Graphic showing Internet of Things news  - iot news week - IoT news of the week for June 15, 2019 – Stacey on IoT

Ambient privacy in the age of surveillance: This is an extremely thought-provoking read that’s rather timely as we hear more and more about the technology used for monitoring our every action. The term “ambient privacy” is core to the theme here and is something we don’t, but probably should, consider more as we connect ourselves and our homes for specific benefits. How does this type of privacy affect potential regulation and laws? Give this a read to find out. (Idle Words)

The rise of NB-IoT is underway: It seems like only yesterday that the first Narrowband IoT networks launched. But there are already roughly 100 such network implementations and as they say: If you build it, they will come. This week, Berg Insight reported that 53 million NB-IoT devices shipped last year and the firm expects that number to nearly triple by the end of 2019, to 142 million devices. That’s a lot of sensors shooting little bits of data around the world. (Berg Insight)

“Don’t make a scene” is my smart home motto: Pre-programmed scenes appear to be quite popular with most smart home owners. And why not, when you can just tell a digital assistant that you’re ready for “movie time” and have your TV fire up the latest flick while the room lights dim, for example? But my smart home isn’t filled with scenes. The issue is actually less a technical one and more about the behaviors of my family and where our home activities take place. (StaceyOnIoT)

Alexa is about to get more conversational: Amazon debuted a preview of Alexa Conversations with some interesting features now and even more impactful ones in the future. Currently, the preview uses AI to generate dialog flows. Using such a model, the Atom Tickets skill dropped from 5,500 lines of code to 1,700 because various conversational paths didn’t require hard-coded options. Amazon says the next phase will allow Alexa to better understand a speaker’s goal and contextually tie skills together for multiple actions across different skills. (Alexa Blogs)

Answers from Google Home and Google Assistant aren’t the same: I’m a bit surprised by the results of this test because it strongly suggests that Google’s Home and Assistant products answer questions very differently. That’s the finding from 3,784 voice queries posed to both over a three-month period. For example, Google Home referred testers to a website for 20% of the questions, whereas Google Assistant in the mobile app referred 86% of those questions to a relevant site. Perhaps the results are shaped by the device form factor, since hitting a site on a phone is far more useful than hearing a URL on a speaker. There’s plenty of interesting data here and I hope the same test is replicated with a smart display in the future. (

You can report Waze traffic by voice: Speaking of Google Assistant, the Waze app now has it, at least in the U.S., which is the first country to gain this integration. Google says you can report traffic or accidents by voice in the Waze app, which allows it to tell others when vehicles are going slower faster than ever before. (The Keyword)

Verizon starts selling its own connected GPS trackers: We’ve seen hardware makers such as Samsung offer , LTE-enabled GPS trackers for some time. Now Verizon is getting in on the with a tracker of its own. This week, it debuted the Verizon Smart Locator for $99, which includes a free year of LTE service — technically, LTE-M for the data — with a $3 monthly fee after the first 12 months. I don’t see a massive for these trackers, but they would come in handy when attached to luggage, a bicycle, a child’s backpack, or maybe even a pet collar. That’s doable for larger dogs, since the device measures around 2 inches by 1.5 inches. Just make sure Fido reads the data privacy terms. (The Verge)

More Azure at the edge from NXP, eventually: In case you needed another hardware option to deploy at the edge, NXP Semiconductors has you covered — if you’re patient, that is. The company this week announced a new NXP i.MX 8 series processor that integrates with Microsoft’s Azure Sphere architecture. Indeed, the low-power microcontroller chip is Azure-certified so you know it will work with Microsoft’s Azure IoT services natively as well as have Microsoft’s Pluton sub-system. Those are the bits that house the hardware root of , store private keys, and execute complex cryptographic operations. But while that all sounds good, there is a downside: Only limited samplings of the chip will be made available, and not until the fourth quarter of 2020. (NXP Semiconductors)

Akamai is on the IoT edge, too: Akamai introduced its IoT Edge framework and IoT Edge Connect framework this week. The idea is to help businesses manage their data between IoT endpoints at scale. To that end, IoT Edge Connect brings secure Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) to devices on Akamai’s global network. Given the size, scalability, and low latency of that network, it’s smart for Akamai to offer this service. The company says it can process 10x more messages than other IoT or in-app messaging cloud solutions on the market today. (Akamai)

PTC makes an AR acquisition: PTC continues its augmented reality (AR) push in the industrial and enterprise space, announcing this week that it has acquired Netherlands-based TWNKLS. You may not recognize TWNKLS by name, but if you’ve used or seen IKEA’s Place app on mobiles — it’s the one that shows virtual IKEA furniture in your home — then you know this company, because it powers that app. TWNKLS creates AR designs for companies that might not have that expertise. That makes it a good fit for PTC, which has quickly become a recognized leader in bringing AR solutions to market. (PTC)

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