IOT News Roundup

By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Microsoft taps Jasper control center; IBM, CVS Health set to mine health-care data from wearables; IoT survey respondents ask: 'Google who?'; ams acquires NXP's advance CMOS sensor business; Predixion, PLAT.ONE partner on analytics service; RF Code debuts CenterScape data center management platform; Kii launching lighting apps with Yankon.

Microsoft, Jasper Partnering on IoT Platform Offering
Microsoft is developing a suite of Internet of Things analytics and data-management tools that it will launch as part of its Azure cloud-computing platform later this year. This week, the computing giant announced a partnership with Jasper. The Jasper Control Center is a cloud-based software platform that enables businesses to manage networks of connected sensors transmitting data via cellular networks. It handles subscription billing, provisioning sensors, troubleshooting and more. Through the partnership, the firms are making the Jasper platform available through the Azure IoT suite. Jasper leverages agreements with 25 mobile operator groups, which represent more than 100 cellular networks worldwide, designed to make the process of commissioning IoT devices fast and easy for its more than 2,000 customers, which include General Motors, Garmin, ABB and TopCon, a manufacturer of positioning and guidance systems for large farming machinery.

Jasper already has similar partnerships with SAP, as part of its HANA platform and Salesforce's Customer Success Platform, designed to make it fast and easy for SAP and Salesforce customers to use Jasper's services as part of an IoT-based deployment.

IBM, CVS Health to Analyze Health Data from Wearable Devices
Retail pharmacy chain CVS Health, which operates 7,800 retail pharmacies and more than 900 walk-in medical clinics throughout the United States, has announced plans to use IBM's Watson cognitive-computing capabilities. The goal, according to a press release, is to help health-care providers to "quickly and easily gain insights from an unprecedented mix of health information sources such as medical health records, pharmacy and medical claims information, environmental factors, and fitness devices to help individuals stay on track with their care and meet health goals."

In a blog posting, IBM reports that data from consumers' home-monitoring devices and mobile apps will also be used.

The program's goal is to mine data from patients suffering from chronic diseases, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, in order for CVS Health and its partners, including insurers, to better personalize health-related products and services. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases represent 86 percent of the nation's $2.9 trillion in annual health spending.

Apple Leads Google in IoT Branding, Study Finds
ThroughTek, a machine-to-machine (M2M) platform provider, commissioned an online survey last month to examine consumer awareness of IoT brands and products, as well as their attitudes about IoT devices and the collection of personal data.

The survey found that nearly half of polled consumers are aware of devices that use IoT technology. Respondents were asked to select which IoT brand they most recognized among the following, with representative products in parenthesis: Apple (Apple Watch), Google (Nest, Dropcam), Samsung (Samsung Gear) or Amazon (Echo). Apple was the most widely recognized brand—48 percent of respondents said they are most familiar with the Cupertino company's IoT products. Yet only 13 percent said they are most familiar with Google's connected devices. Between these extremes in brand familiarity sit Samsung, at 22 percent, and Amazon, at 15 percent.

Apple led in terms of brand preference as well. One in four respondents said they prefer IoT products from Apple, with Samsung, Google and Amazon ranking tops for 19, 14 and 10 percent of respondents, respectively.

Concerns regarding costs actually trump those related to the security of the data that IoT devices collect, according to the study. Thirty-one percent cited cost as their main concern, compared with just 15 percent pointing to security protections.

In terms of what and how much private data IoT devices collect, more than half (53 percent) of respondents said they are uncomfortable with devices collecting their images and videos. A smaller pool of respondents, 49 percent, reported being uncomfortable with devices collecting personal data, such as weight and sleep patterns, that are used in health and wellness applications.

When looking at age group, the data shows that Millennials are generally more comfortable with sharing health data, as well as consumption data (such as energy or water use) than are older consumers.

Improving home security is the chief reason respondents would elect to buy IoT devices, the study found—an ironic outcome, given that Apple, the most-recognized brand, does not make home-security products, whereas Google, the least-recognized, owns DropCam. Health trackers and home-energy monitors were ranked the second and third most compelling applications, the report found. This contrasts with another online survey ThroughTek commissioned earlier this spring, which found that products that help homeowners reduce energy use was the main draw to IoT devices, while they were less motivated to buy products designed for home security applications.

To conduct the IoT brands-awareness survey, ThroughTek commissioned research organization YouGov to poll the views of a representative sample of 1,157 U.S. adults.

NXP Sells Advanced CMOS Sensor Business to ams
Austrian chip and sensor manufacturer ams has purchased NXP Semiconductors' advanced complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensor business, ams announced this week. With the acquisition, ams is growing its portfolio of CMOS sensors for tracking multiple environmental variables, such as relative humidity, pressure and temperature, in a single sensor device. The growth of the IoT market is sparking demand for embedding such sensors into mobile phones and wearable devices, as well as into medical, industrial or automotive systems. In a prepared statement, Thomas Riener, ams' executive VP of marketing and strategy, called the acquisition "a synergistic addition to our chemical sensor capabilities and smart lighting solutions" that puts ams in a strong position in the environmental sensors market.

Predixion Partners With PLAT.ONE
Predixion Software, which makes cloud-based advanced analytics software, is partnering with PLAT.ONE, an enterprise and industrial IoT application platform provider. Through the agreement, Predixion will deliver its analytics software applications to PLAT.ONE's customers to help them derive predictive, real-time business insights from their IoT deployments. Predixion's software can be installed on sensors or other hardware collecting data for an IoT application, or on gateways, or that operate in the cloud. PLAT.ONE offers a range of products designed for specific vertical markets and applications, including urban infrastructure, industrial monitoring, connected building systems and vending systems.

RF Code Unveils CenterScape Data Center Management Platform
RF Code, a provider of wireless sensor networks for data centers, has released a new suite of software applications called CenterScape, which offers real-time environmental monitoring and asset-management tools developed specifically for data centers and distributed IT environments. Designed for use in all types of data centers, from small server rooms to globally distributed data centers, CenterScape includes tools for performing predictive analysis on device health, for asset management, and for generating 3D data center maps, as well as for asset lifecycle reporting.

RF Code also offers application programming interfaces (APIs) for integrating CenterScape with other data center management systems, as well as systems used to provision, procure and track the ownership of data-center assets. Data-center operators can also use CenterScape to automate device audits, respond to temperature and humidity fluctuations, reduce power consumption and ensure regulatory compliance.

Kii to Power Yankon Lighting Apps
Mobile and IoT cloud-based platform provider Kii has joined up with Chinese LED manufacturer Yankon Lighting to co-launch lighting products for homes and offices that leverage IoT technology. The lighting products, built using a system-on-a-chip made by integrated circuit design firm MediaTek, are being designed for ease-of-use, convenience and energy savings. Kii will develop a smartphone app that will allow users to control the lights, set brightness and timer controls, and adjust color output via their Android and iOS devices.