Particle Raises $40 Million in Funding to Empower IoT Adoption

Particle, the IoT platform company focused on making the Internet of Things (IoT) easy, has raised $40 million in series C funding.

Particle claims to be “the only all-in-one IoT platform on the market.” As such, they offer a competitive advantage for companies looking to bring their products and services online. This is especially critical for established companies looking to make the transition, companies who are at risk of being disrupted by smaller, more nimble competitors.

“That’s because technology and innovation are not evenly distributed, and the decades-old manufacturers that lead traditional industries are more likely to be the disrupted than the disruptor,” wrote CEO Zach Supalla in the company’s announcement. “Particle is here to help to change this dynamic; we’re here to empower the next generation of IoT companies and bring the physical World online to fundamentally change how traditional industries operate.”

Particle is already actively helping an impressive list of customers, including Opti, Jacuzzi, Shared Technologies, Korean-based Olulo and the Air National Guard. This latest round of funding will help Particle continue developing their IoT platform and supporting tools.

“Particle will use the money raised in this round of funding to continue developing our enterprise IoT platform suite, as well as scale our engineering and product teams,” according to Supalla. “These new team hires will help bolster our professional engineering service (Particle Studios) and help our customers bring their products to market. We’ll also be expanding into new global markets while hiring in sales and marketing.”

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NYC Deploys IoT Sensors to Monitor Traffic and Reboot Signals

New York City’s traffic signals are going decidedly high-tech, with the rollout of IoT sensors, according to a press release by Transition Networks, Inc. The new system will monitor traffic at some 10,000 intersections and reboot malfunctioning signals.

Transition Networks is working with the NYC Department of Transportation to deploy Power-over-Ethernet (PoE+) switches at the intersections. PoE provides power and data over a single cable, making it ideal for the types of sensors and cameras needed.

“Today, intersections have more than traffic signals. As more transportation agencies look to use actionable intelligence to monitor trends and improve service, they are deploying technology to assess traffic congestion, safety and pedestrian counts. Transition Networks’ PoE solution will connect and power cameras and sensors at over 10,000 traffic intersections that collect this vital information. In addition, key features on the Transition Networks’ switches will save the agency time and costs associated with maintenance.

“Currently, if a device stops working at an intersection, the agency must take multiple actions prior to deploying a repair technician. This includes scheduling a technician to evaluate the issue and deploying a bucket truck to reach the device. Once the technician is at the site, the lane closures cause significant stress and traffic delays for motorists. Many times the fix only requires a reboot of the device. Transition Networks’ Auto Power Reset (APR) feature provides the ability to remotely reboot or manage Transition Networks’ equipment fixing the issue within minutes and eliminating all of the lane closure requirements. This feature alone will save the agency significant costs and lessen traffic disruptions by reducing the need to send a technician to inspect equipment.

“Another key feature is Transition Networks’ Device Management System (DMS) software, which creates an interactive map to see all connected devices, enabling the agency to pinpoint issues and quickly take action. DMS has been an important function for several smart city projects including an installation at New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge.”

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Cybersecurity Firm Firedome Raises $10 Million to Secure IoT Devices

VentureBeat is reporting that Tel Aviv and New York-based cybersecurity firm Firedome has raised an additional $10 million in funding, bringing their total to $14.5 million.

The new round of investment will help the company continue development of its cybersecurity suite aimed at protecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices from hackers, malware, ransomware, denial of service attacks and other threats. A lightweight software agent is installed on IoT devices and continuously monitors them using heuristic, reputation and signature-based methods. In addition, the software uses a cloud-based AI to monitor network traffic and quickly respond to attacks.

CEO and cofounder Moti Shkolnik—who also served as head of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office cyber business unit—said: “We were pleased to find out that IoT device companies, across industries, are not willing to compromise the security of their products and are aware of the vulnerabilities that cannot be fully eliminated by static security by design processes. We were happy to witness the rapid progress of closing partnerships with tier 1 companies, about which we will be able to divulge soon. We strongly believe that real-time endpoint cybersecurity is the inevitable future of the IoT security landscape.”

With some projections putting the number of IoT devices at 64 billion by 2025, companies like Firedome will play an increasingly important role in keeping those devices secure.

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SAP and Verizon Partnering to Develop Next-Gen IoT Analytics Solution

SAP and Verizon have announced a collaboration to help applications process data where it is generated, thanks to Verizon’s network and SAP’s edge computing platform.

Edge computing allows companies to reduce data processing time by processing the data collected by Internet of Things (IoT) devices at or near the data collection point, rather than sending it to a data center.

Verizon’s 5G network, paired with SAP’s Leonardo Internet of Things and Edge Services and analytics, will give customers in the supply chain, field service management, assembly line and retail industries real-time data processing.

“We are unleashing the next generation of cloud capabilities through global data centers, across the edge of the network,” said Eric Stine, Chief Customer Innovation Officer, SAP North America. “With data volumes growing exponentially and the capabilities of new wireless technologies like 5G to further expand the reach of IoT and enterprise computing, SAP and Verizon are uniquely positioned to drive a new class of data analytics, management and services at scale to help the World’s great companies create amazing customer


experiences, and unlock new business models and monetization strategies.”

“Our ability to integrate our ThingSpace platform into the SAP Cloud portfolio provides a secure and agile way to deliver instantaneous, end-to-end operational analytics at the edge while lowering the cost of IoT management,” said George Fischer, president, Global Enterprise, Verizon Business Group. “This combined solution is not just about massive IoT. We are also enabling computer vision, augmented reality, blockchain and machine learning using Verizon’s network. These are a truly comprehensive set of capabilities to help our customers better manage critical functions including asset lifecycles, supply chains, customer experiences, human capital and plant operations.”

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Toyota and Weathernew Partner to Use IoT and Big Data to Increase Driver Safety

Toyota and Weathernews have announced a partnership to improve weather forecast accuracy and driver safety.

The two companies will use data derived from Toyota’s connected vehicles, such as windshield wiper operations. The data will then be visualized as a map, showing where there are pockets of vehicles with running wipers. These areas of activity can be compared with data provided by Weathernews. Since precipitation does not always show up on radar, this will help Weathernews improve the accuracy of the data it has.

“It is said that the rate of accidents during rainy weather is four times that of sunny days, so the presence of precipitation has a large effect on safe driving for vehicles. However, raincloud radar, which is often used to detect and predict rainy areas, has the disadvantage of being unable to detect rain resulting from rainclouds in the lower layer of the troposphere (an altitude of 2 km or below) or small raindrops such as those that form during drizzles. In such cases, it has been difficult to accurately determine areas where it is raining.

“In the verification test that begins on November 1, as part of Toyota’s and Weathernews’ joint research initiatives, the wiper operating status of Toyota’s connected vehicles being driven in the designated regions is visualized as a map and compared with actual weather data. In past cases where low rainclouds produced rain that did not show up on raincloud radar in the Kanto area, rain was instead reported by users of the ‘Weathernews’ app. The user reports received matched closely with the areas where wipers were being operated, showing that wiper data can detect rain that cannot be detected using raincloud radar. We will also perform a detailed analysis of the relationship between the wiper data and weather data, and in addition to accurate detection of rainy areas, we plan to make efforts to estimate the strength of the precipitation based on the power at which the wipers are being operated, and consider using wiper data for weather forecasting.

“By using wiper data to accurately ascertain the conditions of roads and their surroundings, such as precipitation and actual precipitation strength, undetectable using radar, we aim to contribute to driver safety by issuing warnings to drivers according to the situation.”

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Intel Acquires Pivot’s Smart Edge Platform: Eyes 5G Edge Computing Leadership

Intel announced it has acquired the Smart Edge platform from Pivot Technology Solutions, Inc., a “cloud-native, scalable and secure platform for multi-access edge computing (MEC).”

Edge computing allows data collected by Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be processed and analyzed closer to the point of collection, rather than being sent to far-away data centers. This gives organizations the ability to process critical data in near real-time. With the growth of the IoT, edge computing is predicted to reach $22.45 billion by 2024. The Smart Edge acquisition positions Intel to be a dominant player in the market as it grows.

“This transaction enhances our ability to address the 5G network transformation with a leading position in edge computing,” says Dan Rodriguez, Intel vice president in the Data Center Group and general manager of the Network Compute Division. “We plan to take full advantage of our combined technologies and teams to accelerate the development of the edge computing market while creating a compelling solution for customers.”

As part of the agreement, Intel and Pivot will sign a Preferred Partner Agreement, making Pivot an authorized Smart Edge reseller, as well as Intel’s non-exclusive Preferred Systems Integrator for systems based on the Smart Edge platform.

“Intel is the right company and brand to advance and scale Smart Edge’s software solution,” said Kevin Shank, CEO of Pivot. “Our partnership with Intel will leverage Pivot’s core strengths as a technology integrator and service provider with Intel’s advanced technology solutions to drive the adoption of the Smart Edge platform. We look forward to collaborating with Intel to develop and take to market many new edge computing use cases.”

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Researchers boost Wi-Fi range by over 60m for IoT devices

Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU), Washington University, and the University of Utah have announced a software-based upgrade for Wi-Fi networks which, they claim, could boost the working range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices without requiring any hardware upgrades.

Taking aim at the Internet of Things (IoT), the hip new term for machine-to-machine communications which includes ‘smart’ devices installed in homes, a cross-university research claims to have unlocked a way to increase the distance a low-power device can operate away from a Wi-Fi access point by over 60 metres – without requiring any hardware modifications.

That’s the really cool thing about this technology: it’s all done in software,‘ explains Phil Lundrigan, assistant professor of computer engineering at BYU, of the technology his team developed. ‘In theory, we could install this on almost any Wi-Fi-enabled device with a simple software update.

There’s a catch, however: The On-Off Noise Power Communication (ONPC) protocol developed by the team isn’t well-suited to high-bandwidth devices like smartphones and laptops. Instead, it concentrates on encoding useful information into extremely low bitrates – as low as a single bit per second, well below the 1Mb/s at which traditional Wi-Fi stops operating.

A single bit, though, is enough to get data from remote sensors. A garage door sensor, air quality monitor, sprinkler system – all are cited by the researchers as being able to send useful data over ONPC, at ranges 67 metres greater than via traditional Wi-Fi with no effect on the Wi-Fi network itself. ‘We can send and receive data regardless of what Wi-Fi is doing; all we need is the ability to transmit energy and then receive noise measurements,‘ claims Lundrigan. ‘We could apply this to cellular or Bluetooth as well.

Lundrigan has not indicated a timescale for commercialisation of ONPC.


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Artificial intelligent Jeanette Winterson’s Playful New Novel Offers Thoughts on Mad Science and Sexbots

Artificial intelligent

Books of The Times

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CreditCreditAlessandra Montalto/The New York Times

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“My nipples are like the teats of a rain-god,” the writer Mary Shelley (1797-1851) declares on the third page of Jeanette Winterson’s new novel, “Frankissstein.” This is perhaps not a typical way to begin a book review. This is not a typical novel.

One knows it isn’t typical right away, with its epigraph. Not enough study has been put into the quotations at the fronts of novels. Typically, in literary fiction, epigraphs are gloomy, perhaps some Hannah Arendt or Robert Oppenheimer or Nietzsche. These sentences will often be followed with a lyric from Radiohead or P.J. Harvey or a similar act, to demonstrate that the author is down with the Coachella and Glastonbury masses. Sometimes there will be a terse, final, so-dumb-it’s-smart snippet from someone like Lorena Bobbitt or the Big Bopper or PewDiePie, to cut the funk like smelling salts.

The sole epigraph in “Frankissstein” is from the Eagles. No one quotes the Eagles. The line Winterson has selected, “We may lose and we may win though we will never be here again,” is from “Take It Easy.” Poke fun if you will. (I was prepared.) Those 14 words are, on reconsideration, nearly as profound as anything attributed to Confucius or Gandhi. And they rhyme.

So far, so weird. You begin reading “Frankissstein” picturing a monster with bolts in its neck (the Eagles) and those thoughts mix with your sense of Shelley’s Gothic novel, “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus,” published in 1818. Once those things have been mentally stitched together — not that the Eagles play much more of a role here — a writer can go anywhere. Winterson does. In this novel, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize, she walks her wits on a very long leash.

[ “Frankissstein” was one of our most anticipated titles of October. See the full list. ]

“Frankissstein” relates two mirrored stories. One begins in 1816, when the teenage Shelley was living in the Alps with her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and others. It was there that she was inspired to write her novel about a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who creates an intelligent if ill-favored creature in a mad experiment.

The other story, set in the time of Brexit, is about Ry Shelley, a trans doctor (Ry is short for Mary), who falls in love with a Botoxed, TED-talking professor named Victor Stein. Victor is an expert in artificial intelligence who’s conducting some underground experiments of his own. Hairy little disembodied human hands run around his laboratory, as if they were tarantulas. Ry sometimes sources human parts for him. “Maybe being a bodysnatcher is bad for my joie de vivre,” he thinks.

Along the way Ry and Victor meet not a Byron but a Lord, Ron Lord, who manufactures concierge-level sex dolls for lonely men. Ron’s an idiot, he’s gross, he’s an amuse-douche, but his dolls, like the gun on the wall in a Chekhov play, are never far from anyone’s mind. Sometimes one pops to life and starts dirty-talking and calling for “Daddy” at the wrong time.

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CreditLily Richards

Among Ron’s company’s offerings is a braless, messy-headed, 1970s-themed sex doll called the Germaine, seemingly after Germaine Greer. There is quite a lot of information in “Frankissstein” about things like intelligent vibrators and teledildonics. There is dark speculation about, for example, how sexbots might spare a generation of altar boys.

“Frankissstein” is not a particularly good novel, if we limit our definition of a good novel to one that, at minimum, has characters and/or a plot in which one feels invested. Winterson seems to know she’s boxed herself into a facile and jokey situation, and she’s decided to shoot herself out of the corner. This novel is talky, smart, anarchic and quite sexy. You begin to linger on those three s’s when you speak the title aloud.

“Frankissstein” also has, if you squint just slightly, an intelligent soul. Winterson has always been interested in gender fluidity and there is room, in our glimpses of Ry, for real feeling between the satire and bickering.

Ian McEwan published his robot-sex novel, “Machines Like Us,” earlier this year. (A male robot’s breath, in bed, smelled like “the back of a warm TV set.”) The Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi updated Shelley’s novel with dark grace in “Frankenstein in Baghdad,” published in English last year. It’s about a man who collects body parts after car bombs detonate, and then gets out his needle and thread.

Winterson is playing a game that’s entirely her own. The fourth wall is broken frequently, as if this were an episode of “Fleabag.” After one bit of dialogue from Claire Clairmont, Mary’s stepsister, there’s an author’s note in all caps that reads: “This is the most profound thing Claire has said in her life.”

As the jokes and bon mots and aphorisms (“Love is a disturbance among the disturbed,” “Human beings can’t share. We can’t even share free bicycles”) fly past, the book is anchored in soliloquies that wear their intent and erudition lightly.

In our robotic future, Victor says, “Humans will be like decayed gentry. We’ll have the glorious mansion called the past that is falling into disrepair. We’ll have a piece of land that we didn’t look after very well called the planet. And we’ll have some nice clothes and a lot of stories. We’ll be fading aristocracy. We’ll be Blanche Dubois in a moth-eaten silk dress. We’ll be Marie Antoinette with no cake.”

“Frankissstein” has its grayer moments, especially in the sometimes draggy metaphysical conversations between the Shelleys and Byron. These scenes are short.

If sex dolls are on humanity’s horizon, Winterson reminds us with one of her chapter titles (“Looking for a lover who won’t blow my cover”) that there’s an Eagles lyric for that, too.

Follow Dwight Garner on Twitter: @DwightGarner.

Frankissstein

A Love Story

By Jeanette Winterson

340 pages. Grove Press. $27.

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Artificial intelligent Is Artificial Intelligence the Ultimate University Stimulus?

Artificial intelligent

What does it take to make the university the best learning experience in the lifecycle of one’s education? Higher education is all about developing skills, exploring new theories, and applying them to the actualities of real life. Throughout this journey, students are encouraged to stay on top of their workload, study, and complete assessments all while simultaneously leading a healthy, active, and balanced social life.

Existing Fractures in the University Structure

The essential materials relied on at university include books, books, and more books. As we move into an age of digitalization of practically everything, there is a reason to believe that the existing higher education model should too be digitalized to allow for an enhanced university experience.

The existing model of higher education looks something along the following lines.

Based on a one-module-fits-all curriculum, where students are all expected to learn the same thing in the confines of a classroom, they will then be assessed by examinations based on rigid criteria to determine a pass or fail. These intrinsic features of the education system do little to contribute to an enhanced learning experience. Instead, prospects for development under the current model seems to have come to a halt.

The World around us moves closer to an entirely digitalized World.

Having the entire World become digitalized is essential as little else could be more detrimental to the future than our young minds being taught in obsolete ways. Artificial intelligence has disrupted almost every industry. The AI market is expected to generate $3 trillion in revenue by 2024.

artificial intelligent AI Revenue
The market in billion U.S. dollars.

Image Source: Statista

Based on a 2018 report assessing the expected impact of AI and machine learning on a selection of domains worldwide, only 3% of respondents believed that AI would not affect society in general within two years (Statista).

The ability of intelligent machines to perform highly sophisticated and specific tasks without explicit human input should not be overlooked in the higher education sector.

Artificial Intelligence Technological Solutions

AI’s ability to make recommendations and produce answers based on patterns and inferences is precisely what humans cannot do on a mass scale – and precisely what our existing university structure demands.

University 20.35, (https://2035.university/en/), introduces the first university model that provides opportunities for professional development by creating individual educational trajectories and tracking digital skill profiles using artificial intelligence.

The use of digital footprints, which the platform collects during educational processes measures and analyses the students’ skills. Then, it confirms or refutes whether a trajectory module teacher can efficiently transfer skills to the students.

artificial intelligent University Model
The network of organizations and digital platforms.

The use of AI here is of great revelation. It’s currently being implemented in personal educational trajectories development. In other words, the collection of Big Data on a student’s educational and professional background, combined with his/her digital footprint allows the intelligent machine to suggest the best development path.

A large part of university learning takes place within labs and lecture theatres.

If there’s one thing that makes studying at university better, it has everything you need to learn, study, and research wherever the student may be. Whether studying, learning or research takes place on the go or from home can be the students’ choice.  Through a combination of online and offline education, artificial intelligence allows students to study where and when they want.

Using whichever platform they prefer or need, makes learning more accessible to everyone. The learning, in turn, lends to the prospects of AI for future students. It may mean that the use of mobile devices and online data collection increases.

This shift way from popular book learning towards smart devices contributes to the mass data we collect as a population. More data essentially means more information and better AI developed models.

We think of the most enhanced environments for learning.

We might conjure up images in our heads of groups of students studying together, in an attempt to improve their existing skills and fill in the gaps in their knowledge. Before the introduction of AI, this image of students was the only one conceivable, but it’s not the most effective.

AI, through the collection and analysis of digital footprints, allows for the creation of each students’ digital twin. Digital twins are essentially the digital replica of physical assets, i.e., the physical twin or the replica is of the student.

This accurate and near to real-time data based on digital footprint as well as some biological data can help to establish better solutions for students. This includes the biological of the surroundings as well as personal biolgical data. The application of the digital twin in higher education has the potential to shed light on gaps in the student’s knowledge, their forgetfulness, and hone in on their strengths.

Through AI, digital twins can materialize into a functional and personal study buddy.

Twinning is effectively a solid starting point for the development of a proactive educational study plan. From here, as the data reflects the student’s actual profile, the near to real-time data of the students’ progress will represent the students’ knowledge and skills.

Twinning can also be modeled to take into account what the student forgets and the skills they are practicing. The digital economy awaits, and as things stand, the next generation of our workforce have been and continue to be, educated and trained in an educational model that is incompatible with the digital future.

The university project, Island 10-22, is an incentive for education leaders aimed at intensive skills development specifically for the digital economy.

Participants of this project receive skills development in the field of digital and cross-cutting technologies. They are therefore anticipated to be the most sought after members of the labor market and will lead in the transition into a digital global economy.

“We aim to create a flexible digital education system, not even of tomorrow, but for the day after, based on the unique Russian educational AI.”The Russian education AI will enable quick training of these specialists and teams to solve complex problems,” said Dmitry Peskov, head of University 20.35.

On many occasions, students at university will be expected to work in groups on team projects.

Artificial intelligence technologies can make intelligent recommendations on team development for technical projects. And nothing enhances learning quite like team development. Collaboration drives innovation. Artificial intelligence, by considering each participant’s profile, we can assemble the most efficient teams and distribute work according to skill and proficiency.

AI poses some strategic and educational revolutionary technical solutions.

Each of these can help the current educational model reach the next milestone in maximizing both its standards and the level of expertise in students it produces. Total digital footprint recording allows AI to analyze the interaction of the participants in social networks.

The results of completed tasks, geolocation, as well as uploads of videos and photos, make possible a personalized program based on the needs of the student. Subsequently, individual development pathways with AI assistants can be created for each student.

When looking ahead at development records and tracing the students’ progress, AI, through semantic speech analysis allows the tracking of changes in the participants’ mindsets. Biometric data gathering can identify stress and fatigue levels to analyze different stages of the program. This data can then be used to modify the program accordingly.

AI puts students on a personal development pathway based on their digital footprints.

AI can do much more than condense a lecture into flashcards and smart online study guides. It has thus far, automated administrative tasks, introduced personalized learning to the extraordinarily generic syllabus that exists today.

AI’s application is still in its early stages; its continued development will soon see it working as a full-fledged AI-based university model. The model will be immersed entirely on the premise of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Simultaneously, its development will generate a higher caliber of students.

artificial intelligent Dmytro Spilka

Dmytro Spilka

Dmytro is a CEO at Solvid, a creative content creation agency based in London. He’s also the founder of Pridicto, a web analytics startup. His work has been featured in various publications, including Entrepreneur.com, TechRadar, Hackernoon, TNW, Huff Post, and ReadWrite.