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.

MiX Telematics sales up 20% on contract extensions, new deals

South Africa’s MiX Telematics has reported impressive results for the first half of the year, boosted by the extension of existing contracts and new deals in Europe and Australasia.

The telematics vendor, which specializes in driver safety, vehicle tracking and fleet management, said revenues were up 20.3%, year on year, to 564 million rand ($64 million), while operating profits soared 60.8% to 76 million rand.

Telefonica launches integrated Smart Cities M2M offer

Spanish telecoms incumbent Telefonica unveiled an integrated Smart Cities M2M offering at this week’s Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona.

The operator says the service will help town councils and other bodies to supervise and manage the installation and maintenance of connected devices and the collection and analysis of data.

Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) claims entrepreneurs will be able to develop applications on top of the Smart City platform, while cities can use it to improve the services they provide to citizens.

Burnished by Starbucks, upstart Square battles payment giants

Two years ago, employees from the start-up Square Inc descended on farmers markets in San Francisco to hand out a new type of credit-card reader that let small, independent merchants accept plastic via their smartphones or tablets.

But this month, when Starbucks Inc (Seattle, USA) and Square (San Francisco, USA) announced that 7,000 coffee shops across the country would begin accepting payment through Square's smartphone app, the small white cubes that were Square's original calling card didn't merit a mention.

Thailand seeks smart-grid advice from Orga Systems

Billing-systems vendor Orga Systems has been asked to contribute its expertise to an EU-funded smart-grid project in Thailand.

The company has been running a series of training sessions about introducing cost-effective and user-friendly smart grids to the Thai market as part of the SmartThai initiative.

Owing to the success of those workshops, Thailand’s Ministry of Energy has asked Orga (Paderborn, Germany) to address business-critical policy issues with the relevant government authorities.

Exclusive: Google Ventures beefs up fund size to $300 million a year


Google will increase the cash it allocates to its venture-capital arm to up to $300 million a year from $200 million, catapulting Google Ventures into the top echelon of corporate venture-capital funds.

Access to that sizeable checkbook means Google Ventures (Mountain View, USA) will be able to invest in more later-stage financing rounds, which tend to be in the tens of millions of dollars or more per investor.

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