IoT News Roundup

Buddy platform opens doors to Parse users; LoJack announces new phone-based products; TomTom's new device marries navigation with apps; Broadband Networks bringing People Power to Switzerland and Liechtenstein; OTA says security vulnerabilities easy to avoid.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sep 09, 2016

Buddy Announces Beta Version of Parse Powered by Buddy Platform
In January 2016, social-media platform Facebook announced its plans to shutter Parse, a software platform (often called a back-end-as-a-service, or BaaS) that it had purchased in 2013. Developers have been using Parse to help them create the back-end infrastructure to enable mobile-phone applications for wearables and other IoT devices. Facebook said developers have until next January to migrate the applications they had built on Parse (which, at that time, numbered 600,000) to their own or other hosted servers. This spring, Buddy, an IoT data-management platform that had previously offered a BaaS that competed with Parse, announced it was using an open-source "mini-version" of Parse, called Parse Server, to build out its own version of the platform, to which current Parse users could migrate their apps.

This week, Buddy announced that its iteration of the service, known as "Parse powered by the Buddy Platform," is in beta, and that developers can visit and either create a new application back end, or else migrate their existing application off the Facebook-hosted Parse and on to the Buddy-hosted Parse.

LoJack Announces Cellular Applications for Consumers and Dealerships
LoJack, a provider of vehicle safety and tracking systems, has announced two new offerings: LotSmart and SureDrive. Both offerings feature devices that plug into OBD-II-based vehicle telematics systems from CalAmp. Through a mobile application, car dealership employees can connect to their vehicles via the LotSmart telematics system in order to monitor inventory on their lot at any given time, as well as receive alerts when a vehicle's battery is running low, and set geofences around a lot to be alerted when any vehicles leave the premises. The offering also integrates LoJack's Stolen Vehicle Recovery System to help dealerships locate stolen vehicles.

SureDrive, a product for consumers, is designed to be used in combination with the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System. It employs a smartphone application to enable a number of features, such as setting a geofence around a vehicle in order to receive an alert via the smartphone app if the car moves outside the geofence (signifying a possible theft), or sending app alerts to family members if the family car comes within close proximity to the user's phone, enabing them to know when to look for the vehicle at an airport arrivals gate, or at a school's pick-up line. SureDrive also monitors sensors in the car that indicate the vehicle has been involved in a crash and triggers an alert, along with location, time and an estimate of the incident severity, to LoJack agents, who then contact local authorities to report the event.

Both LotSmart and SureDrive are expected to become available during the fourth quarter of this year.

TomTom Creates Bridge Connected to Link Drivers and Business Apps
TomTom, a provider of electronic navigation and mapping products, has announced a new product called TomTom Bridge Connected, which is designed for fleets and brings navigation and business functions into a single device, with a 7-inch screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and an Android operating system. Bridge, which comes with a subscription to TomTom Maps and TomTom Traffic navigation services, integrates 3G cellular connectivity, a Near Field Communication (NFC) module, a camera, a Bluetooth radio, a loudspeaker for hand-free use while driving, and a custom charging cradle that can be mounted in any vehicle. It can support a range of business applications.

Couriers can link the device to a rear camera on a truck to assist with parking, and can use the device to collect signatures for proof-of-receipt applications. A service and repair technician could utilize the device to access a secure building, via the integrated NFC module, and then access equipment repair history. Paramedics or firefighters could use it to receive navigation as well as real-time alerts or extra information regarding the emergency to which they are responding. The device is slated to be made available across North America later this month.

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