Vodacom launches M2M in Nigeria

Pan-African mobile-phone operator Vodacom has reportedly launched an M2M service in Nigeria aimed at boosting the country’s retail and financial sectors.

The offering appears to be a mobile-payments service, using GSM network connectivity to link retailers’ terminals to central servers and banking systems.

According to press reports, Vodacom (Bloemfontein, South Africa), majority owned by Vodafone (Newbury, UK), is using a secondary GSM network as a backup in case of an outage, but says users will be oblivious to any changeover.

Blue Sky Networks partners with Southeast Aerospace

Fleet-management specialist Blue Sky Network has teamed up with Southeast Aerospace to equip civilian and military aircraft with satellite-based tracking technology.

The partnership, say the companies, will create a one-stop shop for advanced satellite tracking, professional installation and certification for aerospace applications.

Blue Sky Network (La Jolla, USA) says the incorporation of its fleet management technology into Southeast Aerospace installations will facilitate easy access to the technology and certification in aviation applications.

US home-automation sector to ship 8 million systems in 2017

Having flourished in the past year, the home-automation sector is forecast to ship 8 million systems in the US in 2017, up from just 1.5 million in 2012, according to a new study from ABI Research.

The market-research company expects shipments to grow at a compound annual rate of 45.2% between 2011 and 2017, thanks largely to the activities of new entrants.

Despite the ailing economy and weak housing market, shipments of home-automation systems in the US have doubled in 2012 over last year’s levels.

Three promises improved M2M deal for MVNOs

The UK’s Three has become the latest operator to partner with Ericsson on M2M services, launching a cloud-based M2M platform aimed at MVNO customers.

The operator, which runs the UK’s smallest phone network in terms of customer numbers, claims the new Ericsson-based platform allows MVNOs to set up their M2M services much faster and at lower expense than via competing services.

MVNOs targeting M2M devices will be able to go live on the network within just two weeks of signing up, according to Three (Maidenhead, UK).

Itron appoints new CEO, announces deal in Hong Kong

Smart-grid specialist Itron has appointed Philip Mezey as its new chief executive while it continues its push into Asian energy markets.

Mezey will take over on January 1 2013 from LeRoy Nosbaum, who is set to retire at the end of the year.

Mezey was previously the president and chief operating officer of Itron’s global energy segment, with responsibility for electricity and gas businesses around the world, and served Itron in a number of roles before that.

Shipments of satellite nodes for smart-grid apps to quadruple by 2020

Shipments of satellite-based communications nodes used for smart-grid applications are forecast to more than quadruple between now and 2020, according to a new study from Pike Research.

The market-research company expects node shipments to rise from about 11,500 in 2012 to nearly 48,000 by 2020.

Satellite communications are becoming an increasingly viable option for smart-grid applications involving substation automation, remote monitoring and the mobile workforce.

Meralco partners with Orga Systems on Philippines smart grid

Asian energy supplier Meralco and Orga Systems have teamed up on a smart-grid pilot in the Philippines they claim is the country’s first experience of the technology.

The companies say that 40,000 customers will be connected to the smart grid during the initial pilot scheme, which will make use of Orga’s OS.Energy billing system.

Cinterion launches Intel-based M2M module

Cinterion has launched an M2M module based on Intel technology that can be used through so-called ‘plug and play’ installation in a range of industrial devices.

Owned by Gemalto (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the module maker says the new product is the first it has launched to use the miniPCIe form factor, which should help partners to speed the launch of M2M applications and reduce deployment costs.

Digi launches new M2M system-on-module

M2M specialist Digi International has launched a new wireless system-on-module for connected devices based on Freescale technology.

Digi (Minnetonka, USA) says the small form factor of the ConnectCard i.MX28, and its compatibility with Bluetooth and WiFi technology, make it ideal for use in portable medical devices and other products in energy, transportation, industrial automation and building automation.

Most M2M forecasts "not grounded in reality": Compass Intelligence

Most forecasts about the growth of M2M services are “not grounded in reality”, according to Compass Intelligence, which has just published its own prediction that the number of cellular M2M connections in the US will grow from 33.3 million this year to 114.7 million by 2016.

The market-research company dismisses the work carried out by many of its rivals, arguing that most analyst firms make flawed assumptions.

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