IoT News Roundup

Google Ventures leads Helium's funding round; C-Labs announces two new customers; Atlanta-area police departments purchase multi-sensor body cameras; Internet of Elevators at Hannover Messe; Danish city eases traffic woes using BLIP sensors; AT&T, Globecomm, partner to improve asset-tracking coverage.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Apr 29, 2016

Helium Raises $20 Million Series B Funding, Launches Two New Products
Wireless sensing platform provider Helium has raised $20 million in Series B investment funding. The round was led by Google Ventures, whose general partner Andy Wheeler will join Helium's board of directors. Khosla Ventures, FirstMark Capital and Munich RE/Hartford Steam Boiler Ventures also invested. Khosla Ventures led Helium's $16 million Series A funding, which closed in October 2014. FirstMark Capital also participated in the first round. Helium will use the money for ongoing product development, sales and marketing.

The startup, which makes wireless sensors that use a variation of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard to sense a range of variables, as well as device-management software and a cloud-based platform, also announced two product announcements this week. Its new sensor, called Green, measures temperature (from -4 degrees to +140degrees Fahrenheit [-20degrees to +60 degrees Celsius]), humidity, barometric pressure, light and motion (detected from a distance of up to 5 meters [16.4 feet]. Green sensor joins Helium's original sensor, Blue, which contains a thermistor and a magnetic reed switch to determine the position of a refrigerator door.

Helium has also introduced Helium Pulse, a monitoring and alerting application that runs on Helium's cloud-based platform—via both Web-based and mobile clients. Pulse enables customizable alerting and monitoring functions, based on the Helium sensor data it consumes.

Pulse can be configured to trigger alerts when any measurements taken by the Green or Blue sensor fall outside of a set range. Or, the user can set alerts based on multiple variables, such as a change in lighting that coincides with a temperature change. Helium products, which are sold as a hardware-software package that the company calls sensing-as-a-service, are being used by several customers in the health-care and food-service industries, according to the company. Specifically, the technology is used to monitor environmental conditions in temperature-controlled areas within hospitals, which can utilize the technology to ensure compliance with perishable drug management guidelines, and to help restaurants ensure that foods are stored in conditions that ensure freshness and safety.

C-Labs Announces Two Key Customers
C-Labs, which sells software that links legacy manufacturing equipment to the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), has scored two new customers for its flagship product, Factory-Relay software. Factory-Relay runs on an industrial PC that manages a programmable logic controller (PLC) that, in turn, controls automation equipment on the factory floor. The software collects data from the PLC in the communication architecture it uses, such as OPC UA or Profinet, in order to make remotely accessible data from sensors connected to each piece of machinery, via Web-based interface. However, in order to keep factory equipment secure (preventing nefarious parties from using remote devices to introduce viruses, or to steal intellectual property) the Factory-Relay running on the PC acts as a gatekeeper. Before the data moves from the PC to C-Labs' cloud-based server—from which remote access is enabled—the Factory-Relay, based on the customer's IT department protocols, can inspect the data, add firewalls and apply SSL encryption.

AXOOM, which sells a browser-based material order and management system for manufacturing plants, is using the software to provide security for its application. And Nebbiolo Technologies is utilizing Factory-Relay to provide a security layer to its fog-computing system, which filters and processes process-automation data on edge devices (such as the industrial PCs on which Factory-Relay also runs) within factories.

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