KW 48: Germany’s cartel office warns of data-hungry Smart TVs, HomePod mini users report WiFi connectivity problems, Frankfurt on its way to becoming a Smart City


Germany’s cartel office warns of data-hungry Smart TVs: The Federal Cartel Office has warned of Smart TVs that collect too much data. Modern devices are able to record and evaluate the general television viewing behavior of a person, their app usage, their surfing and clicking behavior or even biometric data such as voice or cursor movements as well as the individual content played on the television, the agency says in a new report. Cheaper devices usually collect more data than expensive ones. The nature of this data is often kept secret by the manufacturer.

Samsung integrates Google Assistant into Smart TVs: Google Assistant is now available on Samsung’s 2020 TVs in the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, and will be available in 12 countries by the end of the year, Samsung has announced. This follows the launch of Google’s voice assistant on Samsung’s TVs in the US last month. Samsung says it’ll roll out in Spain, Brazil, India and South Korea by late November. The voice assistant is available alongside Amazon’s Alexa and Samsung’s own Bixby voice assistants.

HomePod mini users report WiFi connectivity problems: The HomePod mini is now widely available to consumers, but some early buyers are reporting issues with WiFi connectivity. A thread on Apple’s support forums highlights the problems that some users are facing. The troubleshooting steps provided by Apple include rebooting HomePod mini or even restoring it to its default settings. In both instances, the fix is only temporary.,

Update for Google’s speech recognition: Thanks to an update, Google’s AI assistant will soon be able to identify individual speakers in a room. In contrast to the old version, the new voice recognition VoiceFilter-Lite will no longer run in the cloud but on the end device and therefore does not require an internet connection. The better speech recognition currently only works in English, but will also be tested for other languages.

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IoT you can touch on the old Tegel site: When the Tegel airport in Berlin was closed, many people mourned the airport they had come to love. In the future, a research center and a district in the style of a smart city are to be built on the site. Both small and large companies are to be located in the so-called Urban Tech Republic with the aim of researching the pressing questions of the future. The new quarter will accommodate up to 10,000 people whose apartments will be supplied with climate-neutral energy. In addition to topics such as smart mobility, residents will also be able to try out the Internet of Things in everyday life.

Frankfurt on its way to becoming a Smart City: Jan Schneider, Frankfurt’s department head for all things digital, has presented a new Smart City plan. The plan focuses on improving the quality of life of residents, for example through sensors that measure whether a garbage can is full or street lights that report automatically when they are broken. The first steps have already been taken in digitizing the city. Since 2013, residents have been able to apply for parking permits online. Citizens can also take part in decisions via an online platform. The city is working closely with Mainova AG on digitization. The energy supplier is 75 percent owned by the city. Mainova AG is currently working on building so-called “gateways” in the city, which will network the thousands of sensors. This project should be completed by 2021.

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„Smart City cannot be understood as a self-contained project with a specific content and a fixed end date. We are at the very beginning of a technological development, of which nobody can say where and how far it is going.“
Thomas Bugl, Head of Economic Affairs for the City of Rosenheim, on the implementation of the Smart City concept.


AWS outage impacts thousands of online services: Amazon Web Services (AWS), a core provider of internet infrastructure services, went through a major outage on Wednesday. The service’s spotty uptime caused issues at thousands of other online services across the internet. Almost all major cloud-based software apps that rely on AWS for their backend were impacted, from Adobe Spark to Roku, and from Flickr to Autodesk. Among the sites who reported issues on the DownDetector page were services like Ring, Prime Music, Roku, and others.

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