KW 42: Vodafone’s machine network is running, Millions of IoT devices remain vulnerable, Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women



Vodafone’s machine network is running: Vodafone has reached its expansion goals for a new machine network after half a year. The new infrastructure for the industrial Internet of Things is now available in almost 90 percent of the German LTE network, the company announced on Friday. Vodafone relied on a so-called narrowband network that has a very low energy consumption thanks to its low transmission frequency and can also penetrate thick walls. Companies can theoretically network up to four billion smart devices. Among the first customers of the machine network are the Deutsche Bahn and electronics manufacturer Panasonic. Telekom is also working on expanding a narrowband network, but is concentrating on large metropolitan areas.

Millions of IoT devices remain vulnerable: Millions of security cameras, DVRs, and NVRs contain vulnerabilities that can allow a remote attacker to take over devices with little effort, security researchers have revealed. All vulnerable devices have been manufactured by Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co., Ltd. (Xiongmai hereinafter), a Chinese company based in the city of Hangzhou. But end users won’t be able to tell that they’re using a hackable device because the company doesn’t sell any products with its name on them, but ships all equipment as white label products on which other companies put their logo on top. Security researchers from EU-based SEC Consult say they’ve identified over 100 companies that buy and re-brand Xiongmai devices as their own.

Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women: Amazon’s AI recruitment software, trained to review job applications, needed to be scrapped after it turned out that it discriminated against women applicants. In place since 2014, the software was built to find the top talent by digging through mountains of applications. The company’s experimental hiring tool used artificial intelligence to give job candidates scores ranging from one to five stars – much like shoppers rate products on Amazon, some of the people said. But by 2015, the company realized its new system was not rating candidates for software developer jobs and other technical posts in a gender-neutral way. That is because Amazon’s computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted to the company over a 10-year period. Most came from men, a reflection of male dominance across the tech industry.

Huawei presents new Smart Home network: With the “Huawei WiFi Q2”, the company is offering a hybrid 5G-powerline Wi-Fi system. It pairs base units and satellite repeaters that plug into an ordinary wall outlet. Huawei will sell the base units and repeaters in sets. A three-pack of base units will cover five to seven rooms in a home, and a base unit and two satellites will supply Wi-Fi to four or five rooms. Wi-Fi mesh network systems are quickly becoming the standard, with companies like Qualcomm estimating that they now account for 40 percent of new Wi-Fi router sales. Huawei is going a different route, though. In addition to a Wi-Fi mesh, it also uses a Powerline network that routes your traffic over the existing electrical system in your house instead of dedicated Ethernet cables.,

Facial recognition to replace boarding pass: The airline AirAsia has unveiled its Fast Airport Clearance Experience System (FACES), Malaysia’s first airport facial recognition system with self-boarding gate, making it the first airline in Asia to have a seamless travel experience from check-in to boarding with the latest biometric facial recognition technology. Speaking at the Google Cloud Next ‘18 conference in London, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes set out his vision of what the future of air travel could look like, with technology enabling airports to streamline the check-in, bag drop and security processes for passengers. Meanwhile, advances in image recognition tools mean passengers could one day enter countries without the need for manual passport checks.,

Regensburg: Germany’s first public IoT network started
Plug and play: Software AG and Dell deepen their partnership
Study: IoT is conquering the consumer market


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is creating a new college with a focus on AI and backed by a planned investment of $1 billion.


Coburg University studies people’s interactions with robots: The protagonist of a new study by Coburg University is the humanoid robot NAO. While his body shape is human, his face shows no expression and his voice is robotic. The researchers wanted to use the robot to find out under which circumstances people enter into a social or emotional bond with a robot. To do so, they placed NAO in a supermarket where passers-by could teach him the names of vegetables. The result: People were more likely to help the robot if he made small-talk first, instead of directly asking for help. Technology-savvy people were also more open-minded than those who had no technological interest. In their next experiment, the scientists want to test under which circumstances people are ready to show moral courage for a robot and protect him, for example, from an attack.

Study: Interest in autonomous driving is growing: A recent study by the Center for Empirical Communication Research (ZEK) at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University in Ravensburg reveals interesting results on the public interest in autonomous driving. Although only 38 percent of respondents considered it important that car makers are concerned with the topic, the acceptance for autonomous driving has risen by as much as ten percentage points since a poll in February. However, 67 percent of respondents still distrust the technology. “Manufacturers need to increase their marketing efforts to convince customers of the technology,” said Professor Simon Ottler, head of the ZEK. He and his partner Professor Udo Klaiber are convinced that personal experiences are particularly important to convince customers. These include, for example, test drives on corresponding test tracks or on virtual platforms.


Nescafé É: The IoT coffee maker: Food giant Nestlé wants to make its traditional coffee brand Nescafé interesting for millennials with a new concept: The networked coffee machine Nescafé É is controlled via an app. According to the company, the product should offer “coffee drinkers completely new ways of preparation”. Using Bluetooth, the owner can prepare coffee specialties such as Americano, Flat White, Cappuccino or Iced Coffee using the app as well as personalize and share recipes. Nestlé paid special attention to sustainability, the preparation process should save time and energy. In addition, only the amount of water actually required per beverage is heated and the machine includes an integrated to-go cup, which should reduce the use of disposable cups. Nescafé É is already available in Greece, with more markets to follow.


“Artificial intelligence is expected to capture and transform almost every aspect of our civilization. People will soon no longer be the main decision-makers.”
Controversial AI researcher Jürgen Schmidhuber believes that Artificial Intelligence is the next stage of evolution.


Walmart wants to monitor the health of its customers: Walmart was awarded a patent for a cart handle embedded with sensors that allow the company to monitor a customer’s shopping experience and signal a store associate that they may need help. The healthcare implications of Walmart’s patent are less clear. It describes how its “biometric feedback cart handle” would monitor things like a customer’s temperature and stress levels to determine when store assistance was possibly needed. It could also provide information on storewide trends to guide improvements in customer experience. Walmart’s patent filing says the “sound sensors” would focus on minute details of the shopping and checkout experience, such as the beeps of item scanners and the rustling of bags, and they could also pick up conversations of workers and customers.,

Newsletter subscription

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter for a compact overview of the Internet of Things:


More digital news briefings

Our political briefings