IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

25 Jun 2020

Deutsche Telekom (DT) has spun off its IoT business into an independent company, Deutsche Telekom IoT GmbH (DT IoT), effective 1 July 2020. With the move, DT says it ‘aims to accelerate its market entry’, noting that competitors in the IoT environment are particularly agile and have lean decision-making structures. The independent division is intended to strengthen DT’s position in this growth market. The newly founded DT IoT will have end-to-end responsibility for the entire IoT business at the group. Also this week, DT announced the launch of what it called the world’s first open platform for IoT, with plans to ‘radically simplify the complex Internet of Things’, bringing all players together, including developers, operators, partners and suppliers. A press release said that the hub’s most important goal ‘is to make access and operation of an increasingly heterogeneous IoT ecosystem as simple and manageable as possible – transparency instead of complexity, with standards and open interfaces.’ DT’s Rami Avidan declared: ‘With the new hub for IoT we are exploiting the full potential of the Internet of Things. The amalgamation of all IoT solutions into one framework provides a business environment that is unique to date. With this, Deutsche Telekom is establishing the world’s first open IoT network and expanding its role from IoT player to IoT orchestrator.’ In another launch announcement, DT unveiled its ‘IoT Solution Builder’: a modular system designed for easy access to IoT, acting as an ‘online configurator for Plug & Play solutions’ with access to over 10,000 sensors for a wide range of applications. DT heralded the system as the ‘building block for the networked future’, bringing together all the parts needed for the successful integration of IoT solutions: from the platform to hardware and connectivity, data management and services.

Liquid Telecom Kenya has partnered Twiga Foods to increase agricultural productivity through precision farming, utilising Sigfox IoT technology. The system includes four different types of agriculture sensors: a comprehensive weather station, soil moisture and temperature probes, borehole water meters, and sensors for measuring irrigation water acidity and salinity. Liquid’s Sigfox network currently covers 85% of the Kenyan population. In 2019 Liquid Telecom upgraded its fibre network route from Nairobi to Mombasa with an implemented capacity of 1.2Tbps for wholesale and enterprise customers. The increased capacity and on-demand bandwidth will support the company’s IoT network and a range of IoT applications in industries such as logistics and asset tracking, water and electricity utilities, manufacturing and agriculture.

Actility announced that its ThingPark Exchange IoT peering hub is seeing accelerated growth, and to date is connecting 18 LoRaWAN networks worldwide, with multiple public LoRaWAN service providers, private networks and large industrial solution providers. The ThingPark Exchange platform facilitates the activation of devices in any country for solution providers with a global footprint. ‘Many’ other networks are currently in negotiations to join the hub and simplify global activation for their customers, Actility added.

Russia’s MTS has disclosed that it is forming a new unit, MTS Automotive, focused on connected car technologies and products. The operator plans to create its own software for connected cars, whilst it will continue with 5G automotive tests. MTS already offers automobile monitoring solutions based on M2M/IoT technologies, integrated with insurance services.

Another Russian cellco, Tele2 Russia, has launched the ‘M2M System’ service aimed at corporate clients. The service enables users to remotely manage M2M SIMs via web/software API interfaces. SIMs in sensors or other devices can be monitored for status, location and other data, whilst users can also associate SIMs with specific devices, manage price settings for each SIM (e.g. manage service packages, configure service usage limits, enable/disable services), set notification rules for events, receive reports and create different access levels for employees.

A 5G mobile private network delivered by Vodafone Business will be installed this year in car maker Ford’s new E:PriME (Electrified Powertrain in Manufacturing Engineering) facility in Essex, reports FleetNews. The project has received state funding as part of a GBP65 million (USD81 million) investment in 5G by the UK government. Chris White, Ford’s 5GEM project lead, said: ‘Connecting today’s shop floor requires significant time and investment. Present technology can be the limiting factor in reconfiguring and deploying next-gen manufacturing systems. 5G presents the opportunity to transform the speed of launch and flexibility of present manufacturing facilities, moving us towards tomorrow’s plants connected to remote expert support and artificial intelligence.’ The Vodafone 5G solution is expected to overcome many of the issues surrounding wireless connectivity in the industrial setting. It promises reduced delays, wider bandwidth, improved security and reliability and faster deployment time.

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