Graphic showing Internet of Things news

Samsung SmartThings finally works with Nest: I know product managers at Samsung SmartThings and Google’s Nest divisions are working incredibly hard on the plans for Project Connected Home over IP, which is supposed to launch with a certification any day now (right?). But the two companies also had time to officially tie the SmartThings platform to Google’s Nest products after the end of Works with Nest last year. Many hardcore SmartThings users had been using unofficial drivers to connect their Nest gear to the SmartThings platform, but that had broken thanks to the end of Works With Nest and SmartThings’ transition away from user-created drivers. So now we can officially use SmartThings as an intermediary layer to fix all of the other integrations Google’s plans to kill Works With Nest broke. (SmartThings— Stacey Higginbotham

Microsoft’s Azure Digital Twins service becomes generally available: Microsoft made its Azure Digital Twins service generally available this week, which is nice for those of us excited to see online simulacra of real-world machines and buildings available for use. The service uses the Digital Twins Definition Language (DTDL) to label and organize the sensors and data that make up a digital twin. The DTDL was created by the Digital Twin Consortium, which launched earlier this year. Microsoft was one of the creators of that standard. Microsoft also showcased a few customers of its Azure Digital Twins service, including Bentley Systems, which is creating digital twins for heavy equipment maker Doosan, and Johnson Controls, which is using the service as part of its smart buildings effort. (Microsoft)  — Stacey Higginbotham

This is a big win for Deako: Seattle-based modular light switch company Deako has signed a deal with home builder D.R. Horton, which is a massive sale for the company. Deako was one of the first startups I profiled in this newsletter, and I’ve been a big believer in its approach, trying to make smart switches for the residential home building market. D.R. Horton builds the greatest number of new homes in the U.S., and starting Feb. 1, 2021 all new D.R. Horton homes will have the Deako switches installed. I’m also hopeful that this means residential smart home attributes will become more common going forward, as opposed to an add-on luxury for the few or tech-savvy. (Deako— Stacey Higginbotham

Karamba launches a security product for wide-scale IoT deployments:  Karamba Security, which makes software that sits on embedded devices and analyzes their behavior to check for malware or other security flaws, has released a product to monitor fleet-wide behavior of connected devices owned by a company. I profiled Karamba earlier this year, and liked its approach, although I worried that requiring an agent on every device made deployments tough to scale. With this launch, Karmaba also provides network traffic analysis that can catch anomalous behavior on devices that don’t have the agent. (Dark Reading— Stacey Higginbotham

Eye-gaze tracking to control your smart home? Earlier this week, Google introduced an amazing accessibility app for Android called Look to Speak, which tracks a user’s eye movements and then translates them into keyboard and screen taps. Could the technology be expanded to Google Nest smart displays, since those have a camera, too? I don’t think it would be a stretch, and it could be a useful smart home interface for the future. (StaceyOnIoT— Kevin C. Tofel 

Millions of connected devices have hard-to-fix, critical flaws: It’s frustrating to hear such bad IoT device security news on a fairly regular basis. The latest problem is dubbed Amnesia:33 because researchers found 33 such flaws. And these aren’t easy to fix because the impacted code is found in seven open source TCP/IP stacks. More importantly, the TCP/IP software with the flaws is often built into the hardware of the connected devices. When feasible, device makers use a system on a chip (SOC) to consolidate different functions and bits of software into a single hardware part. And if that software is flawed, the easiest solution is to replace the hardware. Note that I didn’t say the least expensive solution, which is why many of these devices won’t ever get fixed. (Wired— Kevin C. Tofel 

The U.S. government has a law protecting its IoT purchases. You don’t.: The IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act was signed into law this week. There are some good measures in it, including updating IoT security standards, guidelines, and policies every five years. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also plans to develop and implement policies that address IoT device security vulnerabilities. But don’t get too excited about your own devices. The new law only applies to the use and purchase of IoT systems and devices that it deploys. The rest of us are on our own until we can get some stronger consumer protections and policies. (Security Magazine— Kevin C. Tofel 

Qualcomm markets a plug-and-play system for smart cities: Well, this might make it easier for cities to become smarter. Qualcomm figures it has the chips, connectivity chops, and other platform puzzle pieces to sell cities on IoT. I’m not sold on the company’s software expertise, though, which is also part of the IoT Services Suite package; you’ll need that to deploy and manage devices. Still, touting this as a plug-and-play solution could entice some cities to make the leap. They’ll just have to pay for it. Continuously, that is. Qualcomm is offering the system as a subscription service. (San Diego Union-Tribune— Kevin C. Tofel 

Calix does a deal with Arlo: I’ll start this off by noting that Calix is a sponsor of the podcast and of this newsletter, but I’m really intrigued by this deal, which sees Calix partnering with IP video company Arlo. Calix, which makes modems and services it sells to independent ISPs, has really doubled down on the smart home and the management challenges it presents for internet service providers. Its Wi-Fi routers were early with Wi-Fi 6 support, and the company offers services associated with security, parental controls, and device management that remind me of what Eero and other forward-looking consumer networking companies provide. The Arlo deal brings Arlo’s security cameras into Calix’s system, letting service providers offer their customers monitored security services using the Arlo gear. ISPs went big into this idea back in the early days of the smart home, but many, like AT&T and Verizon, pulled back out. By having Calix aggregate devices for smaller ISPs out there, it might be able to bring an array of smart home devices to a wider audience. (Calix— Stacey Higginbotham

The divisions between IT and OT aren’t just an employee issue: We talk a lot about the differences between the operations technology side of an industrial business and the information technology side. When we do, we’re mostly talking about how their goals and priorities differ. But they also have separate data streams, which can lead to costly and time-consuming integrations when trying to bring the two together. Element Analytics has launched its Unify software to make the process of tying IT and OT data together easier. It helps bring all of a company’s data into one place and lets companies get a clear view of their IT and OT operations both on-premise and in the cloud. Element has raised roughly $40 million in venture funds to build out this product and has customers including Evonik, Nova Scotia Power, and Cargill. I am excited to learn more. (Element Analytics— Stacey Higginbotham