Feeling useful? Europe offers up billions for R&D

With $10 billion up for grabs, the EU is looking to stimulate both technological advancement and economic growth. Good news for European tech firms, for green technology companies — and for an embattled continent.

Streetline raises $15M from Bill Ford, RockPort for smarter parking

Startup Streetline, which uses wireless sensors and cell phones to find parking spots for drivers, announced it has raised $15 million from Fontinalis Partners, the investment fund from former Ford CEO Bill Ford, as well as RockPort Capital Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.

Today in Cleantech

Does the future of energy-smart cities lie in the cloud? IBM certainly seems to think so. The IT giant has just launched a software platform to integrate and manage city operations such as police, fire and emergency responders, along with modules to add water and sewer management and transportation and traffic planning — and IBM is using a cloud computing platform to run those platforms for certain select test cities, Chris O’Connor, IBM vice president of industry solutions, told me this week. While IBM hasn’t made its cloud-based smarter cities platform broadly available, O’Connor suggested that this wouldn’t be too far in the future. The news follows word of Cisco’s plan to use its cloud services platform to deliver a host of city services to mobile devices in the South Korean city of Busan, along with news that certain smart grid partners, including home energy automation player Control4, will be developing to deliver its services over Cisco’s cloud. In Europe, Microsoft is using cloud technologies to help French power giant Alstom collect and analyze energy data to better manage city sustainability. While all these projects are in their early stages, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a full-blown “green cloud city” platform emerge some time this year — what are your thoughts?

Today in Cleantech

IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative keeps marching on, and its latest stop is the city of Corpus Christi, Texas. Big Blue is helping the Gulf of Mexico port city with software that monitors water, roads, airport, parks, and utility infrastructure, with the goal of tying those disparate city services into a single view for more efficient operations. It’s similar to “Smarter Cities” initiatives IBM has underway in about 300 cities around the world, from capitals such as London, Stockholm and Dublin and major metropolitan areas such as Amsterdam and Sydney, Australia to smaller cities like Dubuque, Iowa, where IBM is helping revamp water and energy management. Cisco is another IT giant with smart city aspirations. The networking gear giant’s Connected Urban Development initiative has projects including networked schools in Portugal, energy efficient apartments in Spain, and an “EcoMap” of the carbon emissions from energy use, waste management and transportation patterns in San Francisco.