Member spotlight 9.26.14: MasterCard, Cisco, Qualcomm, ABB, Schneider, ANSI

Fri, 2014-09-26 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Scroll down for short takes from Council members…

MasterCard trials voice and facial recognition payments: The company created a beta mobile app that MasterCard employees around the world tested in some 14,000 e-commerce transactions, according to a ComputerWorld report. The biometrics payments trial was dubbed a success. The article quoted Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard president for enterprise safety and security: "The results were very exciting, yielding a successful verification rate of 98%, mixing a combination of voice and facial recognition. The process usually took less than 10 seconds." Bhalla also noted that the recent launch of Apple Pay, which MasterCard is part of, represents "a major milestone in payments technology." MasterCard is a Council Lead Partner.

ElfrinkCisco exec touts opportunities in connectivity: Wim Elfrink, executive vice-president of industry solutions and chief globalization officer at Cisco, talked about the opportunity that the 30 billion devices currently connected to the Internet provide during a recent lecture in Dubai.  "All these devices are connected to the Internet and are all generating data. With this unprecedented connectivity to the Internet, 90% of data that exists today was created in the last two years; more new data has been generated in 2012 than the last 5,000 years," Elfrink said, according to a Gulfnews.com report. "With this huge expansion in connectivity, we are soon to face a rise in innovation, and stream of new industries, leading to competition between cities. These new modern cities will only be sustainable if they thrive amidst these developments." The lecture was hosted by The Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government; the Governance and Innovations Program at the school is a Council Advisor. Cisco is a Council Lead Partner.

The future according to Qualcomm: Reporting on Qualcomm's recently Uplinq Mobile Developers Conference, analyst Rob Enderle highlighted how Qualcomm is re-defining what he calls the near-term future. One initiative he described is Qualcomm's LTE Direct, which he said "operates to identify people you know in close proximity to you so you can translate an electronic relationship into a physical one." One use of the technology, he suggested, could be during catastrophes "where localized services could kick in and guide people to safety even if the cellular network failed." Qualcomm also announced its Snapdragon Micro-Rover at the show, which Enderle describes as a smartphone-powered robot that can use the smartphone’s camera to navigate. Read the ITBusinessEdge column for more on these plus a summary of the company's mobile vision platform. Qualcomm is a Council Lead Partner.

ABB joins Finland's Innovative Cities pilot: ABB is joining forces with the University of Vaasa and companies from the energy and ICT sectors to pilot smart grid technologies as part of an "Innovative Cities" pilot in Finland. The goal is to enhance distribution reliability and efficiency and to enable sustainable energy solutions, such as wind and solar power. One of the objectives is to investigate how to reduce the need for infrastructure investments through the maximum use of the latest technologies for distribution automation. ABB will deliver state-of-the-art technology for automating the network fault management of the power grid that serves the Sundom village near the city of Vaasa. You can see an infographic about the project here. "The pilot is a great example of the cooperation between the energy sector companies in the Vaasa region," said Bruno Melles, head of ABB’s Medium Voltage products business.  "There is a great demand for smart grid solutions, not only in Finland, but throughout Europe." ABB is a Council Associate Partner.

Schneider Electric launches Smart Panels in India:  The company says its Smart Panel concept ensures sustainable energy savings in buildings, such as public and commercial offices, modern retail premises, hospitals and hotels apart from industrial setups. Based on Schneider Electric’s energy management principle of ‘measure, connect, and save,’ Smart Panel is a simple-to-deploy plug and play solution that addresses the urgent need to curb energy costs and meet norms for green buildings. Said Shrinivas Chebbi, VP – India and SAARC for Schneider, “In recent months, power blackouts have occurred frequently in many parts of India. While the government devises long-term measures to address the situation, we believe all stakeholders should consider it their individual responsibility to address the situation at the ground level. With buildings accounting for almost 40% of energy use in most countries, there is immense potential for improvement in their energy efficiency."  Schneider Electric is a Council Associate Partner.

ANSI issues call for participants in standards work: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has announced a call for participation in the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 268, Sustainable development in communities, as well as its Subcommittee (SC) 1, Smart urban infrastructure metrics. Both ISO TC 268 and SC 1 are actively developing international standards, and all U.S. stakeholder organizations in relevant fields and industries are strongly encouraged to get involved. To learn more or to express interest in joining one or both of the TAGs, email Tracy Vecchiarelli, NFPA fire protection engineer, at tvecchiarelli@nfpa.org. ANSI and ISO are members of the Council's Advisory Board.