GE launches $50 hub to connect its Bluetooth smart lights to Alexa and Google Assistant

GE’s been making some really simple and accessible smart lights called C by GE for the past two years, and today, the company is announcing its first big upgrade to the system. It’s a hub, called the C-Reach, that connects C by GE lights to Wi-Fi so that they can be controlled by Alexa or the Google Assistant.

The device costs $ 50 on its own, but GE will also sell it bundled with pairs of bulbs at a discount — $ 65 for two “Life” bulbs (which have a single color option) and $ 85 for two “Sleep” bulbs (which have three color options).

The C-Reach hub is a useful addition to the product line that starts to make it a lot more capable — if also a lot more expensive. The strength of C by GE bulbs has always been that they’re really easy to get…

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Making Las Vegas a Smart City

This week on The Internet of Things Podcast, host Stacey Higginbotham speaks with Michael Sherwood, Director of Technology and Innovation City of Las Vegas, about plans for a traffic light that detects pollution and can send cars along before it builds up, and what it really means to build a smart city. Sherwood shares a lot of good insights about the challenges of building a smart city that we don’t often see.

Also, co-host Kevin Tofel reviews the Wink Lookout security bundle. Plus: Google’s new AI framework for embedded devices, the push by smart home and lock companies to give delivery or service people access to your home, and SmartThings gets local control for some devices this week.

Listen here:

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Cisco announces launch of $1 billion smart cities fund

Cisco is putting its money where its mouth is in terms of making cities smarter – by contributing $ 1 billion to a new program.

The City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program was announced at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, with Cisco working alongside Digital Alpha Advisors, a private equity firm, and pension fund investors APG Asset Management and Whitehelm Capital.

Alongside this, the company has added new functionality to its Cisco Kinetic for Cities digital platform. New features include an improved dashboard, full-policy automation options, and real-time notification of emergency information.

Naturally, Cisco has added several customers for its solution, one of whom being Cary, a town in North Carolina. In this instance, town officials are using Cisco’s platform to better gauge traffic, actively monitoring the number of available parking spots. Additionally, the town is also gleaning insights from the data it produces to best arrange the traffic during certain major events, such as election days.

The move comes about weeks after Cisco, alongside Siemens, was named as one of the leading smart city technology suppliers. The study, from Navigant Research, argued how the two leading companies have evolved and adapted their city offering. The two companies had also shown an ‘integrated perspective on urban innovation, strong sector-specific solutions, and a commitment to continued thought leadership and city engagement’, the report added.

“Funding is a major stumbling block for municipalities beginning their smart city transformation,” said Anil Menon, global president of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities in a statement. “With our partners, Cisco will bring the capital and expertise it takes to make smart city projects a reality.”

Cisco’s primary rival in the news stakes at the Smart City Expo World Congress this week was Huawei. The Chinese provider is betting on its ‘nervous system’ to provide the infrastructure for smart cities; its theory is that a smart city is a living organism that works continuously to enhance the services of the city, using technologies such as cloud computing, big data, AI and IoT. Latest from the homepage

Be smart — use big data for your small business

Large companies have already embraced the rise of data and analytics. An IDG study last year showed 78 percent of larger employers agree data collection and analysis have the potential to completely change the way they do business. But their smaller brethren still aren’t reaping the same benefits of real-time digital interconnectivity. According to an SAP-sponsored global survey of small businesses, many are still in the early stages of digital transformation. But there’s no reason for small businesses to fear big data. If you know where to look and have the right strategy, there are many ways you can gather,…

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Apple delays HomePod smart speaker until early 2018

We hope you weren't counting on giving (or getting) a HomePod for the holidays — Apple has delayed the release of the Siri-powered speaker from December to early 2018. In a statement, the company said it needed a "little more time" before the devic…
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