• Pet Brand Adds Virtual Reality To Super Bowl Program
    Pet food brand Pedigree is ringing in its sponsorship of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XIII with an immersive look into the game, along with digital videos outlining the “pupletes” journey to gridiron glory. The collaboration marks the 12th consecutive year Pedigree has aligned itself with the Puppy Bowl — Animal Planet’s yearly showcase on Super Bowl Sunday that pits adoptable dogs against each other in a football-themed competition. This year, Pedigree will sponsor a "Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality" experience – giving viewers a "pup's-eye-view" of the action on the field – as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the training …
  • GM Opens Connections For Car Infotainment System
    GM is opening up to app makers in a way that’s unique among carmakers; it created a software development kit for those looking to build apps for its in-car infotainment system that exposes 400 data points from the car itself for developer use. The SDK allows creation of apps using HTML5 and JavaScript, running off of Node.js, that many front-end web developers already know, and GM’s Ed Wrenbeck, director of Application Ecosystem and Development, tells me this should make it possible for developers to create apps ready for testing in as little as a week. “Historically, the automakers haven’t made it very easy for …
  • Google Expands Mobile VR Platform Daydream
    After a couple months of restricting development on Daydream, Google has opened the floodgates, now allowing anyone to submit an app or experience for the company’s mobile VR platform. Previously, the company had worked with a select group of partners to build out apps for the platform, assumedly to give developers interested in Daydream a taste of what works well on it. Apps and games from Jaunt, Within, Lucid Sight and others were first to make the store, now Google is ready to share some key requirements and let the devs go wild with Daydream. The majority of these stipulations focus on user comfort, ensuring that …
  • Fitbit Cutting 6% Of Workforce
    Following disappointing fourth quarter earnings, Fitbit plans to cut its workforce by 6%, the wearable announced Monday. “A preliminary statement issued this morning details the loss of 110 jobs, as part of a ‘reorganization of its business,’” TechCrunch reports. “The news follows what has been a disappointing several months for the wearable space at large, impacting even Fitbit, the dominant player in the space.”
  • Hotel's Smart Locks Hijacked, Ransom Demanded
    A resort hotel in Austria has been the target of a series of hacks, including one that crippled the electronic “smart locks” on guest rooms. The attack prevented guests from accessing their rooms and prevented the issuance of new key cards, highlighting the potential fragility of systems in the so-called “internet of things.” Lacking other options, the four-star Seehotel Jägerwirt paid the hackers a modest ransom in Bitcoin to reactivate their systems. In a followup statement to Bleeping Computer, the hotel’s Managing Director Christoph Brandstätter emphasized that no guests were locked into their rooms, …
  • Uber Self-Driving Cars Back In San Francisco, But With Drivers
    Residents of this hilly city might be perplexed to find Uber's self-driving cars trolling its streets, given that the ride-hailing company as yet doesn't have permission from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles for autonomous testing. But the Uber Ford Fusion Hybrids packed with self-driving sensors that started making the rounds Wednesday are being driven by humans for the purpose of gathering valued road mapping data. “These cars are being used for Uber’s mapping purposes only," said Uber spokesperson Chelsea Kohler. "They are being driven manually at all times and their self-driving systems are disabled.”
  • Smart Parking System Starts Testing
    In what it describes as a first for the Nordics region, Norwegian firm Telia has launched a commercial narrowband Internet of Things service, allowing operators to offer communication to and from connected devices over their existing 4G/LTE mobile networks. Using narrowband for IoT, or NB-IoT, allows for more devices to be connected to mobile networks at a lower cost, ultimately enabling telcos to turn IoT into a basic service.
  • Delivery Robots May Start Rolling In The U.S.
    Robots about the size of a beer cooler could soon be rolling down Virginia sidewalks to deliver sandwiches, groceries or packages. Supporters say proposed legislation to allow the robots would make the state the first in the nation to regulate such devices. State lawmakers partnered with European company Starship Technologies on bills allowing Virginia cities to join two others in the U.S. and many across Europe where the company is testing its largely autonomous earthbound robots. Much like other tech companies' attempts at airborne drone deliveries, Starship aims to revolutionize the way people get their parcels. Representatives from the company …
  • Bike Sharing Service Adds IoT To Boost Customer Service
    China Mobile Shanghai teamed with Ericsson and Mobike, a popular bicycle-sharing service in Asia, to assess the ability of cellular Internet of Things (IoT) networks to improve customer service. The companies trialled low-power Internet of Things (IoT) technology on a live network enabling push-bikes to be more accurately located and coverage to be expanded to areas where traditional networks generally can’t reach, such as underground parking lots. Ericsson deployed the cellular IoT network, which introduced energy-saving and deep-coverage features the vendor said enable a five- to seven-fold improvement in coverage for operators.
  • Qualcomm, VCs Invest $109 Million In Camera Doorbell
    What good is a connected fridge if you have to use a boring old analogue doorbell to even get into the house? That is the question Qualcomm Ventures is piecing together an answer to, via its investment in smart doorbell startup Ring. A consortium that includes multiple other VCs is handing over $109 million of funding in a bid to enter the market at the bottom. They are hoping to show that the sector’s reputation for pointless gimmickry is just a bum rap. The latest smart home breakthrough pioneered by Ring is a doorbell attached to an internet connected camera that can …
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