IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 20th July 2017

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Welcome to the IoT weekly round-up. This week, IBM gets a coveted spot on the IoT Podcast, an MIT researcher may have solved the mystery of integrated touch with virtual reality experiences, and Google’s Expeditions app allows the public to travel virtually to over 600 destinations via a smartphone and VR headset.

Bret Greenstein takes the guest spot on this week’s IoT Podcast

Bret Greenstein, VP of Watson IoT for Consumer Business at IBM, takes center stage on the IoT Podcast this week. In conversation with hosts Stacey Higgonbotham and Kevin Tofel, Bret tackles analytics, machine learning and AI, and shares some of IBM Watson’s latest activities.

Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure services will help Baidu’s Apollo go global

Microsoft Azure Cloud was already involved with Maidu’s Apollo self-driving platform alliance, and this week unveiled further details about its role in the partnership. In a nutshell, Microsoft will now offer cloud infrastructure services for customers keen to adopt Apollo. Other alliance members include TomTom, Bosh, Continental and Nvidia. Apollo provides open software, cloud services, and sensor and computing hardware for vehicles.

‘Shape-display robot’ may have cracked touch in VR

An MIT researcher has created a portable wheeled robot that simulates surfaces and textures. It adds another level of immersion to the VR experience, as users seem to feel what their VR selves are touching. ReVeal, as the system is known, follows your hand as you move it around a room – offering hitherto unprecedented mobility insofar as VR and touch is concerned. Sadly you can’t buy one just yet – it’s staying firmly in the lab for now.

LiveStories secures $10 million for its big data platform

Seattle-based start-up LiveStories has nabbed $10million to continue building its big data platform, which helps to structure and visualise fragmented civic data from governments, educational establishments and other public entities. The latest round brings LiveStories’ total funding to $13.9 million since its initial successful application in 2013.

Microsoft unveils a Cortana-powered thermostat

Microsoft has unveiled GLAS: a smart thermostat, developed in partnership with Johnson Controls. GLAS includes Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana, and a touchscreen displaying temperature, air quality and even schedule. It’s voice-command enabled and can apparently tell when a room is empty to avoid wasting energy.

Google’s VR app Expeditions is open to the public

Google’s Expeditions App will make educational VR tours available to the public – as long as they own a cardboard headset and an Android phone. So far, there are around 600 tours available for the solo viewer, though you can also connect with other people’s devices to operate a ‘group’ tour, complete with guide to direct you.

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