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IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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5 Mar 2020

US wireless heavyweight Sprint has expanded its Curiosity IoT platform to Europe, via new partnerships with Swisscom and Telia Company. Following the recent expansion of Curiosity IoT to Australia, Sprint customers will now be able to activate their IoT solutions on local networks in the Telia group footprint in Scandinavia and the Baltics plus Switzerland, while Swisscom and Telia clients will now also be able to better serve their customers in the US. Sprint says that Curiosity simplifies business operations through centralised management of IoT devices, giving complete control over device profiles and configurations, with a single point of contact. The platform uses the Ericsson IoT Accelerator connectivity platform enabling Sprint to scale its services globally.

VT-IoT, the operator of the Sigfox 0G network in Ireland, has been contracted by Irish post, logistics and e-commerce company An Post to ‘revolutionise’ its supply chain using IoT tracking devices as part of its digital transformation strategy. An Post runs Ireland’s largest fleet, including the country’s largest fleet of electric vehicles and it recently opened a fully automated Dublin Parcel Hub. Its operational infrastructure includes thousands of returnable transport units such as roll cages and containers, which are now being monitored via smart tracking devices, even outside its own supply chain. An Post’s Mark Devine stated: ‘VT’s state-of-the-art solution has resulted in significantly increased transparency in our postal distribution network, ensuring world class quality of service for our customers and lower operational costs through improved containerisation efficiency.’ The Sigfox IoT network currently provides over 95% geographical coverage of Ireland.

Mobile operator A1 Belarus has begun selling NB-IoT module equipment for developers of IoT solutions for businesses and consumers, with connectivity provided via a special ‘NB-IoT Telemetry’ tariff on favourable terms including a month’s free service plus a free SIM chip instead of a standard SIM card. A1 highlights that its NB-IoT network is available in all large regional cities of Belarus, connecting a wide range of autonomous devices including various sensors, meters, smart home systems and others, and is being used by housing and communal services providers, the energy sector, logistics companies, as well as smart city ventures. NB-IoT equipment offered to developers includes the Quectel BC68JA-02-STD module – allowing connections of up to 50,000 devices to one base station – and the Quectel BC68JATEB debugging board.

Vodafone Hungary and Ekso Bionics have launched a digital health platform integrating the ‘Ekso GT’ battery powered robotic exoskeleton devices with the Vodafone Managed IoT Connectivity Platform, for treatment of stroke or spinal injury patients, providing real-time recovery data for users at more than 170 rehabilitation institutions across North America, Africa and Europe. Ekso Bionics says the new IoT system has driven a 30% year-on-year increase in utilisation of the exoskeleton which aids patients’ recovery thanks to increased awareness of customers’ needs and usage habits.

Lastly, Huawei has ‘got beef’ with Swiss network operator Sunrise, but not in the negative sense we’ve become used to in so many recent news headlines. In this instance, the embattled Chinese tech giant is partnering Sunrise to test 5G-connected wearable IoT devices for cattle at a farm in Taenikon, where the herd is monitored to provide real-time data on milk production, health, sleep and other factors. Sunrise and Huawei hope to use their ‘moo-ving’ experiences from the remote farming pilot to assist forthcoming projects in areas such as smart factories, financial big data applications and hospital/health care solutions. Sunrise’s head of IoT and new business development, Alexander Lehrmann, commented on the latest ‘cream of the crop’ bovine neck-mounted monitoring device: ‘You could call it a Fitbit for cows. It allows farmers to get complete control and insight into their health conditions at any time and from any place.’

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Belarus, Ireland, A1 Belarus, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Sigfox, Sprint Corporation (became part of T-Mobile US), Sunrise Communications, Swisscom, Telia Company, Vodafone Hungary, VT-IoT

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