USDA hits target of $250 million for smart-grid funding

The US Department of Agriculture says it has now provided a total of $269 million to fund the development of smart grids in America’s rural communities, beating its investment goal of $250 million.

The target formed part of President Obama’s plan to modernize the country’s electrical system, helping utilities to become more efficient and consumers to save money by reducing energy use in homes and businesses.

Taiwan to invest $4.4 billion in nationwide smart grid: report

Taiwan’s government is to invest NT$130 billion ($4.4 billion) in the deployment of a national smart grid over the next 20 years, according to a report from Taiwan Today.

The report claims the plan has already secured the backing of the Cabinet and says an interagency task force will soon be formed.

Taiwan’s Bureau of Energy, under its Ministry of Economic Affairs, has said the construction of a smart grid is needed to help Taiwan reduce its carbon emissions and become more energy efficient.

inthinc teams up with Orbcomm on telematics

inthinc Technology Solutions (Salt Lake City, USA) has announced that satellite operator Orbcomm (Fort Lee, USA) will support its telematics and fleet-management applications.

The telematics company serves fleet industries in the US heavy equipment and oil and gas sectors, among others.

Its products provide alerts and information to drivers and fleet managers that inthinc claims can improve driver behavior, reduce crashes, increase fleet productivity and reduce emissions.

IMS claims new car hardware is "most advanced" to date

M2M company Intelligent Mechatronic Systems (IMS) (Waterloo, Canada) claims a new in-vehicle telematics device, due to launch early next year, will work with any vehicle and represents its most advanced connected car hardware to date.

IMS says it developed its new DriveSync device to be the “most universal” on the market, meaning it can work in vehicles that do not have OBD-2 ports, such as new hybrid and electric vehicles and diesel fuel vehicles.

SCE to begin installing smart meters in San Joaquin Valley

Southern California Edison (SCE), the biggest utility in the state, has announced that it will begin installing smart electric meters at the end of the month in the San Joaquin Valley.

The deployment will form part of the Edison SmartConnect program, a $1.6 billion project authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission to help realise California’s energy policy targets.

The objectives include reducing greenhouse gas omissions by around 365,000 metric tonnes per year and helping California to generate a third of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

Southeast Asia smart grids to generate $4.5 billion in revenues in 2020: analyst

Investments in smart grids in the Southeast Asia region will lead to a doubling of revenues over the next eight years, according to a new report from Pike Research.

Pike says revenues generated by investments in transmission, substation and distribution upgrades, as well as smart meters, will grow at a compound annual rate of 10%, rising from approximately $1.9 billion in 2011 to about $4.5 billion in 2020.

Huawei launches M2M business in Europe

Huawei (Shenzhen, China) has announced the start of a major M2M push in Europe as it aims to become the dominant player in the nascent industry.

China’s largest networks vendor has spent the last few months signing distribution agreements for its embedded modules in Europe’s biggest markets.

It now counts m2m Germany, Simple Solutions (UK), Sagitron (Spain and Portugal), Matrix (Spain), BE Telecom (Belgium and Israel), Netcom (Poland) and Techship (Sweden) among its partners, and says further deals are in the pipeline this year.

M2M market to be worth $290 billion by 2017: report

The global M2M industry is expected to generate some $290 billion in revenues in 2017, up from just $44 billion this year, according to new research from MarketsandMarkets.

The research company predicts that revenues will grow at a compound annual rate of 30.1% over the next five years as companies take advantage of new M2M opportunities.

EU to clear mobile operators' e-wallet plan: source

Reuters

European Union regulators will approve plans by British mobile operators Vodafone (Newbury, UK), O2 (London, UK) and Everything Everywhere (London, UK) to set up a joint venture to allow users to make payments and purchases with their phones, a person following the deal said on Tuesday.

Vodafone, Telefonica's 02 and Everything Everywhere, owned by France Telecom (Paris, France) and Deutsche Telekom (Berlin, Germany), aim to compete with similar mobile payment services from Google (Mountain View, USA), Apple (Cupertino, USA) and Facebook (Menlo Park, USA).

Satnav battle heats up as drivers look for new gadgets

Reuters

Garmin Ltd (Olathe, USA) and TomTom NV (Amsterdam, Netherlands) are gearing up for battle as the world's two biggest navigation companies plan to lure customers back with new products offering extra features.

Satnav sales have been in decline since 2008 as rivals like Google (Mountain View, USA) and Nokia (Helsinki, Finland) gave away free navigation on smartphones.

Once the darlings of the stock market, TomTom and Garmin have seen the value of their shares drop by more than 90 percent since the end of 2007, when satnav's were the hottest Christmas gifts.

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