San Diego Biz Watch

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With August just around the corner, kids are already thinking of back to school (and so are parents) but business is as usual and more in and around in San Diego.

The Need for Speed

Come Sept. 25-26, the Naval Air Station North Island will highlight 250 prestigious historic racecars gather for the 13th annual Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival.

Known as the “Race at the Base,” the Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival features nine different race groups divided according to make, age and horsepower. The cars race at high speeds on a spectator-friendly 1.7-mile course constructed in mere days on the runways and taxiways of the military base.  The track is set against the stunning backdrop of San Diego Bay.

This year’s marquee will celebrate the rich race heritage of Shelby American cars, from the legendary Cobra and the Daytona Coupe to the GT40 and GT350.  These amazing vehicles have always pushed the envelope of performance and promise a thrill for event spectators.

Aside from being set up on a live naval tarmac, one of the event’s most distinct features is its open paddock, which allows fans the opportunity to walk right up to the cars and interact with the drivers and crew.  The family friendly event also presents a car club exhibit featuring more than 1,200 cars, a stunning array of military static displays and a vendor midway.

The Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival pays tribute to and honors the men and women of our military. The festival offers free admission for active duty military and their dependents.  The general public is welcomed onto the base for a weekend of racing, making it the only open house offered by the Navy on the West Coast.

Tickets for the Coronado Speed Festival are on sale.  To learn more, visit

New Mobile Channel

FLO TV Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc. and Discovery™ Communications have announced the premiere of a new Discovery Mobile Channel on the FLO TV™ mobile TV service.  FLO TV is the only mobile service that allows consumers to watch Discovery live and on the go.  Igniting curiosity with programming that showcases the world and all its wonder, the Discovery Mobile Channel on FLO TV will offer consumers full-length programming of popular series such as Discovery Channel’s Cash Cab, Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs and Man vs. Wild and programming events like Shark Week.  The channel also will spotlight compelling series from Discovery Communications portfolio of networks, including Animal Planet’s™ River Monsters and Whale Wars, and Science Channel’s How It’s Made and Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.  Discovery content also will be available on demand when FLO TV launches its on-demand feature later this year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Discovery Communications, the world’s leading non-fiction programmer, to FLO TV,” said Jonathan Barzilay, senior vice president of programming and advertising for FLO TV.  “Discovery is a tremendous addition to the lineup of great programming that FLO TV subscribers can watch.”

“From Discovery Channel to Animal Planet and across all our brands, Discovery Communications delivers the highest quality, most compelling non-fiction content available anywhere in the world,” said Rebecca Glashow, senior vice president of digital media distribution, Discovery Communications.  “The FLO TV offering expands our reach by tapping new audiences for our networks and further engaging our loyal viewers who want to watch our award-winning series on the go, whether on their mobile handsets, in cars or on personal devices.”

FLO TV will offer a 24/7 mobile viewing of the highly anticipated Shark Week from August 1 through August 7.  Shark Week was the most popular entertainment special event channel on FLO TV last year.

Discovery Mobile will be available on all wireless and mobile devices offering the award-winning FLO TV service, including the FLO TV™ Personal Television, FLO TV™ Auto Entertainment platforms and to mobile subscribers.

Service not available everywhere.   Programming subject to change / blackout restrictions.  Service subscription required.   “Live mobile television” means the FLO TV service transmits channels in real time; no downloading, sideloading or buffering.

Charging Stations

San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc. and San Francisco-based ECOtality Inc. have entered into an agreement to implement cellular connectivity into charging stations.  The solution will allow ECOtality to use a commercial cellular network to manage its Blink brand charging station operations, transfer usage data, download firmware updates and publish availability to electric vehicle drivers in real time.

“Blink’s simple, smart approach to charging allows consumers the real-time monitoring, command and control they expect while leveraging renewable energy generation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jonathan Read, president and CEO of ECOtality.  “Cellular networks will play a critical role in connecting the charging stations with ECOtality’s control systems so we can make all these benefits possible.”

ECOtality will begin deploying cellular-enabled charging stations this year under the EV Project, a $230 million project involving the U.S. Department of Energy; ECOtality’s subsidiary, ECOtality North America; and more than 40 project partners.  The EV Project is the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in U.S. history, including up to 8,300 fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and nearly 15,000 at-home and publicly available charging systems.  All chargers to be deployed under this program, as well as those carrying ECOtality’s recently unveiled Blink brand, will contain Qualcomm technology to communicate over cellular networks.

“Real-time communications are critical for massive deployment of both electric vehicles and charging infrastructure,” said Andy Wood, director of business development at Qualcomm.  “We are committed to helping charging station providers take advantage of the coverage, scalability and reliability provided by commercial cellular networks in order to satisfy this essential requirement.”

Newsmaker Shirley Sherrod

Newsmaker Shirley Sherrod appeared before journalists and others on Thursday, July 29 at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention in San Diego at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Sherrod has made headlines over the past two weeks for her forced resignation from  the U.S. Department of Agriculture after conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posted video excerpts of Sherrod’s address at a March 2010 NAACP event on his website.  The NAACP initially condemned her remarks and U.S. government officials called on her to resign. On review of the unedited video in context, the NAACP, White House officials, and Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, apologized soon after and Sherrod was offered a new position. Sherrod has not yet decided if she will accept the job offer.

Photo coutesy of bam0027 and edwardyanquen via flickr and US Department of Agriculture via wikimedia commons

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