Nokia chooses the woZZon search engine as its mobile app of the future, and more …

Nokia chooses the woZZon search engine as its mobile app of the future, and more …

Fleetilla offers real-time asset location and usage data to customers in North America, Europe, Africa, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. Online Tech will provide the company with 24×7 server hosting to deliver superior customer service and reduce fleet expenses.

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The rapid growth of fleet management tools and technologies has spawned an environment in which GPS tracking and real-time asset location information is expected to be available and secure around the clock. “How can you do business if you don’t know where your most valuable assets are?” asks Kumar. “Our customers demand a service that is always online and always safe.” And he’s confident Online Tech, which helps companies manage their growing demand for data and computing capacity through secure and reliable multi-tenant data centers, will provide it.

Carmaker Kia has enlisted Microsoft to develop a new touch-activated communication and entertainment system similar to Ford SYNC and Mercedes mbrace. The system will be called the UVO (Your Voice) in-car infotainment system and should be available by mid-2010 in the Kia Sorento SUV. Specific features will include a 4.3–inch color touchscreen, speech recognition, a Jukebox, media content, detailed vehicle updates, and a rear-bumper cam to reveal what’s behind the car whenever it’s shifted into reverse.

Ford has unveiled MyFord Touch, a touchscreen interface that allows drivers to search the Web, Twitter, and stream online radio like Pandora, as well as operate the car’s telephone and temperature controls. Ford partnered with Microsoft to design the infotainment system. Safety experts continue to voice concern over this new wave of online infotainment systems, which Microsoft, Google, and Intel are propelling. But Ford insists that MyFord Touch is safe: The system is hands-free and voice activated.

Ford also announced that its newest version of SYNC will utilize Tele Atlas maps and location content throughout North America, South America, and the Middle East. Tele Atlas will enhance the systems turn-by-turn directions function and add a visual element to its basic navigation system, including 3D landmarks and points-of-interest. Tele Atlas maps and location content also will be available on Ford’s new MyFord Touch system via its driver connect technology.

In response to Ford SYNC and other infotainment systems like it, Denso Corp has announced an infotainment system of its own, called Blue Harmony, which will go into production in 2011. Blue Harmony is a hands-free system that allows drivers to access and control music, navigation tools, e-mail, online radio, and news by way of a touchscreen mounted on the dashboard.

ALK technologies has launched a new CoPilot GPS navigation app for the Nexus One, making it the first navigation company to cater specifically to Google’s new smartphone. The application, called CoPilot Live, offers turn-by-turn GPS navigation and detailed street maps that are stored on the smartphone’s memory card, so that maps are available independent of online connectivity. The application presently is available for iPhones with a free 30-day trial and has been present in the Andoid market since June 2009.

WeatherBug announced plans to expand its WeatherBug Total Lightning Network to global coverage. The network is a web of high precision broadband lightning sensors that are highly effective for anticipating storms and increasing lead times for forecasts. It can help detect and mitigate the damage from tornadoes, downburst winds, wind shear, and lightning strikes. The Network is currently available in North America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.

Finally, Nokia’s £20,000 “Calling All Innovators Competition,” which challenged UK developers to think up the next big thing in mobile applications, has crowned its victor: woZZon. The woZZon events search engine operates around a simple principle—to deliver information about what’s on near you. The search engine gives easy access to a comprehensive database of 60,000 geo-coded venues and 90,000 unique events across 15 genres. Nokia was impressed with the way woZZon data syncs with Ovi’s rich mappings to create a powerful and useful social tool.

“woZZon not only tells you about large events such as festivals, it has a strong focus on really local events, from your local village hall fete to your nearest pub quiz,” says Sarah Longhurst, woZZon project coordinator. “Integrating woZZon with Ovi Maps is pivotal in providing users a simple and useful tool to discover what’s on around them."

Additionally, the woZZon application will be published on Nokia’s Ovi Store and potentially will become a preload on all future Nokia devices. “We were looking for bold ideas from talented developers who could demonstrate a real understanding of what UK consumers want from mobile content,” says Rupert Englander, UK head of services at Nokia. “The woZZon application stood out for its innovative geo-coded venues which ties to Ovi Maps, and the sheer volume of data accessible via the app. The app automatically charts your GPS position and searches for your chosen subject, so whether you are after a restaurant, cinema, Salsa club, or gig you can find it via woZZon."

Andrew Tolve

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