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Marty Chilberg
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I'm a retired CPA who spent the majority of his working career in technology companies. My work included management stints at Atari Inc, Daisy Systems Corp, Symantec Corp and Visio Corp. My last position at Visio (VSIO) was as CFO and VP Finance and Operations.
  • MIT Technology Review: V2V Communication

    Car-to-Car Communication

    A simple wireless technology promises to make driving much safer

    Availability: 1-2 years

    Breakthrough

    • Cars that can talk to each other to avoid crashes.

    Why It Matters

    • More than a ­million people are killed on roads worldwide every year.

    Key Players

    • General Motors
    • University of Michigan
    • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    Hariharan Krishnan hardly looks like a street racer. With thin-rimmed glasses and a neat mustache, he reminds me of a math teacher. And yet on a sunny day last September, he was speeding, seemingly recklessly, around the parking lot at General Motors' research center in Warren, Michigan, in a Cadillac DTS.

    I was in the passenger seat as Krishnan wheeled around a corner and hit the gas. A moment later a light flashed on the dashboard, there was a beeping sound, and our seats started buzzing furiously. Krishnan slammed on the brakes, and we lurched to a stop just as another car whizzed past from the left, its approach having been obscured by a large hedge. "You can see I was completely blinded," he said calmly.

    The technology that warned of the impending collision will start appearing in cars in just a couple of years. Called car-to-car or vehicle-to-vehicle communication, it lets cars broadcast their position, speed, steering-wheel position, brake status, and other data to other vehicles within a few hundred meters. The other cars can use such information to build a detailed picture of what's unfolding around them, revealing trouble that even the most careful and alert driver, or the best sensor system, would miss or fail to anticipate.

    Already many cars have instruments that use radar or ultrasound to detect obstacles or vehicles. But the range of these sensors is limited to a few car lengths, and they cannot see past the nearest obstruction.

    Car-to-car communication should also have a bigger impact than the advanced vehicle automation technologies that have been more widely heralded. Though self-driving cars could eventually improve safety, they remain imperfect and unproven, with sensors and software too easily bamboozled by poor weather, unexpected obstacles or circumstances, or complex city driving. Simply networking cars together wirelessly is likely to have a far bigger and more immediate effect on road safety.

    Creating a car-to-car network is still a complex challenge. The computers aboard each car process the various readings being broadcast by other vehicles 10 times every second, each time calculating the chance of an impending collision. Transmitters use a dedicated portion of wireless spectrum as well as a new wireless standard, 802.11p, to authenticate each message.

    Krishnan took me through several other car-to-car safety scenarios in the company's parking lot. When he started slowly pulling into a parking spot occupied by another car, a simple alert sounded. When he attempted a risky overtaking maneuver, a warning light flashed and a voice announced: "Oncoming vehicle!"

    More than five million crashes occur on U.S. roads alone every year, and more than 30,000 of those are fatal. The prospect of preventing many such accidents will provide significant impetus for networking technology.

    Just an hour's drive west of Warren, the town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has done much to show how valuable car-to-car communication could be. There, between 2012 and 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the University of Michigan equipped nearly 3,000 cars with experimental transmitters. After studying communication records for those vehicles, NHTSA researchers concluded that the technology could prevent more than half a million accidents and more than a thousand fatalities in the United States every year. The technology stands to revolutionize the way we drive, says John Maddox, a program director at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.

    Shortly after the Ann Arbor trial ended, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it would start drafting rules that could eventually mandate the use of car-to-car communication in new cars. The technology is also being tested in Europe and Japan.

    There will, of course, also be a few obstacles to navigate. GM has committed to using car-to-car communication in a 2017-model Cadillac. Those first Cadillacs will have few cars to talk to, and that will limit the value of the technology. It could still be more than a decade before vehicles that talk to each other are commonplace.

    -Will Knight

    May 25 10:20 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Still Think IoE Is Just Hype? Free WiFi Is A Stepping Stone

    Just a few links to show the progress being made to establish free WiFi for connectivity.

    May 25 9:33 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Are Sky High Valuations In M2M/IoT Good For The Industry?

    Posted by M2M.World.News

    Date: May 20, 2015

    By Matt Hatton, Founder & CEO, Machina Research. link

    At its annual PTC Live event in Boston in May, the company announced the acquisition of data analytics firm ColdLight. This USD110 million purchase comes on top of two other very prominent deals in the last eighteen months in the IoT field, specifically the acquisition ofThingWorx (USD112 million) and Axeda (USD170 million). Overall, PTC has made almost a half billion dollar bet on the Internet of Things. Ultimately we think the value of such investments to PTC as a whole will pay dividends, but the amounts of money are certainly eye-catching.

    In May 2015 Machina Research undertook a set of research looking in some detail at mergers, acquisitions, investments and valuations in the IoT sector. The aim was to determine if there were any significant trends that might influence the growth trajectory in the market. This article provides a summary of some of the findings of that research, which will soon be available to Machina Research subscribers in the Research Note "Sky-high multiples in company valuations will have negative repercussions for IoT growth". In particular we focused on the revenue multiples that are being commanded in some recent acquisitions in the space (as illustrated in Figure 1). For context, the combined revenue of the PTC acquisitions is somewhere around the USD40 million mark, giving a combined multiple of 10 times revenue.

    Figure 1: Revenue multiples for recent IoT M&A [Source: Machina Research, 2015]

    Revenue multiples for recent IoT M&A [Source: Machina Research, 2015]

    A number of trends emerge. Firstly the multiples on revenue at the top of the chart are substantial, with the biggest registering at one hundred times revenue, and a number of deals at well above ten times revenue. However, there is a broad span. At the bottom of the chart one deal that we analysed saw a multiple of only a little more than one times revenue. So there is high degree of diversity in the multiples being commanded in IoT. It is also notable that the top end of the chart is dominated by software platforms, while the bottom end tends to focus on the hardware and service provider space. The dynamic here is easy to determine: software platforms are typically high growth, horizontal and scalable, whereas the service provider and hardware businesses are more mature, lower growth and hard work.

    As explored in the forthcoming Research Note, the high multiples commanded for IoT companies is a vote of confidence for the space, but will have some negative repercussions. The sector risks obsessing about valuations rather than delivering value to customers, in particular hand-holding enterprise customers through the IoT process. It also limits the opportunity for market consolidation, which we believe is a necessity. Someone like PTC has forced the issue, combining three complimentary entities, but it has had to spend USD400 million to do so. We believe that a number of deals that might have made sense from a strategic standpoint are rendered impossible by the costs involved. This is bad news for any company that wants to expand inorganically, but therefore inevitably good news for any company that has grown a full service offering organically as the barriers to entry are high.

    Last month Machina Research published its forecasts for the IoT space: USD4.3 trillion by 2024. So our view is firmly that IoT has enormous growth potential and opportunities aplenty. However, we believe that some of the valuations, of fifty or one hundred times revenue will create some unhelpful dynamics in the sector which won't ultimately help with driving the market forward.

    Tags: IoT M2M
    May 25 8:42 PM | Link | Comment!
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