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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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19 Nov 2020

Austria’s Magenta Telekom has launched a commercial nationwide LTE-M IoT network to complement its existing NB-IoT network which was introduced nationally over two years ago, with LTE-M connectivity now available as part of the Magenta IoT tariff portfolio. Magenta’s CTIO Volker Libovsky said: ‘LTE-M is an integral part of our IoT network offering and was specially developed for mobile IoT applications. This IoT technology enables low latency with low energy requirements and relatively high IoT data rates compared to NB-IoT. The mobile connection via LTE-M therefore offers even more options for the implementation of new, innovative IoT applications with up to 50% cheaper module and sensor costs.’ Magenta Business customers can access LTE-M roaming in several European countries, the US and Australia, with the footprint to be expanded over the next few years.

Brazil’s Agency for Industrial Development (ABDI) and the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) have teamed up with WEG to accelerate the development of economically effective solutions for the industry using 5G technology. Under the Open Lab WEG/V2COM banner, the partners are testing private 5G network applications including automation and robotics at WEG’s factory in Santa Catarina state. Guilherme Spina, director of V2COM, a WEG company, highlighted that the tests involve millimetre wave and sub-6GHz spectrum, providing data to Anatel to support the process of defining requirements and conditions of frequency band use, for the regulation and authorisation of private 5G industrial networks.

In the Netherlands, KPN has launched a new IoT service, ‘KPN CO2 Monitoring’ for monitoring indoor climate – including air quality/ventilation, temperature, light and sound conditions – aimed at schools, nursing homes, other organisations and companies. The first customer, the CVO school group in the Rotterdam region, has begun using the LoRa IoT sensor-based system for all its 670 classrooms, with a press release noting that ventilation has become an urgent topic, regarding how to limit the transmission of respiratory infections such as COVID-19 without constantly keeping windows open in winter.

In other Benelux developments, the city of Bruges has launched Smart Parking IoT solutions provided by Orange Belgium and CommuniThings allowing visitors to park for free for 30 minutes at certain locations. The system gives local authorities NB-IoT sensor alerts on parking overruns to enforce their parking policy in real time. Another Belgian operator, Proximus, is partnering drone air traffic service provider SkeyDrone and drone hardware/software developer DroneMatrix to develop an integrated platform allowing drones to perform on-demand missions for business purposes, named the ‘6th NeTWorK’. After a first phase of commercial and technical testing, the partners aim to bring this service to the market in a B2B environment before the end of 2021.

Vodafone Qatar has been chosen by Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) to deliver a nationwide rollout of IoT-powered smart meters. Under the agreement, 600,000 smart meters located in homes and companies across Qatar will be equipped with Vodafone IoT SIMs that remotely transmit real-time metering data to KAHRAMAA’s systems, supported by the Vodafone Managed IoT Connectivity platform. Not to be outshone, the CTO of rival Ooredoo Qatar, Guenther Ottendorfer, gave an interview to TelecomLead highlighting his firm’s ongoing projects including a government partnership developing 5G smart city technology in the new-build city of Lusail, using 5G infrastructure to enable real-time insights on Lusail Light Rail’s performance, providing security for critical infrastructure and supporting smart transport innovations both in-station and via apps. Other 5G use cases being tested by Ooredoo Qatar include a 5G-powered connected ambulance equipped with state-of-the-art Ericsson technology that enables doctors anywhere in the world to treat patients remotely in Qatar.

Helsinki University Hospital is working with Finnish network operator Elisa on 5G-enabled video robots to enable medical staff to interact with COVID-19 patients remotely. The partners have deployed a prototype video robot using the hospital’s Wi-Fi network which will be upgraded to 5G connectivity in the coming weeks. Doctors and nurses interact with the robot via a tablet from anywhere in the hospital. The robot has so far been used for tasks including night-time patient inspection rounds.

Canadian carrier Telus announced the launch of Telus Agriculture, a new business unit dedicated to providing innovative solutions to support the agriculture industry with connected technology, incorporating two newly-acquired units – AFS Technologies, a global sales/distribution solutions provider for consumer goods markets, and Agrian, a unified management platform for precision, agronomy, sustainability, analytics, and compliance. A company release declared: ‘Telus Agriculture optimises the food value chain by leveraging data in new ways to increase efficiency, production, and yields, delivering better food outcomes for businesses and the end consumer. Connecting each piece of the agriculture value chain empowers farmers and ranchers, the agri-business industry, and agri-food, consumer goods and retail companies to leverage advanced data systems and artificial intelligence to streamline operations, improve food traceability, and provide consumers with fresher and healthier food. Telus Agriculture currently supports more than 100 million acres of agricultural land, backed by a team of more than 1,200 experts across Canada, the USA, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, Slovakia, Armenia, Germany, China, and Australia.’

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