Cisco acquires Fluidmesh for super-fast IoT networks: This week, Cisco said it had acquired New York-based Fluidmesh Networks, which makes a wireless backhaul technology that can deliver packets from devices moving at more than 300 km/h (186 mph). This makes the technology especially useful for tracking sensor data from trains, mining carts, and ships. While Cisco has been a leader in networking, it hasn’t spent much time acquiring actual wireless network assets, signaling perhaps that the IoT — in particular the industrial IoT — needs specialized networking tech and that Cisco is willing to provide it. (Cisco) — Stacey Higginbotham
Quantum security for the IoT: I’m still feeling a little doubtful about the looming threat of quantum computers to our traditional cryptographic methods, but this article lays out several projects to address the threat that such computers pose. The fear is that quantum computers could quickly and easily break traditional AES security, suddenly making it simple to obliterate the most difficult and common cryptographic security we currently have. Thus, chipmakers and computer scientists are trying to figure out alternatives for a world where quantum computing is more powerful and commonplace than it is today. Today’s quantum computers are not quite powerful enough, and are so expensive and persnickety that they are held in large corporate and government labs, which makes the threat to traditional security low. But you can never be too sure. (EETimes) — Stacey Higginbotham
Openpath offers up data on quarantine compliance: While Google is sharing anonymized location data from phones to track people’s movements during the quarantine, other companies are trying to see if they can provide similar insights. Openpath, which makes smart access products for offices, has released data showing how many people are coming into work. The idea is that someone can look at the data across states and industries and get a feel for how well a quarantine is working, along with which businesses might be essential. In most places, the data shows a steep drop-off from the end of February to now, with the exception of states such as Nebraska, which have yet to issue any orders for people to stay home. From an industry perspective, it’s clear that the government is still working, as are many manufacturing plants. (Openpath) — Stacey Higginbotham
Why yes, I would like this smart kitchen in my near future: My favorite exhibits at CES — outside of chip vendors’ booths, where I can find all kinds of goodies — are the appliance makers’ future kitchen displays. As a consumer and a cook, I love seeing what craziness the kitchen has in store for me. Maybe it’s a connected vent hood with a display that can share recipes and “see” what I’m cooking on the stove below. Maybe it’s an inductive countertop that powers my blender or can even heat up specialty cookware. I’m here for all of it. Which is why I loved reading this article, which tries to showcase how grocers and food delivery services could integrate into the digital kitchen of the near future. (Progressive Grocer) — Stacey Higginbotham
Amber wants to update our electrical devices: This week, I spoke with a startup making a system on a chip that eliminates much of the bulk and infrastructure designed to protect appliances from electrical surges. The breakthrough could lead to electrical products (e.g., switches, outlets, and circuit breakers) that are slimmer and have more features than they do now. We’ll see. (StaceyonIoT) — Stacey Higginbotham
Ring Home Alarm gets a second-gen refresh: Ring is now taking pre-orders for its updated Home Alarm security products, which will begin shipping on April 29. Prices start at $199.99 for the basic, 5-piece kit, which includes a multi-radio base station, keypad, range extender, motion sensor, and contact sensor. The main difference I see is sleeker-looking products, including a smaller, square keypad that replaces the older, rectangular one. This keypad also has three dedicated buttons to contact police, fire, or emergency medical services in your area. (Ring) — Kevin C. Tofel
Google wants to make it easier to link smart home device accounts: The big smart home news out of Google this week was about the Local Actions SDK coming out of preview for developers. But as I dug around a little more on the Google Developers site, I noticed something else coming soon in preview, called App Flip. The idea is to make the linking of third-party IoT apps and products to Google Home faster and easier, without a lot of back and forth between different apps. Color me intrigued. (Google Assistant Developer Docs) — Kevin C. Tofel
I just bought a next-generation pair of hearables: After taking a hearing test on a mobile app this week, I got confirmation of what I’ve essentially known for at least five years: My range of hearing is diminishing. Enter the small “hearables” sector of smart devices that we discuss from time to time on the podcast. For $359, I pre-ordered the Nuheara IQBuds2 Max, and should have them next month, so stay tuned for a review. These are personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, that double as wireless Bluetooth headphones. They also provide one-touch access to the digital voice assistant on my phone. And for improved hearing ability in various environments, they can amplify specific frequencies and be tuned for specific spaces, such as a crowded room, outside, and more. (Nuheara) — Kevin C. Tofel
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