Pursuing a Connected Life: MWC 2014
M2M technology is affecting consumers’ daily lives, now more than ever. After prominent events like last week’s MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona, it seems there’s no end in sight for innovative new technologies that will make the world around us more data-rich and intelligent. From NFC (near-field communication) solutions and to connected home and health-enabling technologies, here are some of the connected-life announcements from MWC 2014.
Carta Worldwide, www.cartaworldwide.com, is hoping to expand the mobile-payments market by launching an end-to-end HCE (host card emulation) solution for NFC transactions, the company announced at MWC. The HCE solution reduces the complexities traditionally associated with mobile-payment deployments. For instance, Carta says it will accelerate the deployment of NFC-based mobile products at a fraction of the cost of traditional models. This is because it enables secure EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) proximity transactions compatible with existing contactless systems, eliminating typical costs associated with integration and system upgrades.
Speaking of trends in payment technologies, have you heard of digital currency or “cryptocurrency?” Coin Pursuit, www.CoinPursuit.com, a company that advises cryptocurrency investors, has announced that in late February, the first Bitcoin ATM opened to the public in the United States. According to Coin Pursuit, cryptocurrency is a financial tool that takes the form of “long blocks of alphanumeric code.” These cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoins—which is the most well known cryptocurrency, can be traded among investors and used as a form of payment, as long as there are merchants who accept it. Investors manage Bitcoin accounts using connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Coin Pursuit hopes ATMs will help “bring Bitcoin into the real world” by offering a physical place investors can go to manage their accounts.
When it comes devices that power a connected lifestyle, the term “ANT” is hard to avoid. At MWC, ANT Wireless, www.thisisant.com, along with fabless semiconductor company, MediaTek, www.mediatek.com, announced native support for ANT’s wireless protocol in MediaTek’s new MT6630 connectivity chip. ANT Wireless is a provider of ULP (ultra-low-power) short-range wireless technology and ANT+ interoperability, which is pervasive in markets using mobile sensors. The companies say the new connectivity chip will allow smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to link to the hoards of ANT+-enabled devices in health, sports, fitness, and wellness, among other applications.
Sony, www.sony.com, also announced it has integrated native ANT+ connectivity into several new devices—its Xperia Z2 smartphone, its Xperia Z2 tablet, and its Xperia M2 mid-market smartphone. These products complement Sony’s existing portfolio of ANT+-enabled devices. The goal is to give consumers the ability to connect their Sony products to other ANT+-enabled devices that capture health and fitness data or that provide other monitoring solutions. By helping devices connect together under a common connectivity standard, companies are laying the foundation for a truly connected life.
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