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IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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21 Mar 2019

Brazilian mobile operator Vivo, part of the Telefonica group, has commercially launched its NB-IoT and LTE-M networks via its Vivo Empresas division, Teletime reports. The city of Chapeco (Santa Catarina) is the first to receive commercial coverage which will reach ‘all main state capitals in the short to medium term’. Aimed at meeting IoT demand in the corporate segment, both NB-IoT and LTE-M rollouts are based on Huawei technology. Vivo currently claims over eight million M2M/IoT connected devices on its national cellular network, over half of which are managed via the operator’s ’Vivo Kite’ platform. Vivo notes that NB-IoT is ideal for connecting static devices such as street lighting, alarms, intelligent waste disposal and metering, whilst LTE-M IoT solutions with mobility include tracking of vehicles, people, animals and objects, POS payment systems and others.

Another Brazilian cellco, TIM Brasil, has carried out ‘long-distance’ network connectivity tests over its 4G LTE/NB-IoT 700MHz network in Goianesia (Goias state) involving connecting different IoT platforms over a distance of 100km from the base station, reports Teletime. TIM Brasil’s pilot NB-IoT launch in June 2018 was publicised as a country first, and three months later it extended the network by adding 1800MHz frequencies.

Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) disclosed in its 2018 end-year report that it has expanded its commercial NB-IoT network across 49 (of 85) Russian regions. MTS previously announced the launch of NB-IoT in 20 cities in September 2018, while its latest launch announcement was in the city of Khabarovsk, earlier this week.

Bangladesh’s largest mobile operator by subscribers GrameenPhone has launched a new range of IoT services and products at the BASIS Softexpo 2019 in Dhaka, reports The IoT range caters to B2C, B2B and B2G customer segments, and includes a Smart Home solution developed with Datasoft Bangladesh (including motion, smoke, gas and water leakage sensors), the ‘SEEMO Smart Security’ solution, a ‘Smart Attendance’ system for schools and offices, Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions for factories, and Smart Metering solutions for electricity, water and gas utilities. GrameenPhone declared at the event: ‘With the vision of empowering societies, Grameenphone aims to improve lives, empower people and digitalise businesses through IoT, by collaborating and co-creating with local partners, start-ups and government organisations.’

China Telecom Global and Tata Communications have formed a partnership enabling their multinational customers to deploy IoT services within China and internationally across multiple industries, including consumer and industrial electronics manufacturing, automotive, transport and logistics. The Tata Communications MOVE IoT platform leverages the company’s relationships with more than 600 mobile network operators worldwide, while China Telecom Global provides Tata with connectivity for mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. For specific vertical industries such as automotive, China Telecom Global will provide Tata with IoT connectivity solutions that are compliant with Chinese market requirements.

Teracom and Loriot have completed a nationwide LoRaWAN-based IoT network in Denmark. Swiss-based LORIOT provides the management system for the LoRaWAN network, which is aimed at applications including smart metering, smart farming, smart buildings and smart cities.

In Spain, Everynet has revealed plans to roll out national LoRaWAN infrastructure on a shared basis. The network will function as a neutral host for multiple operators to offer LPWA IoT services, according to the company, which claims that the strategy will allow market entry at cost points unachievable by other technologies.

German digital association Bitkom has published the ‘Smart City Atlas’ focusing on digital strategies of 50 German cities. The study was developed in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE) and 13 partners including bee smart city (a web-based smart city platform with over 11,000 registered decision makers in 170 countries). A press release highlights that earlier this quarter Germany’s interior ministry announced federal budget funding of around EUR750 million (USD853 million) for 50 smart city projects over ten years (including EUR170 million available in 2019). In international terms, Germany is a relative late starter in state-funded smart cities: in 2016 India announced its ‘100 Smart Cities Mission’; in 2017 the Australian government published its 52 smart cities programme; and 2018 saw the start of China’s ‘PATH’ smart city initiative to transform 500 cities, supported by Chinese tech firms Ping An, Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei, whilst mobile operator China Unicom will provide 300 of the participating cities with an NB-IoT network.

Speaking of the People’s Republic, China Mobile has reported some mighty impressive IoT growth figures, recording a net addition of 322 million M2M/IoT connections on its networks in 2018, boosting the total number to 551 million by the start of this year. The cellular giant added: ’In some provinces and cities across China, the number of machine-to-machine connections has exceeded that of human-to-human connections.’

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