VC funding for smart grids "extremely weak"

Venture capital (VC) funding for smart grids has remained “extremely weak” for the past three quarters, according to new data from Mercom Capital, a market-research company.

In its latest quarterly update, Mercom reveals that VC funding was only $66 million in the second quarter of this year, covering just nine deals. In the same period of 2011, VCs invested as much as $112 million in 16 deals, but funding dropped to $97 million the following quarter and to just $66 million in the final quarter of the year.

Web-connected industrial controls stoke security fears


Until a few days ago, anyone who had done a bit of digging into the security of industrial control systems could have reached into the website of a Kansas agricultural concern and turned off all its windmills.

The owner had left the system connected to the open Internet without any password protections, despite warnings from Canadian manufacturer Endurance Wind Power. A cyber researcher found the vulnerability along with thousands of other exposed industrial controls, many of them in critical facilities.

Sprint to offer auto insurers tracking technology


U.S. wireless carrier Sprint said on Thursday it will move into the hot market for tracking technology that lets auto insurers monitor how, where and when their customers drive.

Sprint said its new Integrated Insurance Solutions unit would let companies offer what are known as "usage-based insurance" programs.

Such programs, most notably Progressive Corp's "Snapshot", track variables such as driver speed, location and braking via a diagnostic device plugged into the car. Insurers analyze the data and use it to offer the best drivers discounts.

ICT standards bodies herald launch of oneM2M

Seven of the world’s major ICT standards bodies have come together for the launch of a new organization designed to accelerate the smooth deployment of M2M services.

oneM2M, as the organization is called, has been set up to develop the technical specifications for future M2M services, allowing the industry to benefit from greater interoperability and economies of scale.

SecureState releases smart-meter hacking tool, claims world first

SecureState, a management consulting firm specializing in information security, has released what it claims is the world’s first tool that allows users to assess the security of smart utility meters over an optical interface.

SecureState (Cleveland, USA) had previously sent a “lite” version of the tool, branded Termineter, to a select group of registrants, but the full open-source code allows individuals to manipulate and test the security of smart meters with full functionality.

Teologis takes over Navtrak

Navtrak (Salisbury, USA), which supplies GPS technology for fleet-management services, has been acquired by Software-as-a-Services (SaaS) company Telogis (Aliso Viejo, USA).

Telogis says the takeover will strengthen its position in the market for location-based services.

Report: M2M market poised for biggest transformation ever

The M2M market is on the brink of the biggest transformation in its 10-year history, according to a new report from market-research company Maravedis-Rethink.

AEP Texas expands smart meter rollout

Utility company AEP Texas has signed a new agreement with Landis+Gyr, owned by Toshiba and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, for the installation of smart meters across its entire service territory.

AEP had previously contracted Landis+Gyr to provide 720,000 of its “Gridstream” meters, 500,000 of which have now been deployed. Under the new deal, Landis+Gyr will provide an additional 280,000 meters to the rural areas of AEP’s service territory not covered as part of the original agreement.

Verizon Wireline disappoints, shares off 2.9 percent


Weakness in Verizon Communications Inc's enterprise business offset a better-than-expected wireless quarter, sending the telephone company's shares down 2.9 percent.

After pushing Verizon's shares up 14 percent so far this year, investors focused in on the wireline miss on Thursday even as Verizon handily beat Wall Street estimates for wireless subscriber growth and profitability.

While earnings per share (EPS) met Wall Street expectations for the quarter, analyst said that wasn't enough.

China Mobile subscribers up 1.1 percent in June to 1.05 billion


China, the world's largest mobile phone market, saw a 1.14 percent monthly increase in mobile subscribers to 1.05 billion in June, data from the country's three telecommunications operators showed.

The number of mobile subscribers in China has been growing steadily, with handset vendors such as Apple Inc , Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS>, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp <0763.HK> <000063.SZ> clamoring for more market share.

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