IoT News Roundup

Google treks into smart cities with Sidewalk Labs; BluVision's iBEEK+ can serve as sensor-packed beacon; consumers like IoT for energy savings, says survey; new software for workplace wearables.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jun 15, 2015

Google Launches Sidewalk Labs
Google has launched a new project called Sidewalk Labs, which it describes in a press release as an "urban innovation company that will develop technology at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds, with a focus on improving city life for residents, businesses and governments." The New York City-based company will create products and services, using Internet of Things technologies and other tools, aimed at boosting energy efficiency, improving public transportation systems and reducing the cost of living in cities, which the United Nations estimates will be home to 66 percent of the world's population by 2050 (54 percent currently live in cities). Dan Doctoroff, the former CEO of financial software and media company Bloomberg LP and, prior to that, N.Y.C's deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding, will serve as Sidewalk Labs' CEO.

Google has not yet disclosed many details about its urban-development spinoff, but in a post on Google+, Larry Page called it a "relatively modest investment" but said that like Calico Labs, a different Google spinoff that is researching anti-aging technologies, Sidewalk Labs holds the potential to have a direct and positive impact on people's lives.

Smart city applications mark one of the core growth areas of IoT technology. Research into wireless sensor networks at Argonne Labs has evolved into Waggle, an IoT platform that Chicago is evaluating. Mayors from around the globe recently convened in Washington, D.C., to learn about smart city projects during the Global City Teams Challenge Expo.

BluVision Releases iBEEK+ Beacon
BluVision has released a new product, the iBEEK+, a weather-resistant beacon designed for use in commercial or industrial settings. The iBEEK+ is available with a number of optional integrated sensors, including a light sensor, a temperature sensor with accuracy up to 0.2 degree Celsius, a three-axis accelerometer and a magnetometer. It has an estimated six-year battery life when transmitting a universally unique identifier (UUID) at 100-millisecond intervals in compliance with Apple's iBeacon communication protocol.

The iBEEK+ also supports the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) Beacon (uriBeacon) protocol and can operate in a dual mode (iBeacon plus uriBeacon). The iBEEK+ is compliant with the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 4.1 wireless standard and can operate between -25 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit) to 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit). According to BluVision, it is UV-resistant and compliant with the IP67 standard for water and dust resistance. The beacon measures 5 inches by 5 inches by 2 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces. It is available on the BluVision website for $49.99. Bluvision also offers a cloud-based beacon-management platform on which users can build and manage apps for iBEEK beacons. The platform supports beacon management with remote provisioning, real-time monitoring and advanced real-time alerts. BluVision has also released an updated software development kit through which businesses can integrate the iBEEK+ into apps they develop in-house.

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