IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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9 Jan 2020

US cellco Sprint is extending its Curiosity IoT platform to Australia via a partnership with mobile network operator Telstra in the first half of 2020. Sprint says the tie-up ‘goes beyond roaming’, with the relationship with Telstra ‘helping to improve roundtrip time and enabling better performance of customer’s IoT applications’. Gerhard Loots, head of Global IoT solutions for Telstra, added: ‘Our agreement with Sprint makes it effortless for IoT customers with international needs to implement solutions in Australia, with access to local in-country profiles … which will be very helpful as a service differentiator, especially for latency sensitive applications.’ One of the first customer deals has been inked with smart pet tracking company Wagz.

Sprint has also announced that in early 2020 it will launch a redesigned Sprint IoT Factory, ‘the original IoT marketplace for small and medium-sized businesses’. The e-commerce platform allows customers to easily solve operational challenges with ready-to-deploy IoT products or with a fully customised solution ‘to meet their specific needs, pain points, budgets and preferences – all available with just a few simple steps.’ Ivo Rook, senior vice president of IoT and product development at Sprint, said: ‘Small businesses are looking for simple technology that can save them time and reduce costs … The Sprint IoT Factory provides a one-stop shop to guide decision makers through every step to reach the best solution to meet their needs, while presenting costs in a clear manner.’

In Saudi Arabia, network operator Mobily inked an agreement with Ericsson which it says will accelerate its drive to support government and private sector digitalisation and IoT deployment. The agreement covers solutions spanning transport and core networks, charging/billing and radio access including 5G, and Mobily cites its smart metering project with Saudi Electricity Company as an example of the kind of programme that will benefit from the agreement.

Sigfox Germany has met its target of 85% national territorial coverage with its IoT network, two and a half years after its launch, according to its network installation partner Constructel (part of Portugal’s Visabeira) cited by Telecompaper. Constructel has installed around 900 Sigfox base stations throughout Germany, while partnerships with other companies including Telefonica and Deutsche Post have allowed Sigfox to use third-party infrastructure to expand further, with coverage expected to continue increasing in 2020. On its website this week Sigfox Germany reports that its latest partnership is with the EPOS2 research project at Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences, which focuses on battery-free IoT components for the logistics industry, with the goal of using mechanical movement to enable energy-self-sufficient and resource-saving IoT connections.

Elsewhere in Sigfox-world, Hong Kong network operator HKBN Enterprise Solutions has partnered with Thinxtra to provide connectivity support to expand the Thinxtra-operated Sigfox 0G network to 97% population coverage of Hong Kong. HKBN also says it is the first telecoms carrier in Hong Kong to offer its customers Sigfox IoT platform solutions, highlighting solutions focusing on energy savings (e.g. automated lighting, air conditioning) and health & safety (e.g. sanitation leakage monitoring, indoor air quality monitoring) to transformative smart city technologies (e.g. city-wide intelligent waste management, public transport tracking). Local Sigfox provider Thinxtra also operates Sigfox networks in Macau, Australia and New Zealand.

Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has launched Service Capabilities Exposure Function (SCEF) technology on its NB-IoT network, supporting interaction of any IoT devices via a single interface, following tests by MTS clients in sectors including agriculture, security sensors, energy and utility metering. MTS group subsidiary NVision acted as systems integrator on the project, with SCEF services integrated into MTS’ M2M Manager platform – which currently has over 4,000 corporate customers – enabling application and product developers to manage devices connected through various standards including 2G, 3G, 4G and NB-IoT. When using SCEF, single or multiple universal device identifier External IDs (named by the user) are associated with a SIM card to identify the device and/or specific services.

Lastly, Brussels Airport Company is developing a private 5G-ready network in partnership with Nokia and Belgian operator Citymesh which it says will be operational in Brussels Airport by the end of March 2020. A press release says that a private 5G-ready network offers more efficient, more reliable and faster connectivity than Wi-Fi or public 4G networks, and enables the airport to use new technologies such as IoT, automated vehicles, mobile safety systems and track & trace solutions.

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