Facebook to buy virtual reality goggles maker for $2 billion

Reuters

Facebook Inc will acquire two-year-old Oculus VR Inc, a maker of virtual-reality glasses for gaming, for $2 billion, buying its way into the fast-growing wearable devices arena with its first-ever hardware deal.

The acquisition, which comes hot on the heels of its $19 billion deal for messaging service WhatsApp, marks a big bet by Facebook (Menlo Park, CA, USA) to anticipate the next shift in an evolving technology industry, at a time when consumers are increasingly abandoning their PCs for smartphones.

Ray-Ban maker Luxottica to bring Google Glass to wider market

Reuters

Google has teamed up with Ray-Ban maker Luxottica in a bid to turn its Internet-connected Glass spectacles into a widely-available, stylish consumer product.

In a statement late on Monday, Luxottica (Milan, Italy), the world's biggest eyewear maker, said it had agreed to design, develop and distribute Glass eyewear, which so far has only been available as an expensive prototype in the United States.

SpeedCast opens new Singapore facility in global expansion

Satellite player SpeedCast says it has opened a new maritime facility in Singapore as part of its global expansion.

The new facility is to focus on the delivery of services and support for the maritime market and will augment the company’s extensive network in the region, said SpeedCast in a statement.

SpeedCast provides a variety of services to maritime customers, including a VSAT service branded SeaCast that will support broadband connections on ships and also facilitate the use of remote M2M sensing.

Orange Cameroon to launch connected health service

Mobile operator Orange Cameroon is set to launch what it describes as a “preventive medical service” in collaboration with the country’s Ministry for Health.

The operator – a subsidiary of France’s telecoms incumbent Orange (Paris) – says the My Healthline service has been developed by its Orange Healthcare division and will provide remote medical advice in real time.

It is due to be released in April, and the operator plans to expand it to other sub-Saharan markets in Africa in future.

IMS Health could raise $1.36 billion in IPO: Reuters

Healthcare IT player IMS Health is expecting to price its initial public offering at between $18 and $21 a share, which would value the company at $6.97 billion, according to a report from Reuters.

The company, backed by TPG Capital Management (Fort Worth, TX, USA), is hoping to raise as much as $1.36 billion from the sale of 65 million shares.

According to Reuters, IMS (Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ, USA), will sell some 52 million shares during the offering, with the remainder being put up for sale by shareholders.

Fitness, mobile-health gadgets rated popular wearables in Nielsen survey

Fitness bands and mobile health gadgets were rated as two of the three most popular types of wearable device in a recent survey conducted by Nielsen.

Some 61% of respondents chose fitness bands when asked about their wearable-device preferences, with 17% picking mobile health devices.

Meanwhile, 45% of respondents opted for smart watches.

Most fitness band owners (57%) said the ability to self-monitor was a major factor in their decision to purchase the technology, along with concern about their health.

TeliaSonera pilots M2M services with PostNord

Swedish telecoms incumbent TeliaSonera says it will support M2M connectivity in vans operated by mail-delivery company PostNord, with the aim of developing new fleet-management services based on the experience.

The pilot wills see TeliaSonera (Stockholm, Sweden) install its M2M technology in 20 mail-delivery vans in Stockholm, allowing PostNord (Stockholm, Sweden) to benefit from a range of fleet-management services.

Non-trucking to dominate fleet telematics by end 2019: ABI Research

Nearly 50 million “non-trucking” commercial fleet vehicles will be equipped with telematics technology by the end of 2019, according to the latest study from ABI Research.

The market-research company says that telematics services were first adopted by the long-haul trucking industry in the US more than 20 years ago, but that adoption of these services in the non-trucking sector will equal that in the trucking industry in terms of numbers of connected vehicles by the end of this year – and dominate the commercial fleet telematics industry by the end of 2019.

Rand McNally to make Drivewyze available on fleet-management devices

Rand McNally says it has enhanced its fleet-management service through a deal with Drivewyze that will help commercial truck drivers to bypass weigh stations.

The Drivewyze (Edmonton, Canada) PreClear service allows drivers to clear weigh station requirements before reaching the location, and Rand McNally (Skokie, IL, USA) is to make that service available on its suite of mobile fleet-management devices.

The technology works by communicating safety-related data in real-time as a truck approaches a weigh station.

GE, Quirky launch connected air-conditioning unit

GE has taken the wraps off a new connected air-conditioning unit developed in partnership with engineering company Quirky and aimed at lowering energy costs for US consumers.

Branded Aros, the unit represents Quirky’s (New York City, NY, USA) first major connected appliance but the fifth product that has been launched in collaboration with GE (Fairfield, CT, USA), which announced a tie-up with Quirky back in April 2013.

In a statement, GE said that Aros is immediately available through Amazon.com and will be sold through major US retailers from May.