IoT News Roundup

Senators want U.S. Senate Commerce Committee to discuss the IoT industry; Enlighted plugs into Philips LED lighting; Survey shows small- to medium-sized businesses are eyeing the IoT.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Oct 24, 2014

U.S. Senators Call for IoT Hearing

With a nod toward IDC's forecast that Internet of Things technologies and services spending will generate $8.9 trillion in global revenue by 2020, with 212 billion connected devices—and, more immediately, to the upcoming holiday shopping season—four U.S. senators this week requested that Senate Commerce Committee chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) hold a "general oversight and information-gathering hearing" to discuss the IoT before the end of this year.

"The proliferation of connected devices is sparking a number of important policy questions related to consumer protection, security, privacy, technical standards, spectrum capacity, manufacturing, regulatory certainty, and public-sector applications, among many others," the senators—Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Bob Schatz (D-HI)—wrote to Rockefeller. While the Federal Trade Commission conducted a public workshop last year to explore issues around privacy and security in regard to the use of mobile devices and sensor networks, the U.S. Senate has not yet held any hearings related to the technologies and how they may be regulated in the future.

Calling the issues surrounding the IoT "ripe for congressional attention," the senators suggested they should be approached "cautiously and constructively, in a bipartisan fashion."

Deb Fischer is also pushing an agenda for advancing innovation and technology in the U.S. government, along with efforts to "modernize outdated rules" with respect to regulating technology.

Enlighted Partners With Phillips on LED-based Sensor Solution

Enlighted, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company that makes sensors and networking systems designed to manage energy use inside office buildings, has announced that its sensor units can be connected to the Philips Advance Xitanium SR LED driver. An LED driver serves as the light's power supply and converts incoming AC power to the proper DC voltage, as well as regulating current flow. Late last month, Philips announced the Advance Xitanium SR LED driver, which stores the light's energy-usage data and can also dim the light, thereby reducing energy consumption. The company plans to make the driver available with its 40-watt linear LED fixtures (designed for office applications), starting in December 2014.

The Enlighted sensor units, which contain infrared, light-level and temperature sensors, will receive DC power from the Philips driver and collect energy-usage information from each fixture. The sensor nodes communicate with each other, as well as with Enlighted gateway devices, via a 2.4 GHz mesh network configuration. The software uses the sensors to determine the amount of light required within the space, and can control LED output to match demand. By integrating its sensor unit into the Philips driver, Enlighted claims it will be able to eliminate the need to install a control device on each light it seeks to manage and monitor.

Research firm Research and Markets predicts that LEDs will account for 20 percent of the lighting market, and that sales will reach $42.7 billion by 2020. LEDs are more energy-efficient than compact fluorescent bulbs, can more easily be controlled through software, and can produce what many consider more pleasant light.

Survey Says: Small- to Medium-Sized Businesses Cautiously Optimistic About IoT

AVG Technologies, a Dutch online security services company, recently commissioned a survey, in which nearly half of the small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) queried indicated they believe they can increase revenues through the use of Internet of Things technology—but most worried that plugging into the IoT would expose their companies to new security risks. VansonBourne, the market research firm that AVG contracted, conducted 1,770 interviews with IT and marketing decision-makers at organizations with 1 to 500 employees, based in five countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Germany and Australia. Most of these respondents (85 percent) were from small- to medium-sized businesses, while the remainder represented managed-services providers. All respondents work in the private sector, but in a range of industries.

Of the SMBs interviewed, 71 percent said they intend to "take extra steps to secure and protect their data." But few indicated that they are ready to hand that task over to their current IT provider. Only 18 percent of the SMBs feel confident that their current IT provider is "completely ahead of the curve" with respect to IoT technologies, while roughly half of the managed-services providers said their customers are demanding IoT-related services. When asked whether these managed-services providers could presently meet that demand, 70 percent, overall, said no—that they would amend their services to meet the need. Yet, among the managed-services providers in Germany, only 56 percent said they would need to change their current offerings to meet demand.

It should be noted that AVG has a very wide interpretation of the term "Internet of Things." In addition to Internet-connected devices and wearable computers, it considers "cloud-based services in general" to be part of the IoT.

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