Tag: Ford

Internet of Things “is already here”

Internet of ThingsA report commissioned by Verizon suggests that rather than being science fiction, the Internet of Things (IoT) is already here and producing business results.

Verizon commissioned the Harvard Business Review to conduct a report and that suggested the IoT is already here in the shape of connectivity, cloud computing, and miniaturisation of sensors “making it possible” for over 10 billion devices to be networked.

Nevertheless, HBR’s Analytic Services surveyed 269 business leaders and says the number of deployments is still relatively small.

While estimates say that IoT could add 10s of trillions of dollars to GDP in the next 10 years, HBR says defining it goes way beyond wearable devices, smart meters and connected cars.

The survey, conducted last September on early IoT adopters, concludes those using it were doing so to improve customer services, increase revenues from services and products, better using assets in the field, and picking up additional data for analytics.

Applications include asset tracking, security, fleet management, field force management, energy data management and “condition based monitoring”.

There are challenges to adopting IoT that include pivacy and regulatory compliance.  HBR said most legislation and industry regulations predates the use of IoT.  Managing the sheer amount of data will also be a problem, and finding people with skill sets capable of using IoT data.

The report said in healthcare, Varian, a manufacturer of medical devices, says the IoT meant a 50 percent reduction to repair connected devices.  Pirelli is using the IoT to manage data from sensors embedded in its Cyber Tyre range.  And Ford’s Connected Car Dashboards programme collects and analyses data from cars to better understand driving patterns and behicle performance.

Your car will be watching you

bigbrotherBy 2019 shipments of factory installed driver monitoring systems (DMS) with inward facing cameras will reach 6.7 million in number.

The systems include eye tracking technology which analyses the movements of your eyelids and the direction you’re gazing in and allows for personalisation in your vehicle, security, health tracking, distraction and detection of fatigue, according to market research firm ABI Research.

Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Volkswagen already have some of these features but Toyota has deployed advanced eye tracking systems in its Lexus brand and both Volvo and General Motors will install similar systems in the future.

And in a further twist, chip companies Nvidia and Intel ears are perking up as they sense business headed their way.

It’s not just cars that will deploy such systems, however.  ABI Research said in its report that companies SmartDrive and Lynx are targeting commercial vehicle fleets.

European car sales plummet to 20-year low

beemerEuropean car sales have gone off a cliff yet again. Reuters is reporting that the first half of 2013 was the worst for carmakers in two decades and it seems to be getting worse, as sales in June dropped 6.3 percent. 

With record unemployment in Europe and youth unemployment over 50 percent in some EU countries, the figures are hardly surprising.

The industry is also facing a host of other problems  and overcapacity is one of them. Fiat and Peugeot seem to have gotten the worst of it, dropping 13.6 and 10.9 in June respectively. 

It’s hardly surprising, as both outfits are running on fumes and selling outdated hatchbacks – both the 308 and Bravo are long overdue for replacement, along with the venerable Punto. The plucky Peugeot 208 is off to a good start, though.

Ford was an exception with a 6.9 percent rise in sales and the Volkswagen Group is still hanging in there, thanks to a fresh range of hatchbacks based on the new MQB platform. However, Audi was down 8.9 percent.

Car registrations in EU and EFTA countries fell 6.7 percent last month to 6,436,743, the lowest monthly total since 1993. IHS Automotive believes the market has bottomed out, but it’s still too early for anything resembling a recovery. In a recent interview BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said things probably wouldn’t get better until at least the middle of 2014.

Even the mighty German market, which bucked the negative trend in recent years, shrank 4.7 percent in June. Sales in France and Italy dropped 8.4 and 5.5 percent respectively and we don’t even want to mention Spain and Greece.

However, Britain soldiers on with the sixteenth straight month of gains. Sales in June were up 13.4 percent, which is rather surprising.