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IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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10 May 2018

Orange Belgium has claimed the country’s first ‘end-to-end mobile IoT services launch’ with the introduction of its commercial mobile IoT offer named ‘Connected Things’ alongside a ‘Rapid Development Kit’ for business customers. Orange Belgium’s NB-IoT and LTE-M networks were switched on last year and now cover 100% of the Belgian territory, and the company says its Rapid Development Kit contains everything a customer needs to develop and build IoT prototypes and products, including six months free use of the Orange IoT network, a microcontroller, a radio module with an Orange SIM card and sensors (for measuring temperature, air quality, geographical position etc.); beyond six months customers can opt for a pre-paid or post-paid Connected Things package. Orange Belgium has also launched the ‘Orange Maker’ IoT Application Enabler, simplifying connection of hardware to the IoT network.

Also in Belgium, Proximus has announced it is launching its NB-IoT network, with the first major customers confirmed as energy companies Eandis and Infrax (Fluvius) in a project to connect 1.3 million gas and electricity meters in Flanders, commissioned by IBM and Sagemcom. Alongside legacy cellular M2M services, Proximus has operated LPWA IoT connectivity via a LoRaWAN network since 2015 – boasting ‘hundreds of companies’ using this technology – and with the launch of NB-IoT the operator says that it can now offer customers a choice of technologies based on the most appropriate for their intended application.

Telenor Denmark has announced it is deploying NB-IoT and LTE-M nationwide this year, stating in a press release that the IoT technology rollout will improve the range and efficiency of its long-established cellular M2M services. The company added that LTE-M and NB-IoT functionality has been tested on various devices in cooperation with major business customers, and the rollout of both technologies will take place in 2018 across the country. Telenor is also implementing an eSIM platform in parallel with the IoT rollout.

In other Nordic developments, 3 Sweden (Tre) is piloting its new NB-IoT network by connecting E.ON gas meters in Skane. The operator disclosed that it has already undertaken field tests lasting a few months with E.ON, demonstrating a ‘dramatic’ improvement in coverage facilitated by NB-IoT, e.g. in basements and inaccessible, rural areas.

Staying with Sweden, Telia is equipping 9,000 properties owned by Stockholm Exergi with IoT technology for climate control in a smart real estate project aimed at streamlining power and energy consumption. Once IoT devices have been installed, property owners in Stockholm can access digital services for smart energy optimisation and management.

Belarus operator VELCOM is following up its December 2017 NB-IoT launch in Minsk by expanding the network across all regional centres of the country, reports Coverage in the capital has also been improved, and the NB-IoT expansion will eventually cover all large and medium-sized settlements, the report adds.

Spain’s Telefonica (Movistar) has discontinued its smart home security service ‘Movistar Verisure Hogar’ which it launched in 2015. It shut down the service on 3 May 2018 ‘for reasons beyond Movistar’s control’, adding in a statement that customers can keep their home equipment and will not be charged for any pending equipment fees nor for the current month’s service fees.

China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) has signed an agreement to utilise NB-IoT technology for advanced services across Sino Group’s residential and commercial properties, initially encompassing Smart Home, Smart Shopping Mall and Smart Property Management. Under the partnership, IoT and big data technologies will be applied ‘to enhance the experience of Sino Group’s commercial tenants, enhance its property management efficiency and facilitate environmental protection’. Sino Group and CMHK are creating a Smart Home showcase in Olympian City; other smart application solutions for commercial, industrial and smart city (e.g. car parking) purposes will also be showcased.

Nokia has acquired SpaceTime Insight, a provider of machine learning-powered analytics and IoT applications for some of the world’s largest transportation, energy and utilities organisations, including Entergy, FedEx, NextEra Energy, Singapore Power and Union Pacific Railroad. Nokia says the acquisition will accelerate its development of new IoT applications for key vertical markets.

Lastly, Google has launched the ‘Android Things 1.0’ operating system aimed at IoT devices, a stable, production-ready version of the Android Things platform available in a preview phase since 2016. New IoT products powered by Android Things, including smart speakers, smart displays and others, will launch between now and the end of summer. Google will offer free, three-year support including stability fixes and security patches for each long-term Android Things release.

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