IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

20 Sep 2017

Russia’s second largest broadband operator by subscribers ER-Telecom plans to roll out a LoRaWAN IoT network covering 60 cities – from European exclave Kaliningrad to Pacific port Vladivostok – in 2018/19. ComNews reported that ER-Telecom has existing LoRaWAN projects serving the oil fields in the Volgograd region, involving ‘a dozen oil and gas companies’, and intends to deploy 1,000 LoRaWAN base stations this year. The company recently completed a year-long pilot of industrial IoT services via its corporate fixed-wireless subsidiary Prestige Internet (Enforta). ER-Telecom also has an agreement with the Moscow Department of Information Technologies for local testing of LoRaWAN for smart city and other applications.

Brazilian M2M/IoT solutions provider Vecto Mobile has received authorisation from the telecoms regulator Anatel to operate as a specialist MVNO. The company has been in operation since early 2015, focused on solutions for connecting businesses to the Internet of Things. Vecto’s new MVNO operation will mainly use the Algar Telecom mobile network, but the company says it will also partner other operators and satellite connection providers, while utilising other device connectivity platforms (‘such as bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Sigfox and LoRa’) in cases where the partner network(s) are unavailable. Areas of focus for Vecto so far include POS terminals, agriculture, cattle herding, smart cities, asset management and delivery/goods/luggage tracking.

Vodafone Germany is connecting water meters over its NB-IoT network in Nuremberg, in a pilot project with Diehl Metering, enabling remote monitoring of water consumption for data analysis, whilst the NB-IoT network also covers hard-to-reach locations including underground/behind thick walls.

Unlimit, part of India’s Reliance Group, has signed an agreement with IBM under which Unlimit’s IoT services will be combined with IBM’s Watson IoT Platform to serve vertical industries in India including automotive, insurance, utilities and industrial automation. Unlimit will also gain access to IBM’s global ecosystem of partners. Unlimit will design IoT use cases for various industries in the Indian market and build them on the Watson IoT Platform, which provides device registration, IoT rules, advanced analytics, visualisation, dashboards, reports and cognitive capabilities for each use case. Going forward, all Reliance Group companies and Unlimit’s customers are expected to have access to the Watson IoT Platform capabilities via the IBM Cloud. In a separate announcement, IBM said that the Watson IoT Platform is already being used by more than 1,000 Indian companies. The Watson cognitive AI platform analyses data collected via customers’ IoT sensors, and the insights are then used to predict, improve and track performance of machines and devices, and enhance customer experience.

South Korea’s KT Corp is leveraging its nationwide NB-IoT network to monitor and manage ultrafine dust levels, announcing yesterday the launch of the ‘Air Map Korea Project’, and pledging around USD9 million initial investment. 4G cellular base stations equipped with NB-IoT technology will be used for real-time monitoring of fine dust and other aerial pollution, enabling big data analysis. The operator will begin deploying the specialist monitoring equipment by the year’s end, aimed at assisting the government’s efforts to reduce fine dust levels – a growing problem in the country. Recall that in July this year, KT Corp and LG Uplus jointly established a nationwide commercial NB-IoT network (claiming a ‘world-first’), covering Seoul, all metropolitan areas, small towns, ports and roads.

MTN South Africa is utilising IBM IoT software services and an analytics system from Wageningen University (Netherlands) to combat rhino poaching via its MTN Connected Wildlife platform, with a pilot scheme in progress at South Africa’s Welgevonden Game Reserve. Rhinos are fitted with collars containing sensors which transmit data about their behaviour to the IoT platform, via a LoRaWAN Network Server, backhauled by MTN’s 3G/4G network. The system is also designed for use with other animals including zebra, wildebeest, eland and impala, and MTN intends to expand it to other game reserves.

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