IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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5 Nov 2020

The Russian project to deploy a constellation of 264 ‘Marathon’ IoT communications satellites will take three years, Deputy CEO of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems Company Alexander Kuzovnikov was quoted by TASS as saying this week. The company’s launch of six demo satellites is planned in the second quarter of 2023. The Marathon IoT/M2M global data transmission system will form part of Russia’s Sfera cluster of next-generation satellites.

Vodafone UK is building a 5G mobile private network for Horiba Mira to support development and testing of autonomous connected vehicles at the manufacturer’s Nuneaton HQ. The partners will test vehicle-to-vehicle communications as well as aiming to improve the performance of connectivity between vehicles and roadside infrastructure.

Elsewhere in the UK, BT and Belfast Harbour announced a partnership to build a state-of-the-art 5G private network to accelerate the Port’s digital transformation. The 5G network is aiming for ‘the highest levels of ultrafast mobile connectivity, coverage, reliability and security across the Port’s main operational areas’ to ‘enhance safety, security and sustainability.’ A press release added that the deployment will: ‘optimise processes across transport, logistics, supply chain and shipping, as well as boosting productivity through the smooth-running of the Port’s operations. The partnership will also explore how 5G and other emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and Connected Autonomous Vehicles can be used together to enhance public safety, physical security and address climate change across the Port and other parts of Belfast City.’ The network is expected to go live across large parts of the 2,000-acre site in early 2021.

Also down at the docks, South Korea’s SK Telecom is developing a 5G smart port network in partnership with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Busan Port Terminal Corp. The partners will develop a test bed for a smart port via 5G-powered services such as tracking and analysing the movement of cargo and workers to improve logistics efficiency and worker safety by utilising IoT devices.

Sticking with the ‘jetty-set’, Orange Belgium has publicised its progress in the 5G Industry 4.0 Campus projects it undertook a year ago with industrial partners in the Port of Antwerp, while the cellco also highlights an ongoing project utilising low-latency 5G network slicing technology to deliver medical supplies via ‘Helicus’ drones in partnership with HAI-SCS. Erwin Verstraelen, Chief Digital Officer of the Antwerp Port Authority, said: ‘We are looking at a number of concrete 5G applications, such as smart cameras, drones and autonomous ships and trucks. It is important to learn now about this technology as a company and gradually prepare for the arrival of it, because the great potential lies in B2B applications. It’s also important to realise that 5G is part of our country’s digital infrastructure and that we cannot afford to miss the boat there.’

In Brazil, the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) has approved the reduction of regulatory barriers to the expansion of IoT/M2M applications by cutting taxes on services provided via IoT devices compared to other telecommunications services. Spokesperson Vicente Aquino said: ‘Taxation on IoT devices is a guideline for the success of the entire digital ecosystem that includes such technology in its value chain.’ Newly approved regulations also change Anatel’s General Portability Regulation to impose portability obligations on accesses exclusively intended for the connection of IoT devices when the necessary technical conditions are met.

In other brief IoT news around the globe, Russia’s MTS has expanded its NB-IoT network to Sakahlin in the far east, claiming a first for the remote region. Another NB-IoT operator (and former MTS subsidiary) Vodafone Ukraine has entered a partnership to develop IoT services with the state-owned Danube Freight Carrier company. In Bosnia and Herzegovina HT Eronet has launched a smart parking project in Mostar using IoT sensor technology, under the Smart Campus project of the University of Mostar. Telkom Indonesia has selected Everynet as its partner to build out and operate national LoRaWAN IoT network infrastructure, which the duo say will enable Indonesia’s Industrial Revolution 4.0 vision; the network – utilising Semtech LoRa devices – is currently accessible for systems integrators, service providers, developers and end users in several Indonesian cities.

Canada’s Telus announced that it has deployed IoT technology enabling Smart City solutions in more than 65 municipalities across the country, helping city officials track infrastructure usage, save energy with intelligent lighting systems, improve traffic flow, decrease emergency response times, and many more benefits. Another Canadian operator Shaw Business has claimed the deployment of Western Canada’s first-ever industrial-grade private LTE network for mining systems for Teck Resources, providing significantly greater coverage and connectivity at Teck’s Elkview Operations in British Columbia. Developed by Shaw in partnership with Nokia, the network for mining systems was created to support the deployment of Teck’s RACE21 programme designed to transform mining by harnessing technology and innovation. In what is a growing sub-sector, Comilog, part of Eramet group, has selected Geka Telecom and JRC to deploy a private LTE network and full turnkey service solution for its mine operation in Gabon. Note that the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) recently reported that there were over 150 deployments of private LTE/5G networks worldwide, a figure expected to increase significantly in the short-term.

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