IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

30 Jan 2020

UK Sigfox IoT network operator WND UK has announced reaching over 90% population coverage in an 18-month rollout of the low power, wide area (LPWA) network harnessing ultra-narrow band technology and unlicensed spectrum, providing secure basic connectivity to devices that do not require high throughput. WND UK’s CEO Tim Harris declared: ‘Our Sigfox data sensor network is fully operational today. We now have over 130 channel partners and the list is growing by the day. These companies are using the network for real-world commercial applications – from metering to flood detection to legionella monitoring … We’re continuing to strengthen the network by working with our customers to achieve deep in-building coverage where it’s required. We will also be installing a further 500 repeaters during 2020, which will further enhance our coverage.’

Swiss Sigfox network operator Heliot has reached coverage of 73% of the population and 80% ‘land coverage excluding mountains’ in a rollout partnership with Cellnex. The network spans around 200 antennas (of a targeted 350 by end-2020) and currently handles around 500,000 communications per month. Note that Heliot is competing in the IoT (unlicensed spectrum) market against Swisscom which has deployed a LoRaWAN network covering 96.7% of the population by end-December 2019. Meanwhile, Heliot Austria currently claims Sigfox coverage of 34% (outdoor) population/40% land coverage excluding mountains, and Heliot Liechtenstein initially covers 30%/20% population/land in the small Principality.

In Germany, QSC says its IoT subsidiary Q-Loud has connected 600,000 industrial devices since being founded in 2016. Devices range from windows, doors, heating and cooling systems, pumps, rollers, valves, and pipes through to manhole covers. Q-Loud focuses on the manufacturing sector and its core business involves using sensors and edge gateways to record device and machine data, filtering/processing/storing the data in the cloud and making it available on a centralised basis. All solutions are based on Q-Loud’s IoT hub, which enables customised solutions to be developed, existing devices to be integrated using a retrofit solution, and all data to be processed with a key focus on security. Alongside pure monitoring, for example, customers can also implement predictive maintenance, smart device management and machine learning.

Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Ericsson, supported by the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan, have deployed an industrial 5G zone integrated with the private LTE wireless network at the KAMAZ truck manufacturing plant in Naberezhnye Chelny, ComNews reports. In the first stage, video surveillance and group communication systems, secure access to local information resources, and a VR/AR solution for remote staff training were deployed on the network. A maximum 870Mbps data transfer speed in the 5G zone using 28GHz band spectrum compares to a 46Mbps peak rate in the LTE-2100 network. MTS’ VP of cloud and digital solutions Dmitry Hulin said: ‘On the basis of the private 5G and LTE network, we are ready to implement various solutions in the field of the industrial Internet of Things and automation of production processes at KAMAZ, which will strengthen the market position of the Russian automobile industry.’ MTS, KAMAZ and Ericsson signed an agreement in April 2018 on cooperation in communication networks for unmanned vehicles and the development of industrial IoT.

Finnish network and software solution provider Cinia has acquired NDC Networks, which describes itself as Finland’s leading industrial connectivity solution provider. NDC specialises in developing data transmission services and IoT solutions for demanding environments, such as heavy industry, the energy sector, transport and logistics, defence and security. ‘Industrial internet solutions require sensors and analytics, but also carefully implemented connections for collecting data. NDC has this knowledge and now, together with Cinia, we can offer our customers more versatile solutions,’ said NDC CEO Markus Ahonen. Cinia CEO Ari-Jussi Knaapila added: ‘Combining our expertise creates a key player in the rapidly growing IoT market that is carefully attentive to customer needs.’

Bahrain’s Batelco has launched the ‘SmartConnect’ service based on SD-WAN 2.0 technology, with the aim of supporting cloud connectivity, automation and digital transformation services for Bahrain-based and international enterprise customers across various sectors such as banking, healthcare, education, hospitality, transportation and energy. Batelco will complement its existing business services by providing customers with simplified management of, and dynamic support for, traditional connectivity, cloud and IoT applications. The development follows Batelco signing an agreement with Nokia last year.

Lastly, Rogers Communications and Fleet Complete have announced a strategic partnership to provide Canadian businesses with a full range of cost-effective commercial fleet management and asset tracking solutions. This collaboration will deliver connected technologies, including vehicle and asset GPS tracking, for fleets across Canada and the US. Rogers says it now offers an integrated management platform that allows businesses in all industries to offer a best-in-class customer experience by providing accurate arrival estimates and proof of delivery with time and location stamps. It offers a feature-rich solution that tracks vehicle productivity and driver behaviour, provides continuous vehicle location monitoring, and helps prevent potential breakdowns with scheduled maintenance. Rogers’ Dean Prevost said: ‘With Fleet Complete’s innovative IoT platform … we are enabling fleet-owning businesses of all sizes to elevate the customer experience and use smart technologies to drive cost-effectiveness and improve safety.’ Rogers Fleet Complete solution also helps municipalities build smarter cities through the visibility and optimisation of fleets including public transportation and city maintenance vehicles.

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