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Nissan Leaf gives mainframe a new kick along

Nissan is upgrading its existing IBM mainframe computer to act as the backend for an online portal that connects its Leaf electric vehicle’s smart technology with drivers. Photo: Supplied

Nissan is revisiting an old technology to cater for a brand new one.

The Japanese car maker is scaling up its existing IBM mainframe computer to act as the backend for an online portal that connects with its Leaf electric vehicle’s smart technology.

Leaf’s smarts allow drivers to use an iOS or Android smartphone application or a website to access in-depth information about the car – such as battery status, recharging station locations, and navigation functions – and also remotely control in-car cooling or heating. Although much of this functionality is available in-car without the need for external websites, the portal offers different metrics that can be analysed and improved over time.

Each car, of which 170 have been sold since their introduction in Australia in June 2012, has a SIM card that connects to the Telstra Wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) Control Centre over a private Next IP and Next G network, and an international gateway. Nissan then embeds the Telstra service into its own systems.

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When a dealer sells a Leaf in Australia, a locally based mainframe (which is also used as the company’s business system platform) communicates with mainframes in the US and Japan in real time to activate the smart technology services. Nissan then has the ability to analyse data on a global basis – something rarely possible in the past
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