IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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3 Oct 2019

A1 Slovenia has upgraded its entire 4G mobile network with NB-IoT, announcing in its press release that the new technology ‘brings many opportunities to improve business processes, manage resources more efficiently, and develop new products in the areas of smart cities, smart buildings, smart metering and more.’ A1 also highlighted NB-IoT’s energy efficiency and suitability for ‘all use cases requiring small amounts of data to be transmitted over the mobile network, while allowing a large number of devices to connect to the network simultaneously and directly without installing a gateway.’ A1’s initial NB-IoT pilots include the ‘Smart devices, models and platforms in the active network’ project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund supporting R&D/innovation in smart cities and communities with a focus on energy conversion, distribution and management. A1’s other pilot NB-IoT projects include partnerships with 3B+D, Astron, Auralix, DS Measurements, Elektro Gorenjska, Emsiso, Enerdat-S, Flare, GEN-I, Irnas Institute, Iskraemeco, Maribor Waterworks, Nomnio, Priot, Maribor Power, Electronics Council & ICTEM Conference, Telos and others. Areas of cooperation include public lighting systems, contactless payment, remote control of movable assets, electricity measurement, waste management, digitisation of energy and water supply networks, industrial monitoring, railways and environmental sensors.

Amazon has announced a new wireless connectivity protocol – Amazon Sidewalk – with a longer range than both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which it says can be used to control a wide range of IoT devices. Amazon Sidewalk – which also requires less power than Wi-Fi – uses low-bandwidth 900MHz spectrum for IoT communication. CEO Jeff Bezos, speaking at Amazon’s annual Alexa devices launch in Seattle, said: ‘People don’t even realise yet how important that intermediate range is going to be, for things like lights in your yard, controlling your lights on your sidewalk in the street.’ The company has tested the Sidewalk protocol in Los Angeles with its Ring smart home products and anticipates a commercial product launch in 2020.

Ooredoo Qatar has introduced the ‘IoT Connect Single SIM’ to help businesses manage their IoT device data usage, enabling them to automatically set, monitor and limit data allowances for individual IoT-connected devices, with the aim of ‘full mobility cost control’. IoT Connect is one of Ooredoo’s key B2B offerings, supporting managed connectivity, enabling companies to track and manage all their networked devices, track products online, measure data consumption and flag international roaming connections via a web portal.

Canadian telco Telus has agreed to acquire security and automation solutions provider ADT Canada for around CAD700 million (USD528 million) in a deal set to close before the end of the year pending regulatory approval. Telus says the purchase of ADT Canada – which boasts approximately 500,000 residential and B2B customers – will complement and enhance its existing connected home/business, security, IoT, cybersecurity, smart building, smart city and health sector operations. Telus says its existing security customer base numbers around 100,000; last year the telco launched the TELUS SmartHome Security and Secure Business product ranges. Telus points out that the acquisition of ADT Canada not only expands its security business but also supports the continued advancement of the Telus health strategy, in areas including remote patient care with home health monitoring and connected home technology.

And lastly, it’s on your bike with BT Group, as the British telecoms firm is piloting smart bicycle lights in Suffolk. Designed and built by See.Sense, the lights use advanced sensor technology to monitor their environment, reacting by flashing brighter and faster in riskier situations. They also pair with a smartphone app that provides additional connected features for the cyclist including crash detection and theft alerts. The lights also collect insights on ride conditions encountered by cyclists, including road surface conditions, chosen routes and traffic hotspot areas, sending information to BT’s IoT Data Hub. The telco’s Chief Researcher of Future Business Technology, John Davies, said: ‘We recognise that biking to work is an effective way to be environmentally conscious but it’s not always an easy decision to make, so we’re testing a way to help eliminate some of those hurdles.’

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