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Vodafone wants you to dress smartly this summer

ReadWriteWeb - Fri, 07/29/2016 - 1:00pm

Vodafone has released a suite of connected smart clothes aimed at holidaymakers jetting off this summer. The range includes a swimsuit, child’s sunhat, and suitcase, all fitted with sensors.

The swimsuit has a built in UV exposure sensor that detects harmful rays and provides data on the UV level and how long you’ve spent in the sun. Vodafone shows all of this data on a companion smartphone app.

See Also: Vodafone and Philips to help cities cut lighting costs

Similar UV technology is baked into the sunhat. Vodafone will differentiate between devices on the app. The hat also comes with a location tracker, showing the location the child and sending alerts if they wander too far.

The last product, a smart suitcase, has tracking functionality that works with mobile base stations inside airports to provide more accurate positioning of the case.

Vodafone getting well into IoT

Vodafone has built all three devices using narrowband-IoT tech, a standard being developed by the 3GPP body. Narrowband is the perfect communications standard for low-power connected devices, according to Vodafone and others involved in the standardization.

The British mobile operator is one of the key networks involved in Narrowband IoT, pushing the standard for M2M and IoT developments.

“To date, Vodafone has been providing IoT solutions around 2G, 3G and 4G and, of course, 5G is just around the corner. But to understand how we are gearing up for IoT it is important to also look at new standards like narrowband-IoT,” said Vodafone chief of IoT, Cyril Deschanel to Siliconrepublic.

“It is a low-cost, low-energy technology and enables machines to last longer with greater autonomy. For example, it helps penetrate inside or under buildings and reach places that cellular cannot. You can have machines that are five metres under a house or building that can communicate where cellular just can’t.”

The post Vodafone wants you to dress smartly this summer appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

Amazon reaches new high of 268,900 employees - skyrocketing 47% in just one year (Nat Levy/GeekWire)

TechMeme - Fri, 07/29/2016 - 11:50am

Nat Levy / GeekWire:
Amazon reaches new high of 268,900 employees — skyrocketing 47% in just one year  —  Amazon said it added approximately 23,700 employees worldwide in the second quarter, bringing its total employment to 268,900.  —  Amazon's headcount has grown by a staggering amount over the last few years.

Categories: Technology

German regulators could clear the road for self-driving cars

ReadWriteWeb - Fri, 07/29/2016 - 11:30am

To suggest that global regulations around autonomous vehicles are murky, may be the understatement of the year. But Germany’s proposed regulations on self-driving cars could potentially let some daylight through.

As reported by Fast Company, the German government is updating its traffic laws to include self-driving car rules. If passed, experts say these regulations could provide some of the clearest guidelines for autonomous cars in any major world economy.

The proposed legislation stipulates that the new class of cars will still need to require a steering wheel and a conscious human sitting behind it. As well, driverless cars would need to have black boxes that record crash data to determine whether accidents were the fault of man or machine.

And while some argue the proposed rules are overly cautious, Germany’s decisive push for clear autonomous car regulations could give the country an advantage in the race to become global leader in developing the technology.

This follows chancellor Angela Merkel’s comments this spring that her government wants industry input and that all members of Germany’s ruling coalition are backing autonomous vehicles. This signaled to the industry that it could enjoy a harmonious legislative environment in the country, unlike other jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, industry pundits have raised fears that America could become a disjointed patchwork of incompatible and competing regulations for self-driving cars.

German regulations won’t get knotted like elsewhere

In California, which is arguably the most advanced U.S. state for autonomous vehicle testing, convoluted rules continue to create obstacles for companies seeking to develop these cars in the state.

Bird & Bird, an international law firm, discussed details of Germany’s proposed legislation. It noted that the biggest rule change is that the driver could transfer legal responsibility to the robot car, with their liability only triggered if the driver doesn’t react to the vehicle’s “wake-up” alarm.

“In other words, the driver may read, write, or watch TV to a certain extent, but having a nap will remain prohibited,” said Alexander Duisberg, a Bird & Bird partner.

If the black-box recorder proves that the driver did respond to the car’s warning alerts, the vehicle would be held responsible for any accident rather than the human.

“Whenever evidence is had that the manufacturer of the system is responsible for the accident, [it] will be liable without limitation,” he said.

The post German regulators could clear the road for self-driving cars appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

US district court rules Facebook must refund in-app purchases made by minors in the US should they or their parents request it (Olivia Solon/Guardian)

TechMeme - Fri, 07/29/2016 - 10:50am

Olivia Solon / Guardian:
US district court rules Facebook must refund in-app purchases made by minors in the US should they or their parents request it  —  California court ruled in favor of parents who filed lawsuit after children unknowingly spent hundreds of dollars on Facebook virtual currency for games

Categories: Technology