Towers Watson and Hughes partner on usage-based auto insurance

Professional services company Towers Watson (New York, USA) has announced a partnership with Verizon-owned Hughes Telematics (Atlanta, USA) to provide data services to US auto insurers for use with usage-based insurance (UBI) programs.

The deal will see the two companies combine their telematics capabilities to help insurers develop usage-based offers.

The DriveAbility technology from Towers Watson already helps insurers convert driving data into industry-applicable metrics, while Hughes provides data services and connectivity for telematics features.

M2M Summit (M2M Alliance)

Dusseldorf, Germany

Start Date: 
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
End Date: 
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The M2M Alliance can look back on a very successful conference and exhibition at the M2M Summit 2011, and the 2012 event at the Dusseldorf Convention Center should be even more dynamic! Main themes for the M2M Summit 2012 include: facility management, vending, industrial control, mobile payments, security, and electric transportation.

Japan's smart meter market opens doors to foreigners

Smart meter specialists worldwide are eyeing a potentially lucrative opportunity in Japan following the recent adoption of international standards by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), according to a report from Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

TEPCO had previously planned to introduce smart meters based on its own specifications, but critics said this would favor group companies and drive up prices.

Smart meter installation hits Texan resistance

The installation of smart meters is running into fierce resistance in the state of Texas, where homeowners are going to extreme lengths to prevent it from happening, according to a report from Associated Press.

Consumer report says Ford touch-screen system "stinks"


An influential consumer magazine on Wednesday lambasted Ford Motor Co's touch-screen entertainment and navigation system, saying it is distracting, clumsy and overly complex.

"MyFord Touch still frustrates us like few other control systems in any other brand's automobiles," Consumer Reports said in a blog post. "And worse, it is influencing competitors."

PayPal deepens retail drive in Discover payments deal


EBay Inc's PayPal (San Jose, USA) online payments service has gained access to millions of stores across the United States through an agreement with Discover Financial Services (Riverwoods, USA), extending its reach beyond the Web and into the physical world.

Under the deal unveiled on Wednesday, PayPal will issue payment cards to its more than 50 million active users in the United States next year, which they can use to buy from merchants that already use Discover Network, which links more than 7 million U.S. retail locations.

Porto Seguro launches M2M vehicle service in Brazil

Insurance company Porto Seguro (Sao Paolo, Brazil) has launched its first M2M offer in Brazil, providing a service that allows it to track and monitor the driving of its automotive customers.

The company began testing the service in February and started installing SIM cards in vehicles in June.

It is currently providing the M2M service to about 2,000 vehicles owned by insurance customers and aims to serve around 450,000 vehicles by 2014.

Landis+Gyr to help build smart grid on Guam

Smart meter specialist Landis+Gyr (Zug, Switzerland) has been chosen to help build a smart grid on the island of Guam.

The Guam Power Authority (GPA), which provides electric power across the US territory, plans to deploy more than 52,000 advanced meters over the next two years.

It plans to use Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream RF network as a backbone for possible communication with other grid devices and home area network applications in the future.

The meters themselves are to incorporate integrated service switch and ZigBee capabilities.

Telefonica and Arduino team up on M2M

Spanish telecoms operator Telefónica (Madrid, Spain) has teamed up with electronics specialist Arduino (London, UK) on the development of a new programmable electronic board with M2M capabilities.

Arduino boards are already used to connect sensors and control applications ranging from lighting to motors, but the new-look board developed with the Spanish operator incorporates remote monitoring capabilities, with a GPRS/GSM connection that links the hardware motherboard with Telefónica’s M2M service.

US Senator champions Vermont smart grid

US Senator Bernie Sanders has joined with utility and environmental groups at a news conference in Vermont to laud the benefits of the smart grid being rolled out in the state.

Vermont received some $69 million in federal stimulus funds as part of the $4 billion national investment in smart grid technology. Supporters claim the upgrade to the analog electric system has already paid dividends in Vermont, helping to cut the outage response time in half after Tropical Storm Irene struck the state a year ago.

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