Archive for June, 2012

Verizon Wants Your Car on a Data Plan.

 

You might see your car as a means of transportation or a reflection of your lifestyle. But Verizon views the automobile as a giant mobile data device on wheels. That’s why it recently announced a $612 million cash deal that will make it the first carrier to own one of the major companies that connect cars to wireless networks.

Atlanta-based Hughes Telematics is what’s known as a Telematics Service Provider or TSP. Much the way an ISP gets your home or business connected to the Internet, a TSP provides connectivity to a car. TSPs like Hughes, Agero and OnStar not only have the technology, platform and intellectual property to sync up an automobile to the same wireless network that your cell phone uses, they also provide services such as call centers with live human beings.

OnStar Corporation – a subsidiary of General Motors – uses Verizon simply as the network carrier for services such as crash response, roadside help, turn-by-turn navigation assistance, hands-free calling and remote vehicle diagnostics. Your car becomes a big phone with a single “call” button on the rearview mirror to put you directly in touch with the call center.

“Carriers like Verizon are trying to evolve from the dumb pipe to the valuable pipe,” said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at Gartner. “Verizon could continue providing wireless networks to car companies like they do with OnStar, or they could take a larger share by creating an end-to-end solution.”

Safety First

Verizon’s purchase of Hughes inspires Jetson-like visions of connected cars offering mobile video conferencing, streaming movies, remote health monitoring and vehicle-to-vehicle communications – but those flights of fancy should be kept in check. “Just because you have a telecom that buys a company that’s automotive-oriented doesn’t open the door to take mobile services you get on your smartphone and dump them into a car,” said Frank Weith, general manager for connected services of Volkswagen Group.

“Carriers like Verizon are trying to evolve from the dumb pipe to the valuable pipe.”-Thilo Koslowski, Gartner

Volkswagen announced Hughes as its TSP in November 2011. Hughes has counted Mercedes-Benz as one of its customers since 2007.

“Our focus is safety, first and foremost,” said Weith. He believes that car infotainment, such as offering traffic and weather or enhancing navigation, should be put in the service of safety. “It has to be real information, because you get into a car for a purpose, to get somewhere.” So, using your dashboard to make a Facebook post doesn’t make much sense.

Nonetheless, Weith realizes that drivers and passengers are usually carrying smartphones in their car. “Our challenge as automakers is to find the balance between people reaching for their smartphones to get information, and the car being able to provide you the right information in the right dosage so you don’t get distracted,” said Weith.

Tethered vs. Embedded Phones

In fact, the auto industry is divided between two primary approaches. There are companies (like Ford and Toyota) using a tethered approach in which the smartphone – already a network-connected device – is paired up via Bluetooth to the car’s computer system. Then, there are automakers (like GM, Volkswagen and Mercedes) that embed the phone into the car, and support it with TSP services.

Weith believes the embedded TSP model provides the required extra layer of security, especially in an emergency situation. It creates a central point of contact that can triage between a driver and public safety agencies. “You know you’re going to get help,” said Weith. “They’ll send an ambulance to you if you need it.” With the tethered approach, it’s more like using your cell phone to call 911. The risk is that on some days, you might forget your phone or it might not be charged.

Gartner’s Koslowski believes that all automakers will eventually need to accommodate both tethered and embedded approaches. He said that Verizon is agnostic, as long as you connect using its network services.

Upcharges

Automakers might have the burden of ensuring safety, but Verizon’s connected vehicle activities are about providing what mobile consumers want, according to Koslowski. There are services like alternative routing to avoid traffic jams, Web-based info about when a movie starts (or a film review), or downloading contacts or a music file to your car. “These capabilities in combination with Hughes’s telematics call center services can create a holistic portfolio offering” said Koslowski.

Verizon is positioning itself to offer data plans that including connectivity to multiple devices, including your smartphone, your tablet computer and what it sees as the ultimate mobile device: your car. And of course, a healthy upcharge will come along with it.

 

10 Steps to Keep Your Kids From Cursing | All Pro Dad.

  1. Be RealisticOn the bus. In the halls. In class. On notes. Kids curse. No need to hide your head in the sand and think your child is immune to these words. They hear them. Your job is to acknowledge this and help your child filter them out.
  2. Set Clear RulesMake it clear that certain words will not be tolerated. Define the words you consider cursing. State your expectation that they will not be used. If they are, make sure there is a consequence.
  3. Set The ExampleMonkey see, monkey do. They are listening to you always. If you curse in front of your kids, they are going to repeat it eventually. Set the example for your entire family and remove those words from your vocabulary.
  4. Higher StandardSome people view cursing as a lack of intelligence. That is debatable. However, the English language provides ample choices as replacements. Cursing usually occurs in moments of anger or in vivid descriptions. Set a higher standard by learning new and proper words to describe your feelings.
  5. The Cuss JarA family favorite. Anyone caught using the words defined in your home as cursing, shall pay a fine. Dad may be the biggest contributor. This will help you clean up your act. Take the money you collect every few months and donate it to a ministry.
  6. Choice Of FriendsWho is your child hanging out with? Do you know them well? Cursing is a possible indicator of even worse behavior. Teach your child to choose friends that hold their same values and lexicon. Peer pressure is powerful.
  7. Give RespectIf you curse at your child, it hurts him. The same goes for the reverse. Your child cursing at you will absolutely make you feel horrible. Sit down and discuss the need to always respect each other. Good times and bad. Verbal abuse is not respect.
  8. Avoid The DistractionKids are smart. For example, you come to your son about a bad test grade. He uses a profane adjective in describing his feelings towards that subject. Suddenly you are in a discussion about the word and not the test. Smart. Do not be distracted by the masking of the real issue. Stay on course and come back to the word used afterwards. Make sure he knows he just made it worse.
  9. Use The GadgetsIf the problem is persistent with your child, it’s time to use the gadgets. What gadgets? The iPod, the iPad, the iPhone, the X-Box. Those gadgets! Life revolves around those things now. Taking one away for even a small time gets their attention quickly.
  10. The Tongue is set on fireScripture teaches us that our tongue is set on fire with hurtful and obscene words.  One of the best ways to quench that fire is to instead focus on using the tongue to build up and encourage others.  Practice praise and your children will follow.

 

 

Doing Mercy

 

“We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs, but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable.”

(Generous Justice/ Tim Keller/p. 18)

 

If justice is the engine that drives the gospel, then mercy is the vehicle it rides in.  The question on the table is, “Where are you going man?!”   I suppose one could just as easily say that Doing justice and mercy are “doing giving”.  Giving is a lost art.  Do you know anyone who give unselfishly or without mixed motives?  I don’t.  I know people who give without thinking.  That’s reflexive giving.  That kind of giving is little better than a Pavlovian response.  I give my 10% (truly it’s more like 8.5) whenever I get my check or when the plate comes around…after all I wouldn’t want folk to notice I’m not putting money in the passing plate.  I’m not so much denigrating poor giving practices, as I am saying that here again is an opportunity for discipleship with our boys.  People are sloppy givers, because they are never taught to be good givers.  It is not because we have fallen on hard financial times.  We are the wealthiest people on the planet, and in fact it has been shown (see the Barna Report on giving) that the more money an individual makes the less likely he is to give generously.  My brothers this should not be!  And it would not be so if we taught pour sons what generous giving is.  It has been noted in Scripture that he Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  In an agrarian economy, that inspired writer is saying, “God owns the economy, he own all the money, and you are supposed to be shepherding it around until it gets to the proper place it was meant to be.”  I suggest that we don’t explain and pass on the legacy of giving because we do not understand it fully ourselves.  It has been one of my hard set rules for myself that I do not try to implement any concept, but particularly those involving money, until I understand it well enough to explain it to someone else.  It ensure that I am connecting all the dots in my thinking and not doing something as a kneejerk reaction.  I mean, how can we be “cheerful givers” if we are merely throwing money at things…with out regard for what we are doing or being in relationship with the recipients of that action?  We can’t.  What we are missing is that somehow justice, and mercy, and giving are all inextricably connected.  And I believe we are commanded to give because it is difficult for us, just as showing mercy is hard for us.  But if we would truly be followers of Christ, loving Him who we can’t see by loving those we do see, then we must get a handle on this legacy of love called giving.