8 October 2014 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief
I can’t help but be fascinated by cool technology. Macron Co., Ltd.’s CEO, Dr. Kil-Jae
Lee, spent time with us at KTech SV 2014,
to talk about, and demo, the company’s virtual mouse for Google Glass.
When asked why a virtual mouse, Dr. Lee responded that
Google Glass’ gestures are very limited, they are restricted to left and right
gestures, and voice can be intrusive and has trouble handling accents.
Dr. Lee noted that Macron has been a Korean-based systems
company for 20 years, providing machine vision inspection systems for Samsung
and LG. It developed this virtual gesture-recognition over four years. The
company has five patents granted for their virtual mouse, and five more
pending. The company has $1M investment from Atinum and Hanwha and is seeking
While Google Glass is the first implementation, Macron’s
gesture-recognition technology can be used for smart displays, digital signage,
smart home and gesture games. One “clicks” with the index finger (see image).
asked how Macron’s solution was different from others, Dr. Lee said, “What’s
special that separates us is that we use a 2D versus a 3D camera, which gives a
lot of benefits. It’s cheaper, because it doesn’t require special hardware,
anyone with a smartphone [note: currently Android] can use it as long as
someone has our software installed, and, we consume less power, we’ve optimized
for more battery life.”
The company noted that the weakness of voice recognition is
it works only over a short distance, and can be confused by a noisy
environment. Gesture recognition is designed for longer distance, and can
manage in noisy environment (although its weaknesses include the need for
simple commands and can be confounded by a bright environment.
To get users familiar with Macron’s virtual gesture-based
mouse, the company offers a free, newly released gaming app for Google Glass on
the Google PlayStore, called G-Copter
(for Android). See a
video of how it works.
You can also download another Google Glass Macron app,
called Gesture Call.
This app sends a user's
contact list from one’s Android smartphone to Google Glass. Once the contact
list of the smart phone is synced to Google Glass, a user can make a call by
searching a contact with hand gestures on Google Glass.
In the Gesture Call demo, I used an index finger to navigate
a contact data base. Awkward at first, it became easier as I practiced.
said, very cool.
Images courtesy of Macron
3 November 2014 - By Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief
During the October Gigaom Structure
Connect conference, I spoke with New Zealander Sam Lee, who founded meMINI to bring to market a unique, about a hand-sized,
HD wearable video camera. It can easily clip on to one’s shirt. It is designed
to make capturing, editing and sharing short video clips (30 seconds to two
minutes) simple so that anyone can use it. It is always rolling when in use,
recording five minutes of video, since it is designed to provide “the gift of
hindsight.” For example, there’s a cute or funny moment, and you wish you had
videoed it. Press the button, and, because it has been recording, you’ll have
the clip you wish you had. Editing and sharing is a very simple process over
one’s smartphone, via the cloud. They have an office in San Francisco, and
don’t want to be seen as “just” a New Zealand operation. They have a team of
about 12, fulltime and freelance. They are looking for seed/angel funding. They
a campaign on KickStarter that raised over $93K for what they call “Recall”
video approach. You can pre-order a meMINI
via their web site for $199USD, along with a Universal Mount. My one concern is
that of privacy, in that people may balk at being around an always-on device. In
any case, I am not aware of a recall-type HD video wearable, let me know if you
have. Despite any privacy qualms, I’d like one, and wish them luck with their
Video Camera photo courtesy of meMINI, Photo of Sam Lee from ON Magazine
22 March 2015 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief
Météorage is a lightning risk prevention services
company comprised of 23 people, located in southwest France, very close to
Spain and the ocean, in the lovely Bordeaux region. It’s a French company, and a subsidiary
of Météo-France in the government’s National Meteorological office, so it’s a
private company owned by a government institution, thus we have it in our
startup profiles. We spoke with Stéphane
Pédeboy, head of the Technical Department.
company was born 25 years ago. Their services are based on lightning data; the
data set is collected in real time, thanks to lightning locating system in
France with sensors in the country. They have around 100 sensors for polling
data that are spread across their extended network covering Western Europe.
Thus, they have agreements with neighboring country operators to increase coverage
in Western Europe.
collect and measure a number of parameters, such as the quantity of current,
etc. The data is either provided to customers in real time or via a database
that captures historical data.
tries to do predictions. When a thunderstorm is happening, when the first
lightning strikes, they can trace the moment, and have a research project in
this direction. Further, they are able to predict whether the storm will be
dangerous, with hail, strong wind, etc.
real time, they offer desktop or laptop visuals for customers who want to see
on a display, as soon as the lightning occurs – emergency. Customers are power
plants, electricity installations, telecoms, roads, railways, and others who
are concerned with lightning risk. They want to be sure what is happening is
not dangerous for them. They get an automated warning that, for example “a
thunderstorm is approaching, be careful,” and a message when the event is over
and no longer a danger.
Météorage are enhancing their JAVA real-time solution by using KAAZING’s WebSocket technology to enable
permanent, always-on server-to-laptop communications over the ‘standard’ HTTP
Web – whereas so far the real-time service has been dependent on a ‘telecom’ link that apparently presented some reliability and security concerns.
The challenge therefore was to find a way of doing this over the Web in
real-time, reliably and securely. KAAZING has enabled this and users are happy,
as it requires no special configuration on their end (it’s plug and play) and is secure. They plan to
release their new Web-based application during the lightning season in France
– May to September/October, hopefully in May. Due to KAAZING’s HTML5 WebSocket technology,
they are also planning to go in the direction of increased mobility.
talked about a number of use cases. One interesting one is that of farmers
making insurance claims for lightning damage, with Météorage they can check if
it was so. It’s a big market in France, noted Stéphane. He pointed out that a
lot of industry and manufacturing processes are sensitive to lightning. They
want to be warned before the storm is over their head, so that they can take
actions to prevent voltage overages, for example. France’s amusement parks run
ropes courses (“acrobranches”) in the trees and it takes time to get people
down, so knowledge of a major storm approaching is critical.
I know that “foudre” means lightning and that the expression, “Coup de
foudre,” about instant love makes a lot more sense! Météorage may be small,
they expect to serve 300 customers in three years, but are an interesting
budding IoT player.
Image of Stephane Pedeboy and UK Lightning Archive Data Screen - courtesy of Météorage
nomos system AG
6 January 2015 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief
At the December 2014 Innovation Enterprise IoT Summit (2015
link) Technology Editor Ron Bingham and I sat down with Bernhard Huessy,
co-founder and CEO of nomos system, a Swiss-based venture that offers OEMs and
enterprises a universal automation-software engine capable of controlling any
device, regardless of communication protocols, standards or proprietary
software. By elevating software and hardware to a single communication layer,
nomos system cuts through protocol chaos as the “Swiss army knife” of home automation and
provides manufacturers with a system that can connect, control and feed data
from any platform.
During CES on 6 January 2015, nomos introduced three new
“menu” solutions for OEMs:
- Easy IoT Package (A): An IoT OEM automation package
available as a white-label box that includes selected hardware or a
software-as-a-service license only. As an out-of-the-box automation solution,
the Easy IoT Package provides customers with a fully integrated automation
system, allowing companies to personalize the product with their own corporate
identity. With three packages to choose from – comfort, lighting and security –
companies can select the box that best suits their IoT strategy and business
model needs, providing an opportunity to increase the company’s business proposition. The Easy IoT
Package is a DIY kick-starter solution for any company looking to enter the IoT
market with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of devices.
- IoT Development Platform (B): A development platform
that unlocks the IoT and gives users the tools to build their own automation
product. Companies or OEMs can utilize pieces of the nomos software to improve
an existing IoT solution, or use the entire functionality of the nomos engine to develop a unique IoT product without
allocating additional time and resources. The nomos multi-protocol gateway
speeds development and helps users gain interoperability among their own
devices as well as third-party devices. For those seeking to establish
themselves in the automation marketplace or planning to create an IoT product,
the nomos development platform provides needed flexibility.
- System Integrator Tool (C): A single- or bulk-license
system integrator tool that provides the full scope of any high-end automation
solution and seamless integration of hardware and software. The System
Integrator Tool is nomos’ legacy software engine that
provides a personalized and customizable user interface to connect one product
universally. The nomos software platform offers full flexibility, including but
not limited to lighting, heating / aircon (HVAC), energy management, security /
CCTV, AV distribution and entertainment, etc.
Founded in 2010, nomos was cagey about the number of employees or amount, or
origin, of funding, so, let’s assume a small team. Bernhard started as a
teenager in Switzerland to “get girls,” but found he only dealt with other
geeks. He got into installation of high-end entertainment centers for wealthy
customers’ homes and private planes.
His background led him to the next step of installing IoT devices, which he realized couldn’t be easily connected. Thus, his
practical experience led him to develop nomos, and attack the problem of home
automation connectivity in a world of multiple protocols.
“I found it
unacceptable that in such a promising market, devices were still not ‘free’ to connect to each other because
of the complexities of today's technology,” said Bernhard Huessy, co-founder
and CEO, nomos system AG. “nomos was created to essentially ‘free’ every
product by slicing a shortcut around warring protocols and standards,
ultimately taking businesses into the new world of interconnectivity.”
From his mother’s basement to a global startup, Bernhard
demonstrates the entrepreneur’s journey and we wish him and his venture the
best of luck, as we believe his business model is a sound one.
Photo of Bernhard Huessy and OEM smartphone screen courtesy of nomos
9 February 2015 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief
Welcome to the acronym-heavy world of Machine to Machine
(M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) communications! We spoke with CEO Sam Colley
of Podsystem, Inc. USA, an independent Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that provides multi-network and
multi-IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identities) data SIM cards for the M2M
and IoT industries. Thus, similar to an insurance broker, Podsystem is in a position to
negotiate with networks around the world to create a solution that offers the
widest coverage at the best prices available.
The company “specializes in
data connectivity services for a wide range of companies, from systems
integrators and applications developers in the M2M market, to resellers of data
solutions for travellers and enterprises with specific mobile connectivity
As they define it, “Machine to Machine (M2M) refers to devices that use either
wired or wireless technology to connect with other devices and transfer
information to them via networks. Wireless M2M GSM devices that connect via
mobile networks include a SIM card (they can also use embedded or virtual
SIMs), which enables them to remotely connect to GSM and GPRS networks and
transfer information either via SMS or data packets to other devices.”
The goal with M2M is to reduce the need for human
intervention, thus increasing efficiency and effectiveness (such as
automatically providing the right chemicals at the right time for agriculture).
company’s best signal, multi-network SIMs automatically connect to the best
network on device start-up, subsequently swapping networks if they lose signal,
ensuring maximum connectivity even in remote areas.
also offers “a unique patent-pending solution to address the major connectivity
challenges M2M application developers face, namely coverage,
reliability and longevity. This solution is the result of years of
development and negotiations with the major operators around the world to
provide an answer to the main challenges which repeatedly arise
during the development of M2M and IoT applications in different sectors.”
Their connectivity solutions turn machines into remote
communication devices. Any M2M or IoT device that has a cellular modem can
connect to the GSM
network using data SIM cards such as those provided by Podsystem to send data
back to a central server. This solution is based on
including multiple International Mobile Subscriber Identities (IMSIs) from
independent networks around the globe on one SIM card.
patent-pending application allows the SIM to automatically swap between IMSIs
if there are technical or commercial issues on the networks to ensure maximum
reliability and uptime. The second part of the solution is the ability to
update the profile of the SIM cards remotely “Over The Air” (OTA). This gives a
high level of control by allowing networks to be swapped, added or blocked as
required, and new IMSIs to be added as pricing comes down.
Podsystem notes, “With the market rapidly moving towards the Internet of Things
(IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE), in addition to the
opportunities presented by the advent of Big Data, Podsystem is focusing
on anticipating forthcoming developments and future-proofing our systems to
allow our customers to gain a vital competitive advantage in this fast-moving
“What’s unique about Podsystem,” says CEO of Podystem, Inc. USA Sam Colley, “is the
level of control we offer our customer over their SIMs. The SIMs are owned by
our customer, not the network. We can automatically switch between two networks
in the USA, including T-Mobile and AT&T, increasing reliability and offering
more flexibility. Our online management platform and our new multi-IMSI solution
with the ability to remotely control the profile of the SIM enables our
customers the flexibility to adapt the SIMs to their needs without having to
swap them out of the device. In addition, between our offices in Europe and the
USA (San Francisco) we offer 18 hours of continuous support daily with 24 hour
emergency support available from experts in M2M and IoT.”
Podsystem’s customers cover a wide range of sectors,
including logistics and fleet management, energy and environment, consumer electronics,
retail, manufacturing and healthcare. Due to the multi-network functionality of
the SIMs, the solution is particularly interesting for remote and mission
critical applications, or those that are constantly moving. One
the US and UK is with nurses, enabling them to take tablets for home visits,
and, when they arrive, have patient information on their tablet and fill in new
information and/or test results. Notes are kept electronically and they can
pull up information remotely. Other case studies include Arnia’s
remote beehive monitoring system and TrakLok’s
'best signal' multi-network SIMs for advanced cargo security and tracking.
The company covers North America, most of Africa, Australia,
Europe, Latin America and Asia. Fees vary but are based on a fixed rate per SIM
per month depending on the requirements of the customer. Podsystem also offers
“pooled” or aggregated plans that help their customers keep costs down. The company is interested in working with
startups and IoT developers, offering them low-cost prepaid contracts with full
Podsystem Inc. is a satellite venture, sharing resources
with their parent company in Europe. Podsystem, with 12 employees, is privately
held, but hasn’t yet announced venture funding. They say that they have been
growing very quickly since the launch of Podsystem in the US market. They
service and support customers out of offices in Buckingham, UK, Seville, Spain, and San Francisco,
Photo of CEO Sam Colley and SIMs Courtesy of Podsystem