IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

5 Oct 2017

Orange Business Services has accelerated its LTE-M strategy to support the development of IoT solutions for the enterprise market, it announced in a press release, highlighting ongoing field trials in Spain (covering sectors such as smart utility, smart cities and facility management), developments in Belgium (preparing for the ‘LTE IoT City’ launch in Antwerp, open for customer pilots in Q4 2017) and France, where Orange is planning internal trials on both technical and usage aspects starting in Q4 2017. These trials are being carried out ahead of Orange’s planned LTE-M commercial network launch in 2018, whilst Orange has made three LTE-M devices available for testing in customer pilots: a ‘rugged product’ designed by Ercogener for asset tracking/’Industry 4.0’ applications; a Meitrack GPS personal tracker targeting lone worker applications; and a Sercomm/Sequans small GPS tracker developed for tracking valuable items. ‘We believe that LTE-M is a perfect match for a wide range of IoT use cases in Industry 4.0, fleet management and asset tracking,’ said Olivier Ondet, Vice President of IoT and Analytics, Orange Business Services.

In Brazil, Claro, Ericsson and Qualcomm have completed a demonstration of Cat-M1 (LTE-M) technology on an end-to-end system, claiming ‘the first public test of Cat-M1 in a commercial network in South America’. In the test at Claro’s headquarters in Sao Paulo, *Telit*’s Cat-M1 (ME910) connectivity module was used with MDM9206 modem connectivity from Qualcomm and the Ericsson Massive IoT Radio Access Network product. Another test was conducted with a fleet management solution developed by Ericsson using the Quectel Cat-M1 (BG-96) connectivity module, integrated with the same IoT modem from Qualcomm.

Vodafone Turkey claims to be the first Turkish operator to provide NB-IoT network coverage in all of the country’s 81 provinces, Telecompaper reports. The cellco, which has been trialling NB-IoT for over a year, highlights NB-IoT enterprise applications including metering, sensor monitoring, inventory tracking, smart cities/urban planning and smart agriculture.

MediaTek will conduct interoperability tests of NB-IoT with SoftBank in Q1 2018 to pave the way for development of commercial NB-IoT applications. MediaTek recently unveiled its ‘highly integrated and ultra-low-power’ MT2625 NB-IoT System-on-Chip (SoC) and also announced its collaboration with China Mobile to build the world’s smallest NB-IoT module (16mm x 18mm) around the chipset.

South Africa’s SqwidNet IoT network based on Sigfox has reached 64% population coverage, up from 38% reported in May this year, and the operator is also targeting all major/national roads for coverage by the end of November.

LORIOT has been chosen as a key vendor for a nationwide LoRaWAN network expansion by Ceske Radiokomunikace (CRA) in the Czech Republic. The partnership began with a Proof of Concept pilot of a LoRaWAN network in 2015, and Swiss start-up LORIOT is delivering software and services for CRA’s national IoT expansion. The network is already in operation, with more than 260 LoRa gateways, and is serving a number of use cases, such as smart metering and logistics. LORIOT and CRA are now planning to expand their collaboration to other counties in Central Europe.

Zain Saudi Arabia has tested NB-IoT with Nokia at a live site in Mina, Makkah Province, in a trial of smart metering services. Temperature, humidity and air pressure sensors at a remote location were connected via a Nokia Flexi Multiradio 10 LTE base station at 900MHz.

Egypt’s Etisalat Misr has signed a four-year contract with Ericsson to transform its core network and business support systems in Egypt, which it says will not only help meet the demand for its new 4G network but will also pave the way for 5G and IoT.

MTN Business in South Africa is rolling out LoRaWAN, LTE-M and NB-IoT to support its M2M/IoT platforms, the company says. Mariana Kruger, general manager of IoT Solutions said that the range of LPWA technologies will provide the means to offer tailored propositions to enterprise clients. So far, LoRa is being used in an animal poaching prevention project, whilst NB-IoT and LTE-M pilots are ongoing in urban areas to ‘strengthen signals’. Smart water metering solutions based on NB-IoT are in place in partnership with Huawei, and the ‘Cargo Connect’ digital remote locking system has been introduced for secure goods transportation. Kruger added that the growth prospects for IoT and M2M are ‘massive’, particularly for industries and sectors ‘buckling from inefficiencies owing to lack of access to these types of solutions’.

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