KW 31: Apple, Google and Amazon agree on smart home standard, New Ikea smart air purifier supports HomeKit, Amazon develops smart soap dispenser


Apple, Google and Amazon agree on smart home standard: An alliance sponsored by Apple, Google, Amazon and other tech companies will begin certifying smart home devices later this year using a network technology called Matter, an important step toward making smart home products like smart speakers and lightbulbs more widely accepted. One sign of the technology’s how is that Matter will let smart-home products from Apple and Google work together despite the companies‘ longtime rivalry.

New Ikea smart air purifier supports HomeKit: Ikea has launched the Starvkind smart air purifier, which can stand alone or double as a side table. And it supports Apple’s HomeKit smart home system, with one small caveat. You must connect it through Ikea’s Tradfri gateway system. Designed for indoor use, the new Starvkind employs a three-filter system to rid the air of odors and remove airborne particles and gaseous pollutants in the home. Its function is adjustable for rooms of sizes up to about 215 square feet in area. The air purifier works on its own, but you can control and schedule its use through Ikea’s Tradfri gateway and the Ikea Home smart app.

Amazon develops smart soap dispenser: Amazon has introduced a new smart soap dispenser that works with Alexa and offers innovative features to facilitate users. Basically, it is an automatic soap dispenser with 20-second LED timer which guides people to have a proper hand wash. There are 10 LEDs on the top of the soap dispenser unit that light up on each use. The last light turns off after 20 seconds, indicating the CDC-recommended minimum amount of time for washing hands. This 12oz, countertop liquid soap dispenser integrates Wi-Fi for connectivity, along with support for Alexa voice assistant.

Facebook develops virtual world metaverse: Tech companies — primarily Facebook — are increasingly boosting the concept of the “metaverse,” the classic sci-fi term for a virtual world you can live, work and play inside. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the most bullish on the concept, announcing his plans earlier this month to pivot Facebook from a social media company to a metaverse company in the coming years. Facebook already runs Oculus, the virtual reality division of the company. Today, Oculus’ VR headsets are relatively limited in what they can do. But Facebook’s hope is to improve the technology so the headsets look more like a pair of Warby Parker glasses instead of a clunky helmet. According to Zuckerberg, the metaverse will only work if the hardware can provide the user a true sense of presence in the digital world.

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Electric vehicles: Magnetic concrete enables wireless charging of e-cars and e-trucks
Voice assistant: Amazon Alexa Skills can now create, change and delete timers
Exclusion: Google soon won’t let you sign in on very old Android devices
Record: HomePod sales get 180% boost, but a new model ‘may be needed’
Major order: Lilium in talks with Brazilian airline for $1B order


The number of voice assistants in American homes increased by 28 percent during the pandemic.


TÜV seal introduced for manufacturers of consumer IoT products: Customers are still very critical of smart home applications or mobile payment systems. This mistrust is mostly related to the collection and processing of extremely confidential data. Furthermore, users fear hacker attacks on consumer IoT products. This is why Germany’s TÜV IT has created the CyberSecurity Certified (CSC). According to TÜV Nord, manufacturers of CIoT products will be able to obtain certification on recognized security standards in the future, with both the product itself and the development and production process being examined. The certification process begins with an optional GAP analysis, which determines which measures need to be completed for a certificate. Subsequently, TÜV IT assists in the implementation of the previously planned measures in order to achieve the desired security level. The CSC is available in Basic, Substantial and High levels. According to TÜV Nord, the certification can be used to identify weaknesses that can then be eliminated.

Prometeo’s open-source firefigher safety project: AI platform Prometeo, the team that won the 2019 Call for Code challenge, launched its open-source Pyrrha solution in partnership with IBM, Samsung, and The Linux Foundation. Pyrrha is an open-source solution developed by a team comprised of a firefighter, a nurse, and a group of developers. It gives commanders in the field the ability to monitor personnel safety at a glance. This starts by equipping firefighters with a wearable device that detects toxins. It is an open-source solution and is being hosted by the Linux Foundation, and all the companies and teams involved want everybody’s help making Pyrrha better.

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„The new transfer office is intended to create the conditions for knowledge exchange not only between the funded municipalities, but far beyond. The goal is for all interested cities, municipalities and counties to benefit!“
Jens Libbe, head of the Infrastructure, Economy and Finance research area at the German Institute of Urban Affairs, wants to spur the digitization of municipalities with a coordination and transfer office for smart cities.


Facebook projects eyes onto VR goggles: Facebook Reality Labs wants to help people see your eyes while you’re in virtual reality — even if the results sit somewhere between mildly unsettling and nightmarish. Earlier this week, FRL released a paper on “reverse passthrough VR,” a recipe for making VR headsets less physically isolating. Researchers devised a method for translating your face onto the front of a headset, although they emphasize it’s still firmly experimental.

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