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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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22 Oct 2020

Ericsson, GrandPad and Orange Belgium have partnered to make connectivity more accessible for the elderly to stay socially connected with family, friends and caregivers. GrandPad creates connected tablets and services for seniors with managed connectivity from the Orange Belgium IoT service, powered by the Ericsson IoT Accelerator platform. The GrandPad tablet is an easy-to-use device with a built-in LTE service enabling simple video calling, voice, text and email, easy photo sharing, unlimited music, streaming radio, news, games and more. Orange Belgium is currently delivering the cellular IoT connectivity management services and SIM cards for GrandPad users in the UK and Ireland, with plans to expand to other European countries.

In the Philippines, PLDT’s mobile division Smart Communications has selected Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) managed services to meet critical requirements of its enterprise customers. Nokia says that WING’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform will provide necessary tools to ‘eliminate the complexity associated with profitably connecting and managing new devices’ and enable Smart to ‘offer advanced automation, real-time control features across IoT.’ Furthermore, it said that ‘WING Vertical-as-a-Service’ opens up opportunities for Smart to address enterprise clients with end-to-end IoT solutions. PLDT/Smart spokesperson Jovy Hernandez said that the platform bolsters the operator’s capability in solving its customers’ IoT requirements quickly and helping them get to market faster and with greater scale, maximising the potential of IoT services.

South Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT) has launched a joint venture with Uber to create opportunities in the taxi-hailing market and explore new areas including future mobility services. Uber will invest over USD100 million in the JV plus another USD50 million in SKT’s newly formed T Map Mobility division, reports SKT CEO Park Jung-ho said the partners will work ‘with companies with diverse capabilities to address current challenges in transportation, and ultimately usher in a new era of future mobility technologies such as flying cars.’ T Map Mobility will focus on four main mobility businesses: T Map-based platform business in areas of parking, advertising and usage-based insurance; T Map Auto services such as in-vehicle infotainment and in-car payment; on-demand mobility services such as taxi-hailing and designated driver services; and all-in-one Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) that offers diverse means of transportation at discounted rates through subscription.

Telenor Connexion, supported by the Ericsson IoT Accelerator platform, is providing global connectivity to Wayout’s sustainable water treatment micro-factories, starting in East Africa and expanding into the Middle East, Asia Pacific and other markets in 2021. Wayout has engineered plug-and-play micro-factories for local production of clean, filtered water, with a minimal eco footprint. Powered by solar panels, the micro-factories offer an advanced water purification system. Ulf Stenerhag, CEO of Wayout, said: ‘Perfect drinking water should be a human right. Our idea is to make access easy and reliable. By leveraging spearpoint technology and robust engineering, our connected sustainable micro-factories enable infrastructure solutions and business opportunities for providing perfect drinking water locally, whilst reducing the environmental impact globally. We want to let it flow.’

Looking briefly at some other developments, Toyota and its existing global partner KDDI have teamed up with Telstra to introduce new connected car services in Australia, enabling 4G mobile network connectivity for selected Toyota vehicles with new safety and security services. Also in Oz, LoRaWAN IoT network operator National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo) has expanded its coverage across Sydney, reaching about 80% of the Greater Sydney population. Telenor Bulgaria has launched a ‘Smart Monitoring’ platform for B2B customers to remotely monitor electricity, water, gas and heating system usage, featuring notifications/alerts on unusual usage and potential leakages as well as tracking high/low pressure in heating systems. In a similar field, MTS Belarus has partnered local firm BelOMO to supply smart gas meters connected via the cellco’s NB-IoT network, while Vodafone Ukraine is partnering Liana and BTK-Tsent Komplekt to provide gas supply companies with NB-IoT services with remote metering/monitoring. Lastly, T-Mobile Netherlands has promised to keep its 2G GSM network active solely to support machine-to-machine (M2M) devices for business customers until June 2023, two years beyond the scheduled shutdown date for its 2G consumer mobile services.

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