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IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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22 Nov 2018

Telenor Norway yesterday (21 November) announced the launch of its LTE-M IoT network, following its NB-IoT network launch on 26 September, claiming over 99% population coverage and up to 81% national area coverage for NB-IoT/LTE-M connectivity. Ove Fredheim, head of Telenor Norway’s Corporate division, said: ‘We have had a great deal of companies wishing to use IoT on 4G. Optimising our existing 4G network for things online opens up a great many opportunities.’ He added that the operator currently has around 1.3 million M2M devices connected to its Norwegian 2G and 3G networks (up from 1.2 million in 1Q18) which will ‘eventually’ be connected via LTE-M/NB-IoT. Telenor has signed several agreements with companies adopting LTE-M, including Oss Norge (smart power meters – at least 100,000 devices expected to be connected in the next three years) and Flowbird (smart parking machines and air pollution/noise monitoring). Previously, upon launching NB-IoT Telenor Norway highlighted several corporate partners piloting the technology including Posten & Bring (a postal and logistics group, tracking parcel cages) and Agdir (a smart farming start-up utilising NB-IoT sensors).

UK-based technology provider Telit has disclosed that Australian network operator Telstra has certified the Telit ‘LM940’, its first 600Mbps LTE Category 11 data card (75Mbps uplink), plus the ‘ME910C1-AU’ IoT module for use on its NB-IoT network. Telit said the two certifications ‘give Australian enterprises, integrators and service providers the ability to immediately leverage Telstra’s next-generation NB-IoT, LTE-M and LTE Cat 11 networks for mobile and fixed IoT applications’ such as connected vehicles/telematics, smart utility grids/metering, asset tracking, retail, point-of-sale, security and surveillance, industrial control and automation, smart home and smart buildings.

Japanese-owned electronic components manufacturer Murata has presented what it claims to be the world’s smallest NB-IoT module to date. Mounted on a printed circuit board with a metal housing, the LBAD0ZZ1RX module measures 15.6mm x 14.0mm x 2.2mm; it is intended for compact IoT/Industrial IoT applications powered by battery. Mass production is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019.

Following Vodafone Malta’s NB-IoT network launch last month, the operator is partnering recycling cooperative GreenPak to deploy around 800 smart recycling bins across the country in the coming months, reports The ‘iBins’ transmit data indicating their capacity levels over Vodafone’s NB-IoT network; the data is used by GreenPak to monitor which bins need emptying, improving efficiency, and can also be accessed by the public via a free app to locate the nearest iBin (and know how much space is in it).

Lastly, a New Zealand organisation named Predator-Free Punakaiki has declared war on possums, stoats, feral cats and rats over the Vodafone M2M/IoT network, reports the NZ Herald. Traps supplied by German-based MinkPolice are being used that automatically send a signal when they catch an animal, and Predator-Free Punakaiki’s Grant Parrett says that Vodafone’s network enables ‘a huge number of traps that are checked by a very small number of volunteers’ for the Department of Conservation-backed project targeting non-native species preying on native birds (as part of nationwide ‘Predator-Free 2050’ goals). Vodafone New Zealand is finally set to launch its NB-IoT/LTE-M network nationwide this month, delayed from a previous target of ‘early 2018’ and following NB-IoT tests back in 2016. NB-IoT has been deployed across its 4G LTE mobile network with 97.5% population coverage and 48.2% land area coverage so far (including nearly all of New Zealand’s arable land), whilst LTE-M technology has thus far been rolled out to around 60% of the population and 40% of territory, with the operator expecting the LTE-M footprint to catch up with NB-IoT by around March 2019. Mr Parrett noted that the predator traps currently use Vodafone’s 2G M2M network, but the organisation is preparing to move to the NB-IoT network, enabling the scheme to operate in more remote areas with increased reliability of connection.

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