IoT News Recap: Stacey on IoT - August 18, 2023

Cupertino, August 18, 2023

raised $10 million for smarter buildings: I'm so excited about this news because about eight years ago I met one of the founders of Verdigris at an Austin cafe to talk about using AI and connected HVAC to make buildings greener to make. The company just raised $10 million in funding (in this environment!) led by DCVC and Solea Energy to continue selling the product. I'm glad to see that Verdigris is still around and that the overall hype around AI will help a company that has long used IoT and AI to make buildings more efficient. (Verdigris) — Stacey Higginbotham

has bought a TinyML player: Nordic Semiconductor has bought the IP of Atlazo, a San Diego, California-based company that developed technology to build energy-efficient MCUs optimized for machine learning. Nordic, which makes energy-efficient wireless chips for the IoT, says this is a solid acquisition that will benefit the company within 12 to 18 months of closing. Given the demand for on-device machine learning and Scandinavia's focus on the Internet of Things, it makes sense to deploy ultra-low power MCU expertise. (Nordic Semiconductor) — Stacey Higginbotham

takes a page from telcos to make EV charging more reliable: ChargePoint says it built a Network Operations Center (NOC) to monitor the health of its 243,000 EV chargers in the United States and monitor Europe. As part of new legislation to promote electric vehicle adoption, the federal government is imposing new uptime requirements, which led to ChargePoint's investment in the NOC. Honestly, I was surprised it didn't have an NOC yet, as the entire company is focused on providing customers with EV charging when they roll over to a charger. It seems insane not to be able to check that somehow so far. And I would say any company that provides connected services or devices should have similar teams to monitor uptime, but maybe that's just because I've accepted that we're in a maintenance era. (Ars Technica) — Stacey Higginbotham

Are video doorbells just security theater? That's what this BBC article asks, and I'm on point. I think they can be useful, but I also think porch pirates have adapted to technology by simply hiding their faces. I've been interviewed in the story and say as much. (BBC) - Stacey Higginbotham

now has a premium subscription option: The lure of recurring subscription revenue is powerful for makers of smart home devices, and Shelly is no exception. The maker of smart home devices has added a premium plan tied to power management. The service is only for Europeans, but I expect it to expand to the US if adopted overseas. For €3.99 ($4.34) per month, subscribers get notifications when they leave lights on, alerts when products use more or less electricity than usual, ways to monitor their devices' energy usage, and more. Shelly says the service should save up to 18% off an electricity bill, so it could be worth it. (Shelly) — Stacey Higginbotham

Some pure speculation about Google Nest: The Information reports that Verily, one of the companies Alphabet tracks under "other bets," is preparing to stop using Alphabet's business services in preparation for a possible spin-out in late 2024. The reporter who wrote the story notes that this could pave the way for additional spin-outs from Alphabet's "other bets." And the "other bet" we care about most in this newsletter is the Google Nest division. I've debated posting this story because it's pure speculation, and it's behind a paywall. But given how Alphabet is promoting Ruth Porat, who was behind the culling of unprofitable Google services, and how Google has withdrawn support for some of its Nest displays, I thought you might want to hear about any plans to spin out from companies that are part of Alphabet's other bets. Because if Google decides to roll out Nest, it would have a huge impact on the smart home ecosystem. (The information) — Stacey Higginbotham

New Aqara LED light strip wins Matter, but... The latest Aqara product launched this week and it's a bit of good news/bad news. First the good news. Like the recently released Nanoleaf Essentials light strip, the Aqara LED Strip Lights T1 supports the Matter standard. Priced at $49.95, you can order the T1 now and have it work with the smart home platform of your choice. The bad news is that Matter doesn't support Adaptive Lighting, the feature that automatically changes the brightness and color temperature of lights based on the time of day. You can get that feature working on the T1, but only if you choose not to use Matter for the connection. Then you need an Aqara hub for the Zigbee radio of the lightstrip. So while it's unfortunate that this is an either-or situation, that sums up the entire Matter implementation so far. (The Verge) — Kevin C. Tofel

Want a non-cloud video doorbell? Here's a DIY option: I don't expect many of you to be up to this, but I found a nifty little video doorbell project this week. Using an ESP32 and open source software, you can follow the instructions to create a privacy-focused video doorbell. The current implementation works with Home Assistant, but I'm sure it can be adapted to work with other DIY-style smart home hubs as well. (CNX Software) — Kevin C. Tofel

A second generation EveCam is due next month: thank goodness for Google Translate or I wouldn't have been able to bring you this news. A German site shared several details about an upcoming EveCam, which is expected to debut at next month's IFA event. I don't normally share rumors without any credible evidence, but I'd say the FCC documentation on the new webcam qualifies. The new model appears to have been tested for both 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks and has a small square footprint of 50mm. While Eve Home products through Matter have only just expanded support beyond HomeKit, the Matter spec doesn't include webcams, so this is very likely a HomeKit-only solution. (appgefahren) — Kevin C. Tofel

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