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By December 5, 2014EU

Total eCall

eCall – an emergency call system – is set to be installed in all new cars from 2018 after a committee of MEPs backed the law on Thursday. Originally proposed in 2012 and earmarked for 2015, the proposal was delayed amidst privacy concerns. Since then, the draft law’s data protection clause has been significantly strengthened so that emergency services will only be able to access basic data (such as the time and location of an accident), and not be able to track a car’s prior movements.

The system is likely to quicken response times and inform better rescue operations. EU Member States and the entire European Parliament now have to formally approve the draft law – something which is likely to happen in spring 2015. 

2014 has indeed been the year of health tech – but it looks like there’s more in store in the coming years. Budding health tech developers, will, however have to ensure their products answer the key issue of data privacy if they are to succeed.

The decision was covered by Loek Essers of PC World and featured in the BBC .

Government increasingly reliant on tech for savings

A Treasury and Cabinet Office report titled Efficiency and reform in the next Parliament was published this week. The report sets out the extent of the Government’s ambition to make savings from central government and the wider public sector over the course of the next Parliament. A significant proportion of these savings are to be achieved by getting 90% of the UK’s online population using digital public services by 2020. The report states that “…dealing with government online should be as easy and efficient as the best services on offer from the private sector.”

It may be unclear which party will triumph in May’s General Election, but it is increasingly clear that whoever forms the next Government will be more reliant than ever before on the capacity of digital technologies to achieve the sizeable cuts in the public sector required to balance the books by 2020.

Bryan Glick covered the report for Computer Week.

5G and the Internet of Things

BBC News ran an article on 5G, claiming it can ‘change the world’. Promising up to 1 Gbps download speeds, the article analyses whether all this airborne bandwidth will deliver the coveted ‘Internet of Things’- the idea that everyday items in homes and streets will be connected to create a better connected, informed and efficient society.

The article examines the changes needed to make 5G happen, as it requires a lot of spectrum, political will and money.  Spectrum use is currently licenced by national governments to a range of users including mobile operators, TV companies, emergency services and others, and the International Telecoms Union is working to get international standards in place. As a new player, mobile broadband has had to slot into whatever free spectrum space there is, impacting speed and reliability. This has nullified much of the Internet of Things’ potential.

The article was by Dan Simmons who wrote and presented a video on it for BBC News.