We’ve seen a couple of different initiatives to provide drivers of electric vehicles with free power for their cars—both at a McDonald’s and at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport—but as such vehicles become more widespread, efforts like that are unlikely to remain sustainable. Recognizing the need for a formal charging infrastructure, SemaConnect has developed an automated solution that lets parking operators build, scale and manage a network of vehicle-charging systems.
SemaConnect offers a range of both pedestal-mounted and wall-mounted charging stations that enable electric cars and plug-in hybrids to connect effortlessly to a power source. Smart card authentication gives only authorized users access to charging, while cellular connectivity transmits transaction information to a remote server. The SemaCharge Network Management System, meanwhile, is a web-based system that allows infrastructure operators such as municipalities, utilities, commercial parking lot operators and apartment building managers to monitor and manage their network of charging stations, including metering, billing and demand response. The SemaCharge network also gives consumers the ability to track their usage and pay online.
As company founder Mahi Reddy recently told the Washington Post, “the notion that your landlord would install a socket so that you could get free juice is a fantasy. This is not like charging a cellphone.” Maryland-based SemaConnect recently installed one of its first devices at the Loews Annapolis Hotel, the Post reports. Parking-lot operators around the globe: one to get in on early…? (Related: Parking operator launches car-sharing service.)
Contact: en firstname.lastname@example.org
Spotted by: Susanna Haynie
We’ve seen numerous social networks for travellers in recent years, including KLM’s location-specific Club China and Club Africa for connecting people who do business in those parts of the world. Taking a slightly different tack is British Airways’ Metrotwin, which focuses on comparing and contrasting city “twins” instead.
New York and London are the cities paired on the main Metrotwin site, which provides recommendations for the best neighbourhoods, businesses, attractions and places to visit on both sides of the pond. Rather than connecting travellers, it strives to be more of a social utility for time-starved, novelty-seeking urbanites living in or travelling between the two cities. Same goes for Metrotwin Mumbai, a like-minded arm of the effort that pairs London and Mumbai instead. The site explains: “Do you know where to find the Breach Candy of London? What about the Tate Modern of Mumbai? Metrotwin makes these cross-references useful by asking people like you to suggest Mumbai and London ‘twins’ for neighbourhoods, businesses, attractions, places and people.” Rather than reviewing any and every cafe in those cities, then, it focuses on comparable “best of” destinations, drawing from local online communities and bloggers—who, incidentally, get rewarded for their content with British Airways miles.
Now in beta, Metrotwin puts an interesting spin on travel review sites by focusing on equivalent attractions in very different cities. That’s how people often learn about new things, after all—by comparing them with what they already know—so the approach makes intuitive sense. One to emulate for travellers in your part of the world, or to apply to a different product category?
Spotted by: Louisa Redshaw
Image credits: Deepa and obo-bobolina