Smart traffic management in Asia: Tokyo is the world’s largest city with an agglomeration of 37 million inhabitants, followed by New Delhi with 29 million and Shanghai with 26 million. As the world continues to urbanize, sustainable development depends increasingly on the successful management of urban growth. Many countries will face challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, transportation, energy systems and other infrastructure. As a result, Asia is increasingly relying on intelligent control and vehicle recognition systems to combat congestion, smog and accidents. An RFID-based system from German manufacturer Tönnjes E.A.S.T. contactlessly and automatically identifies vehicles in stationary and moving traffic, thus „providing unambiguous vehicle recognition and paving the way for digital traffic management“. This unique vehicle identification system can help overcrowded cities determine when a car is allowed to be on the road.
Google Glass is back: In 2015, Google stopped selling its smart glasses after only one year. The gadget flopped. A majority of customers found it unpleasant when their counterpart in a conversation was wearing such a device. Google Glass resurfaced last summer as the newly-retooled „Enterprise Edition“. The new Google Glass Enterprise Edition includes an app by Israeli software company Plataine that basically embeds a smart assistant into each headset. That means the AI system can understand and respond to voice commands either by displaying information on the glasses or responding out loud. Google suspects this can help workers manage their workload, scan barcodes and prepare for projects, and look up recommendations without needing to drag a laptop around with them. With clients including GE, Boeing, and Airbus, Plataine is working to add image-recognition capabilities to its app as well. Plataine built its app by plugging Google’s voice-interface service, Dialogflow, into a chatbot-like assistant it had already built. Anat Karni, product lead at Plataine, said the team was now working with Google Cloud’s AutoML service to add image-recognition capabilities to the app, so it can read barcodes and recognize tools.
Comdirect makes transfers via Google Assistant possible: Google Pay, the mobile payment service of Google, is now live in Germany, with customers able to download the payment app via the Google Play Store. Users in Germany can use Google Pay if they have a credit card with one of the banks Google is partnered with in the country. The app currently works with Visa and Mastercard credit cards from Commerzbank and Comdirect in Germany, as well as mobile banking startup N26 and the Wirecard mobile payment service Boon. Comdirect CSO Matthias Hach emphasized security: „The access data for online banking remains with Comdirect and will not get into the hands of Google.“ Transactions must also be separately approved using the Comdirect app – one of many security measures meant to make the process fast as well as secure.
Smart home systems are not infallible burglary protection: Stiftung Warentest testers have examined four common smart home systems with a special focus on home security. One of the anti-burglary systems received the grade „satisfactory“, the other three were only rated „adequate“. While the installation and commissioning of all four systems is simple and convenient, the testers were critical when it came to the alarm function. Another weak point: The control centers are not prepared for a power failure or even accidental unplugging of the power plug. Overall, the testers advise customers to also invest in good locks on doors and windows.
Uber plans to resume testing self-driving cars: Uber Technologies Inc. is permanently shutting down self-driving testing in Arizona as federal authorities investigate a fatal collision with a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona — one of the first deaths from a self-driving car. Uber had already halted autonomous vehicle testing nationally as the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the March crash. Uber said on Wednesday it does not plan to return to Arizona whatever the result of the inquiry. Uber hopes to resume testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this summer. The company has said that in the near term it wants to keep its autonomous testing near its engineering offices to help avoid future incidents. Its self-driving group is based in its Pittsburgh. Axios first reported Uber’s plans to dismantle its self-driving testing operations in Arizona.
Hue Adore: Philips Hue expands to the bathroom with a connected light-up mirror theverge.com
AI assistants: Google Assistant tops Apple Siri, Amazon’s Alexa vrodo.de
Thing Technologies: Industry specific solutions without programming homeandsmart.de
Smart home: Increase in patent lawsuits involving smart devices handelsblatt.com
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
The Serviceplan subsidiary Facit Digital has interviewed 1,000 German soccer and ice hockey fans between the ages of 16 and 59 on the subject of „smart stadiums“ and found out: 68 percent would be interested in using an app to increase the comfort of sports stadiums. The most important issues to those who responded were a possibility for parking reservation, mobile ticketing, as well as a fast and stable Wi-Fi connection.
Security & IT leaders view IoT security as afterthought: A new Trend Micro survey found among other things that only half of IT and security decision-makers believe IoT-related attacks are a threat to their organizations, and that 43 percent view IoT security as an afterthought. Only 38 percent of companies that implement IoT solutions have worked with IT security experts, while each company was exposed to an average of three attacks on networked devices last year. Most respondents saw loss of customer confidence as the most significant consequence of a „security-related IoT incident“, followed by economic damage and the loss of personal information.
Sustainability of Smart Cities: Energy efficiency and sustainability are usually mentioned as two of the great advantages of networked cities. Resources can be saved since they are only used as needed. However, an increasing number of studies prove that it is not as simple as all that: It is often overlooked that the systems used in smart cities also require energy. Overall, it is more realistic to run energy neutral Smart Cities – the saved electricity is used to keep the networked infrastructure running. Above all, the numerous sensors required are usually cheap hardware, with a non-replaceable battery – not exactly a poster child for sustainability.
PROJECT OF THE WEEK
Colgate’s new smart toothbrush: The Colgate E1 is the first smart toothbrush from the dental hygiene company, and it is teaming up with Apple to exclusively sell it in Apple Stores and on Apple’s website, via Business Insider. The E1 comes with a companion Colgate Connect iOS app, which helps track customers‘ brushing habits, map out their mouth, coach them on their brushing techniques, and play games. Like other electronic toothbrushes, it features sonic vibration technology to help clean teeth, but also Bluetooth wireless connectivity that hooks it up to a dedicated application for iPad and iPhone in order to present data and brushing tips. The Colgate Connect app also offers a Check Up mode, which shows you which areas in your mouth you might have missed.
„Many companies believe that the future is in IoT systems and therefore they use new types of networked devices in their network environments. While this improves their business processes, it also poses a major problem in terms of new cyber risks, as the built-in operating systems are usually not easily patched. Investments in IT security measures should therefore be geared towards investing in the development of systems. This is the only way to reduce the risk of data loss, which can have a huge impact on sales and customer confidence.“
Udo Schneider, security expert at Trend Micro, warns that many companies are not sufficiently focused on IT security.
Tommy Hilfiger smart clothes track wearers: A new line of smart clothing from Tommy Hilfiger will track and reward users for wearing its products. The Tommy Jeans Xplore range, which includes T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies, is embedded with a smart chip. Once paired with an app, it will track users and reward them with points that can be converted into merchandise or concert tickets. The clothing brand hopes it will create a „micro-community of brand ambassadors“. But it will also provide the brand with an unprecedented level of information on customers, said Liron Slonimsky, chief executive of technology partner Awear Solutions.