Qualcomm and BlackBerry extend connected car partnership

BlackBerry has announced the extension of its strategic partnership with Qualcomm to deliver ‘cutting-edge’ platforms for connected cars.

Patrick Little, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Automotive at Qualcomm, comments: "As innovation in the automotive industry accelerates it becomes necessary for industry leaders to work together to deliver leading-edge technology platforms that help to make vehicles safer, more connected, and increasingly autonomous,"

"Today we're building on our longstanding relationship with BlackBerry to develop automotive platforms that will accelerate the industry toward a more connected future."

Select hardware platforms from Qualcomm will be optimised for BlackBerry’s QNX software used for virtual cockpit controllers (VCC), telematics — including eCall and Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology — electronic control gateways, digital instrument clusters and infotainment systems.

We aim to accelerate the delivery of the next generation platforms

The partners will also work together on ensuring BlackBerry over-the-air (OTA) software and BlackBerry Secure Credential Management (SCM) services are optimised for select Qualcomm Snapdragon modems.

"BlackBerry and Qualcomm Technologies have had a long-standing relationship for over a decade, collaborating on technologies that have revolutionized the way people live and work," said Sandeep Chennakeshu, President of BlackBerry Technology Solutions. "Today's announcement elevates our relationship as we aim to accelerate the delivery of the next generation platforms that connected vehicles will rely upon."

BlackBerry debuted its QNX Hypervisor 2.0 in June and Qualcomm was signed up to use it for digital cockpit applications in addition to its Snapdragon 820A automotive platform.

With the warnings of connected cars being targeted by hackers, BlackBerry could be well positioned to take advantage of concerns with its reputation for security. Partnering with Qualcomm, whose chips are expected to play a pivotal role in connected cars, should further help to ensure BlackBerry’s success in a market set for huge growth.

Today's partnership extension was made just a day after BlackBerry published security guidelines for connected cars.

What are your thoughts on Qualcomm and BlackBerry’s connected car partnership? Let us know in the comments.

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BlackBerry release guidelines to accelerate connected car security

BlackBerry is aiming to address connected car security concerns with a framework intended to harden them against cyber attacks.

Connected cars herald an era where you no longer just have to protect them from being physically broken into, but also hacked into. Compromised vehicles could pose a threat to safety through remote control, or be used to access sensitive data such as location.

I’ve covered hacks of connected cars on several occasions; including a Tesla being hacked for a second year by the same researchers. That case joined high-profile incidents with other leading automotive manufacturers including Jeep and Mitsubishi.

Like any computer, there will always be new vulnerabilities to be found and exploited. However, this should never be an excuse not to make them as secure as possible.

Connected car security guidelines

BlackBerry has a reputation for security and has created a recommended framework to guard connected cars against cyber threats. The guidelines are unlikely to make a vehicle immune to attacks but should help to reduce the prevalence of successful attempts.

"Protecting a car from cybersecurity threats requires a holistic approach," said Sandeep Chennakeshu, President of BlackBerry Technology Solutions. "Leveraging our experience as a leader in cybersecurity and embedded automotive software, BlackBerry has created a recommended framework to protect cars from cybersecurity threats."

Here’s a summary of the key points:

  • Secure the supply chain: Establish a root of trust by ensuring every chip and electronic control unit (ECU) in the automobile can be properly authenticated and loaded with trusted software, irrespective of vendor or manufacturer. Scan all software deployed for compliance to standards and required security posture. Conduct regular evaluations of the supply chain from a vulnerability and penetration testing perspective to ensure they are certified and "approved for delivery."

  • Use trusted components: Create a security architecture that is deeply layered in a defense in depth architecture, with secure hardware, software, and applications.

  • Employ isolation and trusted messaging: Use an electronic system architecture that isolates safety critical and non-safety critical ECUs and can also "run-safe" when anomalies are detected. Additionally, ensure all communication between the electronics in the automobile and the external world are trusted and secure. Further, ECU-to-ECU communication needs to be trusted and secure.

  • Conduct in-field health checks: Ensure all ECUs have integrated analytics and diagnostics software that can capture events, and are able to log and report the same to a cloud-based tool for further analysis and to initiate preventative actions. Moreover, automakers should confirm that a defined set of metrics can be scanned regularly when the car is in the field, as well as be able to take actions to address issues via secure over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

  • Create a rapid incident response network: Share common vulnerabilities and exposures among a network of subscribing enterprises so expert teams can learn from each other and provide advisories and fixes in shorter time frames.

  • Use a lifecycle management system: Proactively re-flash a vehicle with secure OTA software updates as soon as an issue is detected. Manage security credentials via active certificate management. Deploy unified endpoint policy management to manage applications downloaded over the lifetime of the car.

  • Make safety and security a part of the culture: Ensure every organisation involved in supplying auto electronics is trained in functional safety and security best practices to inculcate this culture within the organisation.

BlackBerry claims to either have, or are developing, solutions which help connected vehicle manufacturers to meet these guidelines. They’ll be demonstrating these during CES in Las Vegas next month.

The full whitepaper can be downloaded here.

What are your thoughts on BlackBerry’s connected car security guidelines? Let us know in the comments.

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Juniper Networks and Telefónica collaborate over self-driving network

Juniper Networks and Telefónica are joining hands to develop the latter’s vision of a self-driving network.

The network will be the next iteration of Telefónica's Fusión Network – a platform built to drive digital transformation for its customers across Spain wherein Juniper will be a key partner. The project will help develop and implement new tools and processes in order to improve the quality of services, which are being offered to Telefónica customers.

The goal of the project is to evolve Telefónica's infrastructure into a self-analysing, self-discovering, self-configuring and, ultimately, self-correcting. This will allow detection and correction of network faults and anomalies way before services and the customer experience is impacted. Likewise, this approach will help to improve the rapid, reliable mitigation of cyberattacks. It is also likely to expedite the speed of business and result in lower operating costs alongside improvements in security, reliability and resilience.

Before making this a reality, Telefónica will test some of its tools which include Juniper Extension Toolkit for automation, Junos Telemetry Interface for analysis, and AI/Machine Learning, which will enable the network to suggest or even take actions appropriate to the demand and its state.

Additionally, a new study conducted by Thales has revealed security concerns UK consumers associate with connected devices, including cars. In the research, 1,000 consumers were surveyed across the US and the UK which showed that over half of Brits now own at least one internet-connected device, with wearable fitness trackers (24%), vehicles (18%) and smartwatches (16%) being the most common.

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Adoption of IoT platforms to lead key trends dominating Asia Pacific technology market in 2018

Hitachi Vantara has highlighted 10 key trends that will dominate the Asia Pacific technology market in 2018 – with adoption of IoT platforms in pole position.

Hitachi Vantara’s CTO Hubert Yoshida and Asia Pacific CTO Russell Skingsley have worked together to predict the key trends. Some of the key trends highlighted by the Hitachi subsidiary are:

Adoption of IoT platforms by the IT sector to facilitate the application of IoT solutions 

IoT solutions are really fast in turning out to be a strategic imperative in almost all industries and market sectors in addition to delivering insight to support digital transformation. Enterprises are expected to look for an IoT platform that offers an open, flexible architecture which eases integration with complimentary technologies.

Growth of analytics and artificial intelligence

It has been predicted that 2018 will witness real growth in analytics and AI as enterprises start realising the real returns on investments. Skingsley commented: “AI became mainstream with consumer products like Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri, and Hitachi believes that it is the collaboration of AI and humans that will bring real benefits to society.”

Blockchain to take centre stage

For two possible reasons it is believed that blockchain will take the centre stage in 2018. First, the use of cryptocurrencies and second an increase use of blockchain by the financial sector for several day-to-day processes such as customer documentation and regulatory filings.

Smart storage of data

Although there is advancement in digital transformation among enterprises, the issue arises when they are not able to access their data as it is stored in “isolated islands” making it costly to extract and use. Object storage has become “smart” with the help of software which helps in searching and reading content in multiple structured and unstructured data silos and analyse it for cleansing, formatting and indexing.

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Microsoft: The UK can lead in AI, but the ‘window of opportunity’ is closing

Chris Bishop, Lab Director at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, has voiced his excitement and concern about the AI industry in the UK.

The UK has a long heritage in artificial intelligence and that history is helping establish it as a leader. A new AI startup is founded every week and Silicon Valley giants like Google are paying out large amounts of cash for the likes of DeepMind (acquired for £400m).

Microsoft Research in Cambridge has been researching AI, machine learning, and deep learning for around 20 years. Their work has found its way into various products and services including, recently, the ‘Seeing AI’ app which is a groundbreaking talking camera app for individuals with visual impairments.

While everything looks great on the surface, there’s a potential roadblock coming up.

The shortage of AI talent is well documented. I’ve reported about companies stealing talent from academia, and the huge salaries being given to people with the right knowledge — which are higher than most startups and universities can afford to match.

Bishop is also concerned about how this will impact future generations.

In a blog post, he wrote: “AI is fast becoming a battle for supremacy and the UK must compete for the best talent, or we risk losing out on a game-changing generation that will drive innovation in healthcare, manufacturing, finance and many other industries.”

The UK government is aware of the importance of AI and defined it as being one of the ‘industries of the future’. In the last three years, the number of AI jobs in Britain has soared by 485%

In the budget announced last month, the Chancellor of the Exchequer allocated £75 million for AI research and development.

“While we welcome last month’s Budget announcement that the government is to significantly increase funding for AI, we need initiatives that go further to increase the number of computer science students in every school in the country, and that will double the number of PhD students, if we are to capitalise on this window of opportunity,” comments Bishop.

Microsoft, for its part, is partnering with universities and other teaching institutions to ensure it doesn’t poach talent and increase the current skill gap problem. Some of the company’s researchers even continue roles in universities.

Further helping to ensure sustainability, Microsoft also funds some PhD scholarships, sends researchers to co-supervise students in universities, and offers paid internships to work alongside teams at Microsoft on projects.

The stance Microsoft is taking should be commended and we hope other companies follow to ensure the UK continues to produce world-class talent and remains a leader in AI. If not, the government may need to provide more than just funding and seek legislative methods of ensuring the long-term health of the industry.

What are your thoughts on the AI industry in the UK? Let us know in the comments.

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