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Why Smart Homes are About to Get Real – ReadWrite

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Why Smart Homes are About to Get Real - ReadWrite


The idea of a smart home that is more convenient, more energy-efficient, more entertaining and more secure isn’t new. Microsoft explained opportunities in the early 2000s — but today, people tend to have more than 10 connected devices operating in their homes.

Why Smart Homes are About to Get Real

The market for these solutions is fragmented with different connectivity protocols operating on different ecosystems, impeding innovation, development, and user adoption.

This is not the first time the consumer electronics industry has faced problems with fragmentation and its associated limits on growth.

In the 1990s, any time you tried to connect a new device to your computer required a driver installation, multiple reboots, and sometimes even a hardware change or two.

With the introduction of USB, computers needed only one type of port for easy access to most peripherals, and today there are billions of USB devices in the world.

Smart homes are about to get a similar solution in the form of standards and certifications to create interoperability.

Apple, Amazon, Google, NXP, and other leading names in technology and stakeholders from across the smart home industry, including semiconductors, systems, software, and consumer goods, are working to create ease-of-development for manufacturers and ease-of-use for consumers.

What will interoperability mean for consumers?

For starters, interoperability and certification will make it easier to select, install, and enjoy smart home products. The initial installation will be quick and hassle-free, and adding new components to the setup will be similarly easy.

There will no longer be a need to download and install different software components for each use case. There won’t be a need for extra (expensive) devices such as dedicated hubs, gateways, translators, and proxies, to connect silos.

The “Future-Proofer”

Smart homes will become future-proof because developers and service providers will have more flexibility and lower risk in delivering products. Existing home networks will be able to accept new devices more easily, and Smart homes will support the kind of plug-and-play interoperability that consumers have always wanted.

 

Image Credit —  Zigbee Alliance

Cross-Industry Initiative

The cross-industry initiative, organized by the Zigbee Alliance under the working title “Project Connected Home over IP,” or “Project CHIP,” is focused on four broad areas to make the promise of smart homes real:

Internet Protocol (IP) as the basis for connectivity

Even though it’s been around since the mid-1970s, IP remains the principal protocol for relaying data across networks. IP addresses make a device “findable” on the network so that data can be sent to and from the device.

Also, IP routing moves data packets from one connection point to the next and is what essentially makes the present-day internet possible.

This will enable devices to communicate using one familiar, widely used protocol, without translation. Using IP will also make it easier to create consistent cloud and device data models, making device design and deployment both simpler and more cost-effective.

 Internet Protocol (IP) will share standard device definitions

Project CHIP will define common, royalty-free, and open-source software standards for what a device is, with a definition of its attributes and standards for managing the complete device lifecycle, including provisioning, onboarding, removal, error recovery, and software updates.

Device designers will be able to choose the appropriate network protocol, thread or Wi-Fi, that best fits their applications, such as power consumption and data rate, without having to create translators.

The result will be a universal framework and model for device designers to follow, thereby delivering more innovation that’s simpler and easier for consumers to install and operate.

The Internet Protocol Platform will provide a comprehensive approach to security

In light of the robust growth of consumer use of home-based technology for work and play, a consistent and reliable approach to security is core to user reliance on smart home devices.

Security is one reason why IP is the foundation for Project CHIP, since IP includes market-proven algorithms and infrastructure that implement routing, switching, and firewalling in robust and resilient ways.

Also, IP supports opportunities to deliver end-to-end security and privacy when devices communicate with other devices, apps, or services.

Not only will the platform deliver these security benefits now, but the project’s working groups will continually examine ways to improve security further.

Internet Protocol will provide guidelines for certification

The project will define a common framework for connectivity, with support for network testing and certification, along with a set of test plans to be used with all major ecosystems. This will give device manufacturers and test labs clear guidelines to follow for certification.

The guidelines will make it easier for consumers to select devices and options because certified products can be trusted to work as expected in their given ecosystem.

The Promise of Project CHIP

The promise of Project CHIP is because of the decades-long history of leadership in connectivity and security, and there have always been strong advocates for standardization efforts across compute platforms, certification programs, and open-source initiatives.

Zigbee Alliance

As one of the few semiconductor companies involved in the project, Zigbee Alliance can help customers and developers realize the benefits of the new standards.

More importantly, Zigbee Alliance is excited to help bring those benefits to consumers.

I’m personally looking forward to seeing how smart devices will seamlessly interact, anticipate and automate every families’ needs in the home. The idea of a smart home is about to get real.

Image Credit: patryk kamenczak; pexels

Lars Reger

Lars Reger

As Executive Vice President and CTO, Lars Reger is responsible for NXP’s overall tech portfolio, including Autonomous Driving, Consumer and Industrial IoT and Security. Prior to joining NXP in 2008, Lars held various positions with Siemens, Infineon and Continental.

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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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