China Mobile Hong Kong has held a NB-IoT network showcase event, demonstrating a smart parking service carried over its commercial NB-IoT network which was launched earlier this month, TelecomAsia reports. This and other on-site demonstrations – including smart street lighting and metering, smart home applications and wearables – served to illustrate a full IoT ecosystem, comprising chipset, terminal, network, platform and applications, whilst IoT vendor partners presented application scenarios including utilities, consumer products, transportation and logistics, and other vertical industry applications. China Mobile Hong Kong CEO Sean Lee said: ‘Thanks to extensive experiences from our parent company in China and close partnerships in the industry chain from device, platform, to application, CMHK now offers an all-inclusive NB-IoT network solution to local smart industry developers.’ Rival Hong Kong operators Hutchison (3) and SmarTone are also developing NB-IoT networks.
Vodafone Group is giving consumers the ‘Vs’ this week with the launch of its ‘V by Vodafone’ IoT brand – described as a simple system for consumers to connect and manage IoT devices and a product range including a connected car dongle (V-Auto), a 4G security camera (V-Camera), a pet location and activity tracker (V-Pet) and a bag location tracker (V-Bag). V by Vodafone comprises the dedicated IoT ‘V-Sim by Vodafone’ SIM card, the V by Vodafone smartphone app, automatic straight-out-of-the-box connection to the international Vodafone IoT network in any of 32 countries, and a fixed monthly price plan for each product connected with a V-Sim by Vodafone SIM. During 2018, Vodafone says that it will launch a new online product marketplace open to IoT developers that will greatly extend the product choice for customers. Products are available initially at selected Vodafone stores in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, or online.
New Zealand telco Spark is trialling Cat-M1 (LTE-M) IoT technology this month across its 4G network, ahead of commercial launch in early 2018. According to Spark’s IoT head Michael Stribling, the operator is already working with its customers on utilising its LTE-M network for such use cases as vehicle telematics, smart metering, smart health devices, and smart cities applications including lighting and environmental monitoring. The low power, wide area (LPWA) LTE-M network is aimed at bolstering Spark’s existing M2M solutions offered over its 4G network covering around 95% of the Kiwi population, whilst under a multiplatform IoT strategy the company is also testing an unlicensed spectrum-based LoRaWAN LPWA network with customers in the agricultural and industrial sectors.
Spanish giant Telefonica has launched its ‘Thinx’ initiative to promote an open ecosystem for the development of IoT through experimentation with technologies including NB-IoT, LTE-M and Sigfox. Thinx facilities can be accessed by developers, partners or entrepreneurs, covering the whole development process for IoT solutions, from the prototype to trials in a real setting. To this end, Telefonica makes an exact replica of the network available to users, together with the support they need to connect and integrate technologies in IoT solutions. Currently, Telefonica’s Thinx laboratories are open in Chile, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid, with labs in London, Berlin and Buenos Aires to be opened shortly.
China Telecom has signed an IoT business partnership agreement with the Bridge Alliance mobile operator group, enabling the Chinese giant to provide IoT/M2M services to multinational enterprise customers across Bridge Alliance’s 34 country/territory footprint in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. A press release says that the agreement provides homogenous solutions for China Telecom’s customers across the extended footprint, with the full support and service quality of local networks within Bridge Alliance. Similarly, Bridge Alliance members can now extend their IoT services to China through China Telecom. As both China Telecom and Bridge Alliance operators have deployed common connectivity platforms, international enterprise customers can have the same experience when deploying their solutions across the footprint of China Telecom and Bridge Alliance.
Meanwhile in the 5G connected car world, Japanese heavyweight NTT DOCOMO has recorded mobile data streaming speeds of 1Gbps downlink/600Mbps uplink in a trial of 4K-resolution video communications with a vehicle traveling at 30kph, in partnership with Toyota, Ericsson and Intel. The trial utilised the Intel GOTM 5G Automotive Platform terminal with multiple Ericsson base stations and Cloud-RAN, successfully demonstrating 5G capabilities of ultra-high speed data rates, extra-low latency and massive connectivity, the operator’s press release announced.
Finally, never mind the Vs, it’s time for the bees, as Vodafone Greece has announced the launch of pilot NB-IoT services delivered via its 4G network, while presenting a prototype NB-IoT application for remote surveillance of beehives at the 19th Infocom World Congress in Athens. The application, developed in Greece by the company’s Zelitron subsidiary, enables beekeepers to remotely manage beehive cells via a web portal, monitoring factors such as humidity, internal/external temperature, each cell’s weight and other status data, with data on hand to monitor a hive’s honey production trends. The application also locates cells and alerts the beekeeper if the cell is moved, opened or reaches the weight that triggers honey collection. Sweet.
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