Things in IoT You Need to Know This Week: May 30 – June 3

Google’s parent Alphabet hopes to help 70 municipalities upgrade to smart cities on the cheap. In other news, Atari is getting in the IoT business, and two members of the U.S. House of Representatives are calling the IoT an engine that will power the U.S. economy for decades.

Brian Buntz

June 1, 2016

3 Min Read
Cities across the world are embracing the notion of smart cities.
iStock / gjp311

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1. Elon Musk: Driverless Roads by 2019, Mars Colonization a Few Years After That

The CEO of Tesla Motors has bold predictions for the future as well as big fears about it. Speaking at the Code Conference, Musk said that the majority of drivers would be autonomous within three years and that Apple could be a competitor to Tesla by 2020. He stated that Google, however, did not pose a direct threat. The main hurdles for makers of driverless cars to overcome include convincing regulators that the technology is safe and fine-tuning the ability of the technology to operate within the 30–40 mph range within cities.

Musk also predicted that the humans were on the verge of becoming a multi-planet species and stated that humans would be visiting the surface of Mars by 2024 or 2025. He even mused on what the best form of government might be for the Red Planet (democracy).

The entire email is available on YouTube. 

2. IBM and Cisco Hook Up to Bring Watson to Cisco Hardware 

IBM’s Watson IoT division is working with Cisco to bring its analytics prowess to Cisco’s network edge hardware. One of the primary applications will be autonomous and unmanned connected devices, says TechCrunch. It could also be used for preventative maintenance applications such as remote locations such as within mines or oil rigs in the ocean. Bell Canada is one of the first organizations using the combined IBM–Cisco technology. 

Alphabet Seeks to Slash the Cost of Building Smart Cities 

Google’s parent Alphabet wants to help cities develop a more thoughtful approach towards implementing technology. To that end, its Sidewalk Labs business is partnering with the DC-based nonprofit Transportation For America. The two organizations will work with approximately 70 cities to develop realistic “recipes” for smart city initiatives, reports Co.Design.

3. IoT Devices Will Outnumber Smartphones by 2018: Ericsson

The Internet of Things will become the biggest category of connected devices within two years, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report (PDF). Ericsson forecasts that the IoT industry will continue to grow briskly—at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% from 2015 to 2021. There will be 28 billion connected devices by 2021 of which nearly 16 billion will be IoT devices, it predicts.

4. Atari Wants to make a Comeback with the IoT

You may not have noticed, but video game pioneer has almost disappeared completely. In 2013, the company emerged from bankruptcy as a maker of social casino games. It then had about ten employees. It is now working with French IoT outfit Sigfox to launch smart home products. “By partnering together and using Sigfox’s dedicated IoT connectivity, we are going to create amazing products with our brand,” explained Atari’s CEO Fred Chesnais in a release.

5. Congress Forms IoT Working Group

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) have penned a love letter to the IoT for The Hill, which also announces the formation of a Congressional IoT working group. In the document, the representatives discuss the IoT’s potential to fuel economic growth for decades and conclude by saying: “Congress’ understanding and exploration of this next technology frontier will be critical to the lasting acceptance, growth, and prosperity of the Internet of Things.”

6. Italian Startup Wants You to Control IoT Apps with Your Eyes

Cogisen (Naples, Italy) envisions a future where interfaces offer a variety of types of interactions, including voice commands, gestures, and eye contact. The latter can make for more natural and accurate interactions, according to Cogisen CEO and founder Christiaan Rijnders, who was recently interviewed by TechCrunch. “[Human interactions] are with the eyes and speech and gestures so that should be the future interaction that we have with our devices in the Internet of Things.”

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About the Author(s)

Brian Buntz

Brian is a veteran journalist with more than ten years’ experience covering an array of technologies including the Internet of Things, 3-D printing, and cybersecurity. Before coming to Penton and later Informa, he served as the editor-in-chief of UBM’s Qmed where he overhauled the brand’s news coverage and helped to grow the site’s traffic volume dramatically. He had previously held managing editor roles on the company’s medical device technology publications including European Medical Device Technology (EMDT) and Medical Device & Diagnostics Industry (MD+DI), and had served as editor-in-chief of Medical Product Manufacturing News (MPMN).

At UBM, Brian also worked closely with the company’s events group on speaker selection and direction and played an important role in cementing famed futurist Ray Kurzweil as a keynote speaker at the 2016 Medical Design & Manufacturing West event in Anaheim. An article of his was also prominently on, a website dedicated to Kurzweil’s ideas.

Multilingual, Brian has an M.A. degree in German from the University of Oklahoma.

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