Go ahead and unplug this door device before reading. You’ll thank us later.

The Akuvox E11

Enlarge / The Akuvox E11 (credit: Akuvox)

The Akuvox E11 is billed as a video door phone, but it’s actually much more than that. The network-connected device opens building doors, provides live video and microphone feeds, takes a picture and uploads it each time someone walks by, and logs each entry and exit in real time. The Censys device search engine shows that roughly 5,000 such devices are exposed to the Internet, but there are likely many more that Censys can’t see for various reasons.

It turns out that this omnipotent, all-knowing device is riddled with holes that provide multiple avenues for putting sensitive data and powerful capabilities into the hands of threat actors who take the time to analyze its inner workings. That’s precisely what researchers from security firm Claroty did. The findings are serious enough that anyone who uses one of these devices in a home or building should pause reading this article, disconnect their E11 from the Internet, and assess where to go from there.

The 13 vulnerabilities found by Claroty include a missing authentication for critical functions, missing or improper authorization, hard-coded keys that are encrypted using accessible rather than cryptographically hashed keys, and the exposure of sensitive information to unauthorized users. As bad as the vulnerabilities are, their threat is made worse by the failure of Akuvox—a China-based leading supplier of smart intercom and door entry systems—to respond to multiple messages from Claroty, the CERT coordination Center, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency over a span of six weeks. Claroty and CISA publicly published their findings on Thursday here and here.

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#akuvox, #biz-it, #door-phones, #internet-of-things, #iot, #security-vulnerabilities

IoT harmony? What Matter and Thread really mean for your smart home

Matter promises to make smart home devices work with any control system you want to use, securely. This marketing image also seems to promise an intriguing future involving smart mid-century modern chairs and smart statement globes.

Enlarge / Matter promises to make smart home devices work with any control system you want to use, securely. This marketing image also seems to promise an intriguing future involving smart mid-century modern chairs and smart statement globes. (credit: CSA)

The specification for Matter 1.0 was released on Tuesday—all 899 pages of it. More importantly, smart home manufacturers and software makers can now apply for this cross-compatibility standard, have their products certified for it, and release them. What does that mean for you, the person who actually buys and deals with this stuff?

At the moment, not much. If you have smart home devices set up, some of them might start working with Matter soon, either through firmware upgrades to devices or hubs. If you’re deciding whether to buy something now, you might want to wait to see if it’s slated to work with Matter. The first devices with a Matter logo on the box could appear in as little as a month. Amazon, Google, Apple, and Samsung’s SmartThings division have all said they’re ready to update their core products with Matter compatibility when they can.

That’s how Matter will arrive, but what does Matter do? You have questions, and we’ve got… well, not definitive answers, but information and scenarios. This is a gigantic standards working group trying to keep things moving across both the world’s largest multinational companies and esoteric manufacturers of tiny circuit boards. It’s a whole thing. But we’ll try to answer some self-directed questions to provide some clarity.

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#alexa, #amazon, #apple, #biz-it, #google, #internet-of-things, #iot, #matter, #samsung, #smart-home, #smartthings, #standards, #tech, #thread, #z-wave, #zigbee

Gear from Netgear, Linksys, and 200 others has unpatched DNS poisoning flaw

Gear from Netgear, Linksys, and 200 others has unpatched DNS poisoning flaw

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Hardware and software makers are scrambling to determine if their wares suffer from a critical vulnerability recently discovered in third-party code libraries used by hundreds of vendors, including Netgear, Linksys, Axis, and the Gentoo embedded Linux distribution.

The flaw makes it possible for hackers with access to the connection between an affected device and the Internet to poison DNS requests used to translate domains to IP addresses, researchers from security firm Nozomi Networks said Monday. By feeding a vulnerable device fraudulent IP addresses repeatedly, the hackers can force end users to connect to malicious servers that pose as Google or another trusted site.

The vulnerability, which was disclosed to vendors in January and went public on Monday, resides in uClibc and uClibc fork uClibc-ng, both of which provide alternatives to the standard C library for embedded Linux. Nozomi said 200 vendors incorporate at least one of the libraries into wares that, according to the uClibc-ng maintainer, include the following:

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#biz-it, #dns-poisoning, #internet-of-things, #iot, #routers

How SoftBank’s costly bet on the “Internet of things” backfired at Arm

Components manufactured by ARM Holdings Plc sit inside a demonstration ARMmbed parking meter on display on the second day of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.

Enlarge / Components manufactured by ARM Holdings Plc sit inside a demonstration ARMmbed parking meter on display on the second day of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

As Masayoshi Son tried to persuade investors of the wisdom of purchasing one of the most successful chip companies in the world in 2016, the SoftBank chief had one clear message: “For the era of the ‘Internet of things’, I think the champion will be Arm.”

But the concept of connecting billions of everyday and industrial devices to the Internet has been much slower than anticipated to materialize.

Son’s drive to capture the chip design market for the Internet of things (IoT) was the first bet he made on Arm that has not paid off. The second was a $66 billion sale of the company to Nvidia that unraveled last week.

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#arm, #internet-of-shit, #internet-of-things, #iot, #softbank, #tech

Locked out of “God mode,” runners are hacking their treadmills

NordicTrack owners aren’t giving up the fight just yet.

Enlarge / NordicTrack owners aren’t giving up the fight just yet. (credit: Sam Whitney | Getty Images)

JD Howard just wanted to watch cloud security tutorials. Howard, a construction industry worker on sabbatical, spent $4,000 on a NordicTrack X32i treadmill, lured in by its 32-inch HD screen and the opportunity to exercise body and mind. His plan was to spend his time away from work exercising while watching technical videos from learning platforms such as Pluralsight and Udemy. But his treadmill had other ideas.

Despite having a huge display strapped to it, NordicTrack’s hardware pushes people to subscribe to exercise software operated by iFit, its parent company, and doesn’t let you watch videos from other apps or external sources. iFit’s content includes exercise classes and running routes, which automatically change the incline of the treadmill depending on the terrain on the screen. But Howard, and many other NordicTrack owners, weren’t drawn to the hardware by iFit’s videos. They were drawn in by how easy the fitness machines were to hack.

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#biz-it, #internet-of-shit, #internet-of-things, #nordictrack, #tech, #treadmills

Raspberry Pi gets $45M to meet demand for low-cost PCs and IoT

Turns out COVID-19 lockdowns have been good for the indoor hobby of hardware hacking: The U.K.-based foundation behind the low-price microprocessor Raspberry Pi announced close of a $45 million funding round yesterday.

The cash injection into the trading arm of the (nonprofit) Raspberry Pi Foundation values it at $500 million (pre-money), founder Eben Upton confirmed.

The funding round was led by London-based Lansdowne Partners and The Ezrah Charitable Trust, a private charitable foundation based in the US.

“We are pleased to welcome Lansdowne Partners and The Ezrah Charitable Trust as our first outside shareholders to help us achieve the next steps in our growth,” said Upton in a statement. “We are seeing strong demand from consumers as they use our PCs to access the internet for work and entertainment, and even faster growth from industrial companies globally as they design Raspberry Pi into their innovative IoT applications. This funding will enable us to scale to meet future demand.

“Our new investors will not only add value to our strategy and help support our growth but they also understand the rationale and ethos of our business model, aimed at enabling access to hardware and software tools for everyone and delivering a consumer PC experience from only $35 as well as building partnerships with a growing range of OEMs across the world.”

The Pi Foundation said the financing will be used to expand what is already an ample product line of Pi microprocessors.

Spending on marketing is also planned, across both the consumer (“build it yourself” PC) and industrial (IoT) sectors.

Its trading arm ships 7 million+ devices a year at this point.

While, in total, the Pi Foundation also said it’s shipping over 42 million (Pi-powered) PCs to more than 100 countries.

“We certainly saw increased interest in Raspberry Pi during lockdown,” Upton told TechCrunch. “It was satisfying to be able to supply units to young people who needed machines to study from home on, and we had some great philanthropic support (notably from the Bloomfield Trust) to roll kits out to disadvantaged young people in the U.K.”

“Our current sustained increase in demand is driven primarily by industrial customers as the economy rebounds from COVID-19,” he added.

“In the short term the focus is on investing in manufacturing and supply chain to meet demand,” he also said, expanding on the plan for the funding. “In the longer term, this funding is going to allow us to invest more in product development: As our products become more sophisticated, they become much more expensive and time-consuming to develop, so being able to hire more engineers is a key driver of future growth.”

Commenting in a supporting statement, Peter Davies of Lansdowne Partners, added: “We are very excited to be investing with Raspberry Pi, an organisation we have followed and admired for many years. The commercial and human impact it has achieved in its first decade has been extraordinary and we look forward to assisting the company to expand this even further in coming years as new capital is deployed.”

#eben-upton, #europe, #fundings-exits, #gadgets, #hardware, #internet-of-things, #iot, #lansdowne-partners, #raspberry-pi, #the-ezrah-charitable-trust, #united-kingdom

5 ways AI can help mitigate the global shipping crisis

With the fourth quarter now upon us, every industry faces a challenge in managing a holiday production calendar that will deliver the goods. The key for startups looking to defend the quarter from disruptions is to adopt a proactive, data-driven approach to inventory management.

Here are five methods we’ve been counseling clients to adopt:

  • Use data and analytics to identify and map out the inventory being affected by the global shipping crisis. If you don’t have the data about what is on a ship transporting your materials, then use this crisis as an opportunity to justify prioritizing supply chain digital transformation with data, IoT and advanced analytics (e.g., machine learning and simulation). You need to know the location of your goods all times if you are going to successfully gauge what impact a shortage will have on your operation.

    Ultimately, AI will help startups understand how myriad disruptions affect their supply chain so they can better respond with a Plan B when the unthinkable happens.

  • If you don’t have the data readily available, then you need to partner with a vendor and use a secure environment to share second-party data to deliver AI-driven actionable insights on the business impact on all parties involved, from startup to retailer to the consumer.
  • Simulate and forecast the impact of these supply-side issues on the demand side. Conduct scenario planning exercises and inform critical business decisions. If this ability is not in place, an emergency like a pandemic, civil unrest or an uncontrollable rate hike will wreak havoc on your business plan. Use this situation as an opportunity to put a disaster management program in place to prepare for the potential risks.

    #analytics, #artificial-intelligence, #business-intelligence, #column, #ec-column, #ec-manufacturing-and-supply-chain, #internet-of-things, #logistics, #machine-learning, #startups, #supply-chain, #supply-chain-management

Finite State lands $30M Series B to help uncover security flaws in device firmware

Columbus, Ohio-based Finite State, a startup that provides supply chain security for connected devices and critical infrastructure, has raised $30M in Series B funding. 

The funding lands amid increased focus on the less-secure elements in an organizations’ supply chain, such as Internet of Things devices and embedded systems. The problem, Finite State says, is largely fueled by device firmware, the foundational software that often includes components sourced from third-party vendors or open-source software. This means if a security flaw is baked into the finished product, it’s often without the device manufacturers’ knowledge. 

“Cyber attackers see firmware as a weak link to gain unauthorized access to critical systems and infrastructure,” Matt Wyckhouse, CEO of Finite State, tells TechCrunch. “The number of known cyberattacks targeting firmware has quintupled in just the last four years.”

The Finite State platform brings visibility to the supply chains that create connected devices and embedded systems. After unpacking and analyzing every file and configuration in a firmware build, the platform generates a complete bill of materials for software components, identifies known and possible zero-day vulnerabilities, shows a contextual risk score, and provides actionable insights that product teams can use to secure their software.

“By looking at every piece of their supply chain and every detail of their firmware — something no other product on the market offers — we enable manufacturers to ship more secure products, so that users can trust their connected devices more,” Wyckhouse says.

The company’s latest funding round was led by Energize Ventures, with participation from Schneider Electric Ventures and Merlin Ventures, and comes a year after Finite State raised a $12.5 million Series A round. It brings the total amount of funds raised by the firm to just shy of $50 million. 

The startup says it plans to use the funds to scale to meet the demands of the market. It plans to increase its headcount too; Finite State currently has 50 employees, a figure that’s expected to grow to more than 80 by the end of 2021.  

“We also want to use this fundraising round to help us get out the message: firmware isn’t safe unless it’s safe by design,” Wyckhouse added. “It’s not enough to analyze the code your engineers built when other parts of your supply chain could expose you to major security issues.”

Finite State was founded in 2017 by Matt Wyckhouse, founder and former CTO of Battelle’s Cyber Business Unit. The company showcased its capabilities in June 2019, when its widely-cited Huawei Supply Chain Assessment revealed numerous backdoors and major security vulnerabilities in the Chinese technology company’s networking devices that could be used in 5G networks. 

Read more:

#articles, #battelle, #ceo, #columbus, #computer-security, #computing, #cto, #cyberwarfare, #energize-ventures, #firmware, #funding, #hardware, #huawei, #internet-of-things, #open-source-software, #security, #supply-chain, #supply-chain-management, #technology

Industrial cybersecurity startup Nozomi Networks secures $100M in pre-IPO funding

Nozomi Networks, an industry cybersecurity startup that aims to shield critical infrastructure from cyberattacks, has raised $100 million in pre-IPO funding. 

The Series D funding round was led by Triangle Peak Partners, and also includes investment from a number of equipment, security, service provider and go-to-market companies including Honeywell Ventures, Keysight Technologies and Porsche Digital. 

This funding comes at a critical time for the company. Cyberattacks on industrial control systems (ICS) — the devices necessary for the continued running of power plants, water supplies, and other critical infrastructure — increased both in frequency and severity during the pandemic. Look no further than May and June, which saw ransomware attacks target the IT networks of Colonial Pipeline and meat manufacturing giant JBS, forcing the companies to shut down their industrial operations.

Nozomi Networks, which competes with Dragos and Claroty, claims its industrial cybersecurity solution, which works to secure ICS devices by detecting threats before they hit, aims to prevent such attacks from happening. It provides real-time visibility to help organizations manage cyber risk and improve resilience for industrial operations.

The technology currently supports more than a quarter of a million devices in sectors such as critical infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and utilities, with Nozomi Networks doubling its customer base in 2020 and seeing a 5,000% increase in the number of devices its solutions monitor. 

The company will use its latest investment, which comes less than two years after it secured $30 million in Series C funding, to scale product development efforts as well as its go-to-market approach globally. 

Specifically, Nozomi Networks said it plans to grow its sales, marketing, and partner enablement efforts, and upgrade its products to address new challenges in both the OT and IoT visibility and security markets. 

#articles, #australia, #canada, #colonial-pipeline, #computer-security, #computing, #cyberattack, #cybercrime, #cyberwarfare, #energy, #funding, #internet-of-things, #malware, #manufacturing, #mining, #nozomi-networks, #porsche, #security, #technology, #united-states

#Brandneu – 5 neue Startups: Avotac, RobCo, Revotion, fandli, Catch Talents

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Das Team von Avotac setzt auf einen “nachhaltigen und mikrobenresistenten Hygienehandschuh mit integrierter Schutz- und Transporthülle”. Das Unternehmen aus Freiburg, das von Franziska Bürkle und Peter Bürkle gegründet wurde, möchte so Müllberge, die durch Plastikhandschuhe entstehen, vermeiden.

Das Münchner Startup RobCo, das einen modularen Industrieroboter anbietet, wurde 2020 von Roman Hölzl, Constantin Dresl und Paul Maroldt gegründet. “Durch die einzigartige Software sind sie innerhalb von Minuten einsatzbereit” verspricht das junge Unternehmen.

Revotion aus Düsseldorf entwickelt ein smartes Steuerungs- und Infotainmentsystem für Caravans und Boote. Die Gründer schreiben dazu: “Unser Ziel ist es, jedes Gerät an Bord zu vernetzen und einheitlich über unser schickes, riesiges Touchdisplay zu steuern”.

fandli aus Berlin positioniert sich als “nachhaltiger Lieferdienst für Lebensmittel und Drogerieartikel”. Die Jungfirma bringt dabei alle Waren in “Pfandbehältern und mit Lastenrädern” zu seinen Kundinnen und Kunden. Der junge Lieferdienst wurde von Tim Wehrmeyer ins Leben gerufen.

Catch Talents
Das Kölner Unternehmen Catch Talents unterstützt mittelständische Unternehmen dabei, mehr passende Bewerbungen zu erhalten. Der passende Slogan dabei lautet: “Vorqualifizierte Bewerbungen – Vollautomatisch und ohne Mehraufwand”. Die Jungfirma wurde von Marco Verhoeven und Justin Bous gegründet.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #avotac, #berlin, #brandneu, #catch-talents, #dusseldorf, #fandli, #freiburg, #internet-of-things, #koln, #munchen, #revotion, #robco, #robotik

Industrial cybersecurity startup Claroty raises $140M in pre-IPO funding round

Claroty, an industrial cybersecurity company that helps customers protect and manage their Internet of Things (IoT) and operational technology (OT) assets, has raised $140 million in its latest, and potentially last round of funding. 

With the new round of Series D funding, co-led by Bessemer Venture and 40 North, the company has now amassed a total of $235 million. Additional strategic investors include LG and I Squared Capital’s ISQ Global InfraTech Fund, with all previous investors — Team8, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, and Schneider Electric — also participating. 

Founded in 2015, the late-stage startup focuses on the industrial side of cybersecurity. Its customers include General Motors, Coca-Cola EuroPacific Partners, and Pfizer, with Claroty helping the pharmaceutical firm to secure its COVID-19 vaccine supply chain. Claroty tells TechCrunch it has seen “significant” customer growth over the past 18 months, largely fueled by the pandemic, with 110% year-over-year net new logo growth and 100% customer retention. 

It will use the newly raised funds to meet this rapidly accelerating global demand for The Claroty Platform, an end-to-end solution that provides visibility into industrial networks and combines secure remote access with continuous monitoring for threats and vulnerabilities. 

“Our mission is to drive visibility, continuity, and resiliency in the industrial economy by delivering the most comprehensive solutions that secure all connected devices within the four walls of an industrial site, including all operational technology (OT), Internet of Things (IoT), and industrial IoT (IIoT) assets,” said Claroty CEO Yaniv Vardi.

To meet this growing demand, the startup is planning to expand into new regions and verticals, including transportation government-owned industries, as well as increase its global headcount. The company, which is based in New York, currently has around 240 employees. 

Claroty hasn’t yet made any acquisitions, though CEO Yaniv Vardi tells TechCrunch that this could be part of the startup’s roadmap going forward.

“We’re waiting for the right opportunity at the right time, but it’s definitely part of the plan as part of the financial runway we just secured,” he said, adding that this latest funding round will likely be the company’s last before it explores a potential IPO.

“We are thinking that this is a pre-IPO funding round,” he said. “The end goal here is to be the market leader for industrial cybersecurity. One of the mascots can be going public with an IPO, but there are different options too, such as SPAC.”

The funding round comes amid a sharp increase in cyber targeting organizations that underpin the world’s critical infrastructure and supply chains. According to a recent survey carried out by Claroty, the majority (53%) of US industrial enterprises have seen an increase in cybersecurity threats since the start of 2020. The survey of 1,110 IT and OT security professionals also found that over half believed their organization is now more of a target for cybercriminals, with 67% having seen cybercriminals use new tactics amid the pandemic. 

“The number of attacks, and impact of these attacks, is increasing significantly, especially in verticals like food, automotive, and critical infrastructure. Vardi said. “That creates a lot of risk assessments public companies had to do, and these risks needed to be addressed with a security solution on the industrial side.”

#articles, #ceo, #coca-cola, #computer-security, #computing, #data-security, #food, #funding, #general-motors, #industrial-automation, #industrial-internet-of-things, #internet-of-things, #lg, #new-york, #operational-technology, #pfizer, #pharmaceutical, #siemens, #startup-company, #startups, #team8, #techcrunch, #technology, #united-states

Voice AIs are raising competition concerns, EU finds

The European Union has been digging into the competition implications of AI-powered voice assistants and other Internet of Things (IoT) connected technologies for almost a year. Today it’s put out a first report discussing potential concerns that EU lawmakers say will help inform their wider digital policymaking in the coming years.

A major piece of EU legislation introduced at the back of last year is already set to apply ex ante regulations to so-called ‘gatekeeper’ platforms operating in the region, with a list of business practice ‘dos and don’ts’ for powerful, intermediating platforms being baked into the forthcoming pan-EU Digital Services Act.

But if course applications of technology don’t stand still. The bloc’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, has also had her eye on voice assistant AI technologies for a while — raising concerns about the challenges being posed for user choice as far back as 2019, when she said her department was “trying to figure out how access to data will change the marketplace”.

The Commission took a concrete step last July when it announced a sectoral inquiry to examine IoT competition concerns in detail.

It’s now published a preliminary report, based on polling more than 200 companies operating in consumer IoT product and services markets (in Europe, Asia and the US) — and is soliciting further feedback on the findings (until September 1) ahead of a final report due in the first half of next year.

Among the main areas of potential competition concern it found are: Exclusivity and tying practices in relation to voice assistants and practices that limit the possibility to use different voice assistants on the same smart device; the intermediating role of voice assistants and mobile OSes between users and the wider device and services market — with the concern being this allows the owners of the platform voice AI to control user relationships, potentially impacting the discoverability and visibility of rival IoT services.

Another concern is around (unequal) access to data. Survey participants suggested that platform and voice assistant operators gain extensive access to user data — including capturing information on user interactions with third-party smart devices and consumer IoT services as a result of the intermediating voice AI.

“The respondents to the sector inquiry consider that this access to and accumulation of large amounts of data would not only give voice assistant providers advantages in relation to the improvement and market position of their general-purpose voice assistants, but also allow them to leverage more easily into adjacent markets,” the Commission writes in a press release.

A similar concern underlies an ongoing EU antitrust investigation into Amazon’s use of third party merchants’ data which it obtains via its ecommerce marketplace (and which the Commission believes could be illegally distorting competition in online retail markets).

Lack of interoperability in the consumer IoT sector is another concern flagged in the report. “In particular, a few providers of voice assistants and operating systems are said to unilaterally control interoperability and integration processes and to be capable of limiting functionalities of third-party smart devices and consumer IoT services, compared to their own,” it says.

There’s nothing very surprising in the above list. But it’s noteworthy that the Commission is trying to get a handle on competitive risks — and start mulling potential remedies — at a point when the adoption of voice assistant AIs is still at a relatively early stage in the region.

In its press release, the Commission notes that usage of voice assistant tech is growing worldwide and expected to double between 2020 and 2024 (from 4.2BN voice AIs to 8.4BN) — although only 11% of EU citizens surveyed last year had already used a voice assistant, per cited Eurostat data.

EU lawmakers have certainly learned lessons from the recent failure of competition policy to keep up with digital developments and rein in a first wave of tech giants. And those giants of course continue to dominate the market for voice AIs now (Amazon with Alexa, Google with its eponymous Assistant and Apple’s Siri). So the risks for competition are crystal clear — and the Commission will be keen to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

Still, quite how policymakers could look to tackle competitive lock-in around voice AIs — whose USP tends to be their lazy-web, push-button and branded convenience for users — remains to be seen.

One option, enforcing interoperability, could increase complexity in a way that’s negative for usability — and may raise other concerns, such as around the privacy of user data.

Although giving users themselves more say and control over how the consumer tech they own works can certainly be a good idea, at least provided the platform’s presentation of choices isn’t itself manipulative and exploitative.

There are certainly plenty of pitfalls where IoT and competition is concerned — but also potential opportunities for startups and smaller players if proactive regulatory action can ensure that dominant platforms don’t get to set all the defaults once again.

Commenting in a statement, Vestager said: “When we launched this sector inquiry, we were concerned that there might be a risk of gatekeepers emerging in this sector. We were worried that they could use their power to harm competition, to the detriment of developing businesses and consumers. From the first results published today, it appears that many in the sector share our concerns. And fair competition is needed to make the most of the great potential of the Internet of Things for consumers in their daily lives. This analysis will feed into our future enforcement and regulatory action, so we look forward to receiving further feedback from all interested stakeholders in the coming months.”

The full sectoral report can be found here.


#alexa, #amazon, #ambient-intelligence, #artificial-intelligence, #assistant, #digital-competition, #europe, #european-union, #gadgets, #google, #internet-of-things, #iot, #margrethe-vestager, #policy, #privacy, #smart-device, #smart-devices, #technology, #virtual-assistant, #voice-assistant

Huawei officially launches Android alternative HarmonyOS for smartphones

Think you’re living in a hyper-connected world? Huawei’s proprietary HarmonyOS wants to eliminate delays and gaps in user experience when you move from one device onto another by adding interoperability to all devices, regardless of the system that powers them.

Two years after Huawei was added to the U.S. entity list that banned the Chinese telecom giant from accessing U.S. technologies, including core chipsets and Android developer services from Google, Huawei’s alternative smartphone operating system was unveiled.

On Wednesday, Huawei officially launched its proprietary operating system HarmonyOS for mobile phones. The firm began building the operating system in 2016 and made it open-source for tablets, electric vehicles and smartwatches last September. Its flagship devices such as Mate 40 could upgrade to HarmonyOS starting Wednesday, with the operating system gradually rolling out on lower-end models in the coming quarters.

HarmonyOS is not meant to replace Android or iOS, Huawei said. Rather, its application is more far-reaching, powering not just phones and tablets but an increasing number of smart devices. To that end, Huawei has been trying to attract hardware and home appliance manufacturers to join its ecosystem.

To date, more than 500,000 developers are building applications based on HarmonyOS. It’s unclear whether Google, Facebook and other mainstream apps in the West are working on HarmonyOS versions.

Some Chinese tech firms have answered Huawei’s call. Smartphone maker Meizu hinted on its Weibo account that its smart devices might adopt HarmonyOS. Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, who are much larger players than Meizu, are probably more reluctant to embrace a rival’s operating system.

Huawei’s goal is to collapse all HarmonyOS-powered devices into one single control panel, which can, say, remotely pair the Bluetooth connections of headphones and a TV. A game that is played on a phone can be continued seamlessly on a tablet. A smart soymilk blender can customize a drink based on the health data gleaned from a user’s smartwatch.

Devices that aren’t already on HarmonyOS can also communicate with Huawei devices with a simple plug-in. Photos from a Windows-powered laptop can be saved directly onto a Huawei phone if the computer has the HarmonyOS plug-in installed. That raises the question of whether Android, or even iOS, could, one day, talk to HarmonyOS through a common language.

The HarmonyOS launch arrived days before Apple’s annual developer event scheduled for next week. A recent job posting from Apple mentioned a seemingly new concept, homeOS, which may have to do with Apple’s smart home strategy, as noted by Macrumors.

Huawei denied speculations that HarmonyOS is a derivative of Android and said no single line of code is identical to that of Android. A spokesperson for Huawei declined to say whether the operating system is based on Linux, the kernel that powers Android.

Several tech giants have tried to introduce their own mobile operating systems to no avail. Alibaba built AliOS based on Linux but has long stopped updating it. Samsung flirted with its own Tizen but the operating system is limited to powering a few Internet of Things like smart TVs.

Huawei may have a better shot at drumming up developer interest compared to its predecessors. It’s still one of China’s largest smartphone brands despite losing a chunk of its market after the U.S. government cut it off critical chip suppliers, which could hamper its ability to make cutting-edge phones. HarmonyOS also has a chance to create an alternative for developers who are disgruntled with Android, if Huawei is able to capture their needs.

The U.S. sanctions do not block Huawei from using Android’s open-source software, which major Chinese smartphone makers use to build their third-party Android operating system. But the ban was like a death knell for Huawei’s consumer markets overseas as its phones abroad lost access to Google Play services.

#alibaba, #android, #apple, #asia, #bluetooth, #china, #facebook, #gadgets, #harmonyos, #huawei, #internet-of-things, #linux, #meizu, #microsoft-windows, #mobile, #mobile-linux, #mobile-operating-system, #mobile-phones, #open-source-software, #operating-system, #operating-systems, #smart-devices, #smartphone, #smartphones, #tc, #xiaomi

Esper raises $30M Series B for its IoT DevOps platform

There may be billions of IoT devices in use today, but the tooling around building (and updating) the software for them still leaves a lot to be desired. Esper, which today announced that it has raised a $30 million Series B round, builds the tools to enable developers and engineers to deploy and manage fleets of Android-based edge devices. The round was led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Madrona Venture Group, Root Ventures, Ubiquity Ventures and Haystack.

The company argues that there are thousands of device manufacturers who are building these kinds of devices on Android alone, but that scaling and managing these deployments comes with a lot of challenges. The core idea here is that Esper brings to device development the DevOps experience that software developers now expect. The company argues that its tools allow companies to forgo building their own internal DevOps teams and instead use its tooling to scale their Android-based IoT fleets for use cases that range from digital signage and kiosks to custom solutions in healthcare, retail, logistics and more.

“The pandemic has transformed industries like connected fitness, digital health, hospitality, and food delivery, further accelerating the adoption of intelligent edge devices. But with each new use case, better software automation is required,” said Yadhu Gopalan, CEO and co-founder at Esper. “Esper’s mature cloud infrastructure incorporates the functionality cloud developers have come to expect, re-imagined for devices.”

Image Credits: Esper

Mobile device management (MDM) isn’t exactly a new thing, but the Esper team argues that these tools weren’t created for this kind of use case. “MDMs are the solution now in the market. They are made for devices being brought into an environment,” Gopalan said. “The DNA of these solutions is rooted in protecting the enterprise and to deploy applications to them in the network. Our customers are sending devices out into the wild. It’s an entirely different use case and model.”

To address these challenges, Esper offers a range of tools and services that includes a full development stack for developers, cloud-based services for device management and hardware emulators to get started with building custom devices.

“Esper helped us launch our Fusion-connected fitness offering on three different types of hardware in less than six months,” said Chris Merli, founder at Inspire Fitness. “Their full stack connected fitness Android platform helped us test our application on different hardware platforms, configure all our devices over the cloud, and manage our fleet exactly to our specifications. They gave us speed, Android expertise, and trust that our application would provide a delightful experience for our customers.”

The company also offers solutions for running Android on older x86 Windows devices to extend the life of this hardware, too.

“We spent about a year and a half on building out the infrastructure,” said Gopalan. “Definitely. That’s the hard part and that’s really creating a reliable, robust mechanism where customers can trust that the bits will flow to the devices. And you can also roll back if you need to.”

Esper is working with hardware partners to launch devices that come with built-in Esper-support from the get-go.

Esper says it saw 70x revenue growth in the last year, an 8x growth in paying customers and a 15x growth in devices running Esper. Since we don’t know the baseline, those numbers are meaningless, but the investors clearly believe that Esper is on to something. Current customers include the likes of CloudKitchens, Spire Health, Intelity, Ordermark, Inspire Fitness, RomTech and Uber.

#ambient-intelligence, #android, #cloud, #cloud-computing, #developer, #device-management, #enterprise, #esper, #hardware, #healthcare, #internet-of-things, #iot, #madrona-venture-group, #microsoft-windows, #mobile-device-management, #operating-systems, #recent-funding, #retail, #root-ventures, #scale-venture-partners, #smartphones, #software-automation, #software-developers, #startups, #tc, #technology, #uber, #ubiquity-ventures

#Brandneu – 7 junge Startups, die man kennen sollte

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Das Passauer Startup Pionize kümmert sich um die große Smart Home-Welt. Die Plattform soll Onliner:innen “die langwierige Recherche zum passenden Smart Home-System” erleichtern. Nach einigen Fragen schlägt das Startup seinen Nutzer:innen ein “individualisiertes Smart Hom-System vor”.

Das junge Startup elvah bietet eine Ladeflatrate für Elektroautos an. “Für unsere Flatrate bezahlst du einen fixen, monatlichen Beitrag – egal wo und wann du lädst”, schreibt die Jungfirma aus Grafschaft, die von Gowrynath Sivaganeshamoorthy, Wilfried Röper, Sören Ziems gegründet wurde.

modelwise entwickelt mit Paitron eine Software für Ingenieure, die der Zielgruppe bei der Automatisierung von Sicherheitsanalysen helfen soll. Dabei setzen die Münchner auf “bestehende Modelle aus Standard-Modellierungsumgebungen”. So soll zusätzlicher Schulungsaufwand vermieden werden.

Das Berliner Startup Taktile, das von Maximilian Eber und Maik Taro Wehmeyer gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Art Low-Code-Plattform für Machine Learning. “Taktile enables enterprises to easily develop business critical Machine Learning applications”, teilt die Jungfirma in eigener Sache mit.

Sportstandort24 möchte Sportvereine und -unternehmen bei der Digitalisierung ihrer Angebote unterstützen. Die Gründer schreiben: “Mithilfe unserer innovativen Software hat Deine Organisation zum Beispiel zahlreiche Möglichkeiten, detaillierte Sportangebote einzustellen und zu verwalten”.

Das Münchner Startup wryte, das von Philipp Kramer und Matthias Schadhauser gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “Mitschrift-App mit automatisierter Speicherung”. Zielgruppe der Jungfirma sind Schüler:innen. Dabei organisiert wryte auch die Zuordnung zu Fächern und Heften.

Das Linzer Startup Sophia möchte Beratung “effizient und bequem machen”. Auf dem Marktplatz der Jungfirma finden Nutzer:innen anhand von Themen angeben, nach welcher Expertise sie suchen.Die Terminfindung erfolgt direkt im Anschluss. Der Austausch erfolgt dann über digitale Meeting-Räume.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #brandneu, #edtech, #elvah, #grafschaft, #internet-of-things, #linz, #meerbusch, #mobility, #modelwise, #munchen, #passau, #pionize, #smart-home, #sophia, #sportstandort24, #startup-radar, #taktile, #wryte

The chip shortage is driving up tech prices–starting with TVs

The chip shortage is driving up tech prices–starting with TVs

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

Televisions, laptops, and tablets have been in high demand during the Covid-19 pandemic, as people worked and learned via Zoom, socialized over Skype, and binged on Netflix to alleviate the lockdown blues. But all that extra screen time also helped set in motion a semiconductor supply crunch that is causing prices for some gadgets to spike—starting with TVs.

In recent months, the price of larger TV models has shot up around 30 percent compared to last summer, according to market research company NPD. The jump is a direct result of the current chip crisis, and underscores that a fix is more complicated than simply ramping up production. It may also be only a matter of time before other gadgets that use the same circuitry—laptops, tablets, and VR headsets among them—experience similar sticker shock.

Some manufacturers have already flagged potential price rises. Asus, a Taiwanese computer maker, said during a quarterly earnings call in March that a shortage of components would mean “price hikes further upstream,” which would likely affect consumers.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#chip-shortage, #gaming-culture, #internet-of-shit, #internet-of-things, #smart-tvs, #tech

The energy ecosystem should move to make the ‘energy internet’ a reality

As vice president of Innovation at National Grid Partners, I’m responsible for developing initiatives that not only benefit National Grid’s current business but also have the potential to become stand-alone businesses. So I obviously have strong views about the future of the energy industry.

But I don’t have a crystal ball; no one does. To be a good steward of our innovation portfolio, my job isn’t to guess what the right “basket” is for our “eggs.” It’s to optimally allocate our finite eggs across multiple baskets with the greatest collective upside.

Put another way, global and regional trends make it clear that the Next Big Thing isn’t any single thing at all. Instead, the future is about open innovation and integration of elements across the entire energy supply chain. Only with such an open energy ecosystem can we adapt to the highly volatile — some might even say unpredictable — market conditions we face in the energy industry.

Just as the digital internet rewards innovation wherever it serves the market — whether you build a better app or design a cooler smartphone — so too will the energy internet offer greater opportunities across the energy supply chain.

I like to think of this open, innovation-enabling approach as the “energy internet,” and I believe it represents the most important opportunity in the energy sector today.

The internet analogy

Here’s why I find the concept of the energy internet helpful. Before the digital internet (a term I’m using here to encompass all the hardware, software and standards that comprise it), we had multiple silos of technology such as mainframes, PCs, databases, desktop applications and private networks.

As the digital internet evolved, however, the walls between these silos disappeared. You can now utilize any platform on the back end of your digital services, including mainframes, commodity server hardware and virtual machines in the cloud.

You can transport digital payloads across networks that connect to any customer, supplier or partner on the planet with whatever combination of speed, security, capacity and cost you deem most appropriate. That payload can be data, sound or video, and your endpoint can be a desktop browser, smartphone, IoT sensor, security camera or retail kiosk.

This mix-and-match internet created an open digital supply chain that has driven an epochal boom in online innovation. Entrepreneurs and inventors can focus on specific value propositions anywhere across that supply chain rather than having to continually reinvent the supply chain itself.

The energy sector must move in the same direction. We need to be able to treat our various generation modalities like server platforms. We need our transmission grids to be as accessible as our data networks, and we need to be able to deliver energy to any consumption endpoint just as flexibly. We need to encourage innovation at those endpoints, too — just as the tech sector did.

Just as the digital internet rewards innovation wherever it serves the market — whether you build a better app or design a cooler smartphone — so too will the energy internet offer greater opportunities across the energy supply chain.

The 5D future

So what is the energy internet? As a foundation, let’s start with a model that takes the existing industry talk of digitalization, decentralization and decarbonization a few steps further:

Digitalization: Innovation depends on information about demand, supply, efficiency, trends and events. That data must be accurate, complete, timely and sharable. Digitalization efforts such as IoE, open energy, and what many refer to as the “smart grid” are instrumental because they ensure innovators have the insights they need to continuously improve the physics, logistics and economics of energy delivery.

Decentralization: The internet changed the world in part because it took the power of computing out of a few centralized data centers and distributed it wherever it made sense. The energy internet will do likewise. Digitalization supports decentralization by letting assets be integrated into an open energy supply chain. But decentralization is much more than just the integration of existing assets — it’s the proliferation of new assets wherever they’re needed.

Decarbonization: Decarbonization is, of course, the whole point of the exercise. We must move to greener supply chains built on decentralized infrastructure that leverage energy supply everywhere to meet energy demand anywhere. The market is demanding it and regulators are requiring it. The energy internet is therefore more than just an investment opportunity — it’s an existential imperative.

Democratization: Much of the innovation associated with the internet arose from the fact that, in addition to decentralizing technology physically, it also democratized technology demographically. Democratization is about putting power (literally, in this case) into the hands of the people. Vastly increasing the number of minds and hands tackling the energy industry’s challenges will also accelerate innovation and enhance our ability to respond to market dynamics.

Diversity: As I asserted above, no one has a crystal ball. So anyone investing in innovation at scale should diversify — not just to mitigate risk and optimize returns, but as an enablement strategy. After all, if we truly believe the energy internet (or Grid 2.0, if you prefer that term) will require that all the elements of the energy supply chain work together, we must diversify our innovation initiatives across those elements to promote interoperability and integration.

That’s how the digital internet was built. Standards bodies played an important role, but those standards and their implementations were driven by industry players like Microsoft and Cisco — as well as top VCs — who ensured the ecosystem’s success by driving integration across the supply chain.

We must take the same approach with the energy internet. Those with the power and influence to do so must help ensure we aggressively advance integration across the energy supply chain as a whole, even as we improve the individual elements. To this end, National Grid last year kicked off a new industry group called the NextGrid Alliance, which includes senior executives from more than 60 utilities across the world.

Finally, we believe it’s essential to diversify thinking within the energy ecosystem as well. National Grid has sounded alarms about the serious underrepresentation of women in the energy industry and of female undergraduates in STEM programs. On the flip side, research by Deloitte has found diverse teams are 20% more innovative. More than 60% of my own team at NGP are women, and that breadth of perspective has helped National Grid capture powerful insights into companywide innovation efforts.

More winning, less predicting

The concept of the energy internet isn’t some abstract future ideal. We’re already seeing specific examples of how it will transform the market:

Green transnationalism: The energy internet is on its way to becoming as global as the digital internet. The U.K., for instance, is now receiving wind-generated power from Norway and Denmark. This ability to leverage decentralized energy supply across borders will have significant benefits for national economies and create new opportunities for energy arbitrage.

EV charging models: Pumping electricity isn’t like pumping gas, nor should it be. With the right combination of innovation in smart metering and fast-charging end-point design, the energy internet will create new opportunities at office buildings, residential complexes and other places where cars plus convenience can equal cash.

Disaster mitigation: Recent events in Texas have highlighted the negative consequences of not having an energy internet. Responsible utilities and government agencies must embrace digitization and interoperability to more effectively troubleshoot infrastructure and better safeguard communities.

These are just a few of the myriad ways in which an open, any-to-any energy internet will promote innovation, stimulate competition and generate big wins. No one can predict exactly what those big wins will be, but there will surely be many, and they will accrue to the benefit of all.

That’s why even without a crystal ball, we should all commit ourselves to digitalization, decentralization, decarbonization, democratization and diversity. In so doing, we’ll build the energy internet together, and enable a fair, affordable and clean energy future.

#column, #electricity, #emerging-technologies, #energy, #energy-industry, #greentech, #internet-of-things, #national-grid-partners, #opinion, #smart-grid, #tc

#Interview – “Wir haben von Anfang an auf Kundenfeedback gesetzt”

Das Unternehmen tink, das 2016 von Marius Lissautzki und Julian Hueck gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Vergleichs- und Beratungsplattform für Smart Home-Produkte. Im vergangenen Jahr erwirtschaftete die Jungfirma einen Umsatz in Höhe von 66 Millionen Euro. In diesem Jahr sind über 100 Millionen geplant. Cadence Growth Capital, Rocket Internet und SevenVentures investierten kürzlich 40 Millionen Euro in tink.

“Mit dem Investment möchten wir unser internationales Wachstum massiv vorantreiben. Unser Ziel ist es, tink als führende europäische Smart-Home-Plattform zu etablieren und bis spätestens 2023 in allen Kernmärkten Europas präsent zu sein. Zudem möchten wir unser Angebot um viele weitere relevante Services erweitern, wozu unter anderem Energieverträge oder Versicherungslösungen gehören”, sagt Mitgründer Hueck zu den weiteren Pläne des Startups.

Im Interview mit deutsche-startups.de spricht der tink-Macher zudem über Berührungsängste, Industriepartner und Bäume.

Wie würdest Du Deiner Großmutter tink erklären?
Wir helfen dabei, das Zuhause vieler Menschen sicherer, komfortabler und energiesparender zu gestalten. Durch unsere Hilfe müssen Heizungen beispielsweise nicht mehr manuell hoch- und runtergedreht werden und man kann direkt vom Sessel aus sehen, wer an der Haustür geklingelt hat. Natürlich stehen wir unseren Kunden auch gerne beratend zur Seite und unterstützen bei der Installation und Anwendung, sodass auch ältere oder technisch unversierte Menschen keine Berührungsängste vor neuen, digitalen Produkten haben müssen.

Hat sich das Konzept, das Geschäftsmodell, in den vergangenen Jahren irgendwie verändert?
Wir wollten schon immer Menschen für digitale Anwendungen in ihrem Zuhause begeistern. Daran hat sich seit der Gründung von tink nichts geändert. Über die Jahre hinweg haben wir aber gemerkt, wie wichtig der Austausch mit unseren Kunden ist und wieviel wir durch sie lernen können. Durch sie wissen wir, was wirklich hilft. Dieses Wissen unterstützt uns dabei, unsere Mission erfolgreich im Massenmarkt zu etablieren. Deswegen setzen wir mittlerweile sehr stark auf individuelle Beratungen und Lösungen, die Hardware, Software und Dienstleistungen vereinen. Denn Kunden suchen Lösungen für ihren Alltag und nicht nur einzelne Produkte.

Wie genau funktioniert euer Geschäftsmodell?
Wir verstehen uns als zentrale Plattform, die Premium Hardware Brands, passende Software- Ökosysteme und relevante Dienstleistungen für unterschiedliche Use Cases rund um das vernetzte Zuhause anbietet. Bei unserem Geschäftsmodell handelt es sich um ein B2C-Commerce-Plattform-Modell. Hinzu kommt ein stark wachsendes Geschäft mit Industriepartnern, das zukünftig weiter ausgebaut werden soll. Bei Vattenfall und Generali betreiben wir beispielsweise unsere schon jetzt Plattform co-branded auf deren Websites und bieten exklusive und passende Angebote für ihre Kunden an. Dadurch können sich unsere Industriepartner gezielt vom Wettbewerb differenzieren und ihr Kernangebot mit unseren Leistungen zu neuen Lösungen kombinieren.

Die Corona-Krise traf die Startup-Szene zuletzt teilweise hart. Wie habt ihr die Auswirkungen gespürt?
Die Corona-Krise hat sich auf unser Business eher positiv als negativ ausgewirkt – und das sogar nachhaltig. Zum einen hat Covid-19 vielen neuen Kundengruppen die Vorteile der Digitalisierung näher gebracht und dadurch den Smart-Home-Trend beschleunigt. Zum anderen steht das eigene Zuhause jetzt noch mehr im Mittelpunkt als vor dem Start der Corona-Pandemie. Immer mehr Haushalte beschäftigen sich damit, ihr Zuhause über sinnvolle Technologien sicherer, komfortabler und energieeffizienter zu gestalten.

Cadence Growth Capital und Co. investierten gerade 40 Millionen in tink. Wofür braucht ihr so viel Geld?
Mit dem Investment möchten wir unser internationales Wachstum massiv vorantreiben. Unser Ziel ist es, tink als führende europäische Smart-Home-Plattform zu etablieren und bis spätestens 2023 in allen Kernmärkten Europas präsent zu sein. Zudem möchten wir unser Angebot um viele weitere relevante Services erweitern, wozu unter anderem Energieverträge oder Versicherungslösungen gehören. Darüber hinaus haben wir uns zum Ziel gesetzt, neue Anwendungsfelder zu erschließen und innovative Lösungen in unser Angebotsportfolio aufzunehmen. Hierzu gehören beispielsweise Angebote in den Bereichen Küche oder dezentrale Energieerzeugung und E-Mobility-Lösungen.

Wie ist überhaupt die Idee zu tink entstanden?
Marius ist während seiner Zeit in den USA zum ersten Mal mit Smart-Home-Lösungen in Kontakt gekommen und war von dem Nutzen und der Einfachheit der Anwendungen sofort begeistert und überzeugt. Zurück in Deutschland war ziemlich schnell klar, dass eine Plattform fehlt, die dem Konsumenten sowohl die Vorteile eines vernetzten Zuhauses schildert, Kunden bei der Auswahl der Lösung berät als auch ihrer Anwendung begleitet und mehr als nur Einzelprodukte vertreibt. Eine Plattform, die echte Lösungen anbietet bzw. die Hardware, Software und Services sinnvoll miteinander verknüpft, gab es zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht – auch weltweit betrachtet. Dieser umfassende Ansatz ist auch heute noch ein Alleinstellungsmerkmal von tink.

Wie hat sich tink seit der Gründung entwickelt?
Wir sind sehr froh und dankbar, dass unsere Kunden und der Markt unseren Ansatz wertschätzt. Dieses Ansehen spiegelt sich nicht nur in unserem jährlichen Wachstum von mehr als 100 Prozent wider, sondern auch in der außergewöhnlichen Kundentreue, die wir in den letzten Jahren verzeichnen konnten, und dem sukzessiven Smarter-Werden des Zuhauses unserer Kunden, die schrittweise eine Anwendung nach der nächsten hinzubuchen. Der Smart-Home-Markt steckt noch in den Kinderschuhen und formt sich gerade erst zu einem Massenmarkt heraus. In den nächsten Jahren wird sich daraus aber ein Multi-Milliarden-Markt entwickeln.

Nun aber einmal Butter bei die Fische: Wie groß ist tink inzwischen?
Seit unserer Gründung im Jahr 2016 konnten wir bereits mehr als 700.000 Kunden für unsere IoT-Commerce-Plattform gewinnen. In unserem Unternehmen arbeiten inzwischen 100 Mitarbeiter und wir haben 2020 einen Umsatz von 66 Millionen Euro erzielt. Auf dem aktuellen Wachstumspfad werden wir dieses Jahr die Umsatzmarke von 100 Millionen Euro überschreiten und durch unser Angebot die weltweite CO2-Produktion stetig senken. Denn allein durch die Haushalte, die wir im Jahr 2020 für smarte Heizungslösungen gewinnen konnten, konnten CO2-Einsparungen, die dem Pflanzen von vier Millionen Bäumen gleichkommen, erzielt werden.

Blicke bitte einmal zurück: Was ist in den vergangenen Jahren so richtig schief gegangen?
Bei unserem Launch im Jahr 2016 hatten wir ein paar kleine Probleme mit unserer IT- Plattform. Wir konnten den Bug aber schnell ausfindig machen. Sie funktioniert seitdem einwandfrei und Interessierte können auf einfache und schnelle Art und Weise tink-Kunden werden und unsere smarten Produkte anwenden.

Und wo hat Ihr bisher alles richtig gemacht?
Wir haben von Anfang an auf Kundenfeedback gesetzt, welches unglaublich wichtig für die Weiterentwicklung unserer Plattform und unserer Produktpalette ist. Unsere Ideen-Pipeline wird dadurch kontinuierlich größer. Grundsätzlich zeigt aber vor allem die bisher Bilderbuch- artige Entwicklung unseres Businesses, dass wir den Nerv der Zeit getroffen haben und die Ideen-Umsetzung von unseren Kunden sehr wertgeschätzt wird. Ausschlaggebend für diesen Erfolg ist natürlich unser großartiges Team.

Wo steht tink in einem Jahr?
In den nächsten Monaten werden wir unsere Plattform in einigen weiteren europäischen Kernmärkten launchen und unserem Business dadurch einen gewaltigen Push verleihen. Außerdem werden wir verstärkt relevante Services in unsere Lösungen integrieren und neue Anwendungsfelder, inklusive des e-Mobility-Bereichs, erschließen und nutzbar machen.
Durch das enorme Wachstum im jetzigen Geschäft und diese drei Wachstumsdimensionen wird tink in zwölf Monaten mehr als eine Millionen Haushalte gewonnen haben und Umsatz- technisch im dreistelligen Millionenbereich angekommen sein.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): tink

#aktuell, #internet-of-things, #interview, #smart-home, #tink

Window Snyder’s new startup Thistle Technologies raises $2.5M seed to secure IoT devices

The Internet of Things has a security problem. The past decade has seen wave after wave of new internet-connected devices, from sensors through to webcams and smart home tech, often manufactured in bulk but with little — if any — consideration to security. Worse, many device manufacturers make no effort to fix security flaws, while others simply leave out the software update mechanisms needed to deliver patches altogether.

That sets up an entire swath of insecure and unpatchable devices to fail, and destined to be thrown out when they break down or are invariably hacked.

Security veteran Window Snyder thinks there is a better way. Her new startup, Thistle Technologies, is backed with $2.5 million in seed funding from True Ventures with the goal of helping IoT manufacturers reliably and securely deliver software updates to their devices.

Snyder founded Thistle last year, and named it after the flowering plant with sharp prickles designed to deter animals from eating them. “It’s a defense mechanism,” Snyder told TechCrunch, a name that’s fitting for a defensive technology company. The startup aims to help device manufacturers without the personnel or resources to integrate update mechanisms into their device’s software in order to receive security updates and better defend against security threats.

“We’re building the means so that they don’t have to do it themselves. They want to spend the time building customer-facing features anyway,” said Snyder. Prior to founding Thistle, Snyder worked in senior cybersecurity positions at Apple, Intel, and Microsoft, and also served as chief security officer at Mozilla, Square, and Fastly.

Thistle lands on the security scene at a time when IoT needs it most. Botnet operators are known to scan the internet for devices with weak default passwords and hijack their internet connections to pummel victims with floods of internet traffic, knocking entire websites and networks offline. In 2016, a record-breaking distributed denial-of-service attack launched by the Mirai botnet on internet infrastructure giant Dyn knocked some of the biggest websites — Shopify, SoundCloud, Spotify, Twitter — offline for hours. Mirai had ensnared thousands of IoT devices into its network at the time of the attack.

Other malicious hackers target IoT devices as a way to get a foot into a victim’s network, allowing them to launch attacks or plant malware from the inside.

Since device manufacturers have done little to solve their security problems among themselves, lawmakers are looking at legislating to curb some of the more egregious security mistakes made by default manufacturers, like using default — and often unchangeable — passwords and selling devices with no way to deliver security updates.

California paved the way after passing an IoT security law in 2018, with the U.K. following shortly after in 2019. The U.S. has no federal law governing basic IoT security standards.

Snyder said the push to introduce IoT cybersecurity laws could be “an easy way for folks to get into compliance” without having to hire fleets of security engineers. Having an update mechanism in place also helps to keeps the IoT devices around for longer — potentially for years longer — simply by being able to push fixes and new features.

“To build the infrastructure that’s going to allow you to continue to make those devices resilient and deliver new functionality through software, that’s an incredible opportunity for these device manufacturers. And so I’m building a security infrastructure company to support that security needs,” she said.

With the seed round in the bank, Snyder said the company is focused on hiring device and back-end engineers, product managers, and building new partnerships with device manufacturers.

Phil Black, co-founder of True Ventures — Thistle’s seed round investor — described the company as “an astute and natural next step in security technologies.” He added: “Window has so many of the qualities we look for in founders. She has deep domain expertise, is highly respected within the security community, and she’s driven by a deep passion to evolve her industry.”

#apple, #bank, #botnet, #california, #co-founder, #computer-security, #computing, #cybercrime, #cyberwarfare, #dyn, #fastly, #intel, #internet-of-things, #internet-traffic, #malware, #microsoft, #mirai, #science-and-technology, #security, #shopify, #soundcloud, #spotify, #startups, #technology, #true-ventures, #united-kingdom, #united-states

UK’s IoT ‘security by design’ law will cover smartphones too

Smartphones will be included in the scope of a planned “security by design” U.K. law aimed at beefing up the security of consumer devices, the government said today.

It made the announcement in its response to a consultation on legislative plans aimed at tackling some of the most lax security practices long-associated with the Internet of Things (IoT).

The government introduced a security code of practice for IoT device manufacturers back in 2018 — but the forthcoming legislation is intended to build on that with a set of legally binding requirements.

A draft law was aired by ministers in 2019 — with the government focused on IoT devices, such as webcams and baby monitors, which have often been associated with the most egregious device security practices.

Its plan now is for virtually all smart devices to be covered by legally binding security requirements, with the government pointing to research from consumer group “Which?” that found that a third of people kept their last phone for four years, while some brands only offer security updates for just over two years.

The forthcoming legislation will require smartphone and device makers like Apple and Samsung to inform customers of the duration of time for which a device will receive software updates at the point of sale.

It will also ban manufacturers from using universal default passwords (such as “password” or “admin”), which are often preset in a device’s factory settings and easily guessable — making them meaningless in security terms.

California already passed legislation banning such passwords in 2018 with the law coming into force last year.

Under the incoming U.K. law, manufacturers will additionally be required to provide a public point of contact to make it simpler for anyone to report a vulnerability.

The government said it will introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Commenting in a statement, digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman added: “Our phones and smart devices can be a gold mine for hackers looking to steal data, yet a great number still run older software with holes in their security systems.

“We are changing the law to ensure shoppers know how long products are supported with vital security updates before they buy and are making devices harder to break into by banning easily guessable default passwords.

“The reforms, backed by tech associations around the world, will torpedo the efforts of online criminals and boost our mission to build back safer from the pandemic.”

A DCMS spokesman confirmed that laptops, PCs and tablets with no cellular connection will not be covered by the law, nor will secondhand products. Although he added that the intention is for the scope to be adaptive, to ensure the law can keep pace with new threats that may emerge around devices.

#california, #computer-security, #cryptography, #europe, #gadgets, #internet-of-things, #iot, #mobile, #password, #security, #smart-devices, #smartphones, #united-kingdom

Medtronic partners with cybersecurity startup Sternum to protect its pacemakers from hackers

If you think cyberattacks are scary, what if those attacks were directed at your cardiac pacemaker? Medtronic, a medical device company, has been in hot water over the last couple of years because its pacemakers were getting hacked through their internet-based software updating systems. But in a new partnership with Sternum, an IoT cybersecurity startup based in Israel, Medtronic has focused on resolving the issue.

The problem was not with the medical devices themselves, but with the remote systems used to update the devices. Medtronic’s previous solution was to disconnect the devices from the internet, which in and of itself can cause other issues to arise.

“Medtronic was looking for a long-term solution that can help them with future developments,” said Natali Tshuva, Sternum’s founder and CEO. The company has already secured about 100,000 Medtronic devices.

Sternum’s solution allows medical devices to protect themselves in real-time. 

“There’s this endless race against vulnerability, so when a company discovers a vulnerability, they need to issue an update, but updating can be very difficult in the medical space, and until the update happens, the devices are vulnerable,” Tshuva told TechCrunch. “Therefore, we created an autonomous security that operates from within the device that can protect it without the need to update and patch vulnerabilities,” 

However, it is easier to protect new devices than to go back and protect legacy devices. Over the years hackers have gotten more and more sophisticated, so medical device companies have had to figure out how to protect the devices that are already out there.  

 “The market already has millions — perhaps billions — of medical devices connected, and that could be a security and management nightmare,” Tshuva added.

In addition to potentially doing harm to an individual, hackers have been taking advantage of device vulnerability as the gateway of choice into a hospital’s network, possibly causing a breach that can affect many more people. Tshuva explained that hospital networks are secured from the inside out, but devices that connect to the networks but are not protected can create a way in.

In fact, health systems have been known to experience the most data breaches out of any sector, accounting for 79% of all reported breaches in 2020. And in the first 10 months of last year, we saw a 45% increase in cyberattacks on health systems, according to data by Health IT Security.

In addition to Sternum’s partnership with Medtronic, the company also launched this week an IoT platform that allows, “devices to protect themselves, even when they are not connected to the internet,” Tshuva said.

Sternum, which raised about $10 million to date, also offers cybersecurity for IoT devices outside of healthcare, and according to Tshuva, the company focuses on areas that are “mission-critical.” Examples include railroad infrastructure sensors and management systems, and power grids.

Tshuva, who grew up in Israel, holds a master’s in computer science and worked for the Israeli Defense Force’s 8200 unit — similar to the U.S.’s National Security Alliance — said she always wanted to make an impact in the medical field. “I looked to combine the medical space with my life, and I realized I could have an impact on remote care devices,” she said.

#computer-security, #cyberattack, #cybercrime, #cybersecurity-startup, #health-systems, #healthcare, #internet-of-things, #israel, #malware, #medical-device, #medtronic, #science-and-technology, #sternum, #tc, #technology

100 million more IoT devices are exposed—and they won’t be the last

100 million more IoT devices are exposed—and they won’t be the last

Enlarge (credit: Elena Lacey)

Over the last few years, researchers have found a shocking number of vulnerabilities in seemingly basic code that underpins how devices communicate with the Internet. Now a new set of nine such vulnerabilities are exposing an estimated 100 million devices worldwide, including an array of Internet-of-things products and IT management servers. The larger question researchers are scrambling to answer, though, is how to spur substantive changes—and implement effective defenses—as more and more of these types of vulnerabilities pile up.

Dubbed Name:Wreck, the newly disclosed flaws are in four ubiquitous TCP/IP stacks, code that integrates network communication protocols to establish connections between devices and the Internet. The vulnerabilities, present in operating systems like the open source project FreeBSD, as well as Nucleus NET from the industrial control firm Siemens, all relate to how these stacks implement the “Domain Name System” Internet phone book. They all would allow an attacker to either crash a device and take it offline or gain control of it remotely. Both of these attacks could potentially wreak havoc in a network, especially in critical infrastructure, health care, or manufacturing settings where infiltrating a connected device or IT server can disrupt a whole system or serve as a valuable jumping-off point for burrowing deeper into a victim’s network.

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#biz-it, #internet-of-things, #iot, #namewreck, #tcp-ip

#Brandneu – 9 neue Startups aus dem wunderschönen Hamburg

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es jede Woche in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Die Hamburger Jungfirma Hamburg Cauliflower kümmert sich um Kundenfeedback. Das Team möchte seinen Nutzern helfen, ohne Vorkenntnisse im Bereich Data Science und vor allem ohne großen Aufwand wichtige Informationen aus Online-Textdaten herauszulesen.

Die Hamburger Jungfirma Zeitgeist positioniert sich als “Second Hand Shop”. Der Pitch der Hanseaten ist simpel: “Wir wollen eine Alternative zu Fast Fashion sein. Daher bieten wir unseren Kund*Innen ein differenziertes Angebot und verantwortungsbewusstes Shopping-Erlebnis”.

Immo Rente
Das Hamburger PropTech Immo Rente ist im Segment Immobilienverrentungen (Leibrente, Teilverkauf, Immobiliendarlehen), einem kleinen Boomsegment, unterwegs. Zielgruppe sind Menschen, die älter als 65 Jahre sind und noch zu Lebzeiten vom Wert ihrer selbstgenutzten Immobilie profitieren möchten.

Das Hamburger Startup Leadbase positioniert sich als “Digital Event Showroom”. Über die Plattform ist es möglich, ein Unternehmen und seine Produkte zu präsentieren und so in direktem Kontakt mit seinem Kunden so kommen. Die Jungfirma wird von Edgar Dyck und Rene Sulski geführt.

Das Hamburger Startup Smartmark bietet eine smarte Regattaboje an. Diese mit zwei Elektromotoren angetriebene Bahnmarke lässt sich per Tablet steuern und hält dabei die festgelegte Position – und zwar ohne den Einsatz eines Ankers. So soll das Einrichten einer Regattabahn zum Kinderspiel werden.

Future Stories
Das Hamburger Startup Future Stories möchte “Plastikmüll aus allen Badezimmern verbannen”. Dafür setzen die Hanseaten auf Duschgel und Handseife aus Pulver, das jeder Zuhause anrühren kann. Gegründet wurde die Jungfirma von etepetete-Gründer Carsten Wille, Mark Lübcke und Martina Ponath.

Bei Teppana dreht sich alles um Teppiche. “Mit unseren zweiteiligen Teppich-System ermöglichen wir Teppiche in jeder Größe in der Waschmaschine zu waschen – ein wahrer Problemlöser für junge Familien und Haustierbesitzer”, teilt das junge Hamburger Startup in eigner Sache mit.

Bei craftsoles finden Onliner handgefertigte orthopädische Einlagen. Das Startup, ein Ableger von meevo, einem Online-Sanitätshaus, schickt die benötigten Sets zur Vermessung dabei zu den Kunden. Danach fertigt das craftsoles-Team die Einlagen und schickt diese zum Kunden. 

You Candy
Das Hamburger Startup You Candy setzt auf leckere Fruchtgummis mit Zusatz! You Candy kombiniert nämlich klassische Fruchtgummis mit angesagten Nahrungsergänzungsmitteln. Die Hanseaten nennen dies “Genuss mit Schutz, Schönheit und Gesundheit”.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #beauty, #brandneu, #cauliflower, #craftsoles, #food, #future-stories, #hamburg, #immo-rente, #internet-of-things, #leadbase, #proptech, #second-hand, #smartmark, #startup-radar, #teppana, #wellness, #you-candy, #zeitgeist

#Brandneu – 8 neue Startups, die eine große Zukunft vor sich haben

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Das Leaders21-Team möchte Führungskräften moderne Methoden beibringen. Hinter dem Startup stecken Runtastic-Macher Florian Gschwandtner und Thomas Kleindessner. Zum Start geht es um Trainings, 1-zu-1-Coaching und Beratung – später folgt dann eine digitale Lern- und Community-Plattform.

Bei Ghostifyed können Musiker Songs kaufen. “Sobald ein Song verkauft wird, werden alle Urheberrechte an den Käufer abgetreten. Dieser hat somit freie Handhabe über den gekauften Titel, ohne dass der eigentliche Produzent mit Namen genannt wird”, teilt das Startup aus Kiel, das von Dennis Zolk gegründet wurde, mit.

Bei SeaTable, hinter dem die Brüder Christoph und Ralf Dyllick-Brenzinger stecken, dreht sich alles um die Verarbeitung von Informationen. “SeaTable ist die neue flexible Art im Team an Aufgaben, Projekten oder Ideen zu arbeiten. Es sieht aus wie Excel, hat aber so viel mehr zu bieten”, schreiben die Gründer.

Das Team von myFoodDoctor setzt auf Ernährungstherapie per App. Das Startup fragt zunächst die Ernährungsgewohnheiten ab und schlägt dann eine Auswahl an gesunden und leckeren Ernährungsalternativen vor. Mitgründer und Initiator von myFoodDoctor ist Ernährungsdoc Matthias Riedl.

Gouna aus Potsdam entwickelt ein System, um die Gesundheitsdaten von landwirtschaftlichen Nutztieren zu messen und zu analysieren. Die Nutzer können die Gesundheitswerte Ihrer Tiere jederzeit abrufen. Ein Warnsystem informiert zudem frühzeitig über krankhafte Veränderungen. Die Gründer sind: Saskia Strutzke, Daniel Fiske und Lucas Schnackenberg.

Das junge Startup Poacher kümmert sich um das Scouting im Amateurfußball. Über die App des Startups sollen Vereine und Spieler zueinander finden. Die Gründer Marcel Andrijanic, Noel Below, Oliver Ioannou und Yannik Jaeschke schreiben dazu: “Endlich gibt es den digitalen Fußball-Transfermarkt auch von der Regionalliga bis zur Kreisklasse”.

Das junge Unternehmen bygg.AI entwickelt ein System, mit dem Hausbesitzer Schäden an der Gebäudehülle und anderer “schadensanfälliger Bereiche rechtzeitig ermitteln und lokalisieren können”. Zudem sorgt das Startup für die Vernetzung mit Handwerksbetrieben, die die Schäden beheben können.

Die App Flatify richtet sich an alle, die in einer WG leben. Und darum geht es: “In jedem Haushalt gibt es immer die gleichen Probleme: Wird der Reinigungsplan eingehalten? Was sind die kommenden Termine? Wer hat was bezahlt? Mit Flatify wollten wir einen Überblick über all diese Themen schaffen”.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#agtech, #aktuell, #appen, #bergisch-gladbach, #brandneu, #bygg-ai, #e-health, #e-learning, #flatify, #ghostifyed, #gouna, #internet-of-things, #karlsruhe, #kiel, #leaders21, #mainz, #musik, #myfooddoctor, #poacher, #potsdam, #proptech, #seatable, #soccertech, #sport, #startup-radar

Ubiquiti breach puts countless cloud-based devices at risk of takeover

Stylized image of rows of padlocks.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Network devices-maker Ubiquiti has been covering up the severity of a data breach that puts customers’ hardware at risk of unauthorized access, KrebsOnSecurity has reported, citing an unnamed whistleblower inside the company.

In January, the maker of routers, Internet-connected cameras, and other networked devices, disclosed what it said was “unauthorized access to certain of our information technology systems hosted by a third-party cloud provider.” The notice said that, while there was no evidence the intruders accessed user data, the company couldn’t rule out the possibility that they obtained users’ names, email addresses, cryptographically hashed passwords, addresses, and phone numbers. Ubiquiti recommended users change their passwords and enable two-factor authentication.

Device passwords stored in the cloud

Tuesday’s report from KrebsOnSecurity cited a security professional at Ubiquiti who helped the company respond to the two-month breach beginning in December 2020. The individual said the breach was much worse than Ubiquiti let on and that executives were minimizing the severity to protect the company’s stock price.

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#biz-it, #data-breaches, #internet-of-things, #iot, #routers, #tech, #ubiquit

IoT satellite network startup Hiber secures €26M in funding round led by EU’s innovation agency

European satellite and communications startup, Hiber BV has secured €26 million in EU and private investment to expand its IoT satellite network.  The funding comes from the European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund), the EU’s innovation agency, which has a €278 million Innovation Fund. The EIC co-invested with an innovation credit provided by the Dutch government and existing shareholders. Other investors include Finch Capital, Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Hartenlust Group. Hiber’s satellite constellation tracks and monitors machines and devices in harder-to-reach places.

At the same time co-founder of Hiber, Laurens Groenendijk, is to step aside as managing director to turn his attention to “other investment initiatives” the company said in a statement. Steven Kroonsberg joins as CFO. Roel Jansen joins as CCO. Groenendijk has been Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Treatwell as well as a serial investor.

Coen Janssen, Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of Hiber, commented: “The €26 million funding is fantastic validation for Hiber’s success and a major boost for the European ‘New Space’ sector. It is a key step in realizing our aim of making the Internet of Things really simple and available for everyone in remote and developing regions of the world.”

In particular, because it can reach out-of-the-way areas, Hiber’s network may be able to reduce losses in food production and leakages from oil wells.

Nicklas Bergman, European Innovation Council Fund Committee Member, commented: “I am glad to announce the EIC Fund support to this highly innovative company aiming at creating a European champion in the satellite Internet of Things sector. This equity financing will help Hiber to enable affordable and ubiquitous connectivity for the IoT solutions.”

Elia Montanari, Head of Management and Control at the European Space Agency, commented: “This major success has been supported at European level by collaboration of major EU bodies (EIC, EIB, ESA) fostering the Space Value Chain”.

#articles, #cfo, #chief-executive-officer, #esa, #europe, #european-innovation-council, #european-investment-bank, #european-space-agency, #european-union, #finch-capital, #food-production, #innovation, #internet-of-things, #iot, #satellite-constellation, #satellite-internet, #tc

Will the pandemic spur a smart rebirth for cities?

Cities traditionally have been bustling hubs where people live, work and play. When the pandemic hit, some people fled major metropolitan markets for smaller towns — raising questions about the future validity of cities. It’s true that we’re still months away from broader reopenings and herd immunity via current vaccination efforts.

However, those who predicted that COVID-19 would destroy major urban communities might want to stop shorting the resilience of these municipalities and start going long on what the post-pandemic future looks like.   

U.N. forecasts show that by 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will reside in cities, communities that are the epicenters of culture, innovation, wealth, education and tourism, to mention just a few benefits. They are not only worth saving — they’re also ripe for rebirth, precisely why many municipal leaders in the U.S. anticipate the Biden administration will allocate substantial monetary resources to rebuilding legacy infrastructure (and doing so in a way that prioritizes equitable access). 

With this emphasis on inclusivity and social innovation, the tech community has the ability to address a range of lifestyle and well-being issues: infrastructure, transportation and mobility, law enforcement, environmental monitoring, and energy allocation.

In this time of reset for cities, what smart city technologies will transform how we live our lives? What kinds of technology will make the biggest impact on cities in the next 12 months? Which smart cities are ahead of the curve? 

To unpack these questions and more, we conducted the SmartCityX Survey of industry experts — including smart city investors, corporate and municipal thought leaders, members of academia, and startups on the front lines of urban innovation — to help provide valuable insights into where we’re heading. Below you’ll find some key takeaways:

Infrastructure is the most crucial issue for cities

Critical infrastructure topped the list of most prominent issues facing today’s cities, followed closely by traffic and transportation. Cisco may have left the party too soon, but others, including countless startups, are lining up and capitalizing on future growth opportunities in the space. A couple of recent data points that support this trend — particularly as it relates to infrastructure rebuilding, IoT and open toolkits to connect fragmented technologies — include the following:  

“Smart Infrastructure is paramount to Smart City success. It’s crucial that this infrastructure be ‘architected’ as opposed to just connected. This is the only way to truly achieve seamless interoperability while ensuring scalability, reliability, security and privacy. Technology companies that offer robust architectural components and/or platforms stand to deliver tremendous stakeholder value and outsized returns to investors.” – Sue Stash, – — General Partner, Pandemic Impact Fund

What’s driving change in cities?

When asked what will accelerate innovation and change in cities, an overwhelming majority cited COVID-19 as the primary factor, followed by remote work, which has accelerated the adoption of online collaboration tools and forced legacy companies to complete multi-year digital transformation projects in a matter of months. The biggest opportunity is to build cities back better and smarter, focusing on new infrastructures that do more with less, and for most of us, that begins and ends at home.

#column, #covid-19, #ec-column, #ec-food-climate-and-sustainability, #ec-future-of-work, #ec-real-estate-and-proptech, #greentech, #internet-of-things, #smart-city, #tc, #transportation, #urban-infrastructure

#Brandneu – 7 neue Startups, die jeder auf der Agenda haben sollte

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

appose aus Heidelberg positioniert sich als “faire und transparente Lösung in der Personalvermittlung”. Konkret geht es dabei um Talentmanagement, Workforce Management und Freelancer Staffing. “Die Plattform revolutioniert, wie Menschen mit all ihren Talenten zufriedener zusammenarbeiten”, verspricht das Unternehmen.

Hinter Learnu verbirgt sich eine App für digitales Lernen. Zielgruppe sind Schüler der Stufen 5 bis 13. “Die App bietet Lernenden mit zehntausenden Hausaufgaben und Lerndokumenten fächerübergreifend Hilfestellung. Mit Filtern und einer Suchfunktion finden Schüler schnell das Passende”, versprechen die Gründer.

Mimetik, das von Ievgenii Tsokalo gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um die Mensch-Maschinen-Kommunikation. “No need of keyboard, mouse, joystick, or tablet. Seamlessly embedded in a textile glove it does not interfere with the work process, but guides the user through intuitive feedback”, teilt das Startup mit.

Bei clockin handelt es sich um eine App für mobile Zeiterfassung und Auftragsdokumentation. “Direkt an das clockin Büro-Center angeschlossen, liegen die erfassten Arbeitszeiten, aber auch Kundenunterschriften und Fotos zur Auftragsdokumentation in Echtzeit im Büro des Kunden vor”, teilt das Startup mit.

Bei Talk’n’Job dreht sich alles um “Voice-Bewerbungen”. Unternehmen können Ihre Stellenanzeigen über Talk’n’Job mit einem Link, Shortlink oder QR-Code ausstatten und Bewerber auf ein “Voice Chat Interview” hinweisen. Das Startup liefert diese Interviews dann ins Dashboard seiner Kunden.

digiblue aus Köln entwickelt smarte IoT-Lösungen.Dabei stehen Themen wie Temperaturmonitoring, Raumluftqualität und Füllstände im Vordergrund. “Durch den Einsatz von modernsten NB-IoT Radarsensoren können aktuelle Füllstände ohne Arbeitsaufwand digital erfasst und überwacht werden”, berichtet das Startup.

RRive aus Koblenz möchte Fahrer:innen und Mitfahrer:innen in Echtzeit miteinander verbinden. Und so soll RRive funktionieren: “Dank unseres durchdachten Systems musst du keine aufwendigen Inserate erstellen. Öffne einfach die RRive App, gib dein Ziel ein und fahre los”.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#ahlen, #aktuell, #appose-learnu, #brandneu, #clockin, #digiblue, #dresden, #e-learning, #edtech, #heidelberg, #hr, #internet-of-things, #koblenz, #koln, #mimetik, #mobility, #monheim-am-rhein, #munster, #rrive, #talknjob

Cricut fully abandons plans to make device owners pay subscription fee

A Cricut maker in its natural habitat: a carefully staged table full of miscellaneous crafting bits.

Enlarge / A Cricut maker in its natural habitat: a carefully staged table full of miscellaneous crafting bits. (credit: Cricut)

Crafting device-maker Cricut has completely abandoned a plan to start requiring all device owners to pay a monthly subscription fee following a week of sustained public blowback.

Cricut makes cutting machines for precise detail work used by millions of home crafters. The machines work much like printers, but in the inverse: you put a pattern into the software, send it to the device, and the machine slices your design into paper, vinyl, fabric, or a hundred other materials. Users who owned the machines have always been able to import as many of their own designs into the software, Design Maker, as they wish.

Last week, however, Cricut announced it was imposing a $7.99 monthly subscription fee for anyone who wished to upload more than a handful of patterns into Design Maker in a given calendar month. The subscription would apply not only to new users, but also to the millions of consumers who already laid out hundreds of dollars for a Cricut device and all its attendant accessories.

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#cricut, #internet-of-shit, #internet-of-things, #policy, #subscription-fees, #tech

Cricut retroactively adds subscription fee to millions of devices

Star Wars characters Darth Vader and Boba Fett.

Enlarge / Cricut is neither the first nor last internet-connected device to alter the deal after the fact and tell you to pray it doesn’t alter it further. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Lucasfilm)

Yet another company that makes Internet-connected devices is drawing the wrath of customers by demanding a monthly subscription fee long after users have already sunk hundreds of dollars into its products. This time around, the company is Cricut, which just told customers they’ll lose the ability to upload more than a few patterns per month unless they start paying up.

What’s Cricut?

Cricut makes crafting machines that, basically, make precise detail work possible for millions of users. It’s like the inverse of a printer: instead of putting your design onto paper, it slices your design into paper, card stock, vinyl, fabric, or other materials. The devices and accessory kits are sold far and wide in specialty craft and fabric stores such as Michaels or Jo-Ann, as well by mainstream retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon. The devices, depending on model, sell at base prices of $179 and up, not counting the costs of required tools, accessories, and refills.

You control the machines by using a program called Design Space, on your phone or computer. The principle hasn’t changed since home desktop publishing software hit in the 1990s. You put a pattern in Design Space and the Cricut cuts the pattern into the material you’ve loaded into it. Users can access a vast library of patterns and templates through Design Space, some of which are free while others cost anywhere from a few cents to several dollars each.

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#cricut, #federal-trade-commission, #ftc, #internet-of-shit, #internet-of-things, #policy, #tech

#Brandneu – 7 neue Startups, die sich jeder unbedingt ansehen sollte

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Mit Bootify können Java-Entwickler ihren nächsten “Spring Boot Prototypen” erstellen. “In dem Online-Tool wird einfach das Datenbankschema angelegt, Optionen wie Absicherung mit JWT ausgewählt und der generierte Quellcode steht zum Review und Download zur Verfügung”, schreibt Gründer Thomas Surmann.

Mit Hilfe von Willma können passionierte Online-Shopper ihre Paketsendungen bündeln lassen und sie in Empfang nehmen, wann es ihnen passt. Das Startup verspricht: “Du verpasst nie wieder ein Paket und erhältst es auf Knopfdruck direkt nach Hause geliefert”.

agyleOS setzt auf eine Software rund um das Thema Agile Working. Auf der Website heißt es: “We believe that agyleOS will help all companies that want to build and run agile organizations in a sustainable way – hundreds of thousands of companies worldwide”.

Das Berliner Startup melita.io treibt den Ausbau eines IoT-Netzes auf LoRaWAN-Basis (Long Range Wide Area Network) voran. LoRaWAN-Netzwerke können über ein einzelnes Gateway oder eine Basisstation oftmals ganze Städte und mehrere hundert Quadratkilometer abdecken.

Das Berliner Startup Si:cross entwickelt eine SaaS-Lösung für die unternehmensinterne Kommunikation. Dabei setzt das Gründerteam auf Micro-Podcasts. Mitarbeiter:innen sollen so zu “aktiven Geschichtenerzähler:innen und mobilen Lernenden” werden.

Das Berliner ClimateTech climateers kämpft – wie derzeit viele Startups – gegen den Klimawandel. “The app is designed to empower individuals, working together in groups, to reduce their personal carbon emissions, by illustrating the carbon impact of simple daily choices”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.

Die Grace-Gründer Nina Wegert und Kirishan Selvarajah, die seit etlichen Jahren haltbare Rosen verkaufen, starten mit Floristy einen Flash-Lieferdienst für Blumen. Die Berliner nennen es “Last-Mile Flower Delivery Service”. Floristy liefert innerhalb von 90 Minuten oder zum Wunschtermin bis an die Haustür der Kunden.

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Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

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NASA will use Fitbits to help prevent spread of COVID-19 to astronauts and employees

NASA will provide 1,000 of its employees, including 150 astronauts, with Fitbit devices in a pilot program designed to see if they can help supplement efforts to keep these mission-critical personnel healthy ahead of key space missions. The program will see NASA employees outfitted with a wearable, and provided access to a daily check-in app they can use to log potential symptoms, as well as their body temperature and other key health metrics, which could potentially help spot developing cases.

NASA has already been taking measures to isolate astronauts and to limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19 across its facilities, which are located across the U.S. It has of course followed local guidelines and requirements regarding COVID-19 protections, but it also introduced its own level-based system last year and implemented remote work protocols for many employees wherever possible. On the astronaut side, it has also beefed up existing isolation and sequestration procedures that are already quite strict in order to guarantee that its spacefarers don’t get sick before they’re set to make a trip to the International Space Station.

The new Fitbit program is designed to supplement those existing measure, providing tracked health metrics including resting heart rate and heart rate variability, as well as respiratory rate, changes in all of which all of which have been linked to COVID-19. Those stats, along with the self-reported metrics logged by users themselves, including any reports of potential symptoms, will be used by the app to provide individuals in the program with guidance about whether they should go into work, or stay home and take additional measures to find out if they have COVID-19.

Fitbit is already engaged in studies to determine whether or not its wearable devices and the metrics they log can be useful in providing early COVID-19 detection. Regardless of those results, self-reporting as well as the baseline health metrics that the app logs from its devices are already likely to be handy in providing a supplement to existing self-assessment measures regarding the level of risk you pose to others if you’re feeling off, which is the primary purpose of this program with NASA.

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SecuriThings snares $14M Series A to keep edge devices under control

Managing IoT devices in a large organization can be a messy proposition, especially when many of them aren’t even managed directly by IT and often involve integrating with a number of third-party systems. SecuriThings wants to help with a platform of services to bring that all under control, and today the startup announced a $14 million Series A.

Aleph led the round with participation from existing investor Firstime VC and a number of unnamed angels. The company has raised a total of $17 million, according to Crunchbase data.

Roy Dagan, company CEO and co-founder says that he sees organizations with many different connected devices running on a network and it’s difficult to manage. “We enable organizations to manage IoT devices securely at scale in a consolidated and cost efficient manner,” Dagan told me.

This could include devices like security cameras along with access control systems and building management systems involving thousands — or in some instances, tens of thousands — of devices.”The technology we build, we integrate with management systems, and then we deploy our capabilities which are focused on the edge devices. So that’s how we also find the devices, and then we have these different capabilities running on the edge devices or fetching information from the edge devices,” Dagan explained.

SecuriThings Horizon - Screenshot - Device view

Image Credits: SecuriThings

The company has formed partnerships with a number of key device manufacturers including Microsoft, Convergint Technologies and Johnson Controls, among others. They work with a range of industries including airports, casinos and large corporate campuses.

Aaron Rosenson, general partner at lead investor Aleph, says the company is solving a big problem managing the myriad devices inside large organizations. “Until SecuriThings came along, there were these massive enterprise software categories of automation, orchestration and observability just waiting to be built for IoT,” Rosenson said in a statement. He says that SecuiThings is pulling that all together for its customers.

The company was founded in 2016 originally with the idea of being an IoT security company, and while they still are involved in securing these devices, their ability to communicate with them gives IT much greater visibility and insight and the ability to update and manage them.

Today, the company has 30 employees, and with the new investment it will be doubling that number by the end of the year. While Dagan didn’t cite specific customer numbers, he did say they have dozens of customers with deal sizes of between five and seven figures.

#aleph, #edge-devices, #enterprise, #funding, #internet-of-things, #recent-funding, #securithings, #security, #startups, #tc