Before the CES show floor opens to attendees, there are press days where we get to go to events thrown by big companies (Samsung, Sony, LG, etc.), hands-on previews from product makers eager to show off their new offerings, and round-ups meant to showcase several hundred selected items in one night. I've covered the business-ready items I saw at CES Unveiled on Sunday night, and on Monday night, I was at another gathering for more.
The PEPCOM Digital Experience is not officially part of CES, but it's adjacent to the show and it had its own array of consumer products that meet business demands.
Let me introduce you to a handful of these companies that I had the chance to talk to at PEPCOM the Digital Experience last night.
Powermat - Wireless Charging
Powermat is well known for its work in wireless charging options. This year, they are demoing wireless charging technology that works with any wireless charging standard and works with devices that don't have built-in wireless charging, so long as you've got an accessory charging coil that plugs into your phone.
At PEPCOM, Powermat was demoing a new system that allows a Powermat Charging Spot to be mounted in place under a desktop and then paired with a thin charging plate on the top of the desk to create a wireless connection and enable charging without additional wires. Powermat's representative told me they are partnering with furniture manufacturers to embed this technology into new furniture so that the wireless charging capability is available the moment you outfit an office with new desks and other tables.
Eventually Powermat sees this technology also being used to charge tablets and laptops wirelessly.
If you have a mobile workforce that is in and out of the office constantly, then facilitating their ability to just walk into their workspace and place their smartphone on their desk to recharge is a way to meet emerging business demands.
Averon Direct Autonomous Authentication (DAA)
What is the hardest challenge when it comes to security these days? Getting users to actually use existing security measures that are available. So it's a challenge to get users -- who aren't prioritizing secure behavior anyway -- to adopt enhanced security measures like multifactor authentication.
Averon posits that the easiest way to get people to use multifactor authentication is to make that security transparent and automatic. The less the user has to do, the better the adoption rate for additional security measures. Averon introduced an API that any company can use to add multifactor authentication into their services on the backend. When a company implements Averon's DAA, the user does not have to supply an email address, phone number for SMS messages, or set up an authenticator app to benefit from this security feature. It's all set up on the back end.
In the demo Averon provided me, they even showed a scenario where a user's password was password and the Averon authentication process blocked an attempt from a different device to use those same credentials. No authenticator, no SMS, no code via email.
As the stream of compromised accounts and user data continues to grow and shows no sign of ending anytime soon, companies need to add extra layers of security into their own products. Averon's DAA might just be that solution.
The Thread Group's calling card: An underlying low-power, secure and scalable mesh IP network that provides reliable connectivity for IoT devices.
They have several partners that have adopted this technology for the connected home and now the Thread Group is expanding that reach into the commercial building space.
By using what they have learned through implementing this specification for connected home devices, they are building that for scalability and robustness that is critical in business and enterprise implementations.
Some of the companies that have signed onboard to implement Thread in their products include Schneider Electric, Siemens, and Philips Lighting. The low-power features of Thread means remote, battery operated sensors will have extended life since these devices do not need as much o the battery power just to stay connected. In addition, when you scale this up for sensors that are part of a companies power grid, the resulting cost savings in electric bills can be significant.
There are already many IoT solutions deployed and in use and one thing Thread has done in their move into the commercial space is to provide backwards compatibility in this option of their connectivity standard.
Sorry to disappoint, but this is not about a pair of augmented or virtual reality glasses. Hologram provides cellular connectivity options for businesses whose IoT devices that need to always be connected. As an example: If a company is building the tracking system for delivery trucks and the only communications capability is on the cellular network, Hologram would build the cellular communications module that goes inside the tracking system devices.
Hologram is introducing their own multifactor authentication feature for their communications module. This new technology is built into the Hologram SIM and has features like key rotation for constant validation, signing, and message authentication codes like one time passwords that will verify an IoT devices identity and subsequently secure those communications.
Since this is built into the SIM, if there was a security issue with the device, there is no need to replace the sensor but just the SIM. Once that is done, then it can be used to once again establish that trust relationship between the device and its IoT gateway. This saves time and money by replacing a less expensive element of the device rather than the entire unit.
As IoT continues to become the norm for commercial tracking and monitoring - establishing secure communications is now part of protecting the sensitive data collected by these hardware sensors and the Hologram SIM along with its SDK will allow customers to implement this within their businesses.
Synology Networked Attached Storage (NAS)
If you're big into networked attached storage, you know Synology. They have a heavy focus on the software and user experience for their NAS devices. The demo I received of the software interface shows that they definitely put serious effort into making it a clean interface with multiple options around configuration and customization for users. Since the NAS is a computer in and of itself, the processing of files and execution of the user interface all happens on the device and is displayed on the administrators computer through a web browser.
A business demand for many companies: keep their data in-house versus out in the cloud. That is where a Synology NAS comes in to provide individual and shared storage plus space to back up computers on a regular basis to prevent data loss due to hardware failure or a ransomware attack.
Stay tuned here at ITPro Today and on my Twitter account (@WinObs) for our coverage throughout the Consumer Electronics Show 2018.