OWC ships Mercury Elite Pro Quad four-bay external drive with USB-C connectivity

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Aftermarket Mac upgrade vendor OWC has launched the Mercury Elite Pro Quad, an external hard drive enclosure which connects via USB-C that is capable of offering up to 48 terabytes of RAID storage when all four of its bays are occupied with drives.
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Wacom refreshes Intuos pen tablet line with smaller models and built-in Bluetooth connectivity option

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Wacom has refreshed its Intuos pen tablet range with new upgraded models, with the new small and medium-sized tablets boasting a smaller footprint and lighter weight than previous models, while also touting optional Bluetooth integration making some variants work wirelessly when used with a Mac.
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Vodafone and Nokia working on LTE connectivity for future Moon missions

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Space exploration is a tricky business, especially when it comes to maintaining a strong signal to planet Earth. NASA maintains an array of communication facilities worldwide just to download data from deep-space probes. Future interplanetary missions involving multiple landers and rovers need a way to all talk to each other that doesn’t involve radio, and that’s where Vodafone and Nokia come in.

Back in March 2017, a group of volunteer scientists and engineers in Germany (known as PTScientists) announced it was planning the world’s first private Moon landing, using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

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Vodafone and Nokia working on LTE connectivity for future Moon missions was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google buys Xively for $50M: Marks LogMeIn’s exit from IoT connectivity market

Google announced yesterday that it will acquire Xively from LogMeIn for $ 50M. This marks Google consolidation in the managed IoT marketplace as the latter expects 20 billion connected things to come online by 2020.

Structure connected product data to make it manageable and actionable.

Xively allows enterprises to activate ‘connected products’ whereby its platform offers several features such as device connectivity, data management, identity management, integrations, security, and analytics. Smart home, smart energy, and connected products are typical use cases of Xively’s platform.

The acquisition will allow Google’s customers to add connectivity to their devices from the beginning as opposed to adding it as an ‘after-thought’. This will make the connection between the cloud-mobile app and ‘connected product’ more efficient and easy.

“This acquisition, subject to closing conditions, will complement Google Cloud’s effort to provide a fully managed IoT service that easily and securely connects, manages and ingests data from globally dispersed devices.”Antony Passemard, product management lead for Google Cloud IoT

LogMeIn sold Xively to focus on ‘unified communications’ market. Two popular products it owns in the space are GoToMeeting and Join.me. Thus, the sale will give LogMeIn the much-needed cash it needs to purchase Jive communications, a cloud-based phone services company for $ 357M. LogMeIn also plans to expand its AI-powered customer engagement portfolio. The deal is even better for LogMeIn considering it bought Xively for $ 12 million in 2014.

As for Google, it gets a well-established ‘connected products’ management platform that it will upsell to its existing and new customers of Google Cloud IoT. And, Xively can itself become a ‘billion’ dollar business unit within Google as the latter’s combined cloud business generates nearly $ 1B in revenues.

Another acquisition that took place last month was that of elnfochips. It was acquired by Arrow Electronics to consolidate its IoT market via elnfochips’ 1,500 IoT solution architects, engineers, and software development resources globally.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Sigfox posts €50 million in revenue, reiterates plans for 60 country connectivity in 2018

Sigfox, the French-based Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity provider, has announced its 2017 results and 2018 roadmap, promising a network of 60 countries and more than a billion people worldwide.

Revenues went up to €50 million (£44.4m), a rise of more than 56% year over year, according to the company, while the total number of objects connected to the Sigfox network rose by 65% to a total of 2.5 million. Alongside this, the company’s network grew to 45 countries earlier this month, including Malaysia, South Korea, and Switzerland.

Looking at the company’s 2018 roadmap, alongside its network figures Sigfox is promising greater focus on its evangelisation strategy. To that end, the provider is launching Hacking House, a project that will ‘bring together students from around the world to learn about IoT and Sigfox’s pioneering technology’, as the company put it.

“There is tremendous value in IoT, which lies in the data that is generated by millions of connected objects across the globe,” said Ludovic Le Moan, co-founder and CEO of Sigfox in a statement. “It’s up to us to turn this golden opportunity into a multi-billion dollar industry, just like we did with petrol a century ago.

“Our challenge for the next few years will be to lower the cost of collecting that data to close to zero,” Le Moan added.

This makes for an interesting comparison when looking at Sigfox’s proclamations in November 2016. The company had just secured a €150m funding round and promised then what it promises today – coverage in 60 countries by 2018.

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Intel’s all-in-one Xeon chip will speed up car connectivity

Intel's Xeon chips normally reside in distant server rooms or brawny workstations. But that's not ideal for the modern internet, where connected cars, VPNs, streaming video and other tech frequently needs computing power somewhere in between. That's…
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Chirp and EDF Energy team up on power station connectivity project

Chirp and EDF Energy team up on power station connectivity project

Tech start-up Chirp and utility EDF Energy have been awarded a £100,000 Innovate UK grant to explore data-over-sound in radio-frequency restricted environments.

Data-over-sound start-up Chirp is partnering with utility company EDF Energy on a project that aims to bring connectivity to areas of power stations that have typically been ‘dead zones’ in industrial IoT terms. 

The project will take place at EDF’s Heysham 1 nuclear power station in Lancashire, UK and has been awarded £100,000 by public-sector innovation agency, Innovate UK. Together, the two companies will use Chirp’s technology, which takes data and encodes it into unique audio streams to provide connectivity in radio-frequency restricted environments.

“WiFi and mobile communications are common in most workplaces, but not on our stations,” explained Dave Stanley, a project manager in EDF Energy’s Innovation Delivery Team. “So having a way of getting regular and reliable data from remote instruments in radio-restricted areas will be useful for our engineers.”

Read more: Start-up of the month: Chirp – turning data into sound to reach network ‘notspots’

Chirping away

Any device with a speaker can transmit a ‘chirp’ and most devices with a microphone can decode it. In the Chirp/EDF project, signals from remote and inaccessible checkpoints on the power station will be transmitted to computer networks as ‘chirps’, enabling workers to monitor instruments from offices and relieving them of the burden of frequent in-person inspections.

This is the second phase of a two-part engagement between Chirp and EDF Energy. The first phase saw the two explore the possibilities of using data-over-sound in nuclear power plants, starting in November 2016 and continuing over the first half of 2017. From this work, a successful proof of concept was delivered to take readings from a gauge.

“The first phase of our engagement with EDF Energy was a resounding success. We were set a serious challenge, to use data-over-sound in a very difficult environment and it passed with flying colours,” said Dr Dan Jones, chief science officer at Chirp.

Phase two, meanwhile, began at the Heysham 1 power plant in October 2017.


Coming soon: Our Internet of Energy event will be taking place in Berlin, Germany on 6 & 7 March 2018. Attendees will hear how companies in this sector are harnessing the power of IoT to transform distributed energy resources. 

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Intel ‘Titan Ridge’ Thunderbolt 3 chipset allows for 8K displays, better USB-C peripheral connectivity

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A new Thunderbolt 3 chipset has arrived called "Titan Ridge" that supports not only DisplayPort 1.4, but it also provides to vendors the ability to allow peripherals to fall back on USB 3.1 speeds if not connected to a Thunderbolt 3 host.
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Belkin WeMo switches review: A good idea held back by connectivity and software issues

With a couple of months of use behind me, my feelings about the Belkin WeMo switches are just as conflicted now as they were when I unpacked these. On paper, the idea of a switch that you can plug anything in to make it smart is fantastic. In reality, I struggled to find many, if any honestly, devices I wanted to use the WeMo with. But that’s not even the meat of my issue with WeMo’s switches.

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Belkin WeMo switches review: A good idea held back by connectivity and software issues was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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