Apple buys edge-processing startup for IoT security

Apple buys edge-processing startup for IoT security
In an effort to ensure IoT privacy, Apple has acquired Silk Labs, a startup working on on-device machine learning software.
 
By processing data on-device, the device isn’t required to send the data to the cloud, thus reducing the risk of exposure. As the technology is applied on Apple’s voice assistant, Siri will be able to process requests and respond without sending the voice data to the cloud. This mechanism corresponds with Apple’s stringent privacy policy.
 
Other voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant collect user’s voice data and send it to the cloud for processing, before the server sends the response back to the device. Both companies store users’ voice data, as they said, to better train their voice assistants.

The other advantage of processing voice data on-device is speed. Without the step of passing data to the cloud for processing, the voice assistant can answer users’ requests more quickly

The acquisition took place earlier this year, according to The Information. Some engineers from Silk Labs have reportedly started working at Apple.
 
Silk Labs was co-founded by Andreas Gal, former Mozilla CTO. The company launched its first product “Sense,” a smart home hub with a camera built-in, on Kickstarter back in 2016. The product was well-designed and positioned as a home hub that can learn homeowner’s preference over time. The project was successfully funded but the company cancelled the production later that year.
 
After that the company changed its focus to develop AI-powered people and facial detection software with encrypted protection for other companies.
 
Over the past few years, Amazon and Google have aggressively pushed their voice assistants into different consumer electronic devices, from smart speakers to smart cameras and TVs. Meanwhile, Apple Siri seemed to be have paused development in many ways.
 
Apple just reorganized its AI teams a few months ago, bringing its Siri and Core ML (core machine learning) teams together to let AI power the company’s various projects. Acquiring Silk Labs could help Apple narrow the margin in the smart speaker market share that has been dominated by Amazon and Google.
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