall Street expectations, especially considering the company’s record deliveries of 95,200 cars in the quarter. Investors punished the stock on Thursday, sending TSLA down $36.06 a share to $228.82 on volume of nearly 22 million shares, compared with average daily volume of 11.23 million shares. Tesla also announced that J.B. Straubel, the company’s chief technology officer, is stepping down. He was a founding engineer at Tesla and a key figure in developing its battery technology. Straubel will become a senior advisor to Tesla.

Postmates will install LiDAR sensors developed by Ouster in its autonomous delivery robots, so the cooler-shaped Serve machines can better navigate their routes. The original Postmates robot used sensors made by Velodyne Lidar.

Spin, the e-scooter company acquired last November by Ford, unveiled its third-generation scooter, while also refreshing its application, logo, and website. The company is unleashing 15,000 new scooters next month in Berkeley, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis, Portland, and Washington, D.C. More rollouts are planned for other U.S. cities. The new e-scooters are manufactured by Segway-Ninebot, a Chinese-American company backed by Xiaomi.

CEVA acquired Hillcrest Laboratories, a supplier of components and software for sensor processing in consumer and IoT devices. It bought the company from InterDigital. Financial details weren’t immediately disclosed, although CEVA plans to discuss those details during its Q2 earnings conference call scheduled for Aug. 8.

Velodyne Lidar acquired mapping and localization software from Mapper.ai, along with intellectual property assets. Mapper’s leadership and engineering teams are joining Velodyne, becoming part of the software development group. The Mapper technology will help Velodyne Lidar address advanced driver-assistance systems.

Livongo Health, a digital health startup, raised about $355.2 million in its initial public offering, selling 12,687,000 shares at $28 a share. The stock trades as LVGO on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. LVGO opened at $40.51 on Thursday and finished its first day of trading at $38.10 a share, up $10.10 and 36% for the day. Livongo earlier set its IPO price range at $20 to $23 a share, then boosted it to $24 to $26, before going out at $28.

Health Catalyst, which provides health-care data warehousing and analytics, raised $182 million in its IPO, selling 7 million shares at $26 per share. The stock trades as HCAT on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. HCAT opened at $37.50 on Thursday and finished its first day of trading at $39.17 a share, up $13.17 and 50.65% for the day.

Dynatrace Holdings set its IPO terms to about 35.6 million shares at $11 to $13 a share, which would produce an initial market capitalization of $3.47 billion at the midpoint of $12 a share. The supplier of application monitoring software plans to trade as DT on the New York Stock Exchange. Goldman Sachs is the lead underwriter.

Fortinet stacks up against such competitors as CrowdStrike, CyberArk, and Zscaler as a cybersecurity stock, this analysis notes. FTNT fits into Investor Business Daily’s 50 Stocks to Watch. Statista forecasts the cybersecurity market will grow from $137.63 billion in 2017 to $248.26 billion in 2023. Zacks Equity Research is another Fortinet fan.

The Motley Fool, however, bangs the drum for Check Point Software Technologies in the cybersecurity software market.

The Government of Canada is investing C$85 million (about $64.58 million) in Telesat through its Strategic Innovation Fund. The money will go for development of the satellite operator’s LEO Satellite Constellation to provide affordable high-speed Internet connectivity across remote and rural areas of Canada. The government-industry partnership is expected to provide C$1.2 billion (approximately $911.7 million) of revenue to Telesat over 10 years, with up to half of that revenue coming from the government. Telesat, in turn, will spend C$215 million (around $163.35 million) on R&D over five years, supporting about 500 jobs in Canada. The program involves low Earth orbit satellites.

Market Research
Juniper Research forecasts cellular machine-to-machine connections will hit 1.6 billion by 2024, up from 596 million this year. The new research, M2M: Key Verticals, Technology Analysis & Forecasts 2019-2024, is available here. Juniper also offers a free whitepaper, How eSIMs Will Disrupt M2M Business Models.

ON World predicts worldwide shipments of IEEE 802.15.4 chipsets will reach 1 billion units by 2024. The related report can be purchased here.

McKinsey offers a report on industrial robotics, which can be downloaded here.


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