China is now outspending the US on the installation of smart-grid technology, investing as much as $4.3 billion in 2013, according to new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
Much of China’s spending last year went on the rollout of some 62 million smart meters, bringing the total number it has deployed to just less than 250 million.
German telecoms incumbent Deutsche Telekom has launched a pilot smart-city project in the Italian city of Pisa that includes the provision of smart-parking and intelligent lighting services.
The operator expects the technology to help reduce carbon emissions and energy expenses.
It says drivers hunting for parking spaces are responsible for as much as 30% of traffic in big cities, and that more efficient management of street lighting could reduce electricity costs by up to 70% and maintenance costs by as much as 10%.
Lebanese authorities are trying out smart-metering technology from Itron as part of efforts to improve the country’s energy distribution network.
State electricity utility Electricite du Liban and distribution service provider KVA anticipate deploying more than 1.2 million smart meters across Lebanon – in what would be the largest smart-metering deployment in the Middle East so far – should a pilot prove successful.
The OpenADR Alliance and the WI-SUN Alliance have announced a partnership designed to speed up the rollout of energy-efficient program offerings.
The two standards bodies say they will work together on enabling interoperability between smart utility networks and utility demand response systems based on the OpenADR specification.
Semiconductor maker Silicon Labs has launched a new system-on-a-chip (SoC) family to meet the needs of more advanced smart energy and home automation products.
The company’s ARM-based EM358X SoC family provides additional flash and RAM memory options, while also offering USB connectivity and a local-storage bootloader aimed at helping developers to reduce bill of material costs and system complexity.
Silicon Labs (Austin, TX, USA) also said the SoC family was ideal as a mesh networking platform for “feature-rich, next-generation ZigBee applications.
Middleware supplier HCC Embedded has launched a new smart-meter file system (SMFS) designed to reduce power consumption and lower costs.
The company says its technology cuts down on expenses because it allows the on-board capacitor to be as small as possible, and that its file-system features can result in savings of many “cents” for each meter.
That could lead to significant savings in high volume manufacture, says HCC Embedded.
AT&T and IBM have come together with the aim of developing new products and services for the fast-growing M2M market.
The operator and IT services player are to combine their capabilities in the areas of analytics, cloud computing and security to “gain more insights” on the data that is being generated by machines across a variety of industries.
This push into the area of big data is to focus initially on creating new solutions for city governments and midsize utilities, say the companies.
US operator T-Mobile has unveiled a new service that eliminates roaming costs for M2M communications between the US and Canada, promising to extend the offer to additional markets this year.
Branded eSIM, the service means that M2M customers can enjoy local data rates when travelling from one country to the other.
T-Mobile (Bellevue, WA, USA) says the potential cost savings are enormous, giving the example of a trucking company whose vehicles make regular trips between the US and Canada.
M2M managed-services player Wyless has agreed a takeover of Aspider M2M, a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) based in the Netherlands.
Aspider (Woerden, Netherlands) provides a range of M2M services to customers, mainly in the Benelux and German-speaking markets, and the acquisition by Wyless (Lawrence, MA, USA) – the terms of which were not disclosed – will give Wyless a stronger presence in Europe.
In a statement, Wyless said the Aspider business would be integrated with its UK division.
Telefonica has launched its Smart M2M Solution in Argentina, Chile and Mexico, allowing customers in those markets to connect and manage M2M services using local SIM cards.
The service was launched in Spain and Brazil about a year ago and has been developed by Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) in partnership with network equipment supplier Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden).
The Spanish operator says the solution allows companies in a range of sectors to deploy and manage M2M services such as real-time monitoring and advanced diagnostics.