Wolfsburg wants to offer Smart City App: The German city of Wolfsburg is planning to develop a Smart City app that will help citizens in everyday life by making nearly every service in the city controllable via app. Whether applying for public services or using public transport, the app will simplify contact between citizens and the Smart City. Wolfsburg has already received millions in funding from Germany’s interior ministry to implement the Smart City model project. The plan is part of the federal government’s “Model Projects Smart Cities: Urban Development and Digitization” funding program. „I am convinced that we can bundle many synergies through this cooperation and thus create added value for each individual,“ said Dennis Weilmann of the Wolfsburg city council.
Google Assistant to support use of multiple accounts: Google has announced an expansion of the functionality of its assistant. Users can now use different accounts across several of Google’s services. For example, Google’s Smart Speakers, now under the Nest brand, already support multiple user accounts. Those still need a single master account that will link other secondary accounts but, after that setup process, everyone in the family can use Nest Home and its kin with their own music collection and the like. The feature is not yet available in Germany, but that should only be a matter of time.
Homee system now with presence detection: The “Homee” Smart Home system now has an automatic presence and absence detection function. For example, the system can recognize when the last person has left the house and then turn the heating down or activate the alarm system. The function also works the other way around: As soon as someone is back home, the alarm is deactivated and the heating is turned up. To use the function, it must be activated once for each user in the associated app.
Bosch wants to create code of ethics for AI: The Bosch Group sees artificial intelligence as a key technology for the future, but with potential risks. The company has now issued guidelines governing the use of AI in its intelligent products. Bosch’s AI code of ethics is based on the following maxim: Humans should be the ultimate arbiter of any AI-based decisions. Bosch’s “Invented for life” ethos combines a quest for innovation with a sense of social responsibility. Bosch wants its AI-based products to be safe, robust, and explainable.
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Lidl Smart Home: Smart Lamps for a discount futurezone.de
OLED: LG and Assa Abloy are jointly developing Smart Glass Door smarthomeassistent.de
Wearables are booming: Apple remains the market leader with watches and Airpods t3n.de
Smart Speaker: Bose products get more Alexa functions golem.de
Smart Energy: “Smart Home remains a strong growth market” zfk.de
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
Security experts recently found 7,339 vulnerabilities while investigating popular, networked products from well-known manufacturers.
Deutsche Post launches postage app: Germany’s postal service Deutsche Post has started an app that allows customers to purchase a „mobile postage stamp“. Customers who pay for their postage via the app receive a code of numbers and letters that they write on their letter or package. Payments can be made via PayPal. Compared to the Deutsche Post’s mobile phone postage, which will soon expire, buying postage on the app will not be more expensive than in the post office. Initially, the offer can only be used for shipments within Germany.
Smart Home – but safe: Just like any other technology, the Smart Home is vulnerable to attacks. The smart devices in a household can be inviting to potential burglars. Houses with networked security technology can be attacked if they are not properly secured. Criminals can remotely gain access to cameras, alarm systems or even Smart Door Locks. A test by German consumer organization Stiftung Warentest showed that two out of seven Smart Locks allow short, easily hackable passwords – a security risk. Those who want to convert their homes into Smart Homes should consider a few things: The most important being that all the latest firmware should be installed on all products. Manufacturers update these regularly in order to close any security gaps and to make access as difficult as possible for hackers. In addition, consumers should inform themselves about a device’s security level before purchasing.
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„We need Smart City, we need smart and digital solutions on site. But we don’t need this for the sake of digitization itself. Digitization should support what the municipalities are already doing for the citizens by promoting it more effectively and more easily with digital solutions. We shouldn’t create a black box where citizens cannot even imagine what the Smart City of tomorrow will look like.“
German politician Elvan Korkmaz-Emre on the meaningfulness of the transformation to the Smart City.
NOT SO SMART…
Root gaps in D-Link VPN routers: Digital Defense has disclosed vulnerabilities identified in D-Link VPN routers. D-Link has made a patch in the form of a hotfix for the affected firmware versions and models. Users are advised to verify their hardware model and firmware to identify vulnerable devices and apply provided hotfix and any other updates until the official firmware is available.