Vodafone Czech Republic has completed a nationwide rollout of NB-IoT network technology, reaching close to 100% outdoor coverage and 94% indoor coverage via nearly 4,000 LTE base stations in partnership with Huawei, reports local website DSL.cz. While claiming a leading position in Czech NB-IoT development, Vodafone’s Jiri Svarc said that the new IoT network will ‘give many companies a competitive edge and open up entirely new business opportunities.’
Vodafone Australia has launched a commercial-ready NB-IoT network, claiming a country-first. Vodafone has completed first-phase NB-IoT rollouts around Frankston on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, and at offices in Port Melbourne and North Sydney, and will extend the network across Melbourne’s central business district and suburbs in November, Mobile World Live reports. Vodafone will continue to expand live NB-IoT coverage in selected zones of Sydney and Canberra in December, ahead of wider rollouts around Australia in 2018, having already upgraded ‘about half’ of its network sites and deployed software upgrades across its radio access network and elements of its core network. Vodafone’s Stuart Kelly noted: ‘NB-IoT offers customers a range of benefits, including greater power efficiency, with devices able to run on batteries for ten years or more on a single charge’, whilst adding that the operator is working with two customers on NB-IoT trials: CCP Technologies (critical control point management systems, focused on the food industry) and Metasphere (telemetry and control systems).
Orange Business Services and Microsoft have partnered to deliver large-scale, end-to-end IoT solutions for the manufacturing sector. The Orange modular IoT solution, Datavenue, accompanied by Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, aims to help enterprises ‘transition to Industry 4.0 and optimise the entire manufacturing value chain’, via Orange Business Services’ various IoT connectivity options, in particular LoRaWAN. Use cases range from supply chain and smart inventory management to digital operations such as predictive maintenance, employee safety and facility and equipment management. The software environment provided by Microsoft supports advanced solutions such as Cortana Intelligence Suite (advanced analytics and AI) and Power BI (data visualisation).
Telia Finland is jointly developing NB-IoT-based industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions with RD Velho, a specialist in developing embedded systems and planning for IIoT; the partners expect to report on further progress in the next few weeks.
Swiss LoRa-based solution specialist LORIOT.IO and Italy’s futurioX have signed a strategic partnership agreement to develop LoRaWAN network services in Italy. futurioX has developed a range of IoT solutions including smart city and agriculture applications.
Dell Technologies has announced it will invest USD1 billion on IoT research and development over the next three years, via a newly formed IoT division which will develop and integrate IoT products and services across Dell units including Dell EMC, VMware, RSA and Pivotal.
T-Mobile Netherlands has launched an IIoT pilot with BAM Infra and Nowi based on mobile connected sensors to monitor and gain insight on the state of infrastructure, enabling maintenance to be carried out based on data analysis.
Brazil’s Embratel (part of Claro Brasil) has disclosed that its mobile network hosts five million connected (M2M) devices. Acyr Rodrigues, Embratel’s IoT business director, added that the operator is deploying NB-IoT and LTE-M (Cat-M1) technology on its 4G network, whilst developing IoT solutions with specialist partners based on cellular/other connectivity, cloud and IT infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the government of Brazil has officially launched its National Internet of Things (IoT) Plan, with four main pillars of focus: smart cities, health, agriculture and industry. The government expects the sector to account for some USD200 billion in 2025, or roughly 10% of GDP. The Planning & Research unit of the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) said that the plan includes about 70 initiatives to promote IoT use in each of these four verticals. BNDES will finance part of the project with financial resources and will support the creation of start-ups for IoT solutions. In addition, the plan foresees the creation of an environment for exchange among the different players within the IoT ecosystem.
IoT connectivity provider Thingstream has launched its IoT Starter Kit, enabling device manufacturers to rapidly develop globally connected devices and accelerate IoT projects. The Starter Kit will allow a device to connect to ‘almost any GSM network, worldwide’ and communicate with applications via MQTT messaging, a press release announced. The Starter Kit comprises the Thingstream IoT Module, a companion baseboard for developers, the Thingstream Global IoT SIM, and three months’ access to global network and connectivity software tools.
Finally, Ericsson has expanded its range of agriculture-based IoT service offerings, including ‘e-kakashi’ (translated as ‘e-scarecrow’) – a system which uses sensors and AI to monitor and manage temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels and other factors in crop growing.
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