Summer Hotspot Weekly Brief—7.16.2012

In this week's Brief: BMW, Opel, Telefónica, KPN, NTT DOCOMO, Rogers, SingTel, Telstra, Vimpelcom, Audi, ParkMe, MapQuest, TomTom and Daimler

BMW announced a round of updates and innovations to its ConnectedDrive platform. Among them was the BMW LTE Car Hotspot, an adapter that allows passengers to access high-speed mobile internet on any devices they wish.

The accessory can be added to new BMWs and old alike, and will be available for US models in 2013, which will be a first among car manufacturers.

Another advancement was a BMW software development kit for third-party apps. The SDK contains guidelines and specific tools that are intended to help the third-party providers develop compatible, vehicle-adapted versions of their apps.

Following an approval process, the applications will be certified by the BMW Group for MINI Connected, BMW Apps or Rolls-Royce Connect and made available to load on the smartphone.

In launching its new urban car, the ADAM, Opel unveiled a new infotainment system that offers smartphone connectivity for Apple iOS software and Android operating systems.

The infotainment system makes selected smartphone content, including internet based applications such as GPS navigation, available in the cabin and collects and displays it on a high-res and full-color touch screen.

The system also provides Bluetooth and USB connectivity for MP3 players, iPods and tablets.

Telefónica and six other world mobile operators—KPN, NTT DOCOMO, Rogers, SingTel, Telstra and Vimpelcom—have entered into an alliance to initiate collaboration with respect to their M2M businesses.

The alliance will provide a global product featuring a unique SIM and a united web interface that centralizes the management of global M2M devices.

The goal is to create new products, reduce operating costs, and stimulate the sale of M2M communications across a number of high-potential industries such as automotive, consumer electronics, and energy efficiency.

Audi unveiled the Audi Mileage Tracker app, which enables business users to enter the amount they normally claim per mile or kilometre of travel and to apply this to a particular journey, which the app logs in real time using GPS mapping.

At the end of the journey the exact amount owed as a business expense is recorded and can be transferred to a spreadsheet showing all the applicable trips taken over a given period. Drivers can programme the app with journeys they take regularly and recall them from the journey log or use the start/stop function each time they leave the office.

ParkMe launched a free iPhone app that allows users in Austin, Texas, to find real-time availability of garage and street parking. The app allows users to see parking availability in the form of “heat maps,” which illustrate parking availability on a block-by-block basis through color-coded streets on a map. The street parking availability is refreshed every five minutes.

Comprehensive information about garage parking is also provided, including rates, hours, accepted payment types and the entrypoint of every lot. Austin is the first market to launch the real-time app and will serve as a test case for other cities.

MapQuest selected TomTom maps to help power the company's latest mobile app. Available for Android and iOS, MapQuest's free apps provide access to a wireless version of the MapQuest website.

MapQuest 3.0 will provide navigable coverage with more than 7.5 million miles of roads across Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Daimler started a pilot for a mobility platform called "moovel,” which shows users the optimal means of getting from A to B. "moovel" brings together different means of travel and presents the options so that they can be seen at a glance – on the "moovel" app or mobile website.

The free app is available in the Apple Store and the pilot will play out in Stuttgart, Germany, over the coming months, where users will have access to the various options for bus, rail, and taxi connections, including time and price, in their local service area.

"With the 'moovel' pilot project we focus entirely on the intelligent linkage of different mobility offerings,” says Wilfried Steffen, head of Business Innovation at Daimler AG. “We show users the best way to get from A to B, and at the same time existing resources can be better utilized.”


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