Japan wants to establish global standards for human-assisting robots

Japan has opened a consultation with the International Standards Organisation (ISO) in a bid to establish standards for human-assisting robots.

Part of the reason for Japan's huge investments into robotics is the country's ageing population. Robots designed to help the elderly are becoming increasingly commonplace.

Japan has already created a national standard for robot-to-human interactions across a large number of settings including medical, commercial, and...

Bluetooth SIG wants to turn wearables into COVID-19 exposure detectors

The group behind the Bluetooth standard wants to add COVID-19 exposure detection to wearable devices.

In an announcement today, the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) said that it is working with over 130 member companies to add the potentially lifesaving feature to wearables.

Google and Apple have already developed a cross-platform, Bluetooth-based COVID-19 detection system for smartphones. The proposal by the Bluetooth SIG would extend that system to wearables (say...

Uber is laying off 14% of staff due to COVID-19, Lyft says its biz is down 70%

COVID-19 is having an obvious negative impact on the ride-hailing industry, with Uber and Lyft reporting huge losses.

Uber has announced it's being forced to cut 3,700 employees amid the crisis, accounting for around 14 percent of its workforce. The redundancies will predominantly hit Uber's recruiting and CommOps teams. 

“With people taking fewer trips, the unfortunate reality is that there isn’t enough work for many of our front-line customer support...

Smart speaker usage increases substantially due to COVID-19 quarantines

Global quarantines due to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the use of smart speakers substantially.

According to a study released by Edison Research and NPR, three-quarters of US adults over 18 report a change in their media habits due to the pandemic.

“With tens of millions of Americans no longer commuting, smart speakers are becoming even more important as a conduit for news and information,” said Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. “This increased usage and...

Uber turns its drivers into couriers to assist during the pandemic

Uber has launched two new services which turn the company's drivers into couriers to help ensure people get what they need during the pandemic.

The first of the services, Uber Direct, is essentially an expansion of Uber Eats and opens up the ability for drivers to deliver items that aren’t from restaurants including prescriptions, pet food, and more.

With Amazon now prioritising items considered more essential, Uber has the ability to help ensure people can get what...

CMA provisionally clears Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo to prevent ‘imminent exit’

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally cleared an investment from Amazon in connected food delivery service Deliveroo.

Like many businesses, Deliveroo is struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it's grasping some unique opportunities, such as delivering essential groceries from local supermarkets, the overall business has suffered from a large number of key restaurants closing their doors.

In a press release, the CMA...

Sigfox pens letter calling for IoT projects to fight COVID-19, waives connectivity fees

IoT connectivity provider Sigfox has penned a letter calling for the industry to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a technology company, we strongly believe IoT can do a lot to help. Today, we are reaching out to all the members of the IoT ecosystem to ask them to join forces to design and implement solutions that can help save lives,” the company stated.

Some of the examples provided by Sigfox of how the IoT is already helping to fight the pandemic includes...

Mayo Clinic begins using driverless vehicles to deliver COVID-19 tests

Mayo Clinic has begun using driverless vehicles to deliver essential COVID-19 tests to a processing lab.

The initiative in Jacksonville, Florida is a collaboration between the local transport authority, Navya, and Beep.

Four autonomous vehicles are initially being used and will transport COVID-19 tests from a drive-through testing facility to a processing lab on Mayo Clinic's campus. The shuttles have been running the route every day since March...

Frank Stoecker, CEO, EMnify: On how IoT will prove mission-critical during – and after – Covid-19

As the repercussions of Covid-19 continue to be felt, many networks and services need to cope with the extra strain being put upon them. For cloud services, some are already feeling the heat - recent outages with Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and others point to that.

With regard to other companies, however, the effects are less stark. EMnify, a Berlin-headquartered provider of IoT and M2M connectivity, sees relatively stable activity on its network. Why? For the use cases that...