- iot news week - IoT News of the week for August 17, 2018 – Stacey on IoT

This is bad : Security researchers from IBM have taken a deep dive into several products aimed at the smart city and found that it’s possible to exploit them to issue false emergency alerts. For example, hackers could use available sensors to say there’s flooding when there isn’t actual flooding, or to suppress such notifications if a flood were detected. Overall, researchers found 17 vulnerabilities in products from Libelium, Echelon, and Battelle. These vulnerabilities even allowed researchers to find a variety of sensors using Shodan. Some of these sensors may have been left open as part of an effort to share , but as the military discovered when fitness app Strava published exercise that illustrated where covert army bases were, sometimes open provides more information than anticipated. (Dark Reading)

Johnson Control’s fancy thermostat does something interesting with voice exclusivity: The beautiful GLAS thermostat from Johnson Controls will cost a whopping $319 and act as a smart speaker for Microsoft’s Cortana, as announced at CES. However, Johnson Controls said this that the thermostat would support Alexa and Google’s Assistant as well. Except, if you want to talk to the thermostat, you can only talk to Cortana. You can control the thermostat through Alexa and Google, but only if you have one of those devices around the home. This makes competitive sense, and it has me wondering if this sort of bifurcated integration means people will buy a variety of devices that support different assistants and just use whichever one  they want. (The Verge)

Forrester grades companies in the industrial IoT: Like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, Forrester also likes to place technology solutions vendors into areas on a grid to illustrate their place in the ecosytem. In this case, its quadrants are represented as waves, and Forrester has issued a “wave” for the industrial IoT that puts IBM, PTC, C3 IoT, SAP, and Microsoft on the leading edge. I have a few issues with IBM’s inclusion as one of the strongest players because, while it talks a lot about IoT and AI and even has some compelling research efforts, it’s not making sales in the industry. I rarely hear looking at IIoT products talk about IBM. Maybe Forrester has a different definition. Read on if you want to see who else makes the wave in IIoT. (ZDNet)

Like flushing all the toilets at once: Concerns over someone hacking the electric grid run high; such a hack has the potential to shut down the economic engine of a region. Which is why power companies spend a lot of and effort on security. But what they might not consider is the effect false demand can have on their systems. Hackers discovered that if they adjusted the electricity demand of a group of internet-connected water heaters (or even thermostats), they could cause demand to rise enough to shut down the grid. It’s the equivalent of the dorm prank where everyone flushes a bunch of toilets at once. Only in this scenario, instead of a flood of raw sewage, there’s no power. This threat means we need to make sure devices in people’s homes and offices are given the same security focus as those inside utilities. (Wired)

Two ways to adapt chips for edge computing: One of the hottest areas of research right now is figuring out how to bring machine learning and complex analytics to gateways and devices on the edge. These devices may have power constraints (such as smartphones or sensors) or they may just have more limited processing capacities. Either way we want them to do more. This article profiles two startups that are tackling the challenges of edge analytics. They achieve power savings or processing gains by doing the computation in memory as opposed to on the processor. This is a fundamental change in the way work. Mythic, I had heard of, but Syntiant, I had not. My gut says if these architectures pan out, we’ll see Intel or Qualcomm pick them up. (IEEE)

Accenture invests in industrial IoT: Consulting firm Accenture purchased two companies last week to help it cover gaps in its IoT practice. It purchased Mindtribe, which designs electronics for connected devices including the Ember connected coffee mug and the Square payment device. Accenture also bought Pillar Technologies, which handles embedded software. The two new firms, plus the acquisition of DesignAffairs a few weeks ago, leaves Accenture with what it feels is a complete portfolio of expertise for clients trying to build connected products. These products may end up in factories for internal use or in consumer devices. As I’ve written before, building IoT products or entire solutions around connected devices is ridiculously complicated, so most firms will need such outside help. Acquisition prices were not disclosed.

Rio Tinto is building an intelligent mine: Rio Tinto, which has been thinking about connected sensors and advanced analytics since at least 2008, will spend $146 million to build an “intelligent mine” in Western Australia. The dollar amount is part of the cost of the $2.2 billion expected to be invested in the iron-ore mine overall. The intelligence here refers mostly to higher levels of automation in the drilling and use of robotics. Other technologies, such as rail automation, have been in use by Rio Tinto for some time. (Rio Tinto)

Speaking of intelligent mines: Here’s a funding story in the industry. MineSense, a startup that uses sensors and analytics to help sort ore, just raised $18 million from Caterpillar, Mitsubishi Corporation, and new investor ABB Technology Ventures, ABB’s strategic venture capital unit. While there is a ton of excitement around so-called industrial IoT, most startups start out with a rather broad industry focus. It’s refreshing to see one so focused on developing technology for a narrow area. It will likely help it get much more traction, and more quickly. (Mining Global)

In case you missed it: Kevin shares his review of the Lenovo Smart Display. (StaceyonIoT)

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