Graphic showing Internet of Things news  - iot news week - IoT news of the week for September 20, 2019 – Stacey on IoT

Plutoshift has raised $8M: Plutoshift, a company that provides prescriptive intelligence for industrial processes, has raised $8 million from a surprisingly diverse group of investors. They include Fall Line Capital and Unshackled Ventures, both previous investors in Plutoshift; as well as Dave Gilboa, co-founder of Warby Parker; Joey Zwillinger, co-founder of Allbirds; and Nat Turner, co-founder of Flatiron Health. Plutoshift is using its data analysis to manage the use of water during industrial processes. Companies are realizing that they can use the increasing amounts of data — and intelligence derived from that data — to understand resource costs at a granular level. We’ve already seen manufacturers start to look at electricity as a cost and a resource that can be better managed. With Plutoshift, attention is to water, and how to help conserve resources or shift production to times when the resource is cheaper. (PE Hub)

Did Ring and Fitbit solve this murder? This is a bit old, but it’s a compelling story about a murder case where police used footage from a neighbor’s Ring doorbell camera to place a car at the scene of a murder and then Fitbit data from the victim to establish a timeline for their death. It also introduced me to how Fitbit data is authenticated for use by law enforcement, especially if they want to use it in court. It’s great reporting and a great read. (Wired)

How depth in data can our environment: This is another long read, but worth it if only to understand how the depth of data we can get from sensors can change our understanding of a place. The story covers the practice of prescribed burns and how they can help prevent larger forest fires. It covers forest maintenance and efforts to deeply track how a small section of the wilderness has grown, changed, and recovered from past fires. Perhaps more important than the spread of sensors mentioned in this story is a culture that is eagerly trying to understand how data can be derived, how it can be used to mislead, and how we can use it to help preserve our environmental treasures. (The New Yorker)

Privacy is complicated and we’re starting to figure that out: Will Oremus does a deep dive into the privacy paradox — the mystery of why people profess to value their privacy but are quick to give it up in exchange for free services. My hunch is that the threats associated with a creeping lack of privacy are rather theoretical and the benefit is immediate. We all know that people tend to value short term gains over long-term threats. Hello, climate change! However, the article spends most of its time explaining why the privacy paradox makes it so challenging to put a monetary value on privacy, which means that most of our discussions around paying people for their data or even trying to remunerate people in the wake of a data breach are doomed to fail. It goes on to suggest that privacy should be a basic human right rather than something we can calculate. I wish them luck. After all, we actually can calculate the value of a human life thanks to insurance firms and their actuarial data.  (OneZero)

Privacy is complicated, but football tickets are priceless: What were we saying just a moment ago about privacy? The University of Alabama has created a football loyalty program that gives students points that can be traded in for highly desired tickets as long as they attend regular games and stay throughout the entire four quarters.  This is done through a ticketing and fan app that has students opting into location sharing. Alabama is the only program so far among the 40 schools that this particular app maker serves who asks for location tracking.  While this may sound like a fair exchange — discounted student tickets in exchange for staying the whole game, I find it unsettling. I’m not the only one. A lawyer from the EFF wants to know what’s to stop a university from tracking students at all time and penalizing them in other ways that are more impactful than a chance to get a prized football ticket.  (NYT)

Good for those who care about digital supply chains: Remember last week when I said I was excited about what seemed to be a new focus on digital supply chains? Well, this week Deloitte and the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) released a framework for helping companies establish digital supply chains. I’m not going to pretend to understand all of the issues currently associated with it, but the tool seems like a good starting point for those who do want to delve into the process. (ACSM)

Hitachi combines enterprise software and consulting businesses for IoT success: The IoT is a big business for the large IT firms, and more and more those firms are realizing that to succeed they need to offer not just the technology, but the hand-holding required to make that technology work. Digital transformations aren’t scalable. Which is one reason Hitachi has taken its enterprise hardware and software group, combined it with its consulting group, and put the chairman of that consulting group in charge of the new business. (CRN)

Smart devices collect a lot of data on you: Researchers from Northeastern University and the Imperial College of London took a look at several connected devices such as televisions, fridges, and more to see what they were doing on your network. To no one’s surprise, the researchers found that these devices — especially those with screens — were reaching out to servers owned by a variety of companies. While this research is good, and I want to see people investigating tracking practices, some of the conclusions feel a little over-the-top, such as those conflating sending data to Amazon or Google as spying. Some of that traffic might be analytics for marketing purposes while others might simply be a web-based service. However, the researchers are right that these devices are collecting far more data than people realize, and in many cases, people have no way to avoid this other than avoiding the device itself. (NBC News)

Legalizing hacking back? This isn’t an IoT story per se, but addressing the threat of cyberattacks is essential for industries as they add more connected devices to their networks and more of our infrastructure is tied to the internet or other hackable networks. The authors explain current rules and practices associated with more aggressive cybersecurity defense, “hacking back,” and break down the arguments for and against a law that would permit companies to act more on the offensive when it comes to protecting their networks. It’s a really good overview, and it ends with a list of parameters the government should use when deciding if someone has broken the law or not in deploying an active cyber defense. (Lawfare)

An update on Sidewalk Labs: Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs project is controversial for a variety of reasons that I’ve covered in the past. When Sidewalk Labs released its 1,500-page master plan for public officials and citizens, people dug in to see what the tech hoped to get out of the project and what the smarter city infrastructure could mean for their lives. A 15-member multidisciplinary Digital Advisory Strategy Advisory Panel to Waterfront Toronto that was created in the wake of the original controversy has issued its judgment on the initial plan, and the Panel has a few problems.  The Panel wanted more specificity on how Sidewalk Labs planned to implement some of it’s proposed solutions for urban problems, a better data governance model and also was concerned that Sidewalk Labs benefited far more from the partnership than the city of Toronto and its citizens. (Medium)


Update: This story has been corrected on Sept. , 19 to reflect that Hitachi’s chairman of the consulting business, not the CEO was put in charge of the combined firm.  

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