Car-sharing companies highlight the fact that people only use their own cars less than 10 percent of the time. But when it comes to boats, owners use them even less, or about two weeks out of the year — that’s according to startup Nautical Monkey.
Let’s call this smart grid wonk Friday. After more than a year of working on hundreds of smart grid standards, the National Institute for Standards and Technology has released five “foundational” sets of standards for federal and state regulators. But the five International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards in question don’t hit such hot topics as whether Internet protocol (IP) will be required in smart meters, or whether ZigBee will be favored for home energy networks. Rather, they deal with big utility systems, including data exchange between different utility control stations, transmission and distribution systems and substation automation systems — as well as the critical cybersecurity aspect of how all those systems will interact. As for real-world application of the standards, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has started a rulemaking process on how it could encourage, or perhaps force, compliance by utilities and their smart grid vendors. Stay tuned for more details — though, with the speed these things usually unfold, don’t hold your breath.
The Friday commute awaits us, so why not talk about transportation anxiety-related technology? First off, parking anxiety. Drew Clark, strategy director for IBM’s venture capital group, told me yesterday that he’s looking at two “smart parking” startups participating in IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Initiative “Smart Camp” competition — San Francisco-based Streetline and Barcelona, Spain-based WorldSensing.The idea is to retrofit parking meters with sensors and networking gear that can tell drivers just where parking spaces are open and how much they cost. Cities would be the obvious customer base, Clark noted, and could modify the underlying software to incentivize people to park in less congested areas, or perhaps open up parking spots to competitive bidding from drivers. Next up, electric vehicle range anxiety — startup Celadon Applications has a mobile app that crunches weather and traffic reports, vehicle diagnostic data and a host of other information to give a clearer picture of just how much juice is left in that EV battery. It’s one of several startups looking at new gadgets to connect cars and mobile networks, though whether they can compete against in-house offerings like GM’s OnStar Mobile system for its upcoming hybrid Chevy Volt, or Nissan’s partnership with AT&T for its all-electric LEAF sedan, remains to be seen. For more information, check out our “IT Opportunities in Electric Vehicle Management” report.
Watch out, Ford Sync! GM may be grabbing headlines today for posting its first quarterly profit in three years but for Car 2.0 enthusiasts, there’s interesting behind the scenes battle brewing. According to Motor Trend, GM is negotiating with Google to bring Android to the company’s cars. Besides the potential for new and exciting apps, it makes you wonder what OnStar integration plans (if any) they have in store.
Watch out Freescale! Intel today previewed its Atom-based “Tunnel Creek” system-on-a-chip at its developer confab in Beijing. And as you may have guessed, it has embedded automotive ambitions for the tech. The evidence: its partnership with Chinese automaker HawTai, which is pairing Atom chips with MeeGo software for infotainment systems. Are EVs far behind?
The EPA has awarded $2.38 million under the Small Business Innovative Research program, including four awards (under the biofuels and vehicle emissions category) for R&D firms working on tech related to biofuels.
Vastly overshadowed by the geeky allure of Ford Sync is the automaker’s technology package for F-Series pickups that goes by the uninspired name of Ford Work Solutions. It turns out that this office-on-wheels offering is helping workers save a ton on fuel and improve driver safety. Cool, right? Even better: Ford Work Solutions might someday end up folded into Sync, providing the same benefits to road warriors that prefer fuel-sipping compacts or mid-sized hybrids.
Like many web workers, I cut my project management teeth on applications like Microsoft Project (s msft) and OmniGroup OmniPlan — I respect the role of the Gantt chart. However, project management is no longer just the domain of the project manager — it should involve everyone on the team. Web-based project management tools like Basecamp, LiquidPlanner (reviewed by Mike), Team Effect (reviewed by Charles) and Teambox (reviewed by Meryl) democratize project management data and make it available for everyone.
If you’re moving to a web-based project management tool from MS Project, which one of the many available do you choose? Here are some considerations to take into account: Read More about 6 Considerations When Moving to a Web-based Project Management Tool
EV-IT isn’t Nissan’s only stab at smarter cars. The carmaker’s EPORO robots are designed to breeze through various traffic conditions by mimicking how fish maneuver in tight schools without bumping into each another. Using the technology to build cars that drive themselves may be far off on the horizon, but the research could improve safety, boost fuel efficiency and help EVs get the best range of out of their batteries by minimizing time spent in traffic.
Two recently released iPhone apps are making waves this week, garnering positive press for harnessing the iPhone’s capabilities to deliver value and enhance the way users interact with the apps’ publishers. Although they aren’t what you might consider “green” green, they offer some good pointers for companies that want to develop an engaging new generation of green apps or plan to extend a green product and service to encompass mobile platforms.