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Cubic Corp. Gets $700M+ Along With a Stronger British Accent

By now, the red London bus is firmly part of Cubic Corp.’s heritage. The Kearny Mesa-based business has been part of London’s mass-transit system for 30 years, and it looks like it will stay on board for at least seven more.

Cubic (NYSE: CUB) said on July 29 that it received a contract worth more than $700 million to provide electronic fare collection services for the capital city’s mass-transit system. An option would extend the contract to 10 years and more than $1 billion.

Cubic’s U.K. subsidiary beat out two other vendors to capture the Electra contract for ticketing and fare collection services. The new deal with Transport for London begins in August 2015. The Electra contract covers the maintenance and availability of ticketing and fare collection equipment in a variety of locations, including 8,500 London buses and 1,900 gates at London Underground subway stations and London Overground train stations.

Cubic Transportation Systems introduced its electronic Oyster card to London in 2003. By now there are 70 million such cards in circulation and 9 million in regular use. In the years ahead, the system plans to expand the use of a contactless payment card.

During the 30-year partnership, Cubic has served London’s mass transit agency through challenging events such as the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A few days after Cubic announced the $700 million deal, it reported that it won a six-year, $85 million traffic signal maintenance contract in London. The business will be responsible for 1,000 traffic signals, variable message signs and overhead gantries in the southeast part of the city. Part of the work involves upgrading pedestrian crossings with countdown timers and audible alerts, and installing efficient light-emitting diodes on traffic signals. The traffic signal maintenance deal could be extended two more years.

Remember: Look right when crossing the street in London.

Cubic’s other business offers products and services to U.S. Department of Defense agencies and U.S. allies.

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Flying Spies?: Small drones should be a boon to real estate photography, and they might even work for delivering tacos, but many people — U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California included — have concerns over airborne cameras and their potential for invading people’s privacy. Now Politico reports that President Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order to develop privacy guidelines for commercial drones operating in U.S. airspace. The July 23 report did not say when the White House might issue such an order. Federal officials are working to open the skies to commercial drone flights by late 2015. 3D Robotics Inc., a maker of small aircraft with offices in Otay Mesa and Tijuana, is among the many businesses hoping to ride the commercialization wave.

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Feng Shui for Websites: Website optimization software from Carlsbad-based Ezoic came out of beta in late July. As I reported in December, the software offers a sort of “feng shui” for determining the format of a website. It tests different placements of content and advertising, and finds which combination generates the most cash.

Ezoic markets its service to small, informational websites, often run by hobbyists. For example, the software business said it helped the website of an amateur historian, boosting revenue fivefold by optimizing the site’s format.

Ezoic makes its money by taking a cut of a website’s ad revenue. The business raised $5.6 million in series A funding in November.

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Short Takes: North Carolina-based Causam Energy Inc. signed a definitive agreement to buy Rancho Bernardo’s Power Analytics Corp. for undisclosed terms. Power Analytics makes Paladin software to manage electrical power microgrids, small power grids serving locations such as college campuses or military bases. … Binational data center operator and cloud services provider redIT said it will be getting help from Poway-based BridgeSTOR LLC under a new strategic partnership. BridgeSTOR offers a file system for cloud storage. Financial terms were not disclosed. … With Comic-Con International 2014 concluded and wacky costumes put back into storage, wireless carrier AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) reported customers used 12,135 gigabytes of data during the 2014 pop culture convention, up 42 percent from last year. This year’s number equals 34.6 million social media posts with photos.

Send San Diego technology news to bradg@sdbj.com.

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