TNS and Telstra form wireless payments partnership

Australian telecoms operator Telstra has formed a partnership with Transaction Network Services (TNS), a data communications company, aimed at providing services to Australian organizations that operate wireless payment devices.

Under the agreement, TNS is to use Telstra’s M2M Wireless Control Center to improve its managed wireless service. The partnership should allow TNS to expand its network reach in Australia as well as streamline its operations through the use of a single web-based interface for SIM card ordering, provisioning, activation and management.

Tracker invests in M2M technology

UK vehicle-monitoring company Tracker has announced a new partnership with Wireless Logic, an M2M managed services specialist.

The partnership will give Tracker a number of mobile connectivity services, providing specialist M2M SIMs from multiple networks.

Tracker’s SVR and fleet telematic solutions will be further enhanced using Wireless Logic’s ‘SIMpro3’ platform-as-a-service (PaaS), giving Tracker complete real-time visibility across its growing SIM estate.

PayPal could heat up mobile payments race if McDonald's test pays off


PayPal is in the early stages of what may be a blockbuster mobile payments deal with McDonald's Corp, the world's biggest hamburger chain.

McDonald's is testing a mobile payments service featuring PayPal at 30 of its restaurants in France.

Earlier this year, McDonald's ran demonstrations of a broader PayPal mobile payments service at its franchisee conference in Orlando, Florida.

A McDonald's spokeswoman confirmed the France tests and said the PayPal demonstration at its conference was part of a booth that features "technology coming within the next 24 months or so."

Big retailers to take to mobile payments: WSJ


Big retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, Target Corp and Japan's 7-Eleven are planning to develop a mobile payment network, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people involved in the initiative.

The Merchant Customers Exchange (MCX) is an initiative taken by these retailers to match similar services from Google, which began operating it last year on its Android devices, the WSJ said.

It was unclear how much each merchant would contribute to the network's development, the paper said.

Smart meter industry left disappointed by Brazil ruling

Brazil’s energy regulator has stunned the industry by announcing that smart meters will be installed at existing premises only if customers request them.

The National Agency of Electrical Energy (ANEEL) has given suppliers 18 months to offer consumers electronic meters under two separate schemes. Suppliers must install meters at no cost if consumers opt simply for time-of-usage tariffs, but can charge installation fees if customers choose plans that provide specific details about the service.

RIM attracting interest from healthcare, smart grid sectors

BB10, the operating system set to replace QNX on Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices, is attracting interest from companies in the healthcare and smart grid industries, according to a story published earlier this week on CNET.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is reported to have told CNET that healthcare and smart grid businesses have already shown interest in the new operating system and that BB10 could ultimately support devices used across a range of industries.

India to pilot new smart grid project in Kerala

Indian authorities have given the green light to a new pilot of smart grid technology in the state of Kerala, according to a report in the Times of India newspaper.

The pilot will target 2,500 so-called “industrial consumers” in Kerala and benefit from a total investment of 280 million rupees ($5 million), with 40% of the funding to come in the form of a government grant.

State authorities hope the introduction of smart grids will help address the frequent power failures and voltage problems that plague industries in Kerala.

Mitsui announces $15 million investment in Viridity

Japanese IT and engineering conglomerate Mitsui has announced plans to invest $15 million in Viridity Energy (Philadelphia, USA), an energy-demand specialist.

The investment is pending approval by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but it would give Mitsui an equity stake in Viridity, of an undisclosed amount, and a position on Viridity’s board.

Harman agrees to buy India's Interchain Solution

US-based Harman has entered into an agreement to buy Interchain Solution, an Indian company that specializes in telematics, fleet management, in-vehicle infotainment and location-based services.

The deal is subject to “customary closing conditions” but Harman expects it to close in late August.

Harman sees the acquisition as a way to expand its presence in the large Indian market and augment its own automotive infotainment and telematics offerings.

Massachusetts smart grid pilot gets DPU go-ahead

America’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved a pilot project by National Grid to install smart meters at the premises of 15,000 customers in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The customer sample represents about 1.2% of National Grid’s electricity customers and will allow the utility to see how a smart grid could help to reduce outages and improve operational efficiency over a two-year period.

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