IoT News Roundup

FreeWave's new rugged router creates remote Wi-Fi hotspots; Domotz Pro lets smart home integrators, installers offer support services; Freight Farms plugging its Leafy Green Machine into Xively platform; Argus Insights says smart-home vendors should improve marriage between apps and hardware; Electric Imp moves into the enterprise.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Freight Farms Using Xively Internet of Things Platform

Boston-based Freight Farms, which sells hydroponic farming systems inside used retrofitted cargo containers, says it is employing Xively's Internet of Things platform to manage the network of wireless sensors inside the containers (known as Leafy Green Machines) that are used to monitor plant health, as well as to create a suite of apps that allow farmers to monitor the condition of the crops from anywhere. Freight Farms, which IOT Journal reported on last year, says the Xively platform has also allowed it to integrate data security controls, and provides analytics tools that helps Freight Farms to better understand how its customers are using the farms, as well as how it could improve their user interfaces and experience with the Freight Farms products.

Argus Insights Research Finds Disconnect Between Hardware and Apps for Smart Homes

After analyzing nearly 50,000 consumer reviews of smart-home devices and applications, written between August 2015 and this month, Argus Insights reported this week that many consumers expressed significantly greater satisfaction with smart-home devices than with the apps they need to use in order to operate them. Specifically, the research shows that home security pure play provider Vivant and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) company Honeywell achieved high marks for their apps, while some home-security companies (such as ADT, Comcast and AT&T) are failing to, in Argus Insights' terminology, "delight" consumers with their smart-home applications.

It also found that consumers often have very polar opinions regarding the software and hardware offerings from a single provider. For example, Philips devices were generally rated very well in consumer reviews, while the company's apps ranked very low. Honeywell apps, as already mentioned, received high scores, but reviewers were generally displeased with the firm's devices.

The takeaway message, according to the research firm, is that smart-home vendors ought to spend more efforts building a "more synchronized hardware and software ecosystem." The full report is available here.

Electric Imp Expanding Into Enterprise Market

Electric Imp, which makes an IoT platform designed to help consumer goods manufacturers connect Wi-Fi-enabled devices to cloud-based services using a secure device operating system and application programming interfaces (APIs), says it is broadening its focus to the commercial and industrial markets. In doing so, the company has launched a managed private cloud service designed to give commercial and customers access to IoT devices and related data, while also integrating enterprise data management and security protocols. Electric Imp is also reaching out to potential customers in energy and resource management, health and fitness, office equipment and HVAC systems, with services and tools designed for those industries.

Lastly, the company has formed a relationship with Pitney Bowes, a manufacturer of machines for sorting and handling mail. The two companies are co-developing an IoT connectivity solution for small and midsize businesses, Electric Imp reports. The IoT connectivity solution, which will leverage Electric Imp's new private cloud offering, won't be Pitney Bowes' first foray into IoT. Last year, the firm announced that is using GE's Predix software to make data from its mail-handling and -sorting machinery more accessible.

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