KW 49: Digital backlog in communities is becoming increasingly clear, Apple improves Facetime video quality, Consumers often don’t understand smart infrastructure


Digital backlog in communities is becoming increasingly clear: The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the digital backlog in communities. Many agencies were forced to shut down partially or even completely in the last few months, and have thus had to rethink and reorganize. During this time, it became clear that digital administration and the development of smart cities are still far from reality. Office 2.0 and the associated digitization process are currently being driven forward, but the municipalities are taking a long time with it.

Apple improves Facetime video quality: With the new iOS 14.2 update, Apple has given older iPhones a higher resolution for video calls in addition to a host of new functions. Facetime calls to older iPhones can now be made in Full HD, i.e. with 1920 x 1080 pixels or 1080p. IPhone 8, X, XR, XS, SE and 11 will benefit from the update. It could also be seen as a small gift from Apple to help with Christmas video calls.

Infogrid raises millions from Northzone to retrofit buildings with smart IoT: Infogrid, an IoT startup which can retrofit an existing building to make it “smart”, has raised 15.5 million dollars. The Series A funding round was led by Northzone, with participation from JLL Spark, Concrete VC, The Venture Collective, Jigsaw VC, an unnamed real estate investment group and an unnamed large international asset owner. Infogrid’s platform combines IoT sensors with proprietary AI analysis and has had some success re-vamping facilities management for some of the world’s largest providers, such as global banks, supermarkets, restaurant chains and the NHS. Infogrid also has an “impact-style” mission to enable businesses to reduce the environmental and social cost of their buildings while simultaneously benefitting their bottom line and asset values.

US senate passes IoT cybersecurity bill: The US senate has passed legislation to mandate certain security requirements for Internet of Things (IoT) devices purchased by the federal government, moving forward legislation that had been stalled on Capitol Hill since 2017. The Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act was passed by the House in September. If signed into law by the president, the bill will task the National Institute of Standards and Technology with issuing recommendations for secure development, identity management, patching and configuration management for IoT devices. The Office of Management and Budget would be required to issue guidelines to federal agencies that are consistent with NIST’s recommendations.

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„By 2025, there will be 25 billion devices worldwide that communicate with one another, learn from one another, and thus provide us with completely new insights,“ says Marcus Grausam, CEO A1 Austria.


Western Digital study: Consumers often don’t understand smart infrastructure: Western Digital, together with market research company Loudhouse, asked 6,084 consumers from Germany, Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates about their understanding of smart infrastructure. 37 percent of consumers stated that they consider security cameras to be necessary as part of a smart city infrastructure. 39 percent of those questioned also enjoy charging points for electric vehicles. The development of security cameras in the field of smart homes is a top priority. Benefits for the security of their home and also reduced crime were stated. Although consumers are interested in innovative technologies, many, especially in Germany, do not know exactly what is meant by smart infrastructure. This could be due to a lack of education about data storage, as Digital Western explains.

Startups rely on blockchain: More and more startups are using blockchain technology. The Hamburg-based tech company Ourz uses blockchain to specialize in supply chain management. Together with Frosta boss Felix Ahlers, the Hamburg-based Ourzs software is used by the Solino coffee company founded by Ahlers. On the Ourz web app, customers receive information about who grew the beans and roasted the coffee, the route the coffee traveled and when the coffee was in which location. This helps customers understand their coffee’s journey when shopping. Blockchain technology is meant to ensure that counterfeiting is not possible. Both companies are revolutionizing and digitizing supply chains.

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„The approval procedures are too lengthy, the funding framework is complicated, and there are staff shortages in the municipalities.“
Prof. Dr. Oliver Rottmann, Managing Director of the Competence Center for Public Economy, Infrastructure and Services of General Interest at the University of Leipzig explains why the road to the “Smart City” in Germany is taking so long.


Germany’s Federal Network Agency warns of “smart” Christmas gifts: The Federal Network Agency has issued an urgent warning against some products and product groups. If possible, they should not end up under the Christmas tree because they endanger children and privacy.

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