Archive for June 15, 2017

CENTRI Showcases Chip to Cloud IoT Security Solution at Connected+ Toronto 2017

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

CENTRI, a provider of advanced security for the Internet of Things, today announced their diamond sponsorship of Connected+ Toronto 2017 Conference, June 20-21, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, ON.

Located in booth #717, CENTRI will exhibit their Internet of Things Advanced Security – IoTAS platform to deliver device integrity, data protection and optimization in all states and data intelligence for administrators. IoTAS makes it simple for developers to add a more complete IoT security solution into their own products and services with both flexibility and intelligence. The small 50kB software-only footprint of the platform enables thing makers of all device types and sizes to get to market quickly and more securely versus risk intensive do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. Demonstrations in the CENTRI booth will include IoTAS secure communications and data protection at rest for different IoT industry use cases.

CENTRI Technology executives will lead IoT security discussions in three separate presentations:

Keynote Speech: Why DIY is DOA for IoT Security
Presenter: Grant Asplund, Vice President of Sales and Business Development
When: Tuesday, June 20, 2017:  1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Where: Main Stage

Breakout Session: Makeup of an Ideal Secured IoT Device
Presenter: Mike Mackey, CTO and Vice President, Engineering
When: Tuesday, June 20, 2017:  10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Eastern Time
Where: Theatre 2

Demo Session: Internet of Things Advanced Security – IoTAS
Presenter: Riju Narayanan, Product Manager
When: Tuesday, June 20, 2017:  2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Where: Solutions Lab

CENTRI is offering an unlimited trial of IoTAS for two concurrent users to qualified IoT developers at the conference to test the ease and simplicity of this advanced security solution. The trial version is easily upgraded to the commercial version so no prototyping work is lost. Use cases for IoTAS range from securing low-power medical and industrial devices, home automation appliances, connected cars to central command of field equipment with utilities.

For product demonstrations and more information on CENTRI’s leadership on IoT security, visit booth # 717 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and connect with the company on LinkedInFacebook and follow @CentriTech on Twitter.

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OWC Announces SMART Alec Disk Utility For Mac

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

OWC has announced SMART Alec https://www.smartalec.biz/, an essential Mac utility that constantly monitors and checks your Mac hard drives, SSDs, Firewire disks, and USB drives, warning you in advance if drives are failing or about to fail, so you’ll have plenty of time to back up and replace a bad drive. SMART Alec can help you avoid losing years of sensitive, irreplaceable data from databases, word processing, Excel, PowerPoint and other business files, precious photos and videos, music compositions, and more. SMART Alec is currently available in beta at: smartalec.biz/beta_test. The free final version of SMART Alec and $9.99 upgrade with additional features will be available in July.

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Drives Frequently Fail — Why Wait Until a Disk Drive Fails to Take Action?

Although users expect hard drives to last forever, drives can frequently fail for numerous reasons, including overheating, power failures, surges from lightning strikes, water damage, and more. Once a drive fails, it can be virtually impossible or cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to reconstruct sensitive data through a computer technician or data recovery forensics company. Daily back-ups to a secondary drive are also risky, since unknowingly you may be backing up data from an already corrupted drive or to another drive with problems. Instead of waiting for the drive to fail or just hoping it won’t happen, users rely on SMART Alec’s continual background disk monitoring to protect sensitive data –Why wait until a disk drive fails to take action?

SMART Alec Free Version – Basic Features:

  • PREDICTED-TO-FAIL DISK: If your disk is likely to fail in the near future, you’ll get a “predicted to fail” warning.
  • FAILING DISK: If your disk is already failing, SMART Alec will tell you right away, giving you time to replace your disk and save your crucial data.
  • TEST YOUR DISK: SMART Alec will display a green bar by all disks that are healthy. Still worried? Get SMART Alec to re-test disks at any time.
  • KNOW YOUR DISK: All the information about your disk is readily available with a disk log to track your disk’s history.

SMART Alec $9.99 Upgrade – Additional Features:

• “SMART Over USB”: the free version is for SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) drives only, not USB/FireWire drives. The upgrade adds failure prediction for most USB or FireWire connected drives, including most USB 3 devices.
• Email Notifications: in addition to desktop alerts, notifications are also emailed to you about failing or predicted-to-fail disks in case you are away from your disks.

  • Blink Disk Light: a light blinks on the actual disk corresponding to the disk tile you have selected in the Smart Alec application.

Available through iTunes App Store

The free SMART Alec essential drive utility and $9.99 SMART Alec upgrade with USB/FireWire disk monitoring and other additional features will ship July 2017, with the free version available through the iTunes App store. A Windows version is in development. For more information, see https://www.smartalec.biz/ or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SMARTAlec.biz/.

Free Beta Version Available Now

SMART Alec is currently in its final beta testing stage. To sign up as a beta tester, go to smartalec.biz/beta_test. In future releases of SMART Alec, users will be able to opt-in to share data about disk reliability and performance with SMART Alec’s self-learning disk failure prediction system, an algorithm which will analyze disk data from users to more accurately predict likely disk failure. Once opted in, users will get access to the most up-to-date statistics about the safest—and least safe—disks available and the reliability of the disks they are using. The latest beta, SMART Alec 1.0 b26, offers support for OS X 10.9 (Mavericks).

X-TELIA: Network Entirely Dedicated To IoT

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

X-TELIA is launching the first Quebec network entirely dedicated to connected things. Using Semtech Corporation’s LoRa devices and wireless RF technology (LoRa Technology) and the LoRaWAN open communication protocol offered by the LoRa Alliance™, the X-TELIA network is the latest project by Quebec entrepreneur Eric Bourbeau. Now at his fourth ICT company in Quebec, Bourbeau boasts 28 years of experience, including 15 as an executive at TELUS.

This network is specifically designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) and will provide the infrastructure necessary for the development of industries that require highly secure, low-power, long-range, and low-cost connectivity.

Responding to requests from businesses, industries and municipalities looking to increase their productivity and reduce their impact on the environment, the X-TELIA network offers a true return on investment (ROI) in a wide range of fields, such as fixed or mobile asset tracking, lighting control (streets and buildings), water management, health, and the environment.

The X-TELIA network currently covers much of Montreal, an area with a population of more than one million. The company plans to deploy its network throughout Quebec in the near future, before expanding into other provinces.

 

SURE Universal Shows How Next-Gen Advertising and Data Services Will Win The IoT

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

SURE Universal, the market leader in next-generation interface solutions for home electronics and appliances, has a message for the IoT companies that want to capitalize on it. Data services and ad-supported business models work beautifully today, and will be even more profitable tomorrow.

SURE Universal’s views on advertising and data as winning business models for the IoT come from a singular perspective. As creators of the Internet’s most widely-used universal remote control application, with over 20 million downloads to date, the company already enjoys robust revenues from industry-leading ad networks such as Google, Facebook and Baidu. When using the SURE app, ads delivered from these networks appear in unutilized “real estate” on the user’s smartphone screen.

However, because the SURE universal remote is the interface for an almost unlimited variety of IoT devices of every type, the relevance of ads and consumer data that travel through the SURE app are greatly enhanced. Media control is an obvious example; users who are using the SURE remote to watch their smart TV can be served relevant previews, and users of a connected music system can receive promotion for relevant artists. Market leaders like Facebook, which earns 95% of its revenues through advertising, are already taking advantage of these kinds of smart-device synergies.

Smart Ads for Smart Devices

At the same time, the ad-model opportunity for IoT software like SURE Universal becomes even more provocative when it can be applied to remote-controlled consumer behaviors beyond content consumption. For example, when the SURE remote is operating a smart washing machine, highly qualified ads for laundry supplies and accessories can be served. When the SURE remote is working a smart thermostat, relevant ads ranging from energy resellers to home improvement contractors can appear. In addition, machine learning and AI-based data services can be used for home energy optimization leading to significant savings for consumers. SURE’s “knowledge” of user’s appliances and their usage in the home can bring offers from insurance companies for usage-based extended warranty and insurance.

Because the SURE Universal remote can be so many “things” in the Internet of Things Universe, it becomes a uniquely valuable carrier for advertising and data services of all kinds. Even small customer profiling significantly increases the profitability of each service provided, and as the consumer acquires additional smart, IoT-connected objects of different kinds in their home, the personalization possibilities for targeted advertising and data services increase exponentially.

Considering that mobile ads now account for more than 50% of Internet advertising revenue, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), ad support provides a clear revenue path for all mobile-facing IoT companies, such as SURE, with little consumer pushback. The IAB reports that 65 percent of respondents surveyed who own IoT devices are willing to see ads on their IoT screens, and in fact, 62 percent said they already have.

Recognizing these opportunities, SURE Universal recently extended its reach into the IoT space with the launch of a technology-agnostic smart home platform, which works on the same ad-supported model (ad-free subscriptions are also available) and is designed to let manufacturers, telcos, MSOs and other service providers share in these revenue opportunities. The SURE platform is fully compliant with the new OCF (Open Connectivity Foundation) standard for device interoperability, and is the first remote control system to be OCF certified.

In addition to the SURE Universal Software Remote, the world’s top ranked, most highly-rated remote control application, the platform includes the SURE Cloud, a ready-to-configure cloud solution that provides vendors with an easy infrastructure for data analytics and monetization, as well as future services which can translate into new revenue opportunities.

These new revenue possibilities for these cutting-edge IoT applications are made possible by one of the oldest and most reliable revenue models in business – ad support. While the SURE Universal smart home solution provides OEMs and service providers with a state-of-the-art environment for today’s ad-supported revenue production, it also paves the way toward new kinds of monetization opportunities through data services never before possible prior to the popularization of smart homes and smart devices.

SURE Universal makes interaction between people and their appliances simple.  For more information, www.sureuniversal.com

 

Augmented Reality App Skrite Launches

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

Skrite, the first app empowering users to create their own AR by leaving virtual messages in the sky, launched today—giving users the opportunity to ‘own the sky’. It is the the first app to offer user-generated AR in a space historically dominated by coders and developers—everyday users can use the app to create their own messages and explore others in the sky around them.

Skrites—the pieces of content, users upload to the sky—can only be created in a user’s current location. Skrites are created in zones, with a maximum of 25 Skrites allowed per zone . The first user to create a Skrite in a zone gets that zone named after them. Jain says, “This allows users to virtually own a piece of the sky, whether it be the airspace above their home, business, or any location that brings value to larger companies that can potentially use this space for advertising.”

To explore the sky around them, users simply need to tilt their phone upwards. They can then see the public Skrites people have left around them, or even the private Skrites their friends have left for them. But users don’t have to just explore the sky above where they’re standing. Skrite offers an ‘augmented reality teleportation’ experience. Users can connect with people throughout the world and see a 360 degree view of the city around them—including unique content created by individuals living in that city—creating a unique blend of augmented and virtual reality.

Offering a new way to explore the world with accessible augmented reality, Skrite is a fun and innovative alternative to stale social networks like Facebook and Snapchat. It’s the Pokemon Go-meets-social-network we didn’t know we’ve been waiting for.

To download the Skrite App, go to the Apple App store:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/skrite/id1237066466

CRTC To Put An End To Locked Cell Phones And Unlocking Fees

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

I have been a very vocal critic of the CRTC for years. But today, I will give them credit where credit is due. They have just put out a release that says this:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that as of December 1, 2017, all individual and small business wireless service customers will have the right to have their cellphones and other mobile devices unlocked free of charge upon request. In addition, all newly purchased devices must be provided unlocked from that day forward.

The corner offices at Rogers, Bell, and Telus must be seriously upset right now. I say that because every time a customer comes to them to unlock a phone, that’s $50 CDN in their pockets. Now that revenue is gone. And I seriously expect a mass stampede of customers who will be dialing up their carrier on December 1st to get their phones unlocked.

The net result is two fold:

  1. This decision gives Canadian consumers more choice in terms of their wireless provider and what they pay as they can now bring their own device and leverage a lower cost plan to get cell service. As long as they are out of contract of course. The net result might be increased competition between Canadian carriers to hold on to their customers.
  2. If you travel, you can now use a local SIM card rather than using a carrier’s roaming package as using a local SIM card will cost you way less than any roaming option that is offered by any Canadian carrier. The net result might be Canadian carriers providing more cost effective to ensure that you don’t use a local SIM card on your next trip overseas which would deprive them of revenue.

We’ll have to see how that shakes out around December 1st. But in the here and now, kudos to the CRTC for finally doing something that benefits Canadian Consumers.

 

Telus To Carry The Essential Phone Exclusively In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 15, 2017 by itnerd

You might have heard that the Essential Phone which is a new smartphone who has Google Alum Andy Rubin at the helm has been announced and is shipping really soon now. This morning, Telus announced that they will be the exclusive carrier for the Essential Phone in Canada. You should be able to pre-order it at the end of July on telus.com. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Early specs on the Essential Phone can be found here if you’re interested. It sounds like a very interesting phone and I’m working to get my hands on one to review.