LTE Connected Car Project: Can it Bridge Concept with Reality?

Someday, all cars may be smart and connected. But today, it’s noteworthy indeed that ITU’s Fully Networked Car, and ng Connect’s LTE Connected Car are on display at two different major European tradeshows: the Geneva Auto Show and CeBIT.

Originated within Alcatel-Lucent’s innovation labs for 4G and LTE, ng Connect is a cross-industry confederation of brands that share a stake in the evolution of mobile computing and communications, including Toyota, Samsung, Gemalto, Kyocera and QNX Software Systems.

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The LTE Connected Car on display at CeBIT 2010 is not a competitive project to ITU’s Fully Networked Car. It is in fact part of a synchronous, deliberate effort worldwide that includes cooperation with ITU, ETSI, and other standards bodies, according to Uli Mohlmann, Director of ALU’s 4G/LTE Solutions Lab in Nuremburg.

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The entire ALU pavilion is connected through live LTE demo network, including the Toyota Prius that began drawing media analysts even before the show began. According to Mohlmann, operators such as Vodafone and Deutsch Telekom, already involved in smart car projects, and a wide array of Infotainment companies are lining up because they want into the concept, now.

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In addition to the driver's dashboard console that has become familiar to those who have shopped for a new vehicle in the last year, or those already own a hybrid vehicle, the LTE Connected Car features 4 integrated consoles, one for each passenger.

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The concept, of course, requires LTE to roll out in order for passenger vehicles to benefit from the complete array of services, which include lots of Audio and Video Infotainment options, safety and emergency services, navigation tools, and communication services that include voice, broadband mobile, and an on-board Wi-Fi connection for your portable device. A GPS module is mounted in the windshield, next to a camera that senses traffic conditions and road topology. But the central nervous system resides in a little black box, a modem that in this demo model sat casually on the floor in the trunk of the car and runs the on-board applications from the cloud.

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The tough questions for automotive telematics and communication services, however, lie ahead. As Mohlmann demonstrated the on-board services Tuesday morning, he agreed that the business models and product development required of operators is not fully defined.

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This challenge raises questions not just about the infrastructure, hardware, and software upgrades that may be necessary on Wide Area Networks, but also begs the question whether consumers, who may already purchase mobile phone, broadband internet, GPS services, and so on, will have options from a field of competitors. Will each automobile brand be associated with a specific telecom operator? Will network access be open?

The M2M Zone will enumerate these questions and seek answers from Mohlmann on Thursday here at CeBIT, where he will join a panel discussion, “Provisioning Location Awareness and Mobile Transactions.”

>> Click here for more information about the M2M Seminar at CeBIT 2010, Destination ITS.

2010.04.14

Cinterion and Asentria team to deliver enhanced SiteBoss solution for remote management of cell tower equipment

Source: Cinterion & Asentria

BELLEVUE, WA -- Cinterion Wireless Modules, a manufacturer of cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) communication modules, and Asentria, a provider of remote site monitoring and telemanagement solutions, today announced that Asentria’s SiteBoss product line will begin integrating Cinterion’s MC75i module to enable enhanced wireless communication capabilities over GSM networks.

SiteBoss was designed to help Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) remotely update, repair and manage maintenance for base transceiver stations (cell towers and equipment) from the network operation center (NOC). The SiteBoss series, enhanced with MC75i, is available immediately worldwide.

“Asentria’s SiteBoss products are a powerful tool to help MNOs control costs, optimize the evolution to 4G networks and improve overall service,” said Peter Fowler, regional president, Cinterion Wireless Modules, Americas. “The Cinterion module provides two-way, back-up communications vital for site repairs and updates. MNOs can reap huge savings by remotely controlling power usage at communication tower sites, and additionally, by having highly skilled technicians work on repairs and software patches no matter where they are located.”

SiteBoss integrates a powerful Linux computer and the Cinterion MC75i module for data communications and provides a range of basic to sophisticated remote monitoring, maintenance and management functions for cell towers and equipment in the field. Part of Cinterion’s M2M Evolution Platform, the MC75i module offers high-speed data rates for worldwide GSM networks based on EDGE standards. The versatile and intelligent monitoring and control features in SiteBoss allow users to remotely optimize power consumption at tower sites, immediately detect and react to potential equipment threats in the field and increase network reliability and prevent downtime.

In addition, SiteBoss enables software upgrades and patches and allows remote network upgrades to 4G technologies – all without rolling a truck or sending technicians to the site.

“With Cinterion as our communications partner we were able to hit the ground running and start working with some of the biggest MNOs in the world,” said Jon Baars, Asentria director of sales. “We selected Cinterion for its unparalleled customer support and engineering intelligence as well as its market proven products which helped get us to market in three months from design to implementation. We look forward to working with Cinterion and our MNO customers to support network evolution as well as smart M2M technology.”

IdaTech And Cascadiant to Deploy Advanced Fuel Cell Technology With Hutchison Telecom In Indonesia

Source: IdaTech

BEND, ORE, USA, April 14, 2010 – IdaTech plc (AIM: IDA) a global leader in the development and manufacture of clean and reliable PEM fuel cell products for critical backup power markets, in conjunction with its partner Cascadiant Inc. and Indonesian wireless operator PT Hutchison CP Telecommunications (HCPT), is pleased to announce a deployment of the latest generation of hydrogen backup power fuel cell systems throughout the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

IdaTech’s partner Cascadiant has been awarded the contract to install and support the ElectraGen™ H2 fuel cell systems. This order confirms the value proposition of backup power fuel cell systems and demonstrates the growing trend of telecom service providers to support and promote more eco-friendly initiatives including the reduction of telecom sector emissions, lowering energy consumption and the overall carbon footprint.

Harol Koyama, CEO of IdaTech, commented, “We are delighted to be working with Cascadiant to supply ElectraGen™ fuel cell systems for the Indonesian market. This agreement is an exciting sign of the times to come. Indonesia is a very attractive wireless market because of its large population and will undoubtedly require more solutions such as these fuel cell systems to support the operations of mobile products as they become more popular. With an experienced local partner like Cascadiant that is dedicated to identifying and promoting more sustainable means of energy within its solutions, IdaTech sees this as a significant win,” Koyama said.

According to Marshall Towe, President and CEO of Cascadiant, “We’re extremely pleased to play a leading role in furthering the use of cleaner fuel cell technology in Indonesia. This denotes a solid acceptance in the belief that greener technology is truly the wave of the future in ensuring the protection and functionality of telecom services in dire situations.” He continued by saying, “We applaud Hutchison for their forward looking endorsement of this technology and we believe that it is a milestone in achieving mass adoption of fuel cell products as viable replacements for generators and batteries.”

Telecommunications networks require reliable backup power solutions that can operate for several hours or days when electricity is no longer available due to severe weather, natural disasters, or grid quality. IdaTech’s ElectraGen™ fuel cell systems were developed specifically to provide critical backup power to the telecom market when loss of grid occurs. These fuel cell systems are fueled directly by hydrogen or by using IdaTech’s proprietary fuel reformer process that converts liquid fuel, methanol & water, into hydrogen gas to power the unit.

2010.04.12

Cinterion CEO says business is 'safe and sound’

Cinterion Wireless Modules' CEO Norbert Muhrer arrived in Las Vegas for International CTIA Wireless with a lot of momentum behind new business development efforts.

And yet, he also brought news for his clients and investors that the company's parent organization and financing source, Cinterion Holding, GmbH, had filed for bankruptcy and financial reorganization under the German courts.

We spoke with Muhrer last week, who shared more details about the logic behind the decision to file for protection. “The operational company is safe and sound,” he said, describing a new beginning for the company, and a new chapter in its history.

During a flurry of meetings at CTIA, Muhrer and Cinterion’s executive team told their customers and partners that under German law, insolvency is safeguarded such that “the holding insolvency has absolutely no impact on the operation of the company.”

Disbelief has accompanied the spreading news of the refinancing. During the last two years, once profitable brands have faced the grip of the recession. But it is unusual when the company continues to perform as the market leader.

Muhrer said it is suitable, from a certain perspective, to compare this reorganization to the home owner, who in the economic crisis, surveys his or her financial foundation and thinks, “This loan is too heavy. I can do better.”

After the filing in Munich on 22 March, the week of CTIA would continue with Cinterion news of automotive Land Grid Array (LGA) modules for process manufacturing, eToll, eCall, and fleet management.  From home base, Cinterion would also jointly announce with Telenor Connexion that week that they would pair HC25 modules and Telenor SIM cards for a new deployment with Hitachi Construction Machinery’s Global e-Service. Cinterion concurrently released sales data from 2009, confirmed by ABI Research, showing market growth and profits.

To provide deeper context, Muhrer highlighted the company’s history, since spun out of Siemens’ wireless manufacturing business two years ago.

“The company was founded in 2008 when there was no crisis on the market yet. And then the crisis happened,” he said. “We were lucky to the extent that we were small, we were fast, fast to implement changes and cost savings which would have been a difficult job if we were inside a huge conglomerate.”

This explains the success of the operating company, yet leaves questions as to the timing, and what else may be in the works.

Muhrer and the Cinterion executives confirmed there had been no change of ownership recently, but could not speak to market valuations or any potential change in ownership of the company.

Yet, the Financial Times German version (FTD) carried news last week that an offer had been made on former Siemens-owned wireless module company.

Citing an undisclosed source, FTD reported that Cinterion’s biggest creditor, Swedish fund EQT, made a bid to acquire the business. The offer was unsuccessful and prompted Cinterion’s owner, Hamburg-based private-equity firm Granville Baird GmbH, to announce that it would continue investing significant amounts for its own growth, according to FTD and Bloomberg News.

Muhrer estimated that ongoing work for the reorganization would culminate in May. “At the end of the financial restructuring process, we're going to have a lighter finance structure which will then be suitable to begin post-crisis business planning again.”

Quake Global Announces Next Generation M2M Modems for the ORBCOMM Satellite Network

SAN DIEGO --(Business Wire)-- ORBCOMM, Inc., a global satellite data communications company focused on two-way Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and Quake Global, Inc. the leading manufacturer of ORBCOMM M2M modems, today announced the next generation of modems for the ORBCOMM® satellite network with the Q4000 and Q-Pro series of QUAKE™ products. These robust, reliable and highly configurable devices have received ORBCOMM Type Acceptance Testing (TAT) approval and units are immediately available.

“ORBCOMM and Quake have over a decade-long partnership,” said Marc Eisenberg, ORBCOMM CEO. “These new devices reflect our shared vision to expand our leadership position to new M2M markets such as security, marine, transportation and others that have been previously underserved in data acquisition. When configured as dual-mode, the Q4000/Q-Pro provides satellite coverage and cellular bandwidth at prices below other satellite-only services with similar capabilities.”

Though small enough to fit in your hand, the Q4000 is a rugged industrial grade modem with dual-mode operation over the ORBCOMM satellite network and GSM terrestrial networks. With embedded GPS, the highly customizable Q4000/Q-Pro are versatile, all-in-one remote asset tracking solutions. They are designed to meet stringent automotive power conditioning requirements and have extremely low power consumption for extended battery operation. The Q4000/Q-Pro also incorporate an application programming interface (API) for developers to utilize their functions to create customized onboard applications. Utilizing QUAKE’s patented technology and unified communications protocol, system integrators need only develop a single protocol to communicate across ORBCOMM satellite and terrestrial networks, significantly reducing development time and costs.

For more information, visit www.quakeglobal.com, or www.orbcomm.com.

CSC study foresees more opportunity as grids get smarter

FALLS CHURCH, Va. --(Business Wire)-- A study released today by CSC found that business and IT executives at the top 20 utilities and retail energy providers worldwide are finding opportunities for growth as new smart utility and meter-to-cash advancements are unveiled. Participants of the 2010 Smart Utility and Meter-to-Cash Study reveal that there is optimism in the utilities sector about implementing new technologies to support the “smart grid,” but that the business processes to support them are just beginning to take shape.

The study, commissioned by CSC and conducted by leading analyst firm, IDC Energy Insights, in the winter of 2009-2010, queried business and IT executives from leading utilities from Australia, China, the United Kingdom and the United States about their major initiatives, objectives, expected payback, readiness and challenges. IDC Energy Insights is a division of International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.

Responses indicate that smart utility and meter-to-cash technologies are creating significant amounts of data and analytics for customer intelligence, which allows utilities to study consumer reaction to pricing, identify potential revenue leakage, forecast customers’ ability to pay and limit unbilled usage through move-in/move-out disconnections. Despite these advantages, less than half of the top 20 utilities are currently applying analytics to energy consumption, but utilities executives across all regions believe that with the proper planning, organizations can achieve desired profitability goals in a relatively short amount of time.

“Smart meters and a diversity of transmission and distribution grid sensors are generating volumes of data, and this has the potential to have a profound effect on the business,” said Jill Feblowitz, practice director, IDC Energy Insights. “Surprisingly, utilities executives indicated that they are not yet at a point where they’re making full use of this data.”

The study also showed that utilities recognize that they must do more to adopt new meter-to-cash processes to drive the bottom line. New remote connect and disconnect services can send an automated notification to customers of possible shut off, which creates a more open lines of communication with the customer and enhances their service experience. The availability of new data through updated meter-to-cash systems tells providers more about customer credit history, payment history and consumption will support improved approaches to credit and collections.

“A critical component of successful planning is a comprehensive, long-term roadmap for the smart enterprise that takes into account changes in technology, business processes and customer interactions,” said Robert E. Welch, president, CSC’s Chemical, Energy and Natural Resources Group. “CSC is working with its clients to ensure they are prepared to implement smart technologies and keep their business moving forward.”

More key findings from the interviews conducted for the study include:
  • Smart grid investments are strong across all surveyed regions regardless of whether or not utilities have received stimulus funding
  • Utilities embracing a comprehensive network strategy will benefit from scalability capabilities as new application deployments increase
  • Short-term planning will result in overspending, thus a long-term vision of enterprise architecture that considers changes in business processes and customer interactions is essential
  • Smart grid security will be a major focus for utilities and this provides a huge opportunity for security services outsourcing
“The move to smart energy provides utilities with the opportunity to improve competitiveness, profitability and customer satisfaction. ROI can be realized more quickly than many utilities recognize. The average payback for investments in smart metering/Advanced Metering Infrastructure is just six years. The average ROI period for dynamic pricing is even faster, just three years,” added Welch.

For more information, visit visit www.csc.com/2010SmartStudy.

Parasoft Embedded Joins AUTOSAR

MONROVIA, Calif. --(Business Wire)-- Parasoft Embedded Corporation, leading provider of automated solutions that improve software quality and the development process for embedded systems, today announced its membership in the AUTOSAR Development Partnership.

Driven by the advent of innovative vehicle applications, contemporary automotive E/E architecture has reached a level of complexity which requires a technological breakthrough in order to manage it satisfactorily and fulfill heightened passenger and legal requirements. This need is particularly acute for high-end, luxury vehicle manufacturers and their leading Tier 1 suppliers who are faced with often conflicting requirements. Leading OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, having recognized this to be an industry-wide challenge, decided to work together to address it, and created a development partnership called Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR).

For more information, visit www.autosar.org.

Barnes & Noble and Best Buy Announce Partnership For NOOK™ eBook Reader and BN eReader Software Distribution

Best Buy to sell NOOK by Barnes & Noble in stores and at bestbuy.com beginning April 18 Best Buy to feature BN eReader software on PCs, netbooks, tablets and smartphones

NEW YORK --(Business Wire)-- Apr 12, 2010 Barnes & Noble, Inc., the world’s largest bookseller, and Best Buy Co., Inc., America’s leading consumer electronics retailer, today announced an exclusive partnership to distribute Barnes & Noble’s popular NOOK eBook Reader and accessories, as well as free BN eReader software through Best Buy in the United States. NOOK is expected to arrive at Best Buy beginning April 18, just in time for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation gift season.

Through the partnership, the award-winning NOOK eBook Reader and stylish accessories along with NOOK and Barnes & Noble eBook gift cards will be prominently featured in Best Buy’s 1,070 stores nationwide and online at www.bestbuy.com. As with Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK at Best Buy will be featured at a special in-store display where customers can see, try and buy a NOOK for $259.99 with the guidance of a trained Best Buy Blue Shirt.

In its growing eReader selection, Best Buy named Barnes & Noble a preferred eBookstore solution, offering more than one million eBooks, magazines and newspapers for download and enjoyment within seconds. Best Buy will feature Barnes & Noble’s free BN eReader on select PCs (laptops and desktops), netbooks, tablets and smartphones sold at Best Buy and supported by its Geek Squad Agents, giving customers access to shop Barnes & Noble’s world’s largest eBookstore (www.bn.com/ebooks) and enjoy their Barnes & Noble digital library anywhere they go.

1394 Trade Association to Present the Benefits of the 1394 Automotive Standard for In-Vehicle Networking at SAE World Congress April 13-15

SAN FRANCISCO --(Business Wire)-- Apr 12, 2010 The 1394 Trade Association will describe the features, benefits and advantages of the 1394 Automotive standard for in-vehicle information and entertainment networking at this year’s SAE World Congress April 13-15 at the Cobo Center in Detroit.

Entitled “The 1394 Auto Network Bus for all High-bandwidth, High-speed Communications & Infotainment,” the presentation will be made by Rick Tewell, who is associated with Fujitsu Semiconductor Inc., the leading developer and supplier of 1394 ICs for the automotive network. The presentation is set for April 14 at 3:40 PM, as part of the In-Vehicle Networks session, which runs from 1 PM until 4:30 PM.

The presentation focuses on the attributes of 1394 for the in-vehicle network, including reliability, extensibility, and the availability of products. It also describes the proven applications for 1394, including consumer electronics, computers, storage products, industrial and instrumentation systems.

The presentation, which was co-authored by Max Bassler, Littelfuse, and Zeph Freeman, Eqcologic, details the impressive list of companies that have been involved with development of the 1394 Automotive standard. It stipulates that automakers cannot afford to develop in-vehicle network systems that become obsolete or non-extensible, making 1394 the ideal design choice, providing the network with the reliability, bandwidth, flexibility and cost parameters to last 10 years or longer. He also details how other technologies have major technical issues to overcome and shows automotive grade products that are ready to ship now in volumes required at favorable cost to the automakers.

The 1394 Trade Association is a worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement of the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) standard. The 1394TA is in its 15th year of promoting 1394, which is used today in mass-market computer, entertainment, and professional products, and in a wide range of specialty applications such as audio, defense, aerospace, industrial, and robotics products. For more information, visit www.1394ta.org.

GridWise Alliance, Japan Smart Community Alliance to Sign Memorandum of Understanding

This Friday, April 16, in Washington, D.C., the GridWise Alliance will co-host a seminar to exchange insights on smart grid development. The seminar will be followed by the GridWise Alliance and the Japan Smart Community Alliance signing a Memorandum of Understanding "to solidify their international collaboration in smart grid."

The US-Japan Smart Grid Seminar provides an opportunity for Japan's smart grid stakeholders to discuss smart grid development and the current challenges of standardization, the GridWise Alliance said in a release. The seminar is co-hosted by the GridWise Alliance, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the Japan Smart Community Alliance.

Attendees include Guido Bartels, Chair of the GridWise Alliance; Katherine Hamilton, President of the GridWise Alliance; Kazuaki Koizawa, Secretary General of the Japan Smart Community Alliance; Norihiko Ishiguro, Director-General, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for Japan; and Keisuke Saito, Director-General, Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Japan.

Also in attendance are Bruce Walker, VP of Asset Strategy and Policy, National Grid and Board Member of the GridWise Alliance; and Dr. George Arnold, National Coordinator for Smart Grid and Interoperability, National Institute of Standard and Technology, U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

Learn more at www.gridwise.org.

2010.04.08

Home Automation Systems global revenue may approach $12 Bil by 2015


According to ABI Research, the home automation market is approaching an inflection point beyond which its growth rate will increase significantly.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Revenue from shipments of home automation systems will exceed $11.8 billion in 2015, according to a new study released by ABI Research. That number includes all four categories of home automation: Luxury, Mainstream, DIY and Managed. The luxury segment will deliver the greatest revenue.

In addition to quantitative market measurement, ABI Research also sampled US consumers’ attitudes with a September 2009 survey. Nearly half of the 1001 respondents did not know what “home automation” is. A further 43% understood the concept but had no system installed.

According to practice director Sam Lucero, “Our survey results show that a major challenge is simply lack of awareness on the part of mainstream consumers. Other issues for consumers were the expense, and a perceived lack of need for home automation.”

Nonetheless, Lucero believes that for several reasons the home automation market is approaching an inflection point beyond which its growth rate will increase significantly.

·        Vendors are taking advantage of standards-based wireless and powerline technologies to drive down costs and expand the addressable market.

·        Companies in related home systems markets are increasingly targeting home control and monitoring functionality in their devices.

·        Home security service providers view home monitoring and managed home automation services as a means of accelerating growth.

·        Telco and cable broadband service providers see managed home automation services as a way to increase revenue.

·        Utilities can use home automation technologies to help homeowners reduce power usage.

Abiresearch_homentwkchart_2 How do these drivers mesh with consumers’ intentions? An average of three quarters of the 39% of survey respondents who intend buy a home automation system within three years rated three functions as the ones they would expect to use most: energy management, home control, and security. Sam Lucero concludes, “The home automation market is clearly at an inflection point and poised for significant growth over the next few years.”

ABI Research’s “Home Automation and Control” study provides qualitative and quantitative analysis of home automation and control system markets through 2015. The data and forecasts are divided by region and by major market segments.

For more information, visit www.abiresearch.com.
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