IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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20 Aug 2020

Spain’s Sateliot and Denmark’s GateHouse Telecom are collaborating to develop a ‘world-first’ space-based NB-IoT network offering 5G connectivity in remote regions with limited or no coverage, enabling IoT terminals to send and receive data via both terrestrial and satellite networks, with an expected launch date by the end of 2022. Sateliot CEO Jaume Sanpera said: ‘Only 10% of the Earth’s land surface has mobile coverage, and it is in the remaining 90% that our new generation of 5G infrastructure comes into play. With our network, we can offer a supplement to the traditional telecom operators that will make 5G connectivity possible for the rising amount of IoT devices in remote regions, e.g. the Arctic regions or the Australian outback.’ Gatehouse CEO Michael Bondo Andersen added: ‘Our ambition is to develop the first standard connectivity technology for space-based NB-IoT and the new partnership with Sateliot is an important step towards this goal. We therefore expect that our solution will provide a roadmap for the future 5G network in regions with little or no coverage.’

In a similar vein, US-based MediaTek has announced it carried out a world-first ‘public test of 5G satellite IoT data connectivity’ with the UK’s Inmarsat, testing MediaTek’s satellite-enabled NB-IoT standard chipset with a base station at Fucino Space Centre in Italy using Inmarsat’s ‘Alphasat’ Geostationary Orbit (GEO) L-band satellite. The results of MediaTek and Inmarsat’s IoT field test will contribute to the 3GPP’s Rel-17 standardisation work on Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN), forming part of the overarching initiative to establish 5G standards toward new use cases and services. The partners said that the successful test ‘builds the foundation for hybrid satellite and cellular networks to enable new ubiquitous 5G IoT services at a global scale.’

Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), ASE Technology Holding and Qualcomm Technologies have formed a partnership to build Taiwan’s first smart factory based on 5G mmWave designated enterprise networks in Kaohsiung, Digitimes reports. The venture will utilise AI/AGV (automated guided vehicles) smart transportation, remote AR collaborative efforts and related AR experimental environments developed by ASE. CHT and Qualcomm will provide technical support and integration solutions for the smart factory, while other Taiwan-based tech firms are expected to be involved in developing related network equipment such as 5G mmWave small cell base stations. Having already applied a number of technologies including big data analysis, AGV, automated dispatch and energy and warehouse management systems at its existing smart factories, ASE said the construction of the enterprise 5G mmWave network will help address issues related to Wi-Fi transmission latency, unstable connectivity and signal interference to further enhance productivity and improve efficiency in equipment maintenance.

US giant Verizon Business has launched ‘ThingSpace IoT Marketplace’, a digital portal that helps SMEs and large enterprises to quickly purchase, activate and manage customised IoT solutions. Users can choose devices and connectivity options, bundle them with services for device management, security, location, advanced diagnostics and firmware updates, and connect, test and manage IoT devices on Verizon’s networks based on technologies including NB-IoT, LTE-M and 5G mobile edge computing (MEC). Partners can tap into the Verizon ecosystem to market and sell their IoT/5G MEC products and solutions via the Marketplace.

LoRaWAN-based IoT solutions provider Kerlink is entering Colombia and Peru via a partnership with South American telecommunications distributor Microlink. The agreement includes local support for Kerlink’s LoRaWAN connectivity solutions, including design, operation and management of private IoT networks, and expands Microlink’s portfolio of products aimed at strengthening its value offer for the transport and logistics, electricity, agriculture, water, metering, smart building and smart city segments. Carlos Briceno, vice president of Kerlink Americas said: ‘Microlink is equipped to offer full LoRaWAN solutions in its markets, which will expand Kerlink’s footprint in South America.’

Deutsche Telekom is partnering the German city of Siegen in North Rhine-Westphalia to develop drone flights for medical logistics under the research project KODRONA (‘Cooperative drone technology for medical applications’), involving a campus mobile network that enables drones to be safely controlled remotely. In the current phase of the project, transport drones fly back and forth in urban airspace between the DRK children’s hospital and the district hospital in Siegen, delivering medical laboratory samples much faster than road transport. The public 4G LTE network currently forms the basis for data exchange but Telekom will commission a special campus network (using the ‘Campus-Netz M’ solution) that will be available exclusively for communication between the drone and the control centre, with test operations expected to start at the beginning of 2021.

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