What’s up in IoT? Latest News 31.10.2018.

Check out the latest news and announcements in IoT. We have prepared the most interesting ones for you!

Amazon Announced New Hardware

And, not only new hardware but also upgrades of existing Echo devices and software updates!

Brand new smart devices are Echo Sub speaker, Fire TV device that works like a DVR for local TV broadcasts, and Amazon Basics microwave. And over 60 more…

The Echo Dot is upgraded not only regarding better software but also has a different appearance. It is bigger compared to previous versions, and its sides are covered with fabric. The Echo Plus speaker looks similar to Echo Plus and has added Smart Home Local Voice Control which enables it to run specific commands for smart-home devices locally, even when the internet goes down.

Addition to the Echo Show is a web browser which enables it to display recipe instructions from Amazon Meal Kit or show you YouTube videos.

The Echo Auto is added to the mix as well. It is a tiny device that you place on the dashboard of your car and gives you Alexa capabilities while you’re driving. The device is connected to Alexa via your mobile, connected by Bluetooth. You can add items on your shopping list, ask Alexa about weather or traffic jam and so on. There is a limited number of Echo Auto launched, but we expect full commercial sales soon.

There are much more devices announced, such as Echo Companions, which add Alexa functionality to non-Amazon devices, Amazon’s new Alexa-enabled microwave, new Ring security cameras and others. Some announced devices are not released yet so we will have to be patient for a while and then enjoy Amazon upgrades in both hardware and software.

New Launches from Google: Home Hub and Nest Thermostat E

Google has announced Home Hub, a new 7-inch smart screen that acts as a voice-controlled tube for the Google Assistant. This expands Google’s earlier released three different display-free smart speakers. Home Hub is the first Google’s smart home gadget with a touchscreen display. Still, it doesn’t have a camera for video chatting as it is not aligned with Google’s larger goal of having the Hub work in every room.

The Home Hub was designed with a photo showing in mind, and the speaker is located in front of its lower half. It has a smart look, with a portrait orientation and gently rounded edges. The brightness and temperature are auto-adjusted by RGB sensor placed at the top of the device. Two new features, Live Albums and Recent Highlights are optimised for the Home Hub and represent the expansion of already broad Google Photoshop application.

Additionally, you can communicate with Google Assistant through a microphone and a speaker driver. You can also find existing Google apps here, such as Google Search, YouTube, Photos, Duo (for voice chatting), Maps, and Calendar. Current control of devices is possible also via Home Hub, and Google has new connections with other applications.

Nest Thermostat E is Google’s latest smart-home product. It is easy to install so you won’t need an expert to do it when you purchase one. And it is also cheaper than the previous model. It has two parts: Heat Link E which will replace the existing wired thermostat or heating controller and a smart thermostat which you can place somewhere else in your home.

The tools for installation are provided in the package, while step-by-step instruction is through an app on a smartphone or tablet. Considering smart features, they will remain the same as in previous models, with learning feature added.

Facebook Portal

Facebook has created a device for a video chat with your Facebook friends called Portal.  With an excellent resolution of 12 Mp camera on the front, you can talk to your faraway family and friends. You can also use it to query the internet or control your smart home, as it comes with Alexa.

The Portal is available in two sizes, bigger one with a 1080p screen and a smaller one with a 720p display. You can use Portal to call any of your Facebook friends, and it doesn’t matter if they don’t have the portal. The only thing they need to have installed on their mobile or tablet is Facebook Messenger.

Simple command: Hello Portal will initiate the call when you say the name of the person you wish to call. In general, Portal works pretty much similar to Amazon Echo Show or the Google-Assistant. So, if your family is one that keeps in touch with friends and family that live far away via Facebook, the Portal will quickly become their mean of communication.

Whispering to Alexa

The moment your baby fell asleep, and you are almost there you remembered you did not turn on the alarm. And Alexa is just a couple of meters away. If you talk, the baby will wake up. But what if Alexa could hear you whispering?

Good news for you: Amazon has added a new, whispering mode to Alexa. You can whisper to her, she will hear you and whisper back!

You can activate the mode by voice command: “Alexa, turn on Whisper Mode.” Or you can enable it in the mobile application by turning on the Whispered Responses in Alexa Voice Responses on your account.

The whispering mode is available for all Amazon Echo devices, but currently is available only for US market and in English, but we expect it to expand pretty soon.

Step into the Future: How Blockchain Can Add Value to the Internet of Things

As we are facing a fast improvement of IoT and Blockchain development, the idea of connecting the two had risen among enterprises. The thought is that bonding could significantly improve the challenges that organisations face. Implementation of blockchain is not yet widely spread among businesses, but pairing these two solutions can unlock numerous possibilities for companies.

Blockchain can help improve the IoT by improving fragmentation, by systematically create new, trusted touchpoints with IoT platforms. The span across multiple networks that generally don’t believe one another can create a new Internet of Things ecosystems, and enable new efficiencies, thus improving business results.

There are numerous other ways that Blockchain together with IoT can work in business, but it will take some time in the future to find the best manners of connections and exclude possible failures before the system of cooperation becomes perfect.

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