Thursday, August 7, 2014

#DisruptSF – Never Speak to an Automotive Repair Scheduler Again with Otozip

The average cost to fix a check-engine related problem was $367.84 nationwide last year according to a recent CNBC study. New Jersey drivers paid even where the average cost for a repair of $392.99 was the nation's highest. At the same time according to an IBISWorld industry report, the last five years overall auto repair industry revenue has declined at an annual rate of 2 percent to $30.3 billion.
An industry can respond in any combination of three ways: raise prices, and risk losing customer base to do-it-yourselfers or independent mechanics, do nothing (yes, that's very much an option), or somehow cut costs. A technologically antiquated, hodgepodge network of suppliers, carriers, and service points, the automotive repair industry is ripe with opportunity for cost cutting. New operational efficiencies through social media, cloud computing, and mobile devices can simultaneously cut costs, drive greater throughput, and produce greater customer satisfaction.
Otozip knows this. Demonstrating their solution at Tech Crunch Disrupt this week, the company hopes to establish a new, nationally networked scheduling and supply system that will have mechanics spending more time in the auto bays, and less time on the phone. Otozip positions itself as a completely integrated CRM and marketing system uniquely designed to make it easy for consumers to find reliable, nearby automotive service centers.
Technorati was granted a product preview where learned more about the company's ambitions In a written interview with the company's founder and CEO, Stewart Padveen.
Andre Bourque: Tell me about the real market opportunity here.
Stewart Padveen: There are over 400,000 service centers in the United States alone, yet over 90% of them are still virtually invisible online. Independent service centers, franchises and dealers face increased competition from each other. Empty bays cost money.  While dealers often have greater financial resources than independent service centers, the internet is leveling the playing field.
Furthermore, over 1.2 billion automotive service appointments are booked every year, most still by phone. This steals valuable time from service center personnel and often leads to “booking frustration” among customers who have to wait on hold and negotiate convenient times to drop off their vehicle.
Bourque: So what's Otozip plan to do about it?
Padveen:  We're an entirely brand new marketing channel for the automotive service industry. 
It’s a completely integrated and incredibly easy-to-use CRM and marketing system uniquely designed to make it easy for consumers to find reliable, nearby automotive service centers and helps service centers fill their slow appointment times, manage appointments and increase customer retention.
Bourque: What was your "ah-ha" moment for the product? 
Padveen:  After going back and forth with my automotive service center for three days (for real!) to book a routine oil change, getting transferred to voicemail, having to call during the service center’s open hours, negotiating for a convenient appointment time, only to show up and find out the service center forgot to schedule me because their “pen and paper” system was a mess, I decided there needs to be a better way. I wanted to be able to find reliable, nearby service centers online and book an appointment instantly – 24/7.  I also wanted to see prices and real reviews from actual customers. 
Bourque: What do you want investors, disruptors, and technology enthusiasts to know about Otozip? 
Padveen:  The same thing we want everyone to know; that there is now a really simple and fun way to do something that most people find inconvenient, but is necessary and needs to be done several times per year.  We also want the automotive service industry to know there is now a simple way to manage and grow their service business

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Automotive Equipment and Tools For The Automotive Industry

The automotive equipment industry deals with the production of every kind of tool and machinery that is needed for the manufacture, maintenance and repair of vehicles including cars and car parts. As such, the industry produces several different varieties of equipment starting from basic hand tools to more complex machinery.

Different Kinds of Automotive Equipment

Automotive workshops and garages will be unable to function without automotive equipment. Shop furniture, lifts, exhaust hoses, air compressors, lubrication equipment, electric and light reels, jacks, vehicle servicing equipment, fluid storage tanks and trans-air piping are some of the many different types of automotive equipment that are used by automotive manufacturing and automotive repair businesses.

Common Types Of Automotive Equipment

* Hand Tools: Automotive repair shops use several different types of hand tools for their repair and maintenance projects. Some of the commonest items include ratchet sets and wrench sets, crowbars (also known as pry bars), socket sets, screwdrivers, star and clutch-head drivers, hammers, pliers and wire cutters, electric drills, hacksaws and torque wrenches.

* Pneumatic Tools: Most automotive workshops now use pneumatic tools as an alternative to electricity powered motors because the latter is more prone to fire hazards. Such tools are powered by compressed air and are high powered versions of the more traditional hand tools. Common examples of pneumatic automotive equipment include air compressors that can be used to power a variety of tools including hammers, drills, ratchets and spraying tools.

* Availability of pneumatic equipment makes it easier for mechanics and technicians to undertake repair and maintenance work because they are powerful and easy to use. For example, a set of pneumatic shears can cut through sheet metal at a faster rate and leave behind a smoother edge when compared to traditional tin snips. Similarly, air hammers outfitted with chisel or punch bits have multiple uses. They can they be used for straightening dents. The chisel feature can be used to break rusted parts loose and the punch bits can be used to remove old rivets and bolts that are too difficult to take out by hand.

* Lifts: several different kinds of lifting equipment are used to lift and secure cars so that mechanics and repair persons can easily work under the vehicle. These lifting tools include both low-tech tools such as basic floor jacks, car ramps and jack stands as well as hydraulic lifts and floor jacks for better efficiency and performance.

* Vehicle Exhaust Removal Systems: vehicle exhaust removal systems are used to capture and remove harmful exhaust fumes to insure optimal air quality in automotive maintenance and repair facilities. These are mandatory equipment as per OSHA Standards in order to limit exposure to harmful vehicular emissions. Common vehicle exhaust removal systems include hose drops as well as reels.

* Lubrication Systems: Automotive lubrication systems include several different types of oil meters, ATF meters, gear lube meters, dispense valves and grease dispenses valves.

The Automotive equipment business is a very large and competitive business. Automotive repair businesses must buy equipment from reputable dealers for the best deals and performance levels. is your one-stop shop for auto lift repair parts of the highest standards and is proud to be the Leader in Chicago Metropolitan area and one of the largest in the USA for Automotive Equipment.

Automotive Sales - A way to Replace the Income You Have Lost

The Automotive Sales business is filled with very proficient sales individuals that are struggling to make ends meet since the down flip of the economy in October of 2008. This article will be the first in an exceedingly series discussing the difficulties that these folks face and how they'll over come them.

I've got been in the Automotive sales and sales coaching trade for over twenty five years. I've got seen some very good times along with some down times however I have never seen a decline in over all sales as bad as this past year. The most important problem that these sales professionals face is how to justify the long hours,typically ten to 12 hours a day,the pressure to perform at high levels and the daily grind that comes with this industry for 0.5 the money that they're use to making. Automotive sales professionals are use to making on the average of $80,000 to $120,000 a year relying on what kind of franchise they're selling for.

When you think about that but one% of the overall population makes over $100,000 a year you'll be able to see how this trade can become terribly addictive. What career options are on the market to those folks? What career could they alter to and replace that kind of annual income with out extensive training and added expense? Real Estate? I do not suppose so. Property brokers,if potential, could be in a worse scenario than automotive sales people. Mortgage Broker? Not a chance! They rely on Property brokers and they are each wondering what career is next for them.

The solution is Web Marketing. There is no recession on the Internet! In the subsequent two years 70 million people can be wanting to start a full or part time home based mostly business. This transformation from the ancient business model of brick and mortar to the Web business model will be the greatest transformation of wealth in history. Anyone will start a home based mostly business. Irrespective of what your level of Net expertise is.

The three groups of people I discussed before,Automotive,Real Estate and Mortgage Brokers, all have sales experience which gives them a little bit of an upper hand or head begin when obtaining started in Internet Marketing. Automotive sales professionals are already use to employing a CRM tool with an automatic email responder for the initial follow up once the first contact with the prospect. The only issue for the automotive sales person to try and do is plug into a system that does all the work for you. How easy will that be?

With a fully automated system that features many income streams,leading edge technology, skilled latest training from the industries leading income producers and marketers that will teach you the way to use the selling tools that are required to achieve success in Internet marketing, anyone will begin creating money from the comfort of their home on a full or half time basis. This can be specifically how I started during this trade and I've got been in a position to match my full time income operating part time out of my home office.

All it takes is drive and determination and you'll be able to flip your half time business from home into a full time six figure income and fire your boss!

Electric Bikes: An Ideal Mode of Transportation in Proximate Areas

Though being more than one decade in practice, electric bikes have been in limelight in recent times owing to its various positives factors and hence they are widely accepted. They are becoming popular in every age group and the credit goes to its eco-friendliness, cost-effectiveness and health consciousness approaches.

These bikes are becoming an alternative mode of transportation particularly among elderly and health conscious people in lieu of motorbikes or even cars. One of the best advantages of these bikes is their environmental friendly aspects since they don't consume fuel for propulsion and thus save your money. Being eco-friendly is their best return to mankind as most of the vehicles we use now contaminate our environment. These bikes are run by rechargeable batteries and motor, and it takes almost 4 hours to charge the battery.

Alternatively, when you are running out of battery, you can paddle your vehicle. The paddle enables your e-cycle to increase the speed when required or while you are going on a hill. It offers you an exercise with fun and helps you to maintain your fitness simultaneously doing your work.

However, a fully recharge battery gives you 15 to 25 miles of rides with gentle paddling and the battery has a lifespan of almost 300 to 400 charges. However, some of the Best electric bikes give you to travel up to 65 miles with a single recharge.

E-bikes are low in maintenance cost since the accessories are qualitative and come with warranty period. Moreover, most of these vehicles are equipped with powerful light, break and gear that makes your travel enjoyable and convenient parallel to a motorbike.

They are light-weighted. Battery and motor are not vast to cover enough space and so an elderly person can easily handle and travel with these bikes. Additionally, they help to maintain our environment green and pollution free by not using fuel and emitting contamination.

Normally an e-bike is classified as a simple bike and hence you can get the benefits and privilege that a cyclist does in traveling. You can avoid the traffic jam by simply going in cycle lane. You can exempt from tax, insurance and even a cycle helmet. However, UK traffic laws recommend helmet for e-bikers for safety however it is not necessary.

Now, considering the ample of advantages, you must think of the places in the UK from where a person can purchase a bike that would be affordable and gives utmost value of one's hard earn money.

Qualitative, well designed and efficient e-bikes are produced by some of the renowned brand like Whisper, Attribute, Hero Eco, Vikings etc. in the United Kingdom and some of the renowned stores facilitate the best electric bikes from these brands at affordable prices.
You just need to visit the website and select the brand and model that best suits according to your requirement and budget.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Truck Driver with GPS Jammer Accidentally Jams Newark Airport


The company truck that was tracked.
No reasonable employee wants their boss to know where they are all the time.
Just as no reasonable boss wants his employees to know where she is all the time.
In the former case, those who have to drive around know that one way to get around the problem is to purloin an (entirely illegal) GPS jammer.
I understand from my underworld contacts that such a jammer can be obtained for less than $100.

Gary Bojczak may have thought this a sound investment. He admitted to investigators that he put one in the truck he drove on behalf of an engineering company called Tilcon.
Even then, you might think this was just an ill-judged infraction.
However, Bojczak tended to drive by Newark airport in New Jersey. The enterprising souls there were trying out a new system called Smartpath. This, according to its maker Honeywell, lets airports "increase airport capacity, decrease air traffic noise, and reduce weather-related delays."
Sadly, though, it can be jammed by passing trucks that happen to enjoy a GPS jammer.
 FCC explained: "The signals emanating from the vehicle were blocking the reception of GPS signals used by the air traffic control system."
So Bojczak was fined $31,875 on Friday. And, yes, he was also fired for his misdirection.
Though the Smartpath system was only being tested at the time Bojczak was intercepted, it has now been installed at Newark.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bacteria and Fungi Together: A Biofuel Dream Team?

It is an obvious idea—in fact, it’s how nature disposes of trees after they die. Yet before researchers at the University of Michigan tried it, no one had paired bacterium with fungus to make cellulosic biofuel.a

The team took Trichoderma reesei, a fungi widely known for its ability to efficiently decompose the non-edible parts of plants, plus a specially engineered strain of the bacteria Escherichia coli, and applied them both to a vat of dried cornhusks. After the fungi degraded the husks into sugars, the bacteria finished the job. The result was isobutanol, a colorless, flammable liquid that researchers hope could one day replace gasoline.

The idea behind all biofuels is that they suck the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the environment before releasing it again when burned. The promise of cellulosic biofuels—those made from the inedible, structural parts of plants—is that food isn’t a necessary ingredient in the production process. Yet cellulosic biofuels have long been a technical challenge. Coaxing bacteria into breaking down plant matter into the stuff that powers cars is a complex, multi-step process that often requires multiple organisms and bioreactors. As a result cellulosic fuels have been prohibitively expensive. In the 1990s a new technique emerged that allowed scientists to streamline the operation by making powerful microbes, or “superbugs,” that could perform the necessary processes all on their own. Even so the method, known as consolidated bioprocessing, or CBP, is still too costly to achieve commercially viable product yields.

Rather than spend more time attempting to make the perfect superbug, chemical engineer Jeremy Minty decided to look to nature for an example. He divided the required tasks of fuel production between two specialist organisms, allowing him to do all the work in a single bioreactor.

When Minty first combined T. reesei and E. coli in the lab, he wasn’t sure what to expect. But he soon realized this fungus and bacterium were made for each other: T. reesei’s surface is covered with enzymes that help dissolve the plant matter into sugars, which the E. coli bacteria further simplify. “That was really important to make this system stable,” Minty says. “It gives T. reesei privileged access to the hydrolysis process.”

Often when scientists arbitrarily combine organisms in the laboratory, one will outgrow another, driving it to extinction. Yet T. reesei and E. coli exhibited the one characteristic necessary for any stable system: synergy. “We allowed the natural dynamics to emerge,” Minty says.

This interaction, which Minty and his team call a cooperator-cheater mechanism, allow the bacteria and fungi to maintain a state of balance. When the fungi degrade materials in the cornhusks into sugars, some of that action takes place on its surface. T. reesei thus gets the first crack at using them, preventing E. coli, which is far more efficient at snatching them up, from stealing all of the sugars and potentially starving out T. reesei.

Efforts to make isobutanol from bacteria alone have been underway since 2000 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) began distributing grants to universities that could demonstrate successful production of liquid biofuels. The DOE designated isobutanol as a “drop-in” replacement for gasoline in 2011.

Joshua Gallaway, a chemical engineer of Columbia University who was not affiliated with the study, says this type of work is critical because of biofuel’s potential to reduce America’s carbon footprint and its dependency on non-renewable fossil fuels.

When fossil fuels such as gasoline are burned, the chains of carbon that make them up are broken and carbon dioxide is released into the environment. Conversely when bacteria make fuel, they suck up carbon from the atmosphere. “The difference between gasoline and isobutanol,” Gallaway says, “is that you’re burning something that you just took out of the atmosphere and putting it back. It’s a closed loop.” In addition the plants that are eventually used to produce biofuel pull carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, contributing to greener overall production process.

In their experiments the University of Michigan team, led by chemical engineer Xiaoxia Lin, achieved yields of up to 62 percent, the highest reached so far using CBP. For their team to industrialize the process they would need to achieve a much higher yield. While they haven’t yet conducted a detailed analysis, Minty says they would like to achieve roughly 80 to 90 percent. In addition, he says, they would need to improve the concentration of isobutanol they end up with after fermentation and speed up the production process. “It’s very promising,” Minty says, “but still needs further development to be viable.”

Friday, November 8, 2013

Electric Rickshaws Give Nepal a Charge

The streets of this crowded tourist city are like a slow-moving showroom of the auto industry, with packs of buses, cars, taxis and motorbikes chugging along.

But if you take a closer look, you will find that some of the smaller buses have only one front wheel. They have no exhaust, and they don't chug. Emblazoned with a sign that says "Save Kathmandu," they are among the smallest and least-familiar models in the world's growing fleet of electric vehicles: the battery-powered "autorickshaw."

Nepal has been one of the lowest nations in the rankings of national economic output, but that has not stopped electric vehicles from finding a peculiar niche. Local businesses have already persuaded more than 100,000 commuters in Katmandu to ride the autorickshaws every day as they pick up passengers on designated routes.

Now they're beginning to push more advanced electric vehicles into the market for the more knowledgeable and well-heeled buyers. A poster in one of the showrooms says: "Do Not Let Petroleum Hold You Back, Go Electricity Today."

For the 2.5 million people who live in this area, driving electric vehicles will be liberating in more ways than one. Nepal has no native fossil fuels, so every drop of oil used here has to come from India, which drains Nepal's limited foreign currency.

"Electric vehicles are important for Nepal," said Binod Prasad Shrestha, director of the Nepal office at Winrock International, an Arkansas nonprofit organization that supports Nepal's electric vehicle development.

"It helps with climate change mitigation," Shrestha said. "Also, we are now spending more on fossil fuel imports than what we make from our total exports."

When smog came to Shangri-La
"Even though conventional cars are becoming cleaner, the number of cars on the road is making air quality worse," explained Lloyd Wright, a senior transport specialist at the Asian Development Bank.

"Electric vehicle is a good solution, especially for countries with clean energy," Wright explained, noting that its fuel demands fit the energy source Nepal has: hydroelectric power.

By the 1990s, Nepal had already started electrifying its transportation system. At that time, Katmandu, once renowned as Shangri-La for its natural beauty, was enveloped by a smell of diesel, due to vehicle emissions.

To clear the air, in 1993, the U.S.-based Global Resources Institute began an experiment of converting diesel-powered rickshaws into battery-operated ones. Then a group of Nepali engineers, using imported auto parts, produced the more powerful electric three-wheeled autorickshaws. They're commonly known here as "SAFA Tempo," or "clean three-wheelers" in Nepali.

The fleet grew from seven in 1993 to 500 in 2005. Meanwhile, an indigenous electric vehicle industry took shape. During the early 2000s, dozens of recharging stations were installed and four assembly factories were built.

But Nepal's demand for electric vehicles fell shortly after 2005, when the government refused to let electric three-wheelers operate on more commuter routes and began importing diesel-powered minibuses.

'Lady drivers' come to the rescue
The Nepali electric vehicle industry blamed its development slowdown on diesel-powered vehicle importers, as well as on corrupt officials who wanted to profit from import taxes and fossil fuels trading. The government denied that, asserting that electric three-wheelers were involved in collisions in which drivers were found speeding.

The electric vehicle owners came up with an inspired political fix: hiring women. The idea was that "lady drivers" would put a gentler hand on the wheel.

Megesh Tiwari, a program official at Winrock International, explained: "They do not go over speed, they take care of the car, and they drive more carefully." The women created an economic boost.

One of those women, Devi Shrestha, 28, talked about it while taking a lunch break. "My life has changed dramatically after I became a SAFA Tempo driver," she said.

Shrestha said she used to earn 2,500 rupees ($25) per month for painting furniture. But as soon as she started driving electric autorickshaws in 2007, her monthly income quadrupled.

With a higher income, Shrestha was able to send her children to a better school. She also saved enough money to buy a second electric three-wheeler, which she has leased to another driver.

"So now I'm not just a driver, but also an entrepreneur," Shrestha said, smiling. She has since trained more than 10 women to be electric vehicle drivers.

According to the Nepal Electric Vehicle Association, women now take the wheel in more than 200 of the electric autorickshaws in Katmandu; the sector employs about 700 drivers. Meanwhile, Nepal's electric vehicle industry has been lobbying the government to open more routes.

It's also looking to sell electric vehicles that can run anywhere. Umesh Raj Shrestha, president of Shree Eco Visionary Pvt. Ltd., tried to make battery-powered buses for local travel agencies that promoted ecotourism. After converting his gasoline-powered car to run on electricity, Shrestha started to make such conversions for others.

The government strikes back
But then he hit a policy wall. The Nepali government banned the practice of converting fossil fuel vehicles into electric ones. It also lured Nepal's tourism industry to purchase fossil-fuel vehicles by offering a tax break for buying them, which electric vehicle buyers don't enjoy.

Another blow came in 2007: When Shrestha imported electric bicycles from China to Nepal, he found himself unable to sell the 3 million rupees' (about $30,000) worth of them.

"There was no category for e-bikes in Nepal at that time," Shrestha explained. He later successfully lobbied the government to set up a new category, but the imported e-bikes were worth almost nothing because their batteries had decayed.

"That was a very difficult time," Shrestha recalled. "But I'm still a fan of electric vehicles. This is not just a business, but a passion that I am doing something good for the environment and for my country's energy security."

Now Shrestha is planning to import auto parts from China and assemble electric minibuses in Nepal. They will be safer and perform better, he thinks, because they are four-wheeled and use new lithium-ion batteries. Currently, Nepal's electric autorickshaws carry bulky and heavy lead-acid batteries.

Blackouts and salesmanship
Meanwhile, Pramod Bhandari, a dealer of the Indian-made electric car called REVA, is trying to convince private car owners that it's more stylish and cleaner to drive one.

"Katmandu Valley is a very electric vehicle-friendly place," Bhandari said. "People here usually travel about 60 kilometers per day, while the electric vehicle can give them 100 kilometers (62 miles) per full charge."

Some buy the car for its green image, while others do it to appease their wives, who want to avoid long hours waiting in gas station lines. While the cars cost 40 percent more than gasoline-powered cars, he tells buyers they will recover the extra cost within five years.

Sales have picked up this year, but some potential buyers hesitate, worrying about Katmandu's frequent blackouts. In the winter, blackouts can last 18 hours a day. "Why should I buy an electric car when there is not enough electricity?" they ask him.

Bhandari's partner, Bardan Basnet, tells them it only takes five hours to recharge. "If you can always charge a mobile phone, how bad is the power cut? You can always charge an electric car at home or another place."

Soon he will have another selling point: Katmandu's first solar power charging station will be installed near the REVA showroom this month. As Basnet explains: "We are trying to tell our customers, 'Why do you need to rely on the government to power your car? You can make your own electricity!'"