IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

7 Sep 2017

MTN South Africa, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies have completed the first lab trial on the African continent for a Cat-M1 (LTE-M) solution in support of MTN’s IoT ambitions. The trial used IoT devices integrated with a Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modem and the Ericsson Massive IoT Radio Access Network product. The project is preparing MTN for a new wave of solutions that can be implemented in the near future, and the cellco will continue trialling devices and applications for Cat-M1 in its Test Bed lab, a press release announced. Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology Information Officer (CTIO) at MTN South Africa, said: ‘Cat-M1 provides key advantages of low-cost devices, long battery life, extended coverage and supports a wide range of use cases … The initial use of this technology has been for tracking and reporting use cases that have benefited both consumer and business customers.’ Rafiah Ibrahim, President, Ericsson Middle East and Africa, added: ‘Today, the majority of telco IoT revenue comes from machine-to-machine connectivity, but in the next five years, this will change to revenue from platforms, applications and services. This trial ensures MTN South Africa will capture new revenue streams and deliver the best experience to its customers.’

Vodafone Ireland has commercially launched its NB-IoT network, the first cellco in the country to do so, after upgrading its existing 4G base stations to provide nationwide NB-IoT coverage which will operate alongside its 2G, 3G and LTE networks. Vodafone says NB-IoT complements the company’s existing suite of M2M/IoT services and technologies, providing customers and partners with multiple connectivity options to suit a variety of operational use cases. Examples given are smart city applications, smart agriculture, and rural community applications such as connected remote health care. Anne O’Leary, CEO at Vodafone Ireland, said: ‘The evolution of the Internet of Things means that there is an urgent need for a low-power way to connect thousands of devices. NB-IoT fits the bill perfectly. We are therefore delighted to be the first Irish operator to provide a fully commercial, nationwide NB-IoT network to our customers. Our latest innovation will provide a head start to Irish businesses and consumers in their race to become truly smart and efficient, radically saving time and money … The NB-IoT network is a standards-based technology and is deployed in the licensed spectrum which is important from a security perspective. Our service offers specialist security consultancy to provide advisory support and security assessments to ensure that the security and data protection of our customers is protected.’

France-based IoT specialist Kerlink and Buenos Aires-based telecoms company Inversiones Condor (ICondor) have announced their collaboration to roll out Argentina’s first LoRaWAN IoT network under ICondor’s new YEAP! brand. Kerlink will provide several hundred LoRa gateways for the deployment, which begins immediately in Buenos Aires and Rosario, and will provide nationwide coverage by July 2018, following a successful pilot project early this year. ICondor plans to deploy more LoRaWAN networks throughout South America following the rollout in Argentina. Martin Rajman, CEO of YEAP!, said: ‘Many Argentinean companies and cities are waiting for a versatile, secure, high quality and high performance IoT technology to support applications in critical B2B and B2C markets. These include asset tracking, smart cities, logistics and smart agriculture, as well as insurance, pet monitoring and home automation. YEAP!’s LoRaWAN network supported by Kerlink gateways will deliver that support and enable the connectivity of millions of end devices.’ Both companies are members of the LoRa Alliance; Kerlink sits on its board of directors.

Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has entered into an agreement with Coriant to chart a path to 5G and IoT in India, including the development of SDN/NFV network architecture and Mobile Edge Computing technologies. BSNL and Coriant will work together to develop 5G and IoT use cases such as rural connectivity, connected healthcare, industrial automation, public safety, video surveillance, energy, and agriculture. In addition, the agreement encompasses research programs, knowledge sharing, and workshops focused on the latest networking trends and hyperscale architectures designed to support the scalable, ultra-low latency, ultra-efficient, and reliable delivery of commercial 5G services and applications.

In the UK, Vodafone has signed a five-year deal with unified communications (UC) platform provider Onecom aimed at expanding the choice of IoT services available to businesses. The pair will jointly develop, launch and manage a range of solutions utilising Vodafone’s global IoT managed connectivity, platform and services, whilst Onecom will also develop its own IoT services. Aaron Brown, COO of Onecom, said: ‘This new partnership complements our strong relationship with Vodafone and enables us to realise our vision of making it simple for our business customers to deploy IoT technology across their organisations.’

Deutsche Telekom has launched new connected car solutions for businesses and consumers via its T-Systems and Telekom Deutschland divisions. The ‘CarConnect’ mobile hotspot adapter and ‘CombiCard Car’ mobile data plan are offered as a consumer package, bundled with the free CarConnect smartphone app, whilst ‘Digital Drive’ is a new package for businesses, with both packages based on a system from Canada’s Mojio. Deutsche Telekom has also announced a new smart parking project in Bonn, based on sensors operating over its NB-IoT network, augmented by a mobile app for use by drivers. The project, starting next year, will join similar pilots the operator is working on in cities including Dortmund, Hamburg, Darmstadt, Moers and Duisburg.

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