Tag Archives: Google

INRIX Acquires OpenCar to Challenge Apple and Google in the Car

 

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INRIX, Inc., a leading provider of dynamic connected car services worldwide, announced it has completed the acquisition of OpenCar, Inc., a U.S.-based automotive software and services provider. The OpenCar purchase extends the successful INRIX cloud platform into the dashboard with a broad portfolio of third-party content and applications in a customizable user experience (UX) automakers fully control.

“Today, over half of the connected vehicles in the world use INRIX services. By 2020, more than a quarter billion connected cars will be on the road[1],” said Bryan Mistele, president and CEO of INRIX. “With the OpenCar acquisition, INRIX is in the driver’s seat to provide those connected services and expand into the digital dashboard with unique, easy-to-use applications designed especially for next-gen automotive experiences.”

OpenCar, backed for the last five years by a strategic partnership with Mazda Motor Corporation, offers the industry’s only white label, standards-based application development environment and framework. Unlike Google’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which limit automaker-specific customization and require access to sensitive car data, the OpenCar framework is fully controlled by the automaker and enables for brand-, model- and region-specific touch and voice interfaces across the entire infotainment experience. This unique capability empowers OEMs to enhance their brand and satisfy consumer demand through a variety of in-car information, media and location-based applications. While OpenCar is designed to understand the data generated by advanced vehicle systems, control of how it is used, shared and stored remains in the hands of the automaker.

Unlike proprietary solutions created by automakers or suppliers to date, INRIX leverages its successful 10-year history of delivering auto-grade, cloud-based solutions to expand OpenCar into the first scalable, global automotive app platform. OpenCar provides developer tools and services to create apps for an open, industry-wide ecosystem. It also enables app deployment across different makes and models while still allowing each automaker to create a unique customer experience.

The application ecosystem, which includes roughly 1,300 registered developers representing hundreds of companies, covers accommodations, city guides, fuel, internet radio, parking, reviews and more. In addition, automakers can manage the complete in-car app lifecycle worldwide, including over-the-air updates, validation, and model or regional specifications. INRIX is committed to continuously expanding the existing content and apps portfolio across all key geographies, which is a key differentiator to other solutions on the market today. Combined with INRIX’s dynamic services already available from leading automakers, including Audi, BMW, Ford, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Tesla, Toyota and Volkswagen, the OpenCar platform is uniquely positioned to revolutionize the connected car experience.

“We’re excited to see additional competition in this important connected car segment,” said Marcus Keith, Head of Audi connect and HMI development at AUDI AG. “The combination of INRIX and OpenCar should be very compelling for bringing new applications.”

“OpenCar enables automakers to create an end-to-end ecosystem for in-car applications that make it easier, safer and more enjoyable to be behind the wheel,” said Jeff Payne, CEO of OpenCar. “INRIX gives us the opportunity to grow the footprint of our app platform much faster, both geographically and with more OEMs.”

Intelligent, Personalized, Seamless Driver Experience
INRIX is also announcing the availability of Autotelligent, a next-generation driver assistance platform. Its cloud-based machine learning enables predictive routing based on where and when drivers go, frequently visited places and preferred routes. Autotelligent automatically creates a daily, personalized itinerary of anticipated trips by accessing the user’s calendar and contacts. In addition, it provides intelligent pre-drive and drive time alerts based on route preferences, congestion, hazardous road conditions and vehicle sensor data, such as if the vehicle needs fuel.

By integrating INRIX’s other driver services – such as Road Weather alerts, intermodal routing for walking and public transit, real-time traffic, and dynamic on- and off-street parking – into a single platform, Autotelligent simplifies integration and service delivery.

Autotelligent works seamlessly with OpenCar to create a complete infotainment platform for connected cars. INRIX empowers automakers to create intelligent in-car applications that work on behalf of drivers – from finding a restaurant to listening to the news, avoiding dangerous road conditions to reserving a parking spot.

“The standardization of in-vehicle app development is a major milestone for the industry and will be a key differentiator for our customers,” said Andreas Hecht, executive vice president and general manager of automotive at INRIX. “Combine that with the power of smart learning and cloud technology, and INRIX is able to offer automakers a legitimate in-car alternative to Apple and Google.”

INRIX will continue to operate the OpenCar application management tools, work with its current customers and maintain the OpenCar office in Seattle. The acquisition will expand the INRIX Seattle-area presence beyond the current headquarters in Kirkland, WA. Terms of the deal will not be disclosed. In August 2015, INRIX acquired ParkMe, a Santa Monica, CA company that is a leader in parking location, availability, and reservations worldwide.

About OpenCar

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Seattle, OpenCar has built the industry’s first updateable application platform and developer ecosystem to serve an automaker’s need for tightly integrated, car-centric applications and features. With deep experience in core platform architecture and connected services, OpenCar is partnering with automakers, suppliers and application developers to define new standards and tools to transform automotive app development and the in-car experience for drivers. The OpenCar Connect framework supports a broad range of app categories including telematics, device control, health, safety, convenience, digital clusters and next-generation infotainment. InsideTrack enables collaboration amongst automakers, tier one suppliers and integrators, and developers from project proposal to post-SOP management. OpenCar is an active member of the GENIVI Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). For more information about OpenCar, visit http://www.opencar.com.

[1] Predicts 2015: The Internet of Things, Gartner, Inc., January 2015

About INRIX

INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and intelligent movement, a new approach that leverages big data and the cloud to help manage urban mobility. By aggregating a variety of sources and applying intelligence, INRIX delivers comprehensive data and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small. We are literally everywhere with over 450 customers across 60 countries. INRIX has offices in Kirkland, Seattle, Santa Monica, London, Manchester and Munich.

Source: Inrix

Lenovo and Google Partner On New Project Tango Device

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  • LENOVO IS DEVELOPING THE FIRST OEM PROJECT TANGO-ENABLED SMARTPHONE IN COLLABORATION WITH GOOGLE
  •  PROJECT TANGO TECHNOLOGY GIVES A MOBILE DEVICE THE ABILITY TO NAVIGATE THE PHYSICAL WORLD SIMILAR TO HOW WE DO AS HUMANS
  • CALLING ALL DEVELOPERS TO SUBMIT A PROJECT TANGO APP PROPOSAL FOR THE CHANCE TO HAVE APP FUNDED AND FEATURED ON UPCOMING LENOVO PROJECT TANGO-ENABLED SMARTPHONE
Today at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lenovo announced the development of the first consumer mobile device with Project Tango in collaboration with Google. Available in summer 2016, the new smartphone, powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor, turns the screen into a magic window that can overlay digital information and objects onto the real world. Lenovo, Google, and Qualcomm Technologies are working closely together to optimize the software and hardware to ensure consumers get the most out of the Project Tango platform.Google’s Project Tango is a technology platform that uses advanced computer vision, depth sensing, and motion tracking to create on-screen 3D experiences, allowing users to explore their physical environments via their device. Specialized hardware and software combine to let the device react to every movement of the user, when they step forward, backward, or lean side to side. App developers can transform your home into a game level, or create a magic window into virtual and augmented environments. Project Tango-enabled devices can recognize places they’ve been before, like your living room, the office, or public spaces. Unlike GPS, Project Tango motion tracking works indoors, allowing users to navigate precisely through a shopping mall, or even find a specific item at the store where that information is available. Using the sensor in the device, Project Tango devices can also capture the 3D dimensions of the room, giving measurements that can be used to help you when shopping for furniture or decorations.

As part of the partnership, we’re also inviting developers to help grow the budding Project Tango app ecosystem. Project Tango’s advanced technology capabilities let developers create apps they couldn’t have before. Starting today at https://www.google.com/atap/project-tango/app-incubator, developers can submit their Project Tango app proposals for a chance to win funding and the chance to have their app featured on Lenovo’s upcoming smartphone. The submission period closes on Feb. 15, 2016.

The Project Tango Tablet Development Kit can be purchased in the Google Store: https://store.google.com/product/project_tango_tablet_development_kit.

Find official guidelines, eligibility requirements, and judging criteria here: http://g.co/ProjectTango/AppIncubator.

“To break new ground in today’s hypercompetitive smartphone and tablet industries, we must take innovation risks – it’s the only way to truly change the way people use mobile technology,” says Chen Xudong, senior vice president and president, Mobile Business Group, Lenovo. “Together with Google we’re breaking down silos by working across mobile hardware and software. Turning our shared vision into reality will create a more holistic product experience that captures the imagination of today’s consumer.”

“With Project Tango, the smartphone becomes a magic window into the physical world by enabling it to perceive space and motion that goes beyond the boundaries of a touch screen,” said Johnny Lee, Project Tango Lead, Google. “By working with Lenovo, we’ll be able to make Project Tango more accessible to users and developers all over the world to both enjoy and create new experiences that blends the virtual and real world.”

“Qualcomm Technologies is very pleased that Lenovo and Google are bringing a Project Tango-enabled device to the mainstream so that consumers can experience a whole new level of advanced connected mobile computing apps and services across video, imaging and graphics,” said Seshu Madhavapeddy, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies.  “Qualcomm Technologies has a rich and long history with working with the developer community to ensure that all of the experiences that Project Tango and Lenovo are set to deliver are optimized for the Snapdragon processor.”

Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a $46 billion global Fortune 500 company and a leader in providing innovative consumer, commercial, and enterprise technology. Our portfolio of high-quality, secure products and services covers PCs (including the legendary Think and multimode YOGA brands), workstations, servers, storage, smart TVs and a family of mobile products like smartphones (including the Moto brand), tablets and apps. Join us on LinkedIn, follow us onFacebook or Twitter (@Lenovo) or visit us at www.lenovo.com.

Google announce Sidewalk Labs a Smart City initiative

 

Google & ITU launch seperate smart city initiatives

Google, ITU hope for a better life in the city


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Google and the ITU separately announced initiatives to encourage more joined-up thinking about the urban experience, with both citing similar challenges around cost of living, transport, housing and energy usage.

While the ITU has set up a specific, standards-making group, the ambition for Google’s new “urban innovation” firm, Sidewalk Labs, is less clearcut. Based in New York, it will be headed by Dan Doctoroff, a former CEO of Bloomberg and a deputy major of that city.

While characterising Sidewalk as “a relatively modest investment”, a blog by Google chief Larry Page did not reveal how much the new venture is being bankrolled, and what exactly its business model will involve.

“Sidewalk will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage,” he wrote.

He likened it to other initiatives backed by the search giant, such as Google [x] and Calico.

Meanwhile, the new ITU study group has a particular brief – to standardise requirements for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, including M2M and sensor networks, with a particular focus on smart cities.

A key part of the study will be to create standards for end-to-end architectures for IoT and mechanisms for the interoperability of IoT applications and datasets employed by various vertical industry sectors, including utilities, healthcare and transport.

“Building smart sustainable cities will require efficient collaboration between the public and private sectors,” said ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao. “This new ITU-T Study Group will bring together a diverse selection of stakeholders, placing ITU’s technical expertise at the service of other industry sectors as well as the national and metropolitan administrations responsible for urban development.”

Source: Mobile World Live. Richard Handford

Google unveils ‘Project Fi’

IOL pic apr23 google colour word

Los Angeles – Google said on Wednesday it was launching its own US mobile wireless service, with considerable potential savings for customers using their devices at home and for international travel.

The service called Project Fi is only available by invitation for now, and only for the Google Nexus 6 smartphone.

The service will use Wi-Fi hotspots along with the US mobile networks of Sprint and T-Mobile, and also may be used in 120 countries without roaming charges.

It will be offered at a monthly cost of $20 for basic service plus $10 per month for each gigabyte of data used. Customers will only pay for the data they use, unlike some carriers which offer packages.

“Project Fi enables us to work in close partnership with leading carriers, hardware makers, and all of you to push the boundaries of what’s possible,” a Google blog post said.

“By designing across hardware, software and connectivity, we can more fully explore new ways for people to connect and communicate.”

The service “automatically connects to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve verified as fast and reliable,” Google said.

“When you’re not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places.”

Google said the connections will be encrypted and the phone number “lives in the cloud, so you can talk and text with your number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop”.

For global travel, Project Fi will enable low-cost calling in many countries, and data access at 3G speeds without additional charges.

The new service could give a boost to the Nexus handset line from Motorola, which was sold by Google last year to Lenovo, and eventually to other phones powered by Google’s Android operating system.

“This will be Google’s biggest effort to displace Apple,” said Rob Enderle, a consultant and analyst at Enderle Group.

“Apple’s vulnerability is on margins, they have to have big ones so they haven’t been able to do (a mobile service) that would be competitive with a carrier. Google therefore can provide a better and vastly more aggressively priced service than Apple can offer with a carrier.”

But analyst Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates said the project would be “very limited” and unlikely to create immediate problems for big carriers AT&T and Verizon.

“It’s just Google trying to stir everything and trying to say: maybe there’s a better way to do this whole wireless connectivity thing,” Gold said.

“It’s not going to cost them a lot of money to do this. Google isn’t investing anything in infrastructure.”

More Information >

Johnson & Johnson and Google collaborate in Surgical Robotics initiative

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Johnson & Johnson Announces Definitive Agreement To Collaborate With Google To Advance Surgical Robotics

Strategic Collaboration Designed to Develop New Technologies that Offer Surgeons and Health Care Systems Greater Accuracy, Cost Efficiency and Better Outcomes for Patients
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – March 26, 2015 – Johnson & Johnson today announced that Ethicon, a medical device company in the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, has executed a definitive agreement to enter into a strategic collaboration with Google, Inc., working with the Life Sciences team on advancing surgical robotics to benefit surgeons, patients and health care systems.

The companies will bring together capabilities, intellectual property and expertise to create an innovative robotic-assisted surgical platform capable of integrating advanced technologies with the goal of improving health care delivery in the operating room. The collaboration was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation in California.

Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that uses technology to give surgeons greater control, access and accuracy during the surgical procedure while benefitting patients by minimizing trauma and scarring, enabling accelerated post-surgical healing. The companies seek to develop new robotic tools and capabilities for surgeons and operating room professionals that integrate best-in-class medical device technology with leading-edge robotic systems, imaging and data analytics.

“For more than 60 years, Ethicon has developed products and technologies that have transformed the way surgery is done,” said Gary Pruden, Worldwide Chairman, Global Surgery Group, Johnson & Johnson. “This collaboration with Google is another important step in our commitment to advancing surgical care, and together, we aim to put the best science, technology and surgical know-how in the hands of medical teams around the world.”

The closing of the transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015. Financial terms were not disclosed.

About Johnson & Johnson
Caring for the world one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace research and science – bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Our approximately 126,500 employees at more than 265 Johnson & Johnson operating companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world.

About Ethicon
From creating the first sutures, to revolutionizing surgery with minimally invasive procedures, Ethicon has made significant contributions to surgery for more than 60 years. Our continuing dedication to Shape the Future of Surgery is built on our commitment to help address the world’s most pressing health care issues, and improve and save more lives. Through Ethicon’s surgical technologies and solutions including sutures, staplers, energy devices, trocars and hemostats and our commitment to treating serious medical conditions like obesity and cancer worldwide, we deliver innovation to make a life-changing impact. Learn more at www.ethicon.com, and follow us on Twitter @Ethicon. Ethicon represents the products and services of Ethicon, Inc., Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. (the signing party) and certain of their affiliates.

Source: Johnson & Johnson

Google buys firm behind spoon for Parkinson’s patients

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Google has bought a biotech company that has developed a spoon designed to make life easier for people with diseases such as Parkinson’s.

It is part of its ambitious foray into health technology, spurred in part by the personal interest of co-founder Sergey Brin.

Last year, Google became the main investor in Calico, a firm dedicated to developing medicines to extend life.

Latest acquisition Lift Labs will join Google’s research division Google X.

The spoon developed by Lift Labs is equipped with sensors that detect tremors and cancels them out by as much as 70%, according to the firm.

The technology it uses is similar to image stabilisation features in cameras that compensate for shaky hands when taking a photo._77522925_77522924

The firms announced the deal on the search giant’s social network Google+ but did not reveal the financial terms.

“Today we’re welcoming the Lift Labs team into Google X. Their tremor-cancelling device could improve quality of life for millions of people,” said Google.

For its part, Lift Labs wrote: “Google will enable us to reach even more people living with Parkinson’s or essential tremor who could benefit from using tremor-cancelling devices every day.”

Google is gradually increasing its health portfolio. In January it unveiled its smart contact lenses that measure glucose levels in tears to help monitor people with conditions such as diabetes.

And in July it announced an ambitious science project – Basline Study – to collect anonymous genetic and molecular information to create a picture of what a healthy human should be like.

For co-founder Sergey Brin the move into healthcare is a personal one. His mother developed Parkinson’s and, after gene testing, he found that he has a higher than average chance of getting the disease.

Meanwhile his fellow co-founder Larry Page, who suffers from a rare vocal cords problem, is interested in how big data can help solve some of the world’s most problematic diseases. He has made public his hope that people would overcome privacy fears to make their medical records available to researchers.

Google’s semi-secret research facility Google X was set up to work on cutting-edge technology. Other projects include Google’s driverless car, balloons to deliver broadband and Google Glass.

Source: BBC Technology

Driverless cars get green light for testing on public roads in UK

Google's Driverless Cars

The UK is to encourage the development of driverless cars on its roads, it was announced on Wednesday, with a multimillion-pound research fund and a review into the relevant laws around road safety.

The business secretary, Vince Cable, said a £10m fund will be made available for driverless car researchers in the UK, joint funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) and the Department for Transport (DfT).

“The excellence of our scientists and engineers has established the UK as pioneers in the development of driverless vehicles through pilot projects,” said Cable. “Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.”

Fully autonomous and driver-equipped

The DfT will also kick off a review process of the laws governing road use, including the Highway Code and the Road Safety Act, to permit the testing of driverless cars on public roads, Cable said while visiting the technology and engineering company Mira in Nuneaton.

Two types of testing will be reviewed for public roads: fully autonomous cars without a driver, and those with a qualified driver who could take control at any time, similar to laws in the US where driverless cars have been tested on public roads since 2011 in some states.

The review process will conclude in a report submitted to government by the end of 2014, a spokesperson for DfT told the Guardian.

Research groups to apply for government money

The £10m fund will be governed by the UK’s innovation agency the Technology Strategy Board.

Interested local research institutions will be able to apply for funding by submitting a business case paired with a local city or authority as to why driverless cars are a viable transport solution in their area.

Three cities across the UK will be selected to host driverless car trials from next year, with each test to last between 18 and 36 months starting in January 2015. The deadline for driverless car research applications will be 1 October.

The fund was first announced by the chancellor, George Osborne, in December as part of the national infrastructure plan.

Google’s driverless cars hit headlines and the public consciousness in May, when the search giant announced a brand new bespoke prototype design.

‘A big leap of faith needed by drivers’

The UK has various groups already working on driverless car technology, including engineers at the University of Oxford and engineering firm Mira, which provides autonomous vehicle technology to the military and has been testing driverless cars on a 850 acre site in the Midlands.

“Today’s announcement takes us closer to seeing fully autonomous vehicles on our roads but it will take some time for them to become commonplace,” said Edmund King president of the AA.

“Cars are becoming more automated with the introduction of assistance systems to aid parking; keeping a safe distance from the car in front; or lane departure warning systems,” said David Bruce, director of AA Cars.

“However, there is a big leap of faith needed by drivers from embracing assistance systems to accepting the fully automated car. Two-thirds of AA members still enjoy driving too much to want a fully automated car,” Bruce said.

‘Britain brilliantly placed to lead the world’

“Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network – they could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions, particularly CO2,” said the transport minister, Claire Perry, who committed to the regulatory review of road law.

“Britain is brilliantly placed to lead the world in driverless technology,” said the science minister, Greg Clark. “It combines our strengths in cars, satellites, big data and urban design; with huge potential benefits for future jobs and for the consumer.”

Driverless cars are expected to begin being tested on public roads in 2015, although the DfT could not provide a timescale beyond report submission to the government by the end of 2014.

“This competition for funding has the potential to establish the UK as the global hub for the development and testing of driverless vehicles in real-world urban environments, helping to deepen our understanding of the impact on road users and wider society,” said Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board.

“The ability to test driverless cars at scale, when married to the UK’s unique strengths in transport technologies and urban planning, will also attract further investment, helping to establish new design and manufacturing supply chains, driving forward UK economic growth,” Gray said.

Dr Geoff Davis, chief commercial and technical officer of Mira said he welcomed the news.

“Our 10 years of experience developing driverless car solutions with successful applications in defence and security as well as cooperative systems in road transport applications means we are already working on a number of projects that explore the potential of connected and cooperative driverless cars,” Davis said.

Source: The Guardian

Connected Cars, allready a reality

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In its latest report, IDATE analyses the connected car strategies of manufacturers, mobile carriers and application providers. The study provides the main drivers and barriers for connected car market take-off. It describes the connected car ecosystem, in terms of applications, implementation techniques and also related business models.

A ‘connected car’ is one equipped with access to the Internet (the network of networks) whereby it can communicate with the outside world. This allows the car to share Internet access to other devices both inside and outside around the vehicle. “The strategy of most manufacturers is to make their cars connected.” Says Samuel Ropert, Project Leader of this report. “The main driver here is based on the regulation related to safety issues in Europe and the underlying revenue opportunity for them. In the USA, the recent GM announcement to embed 4G modules in all new cars is seen as a key trigger for market take-off.” Three main technical solutions exist. The embedded module system (in the car itself) is the most technically advantageous system as it has a dedicated system for connected services. The next option consists of the use of the smartphone for connectivity tethering, with the technical limitation (use of the miniature antenna). The last model is a combination of the first two other models (use of embedded system for telematics and smartphone tethering for entertainment (mobile Internet-like services). Ultimately, it is an opportunity for a fundamental shift from a largely capex model to a more opex-oriented one, even potentially shifting the focus of manufacturers’ core businesses to embrace a new focus on car-based products and services.

For telcos, the revenue opportunity could be interesting as the connected car will generate traffic that telco will charge indirectly (through the automobile manufacturer). All main M2M mobile carriers are involved in the connected car space, as the connected car represents one of the major markets in volume. In a context where their traditional mobile revenues are flat and even declining in some regions, providing mobile connectivity in cars is a key business opportunity for telcos. Beyond car-related applications in driver assistance, from the perspective of a telco, the car can be seen as an additional cellular device, with a potential high-consumption service profile with such usage as the mobile Internet, entertainment on demand and mobile hotspot features. The prime business model remains the traditional wholesale relationship (B2B2C), even though AT&T unveiled a retail data plan for Audi A3 in early March and AT&T is expected to announce a new version of its share plan by the summer 2014 which includes the connected car. For Internet players, the strategy here is clear: the automobile is an additional connected device just as smartphones, tablets and laptops and needs to be addressed. However, Apple and Google do not have really the same approach. Indeed, whereas Apple aims to introduce its technology to interface with its products, Google is promoting the embedment of its technology into the car as a regular device. Google also wants to collect data to provide the most accurate advertising as possible, such as a related point-of-interest, based mainly on location. On the market side, according to IDATE, in 2018, 420 million automobiles will be connected; representing a 57% CAGR on the 45 million connected vehicles in 2013. Nevertheless, this growth is not homogeneous for each category of connected cars. The embedded systems will lead the market with 222 million units by 2018.

In 2018, the connectivity revenue for connected cars will exceed 8 billion EUR. This encompasses direct connectivity through embedded systems but also the indirect revenue related to smartphone usage. The major issues to be raised here are on the real willingness of the user to pay for such services. To encourage users to subscribe, telcos and manufacturers are already contemplating different revenue models including share plans. All the same, adoption is likely to remain limited over the next five years.

Source: Digiworld/IDATE Samuel Ropert

Google acquire Titan Aerospace to boost network coverage in emerging markets

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Google agreed to acquire Titan Aerospace, a start-up developing solar-powered drones, in a move that could boost future efforts to spread internet access around the world, particularly in emerging markets.

Google told Mobile World Live that Titan’s “lightweight solar atmospheric satellites” could help the company solve problems it has been focused on for some time, “including internet access, the environment and disaster relief”.

Titan said potential uses include providing internet connections in remote areas and monitoring of environmental damage due to deforestation or oil spills.

The aircraft being developed by Titan are intended to eventually be able to fly continuously for up to five years. However, Google said the proof-of-concept technology is “nowhere near deployment”, while it is “very early days” for long-duration solar-powered flight.

Google already has Project Loon in which solar-powered transmitters attached to helium balloons are being tested for their potential to provide internet access to the developing world.

Google said Titan’s expertise is likely to feed into Project Loon as well as the Makani project, which is developing an airborne wind turbine for generating electricity.

Titan was founded in 2012 and has around 20 employees that will continue to be based in New Mexico and be led by current CEO, Vern Raburn. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Facebook was reportedly in discussions with Titan but instead opted to pay $20 million for UK-based Ascenta, which is working on similar technology. A source told The Wall Street Journal that Google offered to top any offer made by Facebook for Titan.

The social network recently unveiled its Connectivity Lab which is working to bring internet access to emerging markets through the use of “new platforms for connectivity on the ground, in the air and in orbit”.

The work being conducted by Facebook’s Connectivity Lab is part of the Internet.org initiative aimed at providing internet access to people around the world who currently are unable to get online.

Facebook’s team, which includes members of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center and the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory, is looking to make use of free-space optical communication (FSO), which can transmit data in space using infrared laser beams.

Source: Tim Ferguson Mobile World Live