IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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25 Oct 2017

Sri Lankan operator Mobitel, the cellular division of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), has showcased its nascent NB-IoT technology platform at the Techno 2017 exhibition in Sri Lanka, The Island newspaper reported. Mobitel showcased NB-IoT-based urban farming and home safety systems using its 900MHz spectrum. Mobitel chairman PG Kumarasinghe Sirisena cited Mobitel’s NB-IoT technology as a vital component in increasing the productivity of Sri Lanka’s overall output through simple low-cost automation solutions. Note that rival cellco Dialog Axiata has already announced the commercial launch of its NB-IoT network.

Iran’s largest mobile operator by subscribers Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI, or Hamrah-e-Avval) has signed an agreement with Swedish technology giant Ericsson to assist in nationwide IoT development, reports Tehran-based English-language news service PressTV. The agreement – aimed at moving forward with plans for smart cities and automated utilities – was inked on the sidelines of Iran Telecom Fair 2017 in Tehran, with Ericsson understood to be providing expertise for IoT deployments, although no further details were announced in the media. Iran’s ICT ministry highlighted in February that a pilot IoT project had been launched in the capital city, with preliminaries for expanding to larger scale projects under way, overseen by a special state committee.

Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has signed a three-year network upgrade contract with Ericsson, including 5G-ready radio/core hardware/software, which includes preparation for ‘Massive IoT’ solutions involving NB-IoT and Cat-M1 (LTE-M) technologies. Deployments start in Q4 2017 and total value of the contract is expected to exceed EUR400 million (USD471 million).

Japan Communications (JCI) has signed an agreement with Chinese LTE services developer Baicells Technologies regarding joint business development of unlicensed LTE network technology which will serve as a foundation for IoT services in the Japanese market, Telecompaper reports. A detailed agreement will be reached by the end of this year, JCI said. The partnership includes deploying networks and specialised IoT services under a revenue sharing business model including JCI and Baicells plus other partner companies.

Also in Japan, KDDI (au) has selected Axiros for IoT services alongside fixed broadband and other solutions. Axiros’s ‘Axperience’ product range includes Axess.Acs – a core auto configuration server enabling KDDI to integrate all its devices (mobile, IoT, CPE, cable modems, set-top boxes and others) into one managed set regardless of protocols. Axperience also includes device management functions for IoT devices such as Protocol Handler, Data Mapper and Event Streaming.

Finally, UK-based chip designer ARM, owned by another Japanese heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp, has developed a security framework for IoT devices, aimed at instilling consumer confidence and boosting IoT sales, a Bloomberg report says. Rob Coombs, security director of ARM’s IoT Device Group, said in an interview: ‘We’ve talked to a lot of companies and they are excited. We believe we have wide industry support.’ ARM’s proposed security framework includes the detailed specification of threats to connected devices (ARM’s security analysts aim to provide this information via partnership with industry partners and researchers/academics). The framework also specifies how hardware and software should be designed to mitigate these threats, whilst ARM will provide its customers free of charge firmware that meets the requirements of the new standard. The framework also proposes the requirement that all devices be able to receive software updates over-the-air, through either Wi-Fi, cellular or alternative low-power networks.

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