IoT News Roundup

Helium unveils IoT platform, sensors for enterprise applications; Aeris survey tracks end-user attitudes on IoT benefits, pain points; new apps and partners for Enlighted; Tata Consultancy Services launches eight new IoT managed services; Trimble, Raven collaborate to give farmers flexibility; Silver Spring Networks introduces new operation tools for utilities.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Oct 30, 2015

Helium Gives Rise to New IoT Sensor Platform

Helium, a San Francisco-based startup, has launched its first products, which include software and analytics services. Helium has designed a battery-powered device that can support multiple sensors and is designed for end users to easily attach to assets in order to build a wireless sensor network within minutes. For instance, mounted on a refrigerator, one Helium sensor could be used to track temperature and whether the door is open or closed. But the devices could also support sensors to track other variables, such as proximity or vibration. According to multiple press reports, Helium's devices communicate using a variation of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, and can switch between the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequency bands. The devices are expected to run for one year on two double-A batteries.

Software running on the device performs basic data filtering and power management. The data that the device transmits is collected by and stored in Helium's cloud-based platform, which uses machine learning to trigger alerts based on abnormal behavior and the end user's preferences.

Helium's first packaged offering is designed for institutions such as hospitals that manage banks of refrigerators used to store high-value inventory. The hardware and software package includes prebuilt alerts and helps users ensure that temperatures remain in compliance with regulations.

As a new IoT platform focused on enterprise applications, Helium has generated considerable buzz in IoT circles and is backed by a $16 million Series A round of venture capital. Its investors include Khosla Ventures, as well as Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff.

Aeris Survey Reveals Mixed Feelings Around IoT Deployments

Aeris, a machine-to-machine services provider, has released the results of a survey it commissioned in order to better understand the operational benefits and financial returns end users are realizing from IoT deployments. The results show that while most respondents—particularly those in the retail or financial services industry—feel confident that their IoT deployments will enable their companies to meet business objectives and provide them with competitive advantages, scaling up their IoT project also brings challenges around device and data management.

Analyzing sensor and connectivity data to obtain useful insights is difficult, according to 72 percent of respondents, while 73 percent are concerned about how to best collect, manage and store IoT data. Of respondents in the financial services industry, 75 percent said they are making device management a priority, which is an 18 percent increase over the results of a similar survey conducted in 2013. Across all industries, 50 percent or more of respondents said that ensuring pervasive connectivity, provisioning and device management is a challenge.

The 200 respondents of the survey, which technology market research firm VansonBourne conducted in August, were all IT decision-makers (such as IT managers and directors or CIOs) from organizations with 1,000 or more employees. Two hundred are based in the United States, while 100 are in the United Kingdom. The survey results skewed based on geography, with U.K. executives expressing more pessimism about the potential for the IoT to offer them a competitive advantage. Only 46 percent said they think it does, while 83 percent of U.S. respondents said it gives them a competitive advantage.

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