IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 26th January 2017
Welcome to the IoT weekly round-up. This week, the IoT tackles rat infestations with predictive risk management, dating app Match releases a new feature that alerts you when you cross paths with a potential match, and smartphones could help diagnose skin cancer in the not-too-distant future.
Rentokil tackles pest infestation with the IoT
Rentokil, the pest control service, has joined with US-based software company Qlik to deliver predictive advice to its customers through Qlik’s cloud-based analytics platform. Connected devices will help capture data that can be used to deliver proactive risk management, for example understanding how weather conditions affect rodent behavior, and tracking insect swarms. Rentokil’s range of connected pest control products already numbers over 20,000 digital devices, generating more than three million pieces of data.
Smartphones could help diagnose skin cancer
Earlier this week, Nature published research findings suggesting that in the not-too-distant future, anyone will be able to perform a basic skin cancer screening simply by using their smartphone. A Stanford team was able to use machine learning to build a model that could correctly identify skin cancer. A database of 129,450 clinical images covering 2,000 diseases was used to build a training dataset from which the tool could learn to recognize skin cancer. The model is not infallible, but it could lead to an inexpensive solution to encourage more people to undertake preliminary screenings.
Google opens VR platform to developers
Google is now allowing anyone to submit an app or experience for development on its VR platform, Daydream. The company is sharing key requirements around user comfort, so that users are always the ones in control of the camera, for example. Currently, Daydream is only available on a few handsets (such as the Google Pixel and Pixel XL), but more phones are getting certification now.
80 percent of IoT apps are unsecured, says study
According to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, 80 percent of IoT apps are vulnerable to security breaches. The report points to an apparent lack of concern around securing apps from the word go through proper quality assurance and testing procedures. Recent high profile attacks such as last year’s Mirai botnet hijack of IoT devices have led to the hopeful expectation that IoT device manufacturers and app developers will make rigorous security testing a priority.
Google Translate gives live translations from Japanese to English
Real-time translation from Japanese to English text is now possible with Google Translate. By pointing a camera at signs, menus or anything else with text on it, the app can immediately provide a translation, thanks to a new feature available via Word Lens in both the iOS and Android versions. Word Lens launched on Translate in January 2015, originally supporting just English to Spanish translations, but thanks to swifter AI-powered translation, many more language pairs may soon be visible.
New Match feature shows who you’ve crossed paths with in the real world
Dating application Match is introducing a new feature that will show customers who they’ve crossed paths with in the real world. The feature, known as ‘Missed Connections’, uses location-based services on its users’ phones to determine their proximity to potential matches, and will offer them the chance to say hello if they choose. A user’s location data isn’t shared with other members until after the moment has passed, in order to protect privacy, and there’s an option to block other users pending review in case of an uncomfortable encounter.