IoT News Roundup

Google seeks to push Alexa off smart-home throne with Home; Indiegogo, Arrow Electronics partner; the VA starts to eye IoT solutions for medical devices; new car router from Sierra Wireless; Lux Research says VC funding for IoT security on the rise; Autodesk brings it IoT data management to cloud-based service.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
May 20, 2016

Google Trying to Usurp Amazon's Alexa
At its annual I/O conference this week, Google unveiled Home, a voice-activated, Internet-connected assistant that will compete head-to-head with Alexa, the digital assistant persona in Amazon's voice-activated, Internet-connected Echo appliance. Like Echo, Google's Home will integrate with IoT-enabled appliances and other electronic equipment, and will allow for third-party integration. For example, users will be able to control their Nest thermostats (Google owns Nest) through the Home device, which, like Echo, also plays music. Both devices are designed to constantly listen for queries or directives, even when music is playing, thanks for sound-filtering software.

Google Home evolved from Google Now, its smartphone-based personal assistant. Like Now, the Home device employs machine learning to attempt to anticipate a user's needs and, over time, deliver increasingly personalized responses.

Indiegogo, Arrow Electronics Partner to Stoke IoT Product Crowdfunding
Entrepreneurs developing IoT-enabled products for consumers and do-it-yourselfers have long used crowdfunding service Indiegogo to finance their development. Now, Arrow Electronics, a distributor of electronic components and a provider of engineering and consulting services to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), is partnering with Indiegogo.

Through the strategic alliance, qualifying Indiegogo entrepreneurs will have direct online access to Arrow's design tools, engineering experts, prototype services, manufacturing support and supply chain management, in order to aid their product development and come-to-market approach. The companies estimate that the package of benefits and services are worth up to $500,000. Arrow will select awardees by evaluating Indiegogo campaigns for their technical feasibility, manufacturability and overall impact; Arrow-supported campaigns will be denoted on the Indiegogo site with a special Arrow badge.

In September 2015, Arrow launched a new offering known as Intelligent Services that provides a framework and software tools to help OEMs and systems integrators create and deploy IoT platforms.

VA Issues Request for Information Regarding IoT Services, Products
Late last month, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)'s Office of Information and Technology issued a request for proposals "to determine if contractors are capable of meeting VA's requirements for Securing Medical Devices and the Internet of Things at VA."

The agency said it is not soliciting bids, but rather seeks to "obtain market information on capable sources of supply [and] industry practices." The deadline for the request for information is May 26, 2016, at 12:00 PM EST. More information is available here.

Federal News Radio reported this week that during a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., IT procurement officers in federal agencies, such as the departments of defense and homeland security, said that they are trying to determine the best policies for acquiring technology that leverages the Internet of Things, given the rapid evolution of the underlying technologies. Government officials indicated that there is no shortage of applications for IoT devices, but that concerns regarding cybersecurity and privacy are slowing the adoption rate.

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