IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

18 Jan 2018

Australia’s Telstra has announced the availability of NB-IoT connectivity over its commercial LTE mobile network, augmenting its existing LTE-M (Cat M1) IoT services which went live in 2017 with coverage of three million square kilometres. Telstra COO, Robyn Denholm, said: ‘… we have added the ability to support millions of new devices like sensors, trackers and alarms operating at very low data rates that can sit inside machines and vehicles, reach deep inside buildings and have a battery life of years … We are already leading the emergence of IoT in Australia – we connect more than two million IoT devices today and offer connected lights, cameras and motion sensors on the Telstra Smart Home platform … over the next five years we forecast we will be connecting four times more devices than we do today.’

Slovenia’s Telekom Slovenije has completed testing NB-IoT technology on its LTE network, and is planning to establish NB-IoT test environments in Ljubljana and Maribor for companies, individual developers and educational institutions to test their own IoT solutions. Telekom Slovenije is also testing alternative LPWA IoT technologies including LoRaWAN.

Japan’s first Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) trials are commencing this year through a partnership of network operator NTT DOCOMO, technology providers Ericsson, Qualcomm and OKI, and automotive industry players Nissan and Continental. Using DOCOMO’s LTE-A network and 5GHz band frequencies, the project will trial Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) direct communications, as well as Vehicle-to-Network (V2N) operations over cellular network-based wide area communications with cloud access. Testing will focus on the range, reliability and latency benefits of C-V2X direct communications operated in the 5GHz band with complementary benefits of LTE-A network connectivity.

South Korea’s SK Telecom is partnering Here Technologies in the automotive and IoT sectors; a preliminary agreement sees the duo pooling their expertise in connectivity, mapping and location data to deliver new services to Korean consumers and businesses, leveraging the Here Open Location Platform as a development environment and marketplace.

T-Systems, the corporate/ICT division of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, is launching an IoT/M2M-focused MVNO in Brazil, hosted by the Claro Brasil/Embratel network, under an agreement announced on 15 January. Brazilian clients will be offered T-Systems’ ‘IoT Service Portal’ M2M communications management and control platform, currently available in Europe, China and the US.

Ukraine’s largest mobile operator Kyivstar is launching a new IoT-based ‘Autotracking’ service this month which enables remote location tracking of vehicles anywhere within the Kyivstar cellular network using a customer-fitted device, and is compatible with any cars built after 2007.

Russian national fixed network operator Rostelecom has won the tender to provide M2M services to Moscow City municipality, reports Cnews, highlighting that the ‘big three’ cellular operators in Russia – MegaFon, MTS and Beeline – have major competition in the IoT sphere from the state-backed fixed line giant (which also owns 45% of fourth-placed cellco Tele2 Russia).

In China, the government expects to connect roughly 600 million devices to NB-IoT networks by 2020, whilst rapidly replacing 2G M2M/IoT technology (which accounted for the lion’s share of the roughly 150 million new Chinese cellular M2M/IoT connections added in 2017). However, a report from Spectrum.ieee.org underlines that NB-IoT (and indeed cellular in general) is not the only IoT game in Chinatown, using the impressive example of the country’s massive South-to-North Water Diversion Project, in which 100,000 IoT sensors of 130 different types are currently monitoring a 1,400km canal, using a ‘Smart Gateway’ connecting to the cloud via whatever the best connection is at any given location and time – utilising 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, fibre, Ethernet or Zigbee (an open global standard for low-power M2M) technologies. Some sections of the canal pass through remote areas with spotty or zero cellular network signal and no fibre access. For the past year the hybrid system has scanned the canal for structural damage, tracked water quality and flow rates, and monitored for intruders, and its developers say that the network model will likely be applied to other massive infrastructure projects, firstly including the other routes of the water transfer system, as well as other applications such as monitoring the glass facades of skyscrapers.

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