IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

2 Jul 2020

China Mobile has stopped adding new IoT/M2M connections to its 2G network as it accelerates construction of NB-IoT infrastructure across the country, reports Mobile World Live citing news portal C114.net. The Chinese mobile market leader plans to deploy 118,000 NB-IoT base stations this year, taking its total to 350,000, and will migrate 2G IoT services to its NB-IoT and LTE-M networks, with the aim of closing the 2G network to free capacity for 4G and 5G services after refarming 900MHz spectrum. China Mobile, which reportedly operates the world’s largest NB-IoT network, had a total of 884 million active IoT/M2M connections across all its networks at end-2019, up from 551 million a year earlier, according to TeleGeography.

Dutch research institute TNO has announced the launch of a 5G test network ‘more advanced than today’s commercially available 5G networks’ aimed at supporting innovation in the telecoms industry and vertical sectors. Operating under a test frequency licence, the 3.5GHz network enables testing of advanced applications such as AR/VR, high speed video connections, self-driving cars and drones for industrial applications, with data speeds up to ten times faster than 4G networks and latency as low as 10ms. TNO highlights that all the network’s components are 5G-capable, compared to existing commercial 5G networks which utilise a mixture of 4G and 5G components. TNO’s 5G core network is based on Fraunhofer’s Open5GCore, running on TNO’s cloud platform in containers orchestrated by Kubernetes. Together with Ericsson’s 5G base stations, the platform provides connectivity to any mobile device that supports 5G Standalone mode. In the coming months TNO plans to launch use case trials with telcos and other partners in sectors such as healthcare, industrial and media in the Netherlands. Adrian Pais, head of TNO’s 5Groningen programme, added: ‘One of the advantages of our test network is that it can be deployed very quickly, anywhere. Also, our access to source code enables rapid development and innovation of applications. We are constantly adding new features in response to the demand from our partners.’

Telenor Denmark has begun connecting defibrillators via IoT network technology in partnership with the Heart Association and tech company Seluxit. The project enables each cardiac unit to be automatically monitored 24 hours a day, thus ensuring that it is in working condition when an emergency occurs.

Sigfox Puerto Rico has been established via a venture of local private equity firm The Phoenix Fund and Sigfox USA, with exclusive rights to the Sigfox Technological Platform on the island. The start-up will use ultra-long coverage base stations to provide the ‘Sigfox 0G’ IoT network with full coverage of Puerto Rico. Jose Rodriguez, CEO of Sigfox Puerto Rico, announced: ‘As the newest member of the Sigfox global ecosystem, Puerto Rico will now have the necessary infrastructure for massive and cost-effective IoT connectivity, allowing it to become the next smart country. The arrival of this network is a catalyst for the local creation of new businesses, emergent technology jobs and connected solutions, which will in turn lead to a positive economic multiplier effect for the island. The use cases and verticals for government, enterprise and consumers are endless. From family pets, to diesel generators, refrigerated cargo and utilities, anything can be interconnected.’ Sigfox networks currently cover 71 countries and regions.

Soracom, a global provider of smart IoT connectivity, reports that its Soracom Air wireless data service now connects over two million IoT devices around the world, up from one million announced in June 2019. Soracom’s pay-as-you-go wireless connectivity is designed specifically for IoT, with built-in network management, cloud integration and security, and has offered worldwide IoT connectivity since 2017. Soracom says that emerging edge processing cases are now driving increased data consumption at the high end, and continued adoption of eSIM technology remains a strong driver of growth, with eSIM deployments on the Soracom network now representing 57% of all connections, up from 50% in 2019. Soracom IoT connectivity is now available in over 140 countries, with multi-band cellular service across 285 carriers and native support for LPWA standards such as Sigfox and LoRaWAN. Soracom has observed significant year-over-year expansion in LPWA deployments: LoRaWAN, Sigfox and LTE-M now represent 14% of total connections on its network, supporting both industrial and consumer applications.

Jersey’s JT Group has expanded its intelligent engineering and home automation services by acquiring Channel Islands-based Zero1, a designer of environment/entertainment automation systems for homes and business. A press release states: ‘Partnering with industry-leading manufacturers and using Jersey’s world-class full-fibre network, Zero1 designs and installs intelligent lighting and shading, security, heating and entertainment systems which fit seamlessly into homes and businesses. As more homes become workplaces and home schools, they need to be capable of running the smart applications and connected devices needed to keep our lives and economy going.’

Telefonica (Movistar) has raised the monthly Wi-Fi data volume allowance in its Movistar Car connected vehicle service from 3GB to 10GB at no extra charge, while adding new functionalities to the service, which was launched in May 2019. New diagnosis and maintenance capabilities include: the ‘G-Connect’ platform from EuroTaller to enable greater precision in vehicle incident detection; enhanced information services on upcoming revisions recommended by the car manufacturer; and options for personalised estimates from a network of repair garages.

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