Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The new GM could get it right

I just read a fascinating blogpost by Bernard Avishai describing a GM electric power-train called Voltec. I read that first sentence and laugh. Fascinating power-train? Puh-lease.

But Bernard writes:

"GM has a chance to become the software powerhouse of the newest new economy...a design hub and anchor for hundreds of new software solutions companies that will focus on the tiers of communication the electric car portends: battery-pack to vehicle, vehicle to electric utility, and utility to sources of renewable energy."

This is definitely going in the right direction. The question will be, will GM take this vision all the way? -- making its communications protocols and vehicle APIs open to everyone? As some of you know, GM's OnStar is my poster child for a great idea that failed because they kept it closed. [My oft-repeated line: OnStar is like having a smartphone that can only call your mom. Sure, I like calling my mom, but there are thousands of other people and other uses I'd put the phone to if they'd open it up.]

Ultimately, we need to connect and open up for innovation all car data (remember, no one could actually do anything to your car without your explicit permission). We also need the communication protocols to include a peer-to-peer mesh, and imagine, as GM begins to, that data is data, and therefore this protocol is good not just for smart cars, and the smart grid, but for smart infrastructure, smart governments, and smart people as well.

Related articles and blog posts I've written on this subject:
On connecting everything up in this Wired article
On what the car companies should do to dig themselves out, in this Fast Company piece.
On why open is the right choice in this blogpost.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Open Platforms, Smart transportation & smart grid

Nice Treehugger podcast interview with me that explains my vision on the how and why of open platforms for cars, the connection to the smart grid, and how creating a mobile internet can become an engine for economic development. Phew, all that in 15 (?) minutes.

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