Xiaomi to invest in wearable tech, buys US-based Misfit Wearables
Xiaomi has already made its mark on the smartphone market, ruffling the feathers of Apple and Samsung, but it seems as though tech companies should also consider Xiaomi a key player in the wearables market too.
A few months ago, the up-and-coming technology company launched its own ultra-cheap, $13 fitness wristband and has just invested in Misfit Wearables, a California-based wearables company, which designed the all-metal activities tracker ‘Shine’.
The deal - Xiaomi’s first in the U.S. - suggests that its following in the footsteps of other Chinese investors Alibaba and Tencent.
Xiaomi, alongside Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, and venture capital funds GGV Capital and Shunwei, contributed to more than half of Misfit’s $40 million series C round - the remainder is provided by existing partners including Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures. Misfit declined to disclose the exact amount of Xiaomi’s investment or the company’s current valuation.
Misfit Wearables was co-founded by formed Apple CEO John Sculley, Sonny Vu and Sridhar Iyengar in 2011. In a statement Vu explained that the latest partnership with Xiaomi is less about cash and more about forming a strategic alliance. Misfit isn’t exactly short of cash after their $15.2 million series B round led by Horizons Ventures a year ago.
As it stands, China currently counts towards a third of Misfit’s global sales. Shine, which tracks activities such as swimming and biking was outdone by Jawbone’s Up24 wristband in U.S. and European markets, so the company is keen to work with Xiaomi to understand Chinese consumers and the Asian market better.
“There’s a reason that Xiaomi is the number one selling android phone in China, because they got right to the heart of what Chinese users want. We want a little bit of that water, of that insight,” said Vu. “We want to work closely with them to really figure out what are the products that Chinese consumers are really going to enjoy, and how to get in front of them.”
According to reports, Misfit is also planning to leverage Xiaomi’s ties with other hardware companies to shorten the cycle of product development. Its team of 130 people, less than a third of whom are hardware engineers, is facing mounting pressure to ramp up output to meet steep global demand.
The company is also in the process of building up its Chinese manufacturing capability – previously all its products were manufactured in South Korea. As yet, Misfit has not discussed any new products in the pipeline.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.