Internet of Things News of the Week, September 8 2017

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Hackers made a dog whistle for Alexa, Google and Siri: Looks like it wouldn’t be too difficult to get the Amazon Echo or Siri to obey a stranger’s command. Hackers using ultrasonic frequencies at a range humans can’t hear can issue voice commands that can activate and control your personal assistants. Because the microphones in these devices can hear these sounds, it’s not a problem for them to hear and obey. An obvious fix would be to tell the devices not to obey commands given at ultrasonic ranges, but I’d also recommend that consumers set passwords that have to be entered before buying things and unlocking doors. (Engadget)

Chamberlain is charging for IFTTT: This isn’t crazy, although perhaps it’s not the nicest thing for a customer. Someone on Twitter noticed that Chamberlain is charging owners of its MyQ connected garage door opener if they want to link the IFTTT service or Google Home to its garage door opener. While there are development and sometimes transaction costs with using a product with other services, this seems punishing to the very die-hard smart home fans who tend to evangelize the product. Chamberlain’s Twitter account was pretty blasé in its response, tweeting, “Our service linking is optional, and we understand if you’re not interested in participating in it at this time.” (@bahn_burner)

IoT networks in spaaaaace: Iridium will work with Amsterdam’s Magnitude Space, which is planning to build a network of 18-24 small satellites, to deliver low power wide area network tech to remote parts of the world. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to build another new networking acronym Low Power Global Area Network (LPGAN). Okay no, the MoU is just to work together to figure out how to make money on LPGANs. (IoT Business News)

No one wants to buy new cars: If you want a succinct glimpse into the challenges facing the automotive industry thanks to ride sharing, car sharing, software and autonomous vehicles, this article does a great job. Basically this is an overview of the various ways that data, connectivity and technology are transforming a business. And how much that transformation hurts. (13D)

How IoT can change the enterprise: Citrix’s connected conference rooms have saved the company an estimated $ 50 and $ 100 in previously lost worker productivity for every meeting that uses the technology. It automated booking and setting preferences, sending reminders, and making sure the meeting starts efficiently. Citrix has done some really fun work on IoT in the enterprise involving things like the Amazon Echo. It’s also done less sexy, but still cool work on building virtualized desktop infrastructure using Raspberry Pis.  (Steelcase blog)

Supply chain, meet blockchain: Manufacturing supply chains are now both larger and more distributed, but production cycles are also ramping up and spinning down ever faster. We’ve figured out how to make computing more elastic with services such as AWS, but when it comes to moving physical goods, the data to track them often gets trapped and doubled. The solution might lie in the distributed ledger aspects of blockchain technology. Man, is there anything it can’t do? (Digitalist Mag by SAP)

Hackers are back trying to penetrate the electric grids: Symantec says that a hacker group called Dragonfly is trying to infiltrate energy grids in the U.S., Turkey, and Switzerland. The attacks are trying to get access to the corporate IT network, but it’s unclear from there how much damage they could cause. (The Guardian)

Want to understand machine learning? This is a really nice article. (Medium)

The rise of invisible tech: Tech used to be about gadgets or white boxes stuffed with silicon and cables and whirring fans. Now tech is invisible, part of voice assistants, thermostats that learn and algorithms that decide what messages we should see. But as tech fades into the background we can’t stop asking ourselves how it is influencing us. This is a timely reminder.  (USA Today)

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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