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.

iZettle launches mobile-payments service with EE

Swedish mobile-payments company iZettle has launched services in the UK through an exclusive deal with EE, the country’s biggest network operator.

Under the arrangement, iZettle’s mini chip-card readers will be available from any of EE’s (London, UK) 297 stores or via the operator’s telesales channel.

The readers can be connected to smartphones and tablets, turning the devices into mobile-payment terminals that will accept transactions via Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club.

Telefonica Digital launches cloud service for M2M

Telefónica Digital has launched a cloud-computing service designed partly to support M2M applications for developers, digital businesses and large enterprises.

Branded Instant Servers, the service is supported by the operator’s data centres in the UK and Spain and promises a service level agreement (SLA) of 99.996% with financial compensation in the event of non-compliance.

Instant Servers also allows customers to serve more workloads per virtual machine than public cloud services and thereby reduce their operating costs.

Paypal enters the holiday price-matching fray


PayPal launched a price-matching offer on Thursday, following similar moves by retailers including Target Corp, as the payments giant tries to encourage more shoppers to use its service this holiday season.

If consumers purchase products with PayPal and the items are advertised for lower prices by any merchant within 30 days, PayPal said it will reimburse users the difference.

The price-matching offer includes PayPal purchases made online and in physical stores and runs through December 31, the company, owned by eBay Inc (San Jose, USA), added.

Germany to decide future of smart metering in 2013: report

Germany’s decision on whether to mandate the introduction of smart grids could make or break the European industry, according to a new study from analyst firm Berg Insight.

Germany is the only major country in Western Europe that has not required utilities to introduce smart-grid technology, and take-up has consequently been disappointing.

Ericsson strikes M2M deals with TeliaSonera, MegaFon

Equipment maker Ericsson has struck important M2M deals with TeliaSonera and MegaFon, two of the world’s biggest operators, while saying the broader market for software and services is likely to generate a higher proportion of its revenues in future.

In the last few days, both operators have announced plans to use Ericsson’s M2M Device Connection Platform, which should make it easier for them to manage large numbers of subscriptions and provide more flexibility to M2M partners and customers.

'Weightless' M2M group issues call for more partners

A group of UK technology companies including semiconductor designer ARM and network operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide is looking for new partners as it ramps up efforts to create a communications standard for M2M services.

The companies have recently set up a special interest group (SIG) to accelerate the adoption of Weightless, a royalty-free and open standard that lets machines communicate with one another over TV white-space spectrum.

UK and Taiwan form smart-grid partnership

A UK delegation representing companies including British Gas, BT and Vodafone this week said a new smart-grid partnership with Taiwan could help to generate more than £13 billion ($20.8 billion) in economic benefits and £5 billion in smart-grid exports for the UK economy.

The UK Smart Grid mission has been visiting Taiwan this week to establish industry and academic links with the country.

GM beats Ford and Toyota in new ranking of telematics vendors

General Motors has topped a new ranking of OEM safety and security telematics vendors, beating Ford into second place and Toyota into third.

The company’s OnStar solution was ranked number one in a Competitive Assessment carried out by ABI Research.

ABI scored General Motors (Detroit, USA) highly for the range of OnStar features as well as its market share, quality and reliability.

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