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- iot news week - IoT news of the week for Dec. 21, 2018 – Stacey on IoT

A timeline of Amazon’s health efforts: With the partnership with Omron, a blood pressure maker, the media is talking again about Amazon’s plans for home health. The two firms plan a skill that lets a user ask their blood pressure. A day after that partnership announcement, Omron said the FDA had approved its blood pressure watch, which likely means a user could ask and receive the information any they have the watch on. To see how this could fit within Amazon’s overall plans, check out this timeline of Amazon health news. This context allows you to see how ambitious Amazon is. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

That’s a lot of connected appliances: According to analyst firm IHS Markit one out of every six major home appliances shipped globally will have a connection to the . By the end of this year the firm estimates 89 million connected major home appliances will be shipped globally, up from 51 million in 2017. It notes that consumers aren’t actually keen on this tech, which makes sense. There’s so much we don’t understand about security, support and the lifetime of connected products, that I don’t really want one in an appliance I want to last a decade or more. IHS says most of the growth will be led by sales of connected room air conditioners that allow consumers to control them remotely. This makes sense because those aren’t designed to last as long, and the ability to remotely control them can lead to serious savings. (IHS)

The new transistor is an attojoule switch: As a former chip reporter, I’ve spent years thinking about the end of Moore’s Law. We simply can’t shove more transistors on today’s chips without crazy and expensive technologies that tend to lower yields. But we still need more computing power, and more energy-efficient computing. This becomes even more important if we’re going to shove a computer into everything. That’s why I was excited to read about research at Berkeley Lab to create a new type of electrical switch that would consume six orders of magnitude less energy. This “attojoule switch” will take a decade or more to create, but I’m glad to know about it now. (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab)

Google gets the highest score in IQ test: For the second year, Loup Ventures has asked the four main digital assistants 800 questions to see how well each would answer them. This year, like last year, Google topped the chart. The firm graded the assistants on two elements: when it understood what was said, and if it offered the correct response. Google, Alexa, Cortana, and Siri all understood requests more often than they could complete the request correctly. Alexa scored the lowest in understanding but still managed to understand 99% of the requests. When it came time to execute, Alexa only did so correctly 72.5% of the time, a tenth of a percentage point worse than Siri. Google executed correctly 87.9% of the time. The results aren’t surprising to those of us who have played with the devices, but it’s the improvement over time that’s neat to watch. (Loup Ventures)

How will marketers ruin the smart home? That’s not the title of this article, but it could be. The story looks at the array of connected devices invading our homes and the writer asks advertisers what they might do with that data. Unsurprisingly, the answers are dystopian (your toaster telling marketers if you had a bagel or a bread so they can steer you to specific brands) or uninspiring. For example, if your fridge is running low on milk, the manufacturer may have a partnership with your local grocer to add it to your list and have it delivered. The article does address how this could change consumer behavior or lead to massive data advantages for the companies who have most of the gear in people’s homes. In other words, there’s not much that’s new here, but it is a well-written overview that actually is pretty realistic as opposed to over-the-top afraid. (The Atlantic)

Nvidia’s latest industrial IoT chip is for robots: I’ve spoken with Nvidia before about its Jetson AI board, which developers use in industrial designs, but now the chipmaker has built a massive chip that can offer 32 tera operations per second designed to power robots. The Jetson AGX Xavier looks like a contender for the big industrial robots that the manufacturing industry hopes to use. (Forbes)

Hallelujah, the fog has cleared: Back in 2015 or so, everyone in the cloud computing world suddenly started thinking about the internet of things and began trying to figure out what architecture made sense. What seemed to make sense was some form of edge computing tied fairly extensively to the cloud. But that middle area was a bit of an uncertainty. To cover up that uncertainty — or maybe embrace it — Cisco, AT&T, and others decided to make that area the focus of a marketing campaign centered on fog computing. So in 2016, they created the Open Fog Consortium. No one had the same definition for fog, but everyone was sure it mattered. It did not. So now the Open Fog Consortium and the Industrial Internet Consortium have become one consortium. It will keep the IIC name. And thankfully, we will soon be able to wave goodbye to the poorly defined concept known as the fog. (SDXCentral)

Here’s what the IoT was built for! If you aren’t one of the almost 42 million people who have watched NASA engineer Mark Rober build a glitter bomb to deter package thieves you owe it to yourself to check it out. This is no low-skill gimmick. This is a highly engineered connected device that shows the promise and the pitfalls of the current state of the IoT. The package he assembles is tempting and expensive, and requires custom engineering, 3-D printed parts and both hardware and mechanical talents. The promise is that he could make this at all while the pitfall is that you still have to be pretty expert to do so. It also shows how useless video doorbells can be when it comes to deterring package thieves. (YouTube)

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