IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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6 Aug 2020

The 3GPP 5G smart grid project has been initiated by China Telecom and 27 other 3GPP members including China Mobile, China Unicom, Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, vendors including Huawei, scientific and governmental institutes, and major power grid companies, with the aim of defining the standard end-to-end architecture of 5G smart energy grids. The project focuses on the role of 5G in smart grids, ranging from traditional energy services to remote control, tele-protection, metering, advanced metering infrastructure, distributed automation, and demand response, energy and distribution management.

In the UK, energy group Centrica has contracted Vodafone Business to deploy a 5G mobile private network in partnership with Ericsson, enabling a ‘fully connected digital ecosystem’ at a natural gas plant in Yorkshire, featuring real-time indoor and outdoor monitoring of the plant and its equipment to improve maintenance and safety via low latency, high speed, stable connectivity. The development follows Vodafone’s recently announced 5G private network project at Ford’s car plant in Essex. Elsewhere, Vodafone is currently trialling the usage of NB-IoT to monitor tree growth at Forestry England’s Alice Holt forest in Surrey, and Harwood Forest in Northumberland, in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and Forest Research.

Pakistan’s leading mobile operator by users, Jazz, has launched an IoT-based fuel management service – ‘Jaz Biz Fuelmatic’ – in partnership with global telemetry and fleet management solutions provider Omnicomm and local partner Xtreme Tracking Solutions. The service aims to enable businesses to minimise their environmental impact via energy efficiency, with an integrated solution for managing fuel consumption including diesel generators and monitoring of fuel storage units including bowsers and underground tanks. The operator declared that the new solution is in line with the vision of Jazz Business to revolutionise Pakistan’s enterprise landscape by helping businesses achieve cost and operational excellence through easy adoption of IoT and digitalisation of work processes.

Spain’s Telefonica (Movistar) has deployed NB-IoT connectivity in Alcoi in a pilot project to manage the city’s water meters in partnership with municipal utility provider Aqualia and tech developer Datakorum. The operator announced that the NB-IoT pilot is expected to significantly improve the remote management and control of the city’s water supply, while optimising efficiency.

Mexican telco Axtel has launched a new IoT product suite targeting B2B and public sector clients via its Alestra B2B unit, including a secure remote platform to monitor operational sites, vehicles, goods and movement of employees. Axtel highlighted that its modular IoT range allows companies to map productivity as well as detect unusual activity across their operations, especially important during a time of COVID-19 related restrictions when businesses are obliged to accelerate adoption of new digital working practices. The IoT tools suite is particularly aimed at companies restarting activities after enforced suspension, notably in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors.

Canada’s SaskTel has launched its first LoRaWAN network, covering Regina and Saskatoon, purpose-built for a wide range of Smart City applications. SaskTel says the network will create ‘new, cost effective opportunities for businesses of all sizes to enhance and evolve their operations through the deployment of M2M applications and IoT-enabled devices by leveraging the low data, battery efficient and inexpensive hardware benefits of LoRaWAN technology.’ SaskTel has collaborated on the project with IoT specialist eleven-x, which is providing solutions leveraging its ‘XIU’ platform, secure cloud-based network services and remote sensor infrastructure management.

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