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Why This Smart Home Solutions Provider Isn’t Worried About a Silicon Shortage – ReadWrite

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Deanna Ritchie


The world is in the grips of a major silicon-components shortage, and it’s affecting production in nearly every sector. At the start of the pandemic, demand for components soared along with the demand for computers, servers, and gaming consoles.

Social distancing at factories and chip-hoarding among tech giants has led to the most serious “chip-famine” in recent memory. The shortage will undoubtedly affect the price and availability of electronic devices through 2021 — but smart home experience pioneer Plume isn’t worried.

You may know Plume as the creator of the world’s first self-optimizing WiFi, but the company is more than a WiFi solutions provider. Lately, Plume has been on the front lines of bringing order and integration to the smart home. Its open-source software has paved the way for an industry-standard that could provide some relief during the shortage.

Most remarkably, Plume is finally delivering on the original vision for the smart home — complete interoperability.

Interoperability is talking about the ability of a system such as a computer system or a type of software to be able to use information-interoperability between devices that are made by different manufacturers.

OpenSync Could be the Missing Link for the Connected Home

In 2018, Plume and Samsung, among other industry players, announced OpenSync — the first multi-industry open-source framework — designed to connect in-home hardware to the cloud.

OpenSync is a cloud-agnostic, CPE-agnostic, and silicon-agnostic layer of software that operates across WiFi-enabled devices. It allows Internet service providers to deliver, manage, and support residential cloud services for their customers. The cloud-agnostic application allows workloads to be moved seamlessly between cloud platforms and other infrastructures without problems with operating dependency.

Licensing of the Open Source Framework

OpenSync is available under a BSD-3 open-source license. The BSD-3 is the Modified BSD License (3-clause) — which is in the family of permissive free software licenses. This license is compatible with RDK, OpenWRT, and prplWRT. It’s also integrated into the SDKs and designs from the industry’s leading silicon providers.

While OpenSync may create some more competition for Plume, it will ultimately safeguard the company’s future through versatility, compatibility, and its ability to scale.

According to Plume CEO Fahri Diner, consumer needs are evolving. We’ve gone from simply needing Internet connectivity to craving faster speeds for entertainment and socialization. Now consumers are looking for personalized cross-device experiences.

Connectivity to Support All Services

Connectivity to the home and services in the home are starting to decouple, says Diner. Companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Google have bypassed Internet providers to offer services directly to the consumer. To stay competitive, providers have realized they must be able to curate, deliver, and support these services.

Liberty Global, Bell Canada, and Comcast have already joined the OpenSync initiative. And why not? It makes it incredibly easy for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to swiftly deliver the services their customers want. It’s also a natural fit for Plume, who has always sought to partner with—rather than compete against—providers.

How OpenSync Enables Smart Home 2.0

OpenSync doesn’t just help usher service providers into the smart home era. In a big-picture sense, creating a common software layer allows Plume to fulfill the original promise of the smart home. Every device and every service can be fully integrated and controlled from the cloud.

“Consumers today demand choice when bringing products and services into their home that work best for their lifestyle, without being locked into any one ecosystem,” says Samsung Vice President Chanwoo Park.

The Consumer Wants Easy Install and Interoperability for All Smart Home Devices

A smart home user might have an Amazon Echo, a Nest camera, a Samsung smart refrigerator, and Apple TV. Ease and convenience go out the window the minute those things don’t play well together.

With OpenSync, consumers can equip their homes with smart networking gear from many different suppliers regardless of their CSP (service provider). Consumers don’t want to have to stick to a single brand of networking devices. These issues will become especially relevant as we see tech companies try to exert more control over the smart home ecosystem.

Demand for the New “Works-With” Generation of Products

Last May, for instance, Google ended “Works With Nest” and transitioned to “Works With Google Assistant.” In a nutshell, Google didn’t want users controlling Nest products through third-party smart home applications. Google also makes its own proprietary WiFi system.

Imagine if the “works-with” generation of products is extended to “Works With Google WiFi” and made it more difficult for consumers with Google WiFi to utilize IoT devices from other brands?

Open-industry standards supplied by multiple vendors, such as OpenSync, are the best way to fight any attempts at monopolizing the smart home through proprietary WiFi networking.

The Beauty of Plume’s Hardware-Agnostic Solutions

Plume seems to have anticipated that major brands and service providers would soon be vying for consumers’ complete devotion. The company cleverly side-stepped this problem by making its smart home solutions hardware-agnostic. Plume’s adaptive WiFi works seamlessly with a customer’s existing CSP and any OpenSync-enabled hardware.

Plume has always been hardware-agnostic, putting the software required to connect a networking device to the cloud onto any brand of device, with any type of chipset inside. Plume took this to the next level by open-sourcing that software with its partners in 2018.

Total Hardware-Agnostic Capabilities

Working toward total hardware-agnostic capabilities allows not just Plume, but anyone, to put the software on any device with any chipset. Flexibility and availability have been a win for Plume and its partners. Wireless customers can get all the frills of adaptive WiFi and other smart home services without locking themselves into a particular hardware supplier or chipset vendor.

OpenSync gave Plume an opportunity to make inroads with every major provider because it solved a growing problem CSPs had. Their customers were rapidly adopting smart home tech — along with a layer of new services.

Until OpenSync came along, providers didn’t have a good solution to help their customers manage this. With OpenSync, the Internet of Things suddenly just works.

Why OpenSync is a Shock-Absorber to the Silicon Crisis

An open-source framework could prove to be even more valuable as the silicon shortage becomes dire. Plume has forged partnerships with major chipset vendors, and the top 20 leading WiFi CPEs are supported by OpenSync.

All OpenSync-powered CPEs can coexist on the same network, even devices of different WiFi generations, each utilized optimally in a mixed network. This extends the lifecycle of hardware that would otherwise be rendered obsolete and provides peace of mind to CSPs who issue these pieces.

Fully Adaptive WiFi and Smart Home Solutions

In many ways, Plume has positioned itself fully as an adaptive WiFi and smart home solutions provider. It has brought peace and harmony to the device-integration madness without stepping on anybody’s toes. Consequently, over 22 million homes are being powered by Plume.

The silicon shortage will inevitably bring more manufacturing bottlenecks and higher prices for the consumer. Users won’t want to replace their hardware as often, and the smart home will have to adapt. That’s where OpenSync comes in.

When all players are using a common layer of software, users can mix and match to customize their experience.

Image Credit: fauxels; pexels

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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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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