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Unfortunately, a Tethercell from the first production run costs $35. Co-founder Kellan O'Connor believes the price can come down to $10, but that's still a non-trivial cost, and symptomatic of the high price of building out the Internet of Everything. For devices that need to connect at long range over a cellular network, the cost of radio components alone ranges from $10 to $70, according to analyst Dan Shey of ABI Research.
That's not expensive in the context of some big-ticket items, like cars, which have been forerunners when it comes to non-phone wireless connections. General Motors Corp. started equipping cars with OnStar wireless calling and assistance services in the mid-90s. At the show, it announced it is updating the service for faster data connections, enabling services like remote engine diagnostics and upgrades to the control software . AT&T Inc., which has been aggressive about getting into the M2M business, is ousting Verizon Wireless as the network provider for OnStar.
Colao, the CEO of Vodafone, gave an example of another "smart" car application that might seem intrusive to some: the company has been trying out a service in Italy that lets an auto insurance company know how much a car is being used, and charges premiums accordingly. It can also score the driver based on his or her driving style, and give pointers on how to handle the car more safely.
Cellular connections are creeping into smaller, cheaper devices. Ecooltra, which rents out electric scooters by the day in Spain, wants to connect them to the Internet, which would let renters figure out through their phones where there's a scooter for rent and how much of a charge is in its battery. The feature is perfect for quick, impromptu rentals by the hour. Adding "smarts" to the scooters in the shape of a cellular modem would turn the company from a conventional rental service to a "scooter-sharing" business, much like car-sharing services like Zipcar. (continued...)
© 2013 Associated Press under contract with YellowBrix. All rights reserved.
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