IoT News Roundup

By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Yahoo Japan enables indoor mapping in train stations; HPE announce new IoT products, services; OSIsoft to provide smart grid services in China; FTC offers NTIA comments on IoT.

Yahoo Japan Releases Upgraded App With IndoorAtlas
In March 2016, we reported that IndoorAtlas, a Finnish company that sells novel location-tracking software for indoor applications, had inked a deal with Yahoo Japan through which Yahoo Japan will employ IndoorAtlas' geomagnetic position technology to map indoor spaces and provide indoor location-based services in Japan. Now, Yahoo Japan has updated its Yahoo Map mobile phone application to support IndoorAtlas' technology, which consumers can use to determine their location, or they can use the map application to navigate inside three railway terminals in Tokyo: the Shinjuku, Shibuya and Tokyo stations.

Users will not need to make any selections or interact with the map application once they enter the stations. The application will automatically switch from using the cellular network to determine location while outdoors, to using IndoorAtlas' technology in conjunction with their phones' geomagnetic sensors to navigate inside the three stations. Position accuracy using IndoorAtlas is to within 1 to 2 meters (3.3 to 6.6 feet) and the technology does not require Bluetooth beacons or Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Tokyo metropolitan area, home to 38 million people, is the world's fourth largest smartphone market. According to IndoorAtlas, 10 million people downloaded Yahoo Japan's map application in March, alone.

New IoT-Focused Services, Partnerships from Hewlett Packard Enterprise
At its Discover conference in Las Vegas this week, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced two new additions to its HPE Edgeline IoT gateway products. The Edgeline EL1000 and Edgeline EL4000 integrate data-capture, control, compute and storage functions to help organizations move more of their data-analysis and computing functions down from the cloud, to the edge of the network. The devices are designed to handle shock, vibration and extreme temperatures in industrial environments.

Both devices support Aruba's Virtual Intranet Access (VIA) VPN client, which can be used to secure traffic back to the data center and is available for both commercial and high-security government IoT applications. The Edgeline EL4000 also runs the HPE Vertica Analytics Platform, which provides historical and predictive analytics, using in-database machine-learning algorithms.

HPE also introduced the HPE IoT Transformation workshop (TW), designed to help customers set a strategy for IoT technology deployment. HPE says the service "takes a fact-based, analytical approach to help customers achieve alignment on their vision, identify current and future states, and determine a set of specific transformational IoT projects."

Lastly, HPE is collaborating with National Instruments to help companies that use NI's Big Analog Data service and the NI DataFinder Server Edition software to run them on HPE Moonshot servers. HPE and GE Digital also announced a strategic agreement to package HPE's IoT services with GE's industrial IoT Predix platform. The companies say they'll work together to provide clients with industrial analytics, both on premises and in the cloud.

OSIsoft, China Electric Power Research Institute to Collaborate on Smart Grid Project
OSIsoft, a provider of database software for process manufacturers—specifically, the PI System historian data software, which stores time-based process data—has entered into an agreement with the China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI) to collaborate on a smart-grid project that will leverage OSIsoft's PI System for the purposes of real-time data monitoring, analytics and reporting.

The project, called the China Smart Grid Substation Operations and Communication Project, will serve as the basis for China to develop relevant new standards for future smart-grid operations and communication architectures and deployment. The project is funded, in part, through grant funding from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), which connects U.S. businesses with development opportunities overseas. The announcement was made at the U.S.-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summit, taking place in Beijing.

FTC Tells Telecommunications Agency Technology-Neutral Legislation Needed
In a comment submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which recently issued a Request for Public Comment (RPC), seeking input from all interested stakeholders regarding how to facilitate rapid and reliable implementation of the Internet of Things, the Federal Trade Commission said that while it does not see a need for the government to draft any legislation focused on IoT technologies, specifically, it does "support flexible, technology-neutral data security legislation that would strengthen the FTC's enforcement tools and require companies to notify consumers when there is a security breach."

The 17-page comment document did not reveal any new findings or research from the FTC, but reinforced the messaging it issued back in 2015, which included detailed advisories on steps that companies producing IoT-based products and security need to take in order to safeguard consumer privacy.

At an industry event held earlier this year, Laura Berger, an attorney in the Federal Trade Commission's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, provided background on a number of lawsuits that the FTC has pursued against companies that fail to follow existing laws designed to protect consumer privacy.

The NTIA, a government agency responsible for advising the President of the United States on telecommunications and information policy issues, will use the comments it received (which were due on June 2) to compile a report designed to guide various federal agencies that might be considering IoT implementation regulations and policies on both national and international levels.