IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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4 Feb 2021

Switzerland’s Astrocast has announced that the Astrocast Nanosatellite IoT Network has officially gone live with five satellites launched via a SpaceX rocket, and has scheduled two more launches involving a further 15 satellites later this year. The network boasts: low-latency communications ‘from asset all the way back to headquarters’; global L-Band spectrum; ultra-low power terminals with low-profile patch antennas; two-way communications; satellite propulsion to avoid debris in space; and lower costs compared to conventional bidirectional satellite IoT terminals. Initial services focus is on ‘solving the critical issues of IoT devices in remote areas for the AgTech, Livestock and Environmental markets’.

In Kenya, online payments company Jambo Pay, owned by Web Tribe, has obtained a licence to operate an MVNO service, and says that its initial services will include IoT services such as ‘smart communications networks which will enable Kenyans to monitor their water and electricity meter services and pay for the bills as well as track their vehicles’, with a commercial launch expected in Nairobi in H2 2021, BusinessDailyAfrica reports. The company declared that it will ‘make available the IoT network to innovators, applications developers and device manufacturers’.

Japanese telco KDDI (au) showed in its latest quarterly report to end-December 2020 that it achieved its target for ‘cumulative IoT connections’ ahead of initial forecasts. Aiming for a target of 15 million connections by 31 March 2021, KDDI reported reaching 16 million connections in December 2020, up from 11.5 million in March 2020 and 8.0 million in March 2019. KDDI launched a commercial LTE-M-based low power, wide area (LPWA) IoT network in January 2018, with initial LPWA projects including smart gas metering; the previous year it had purchased IoT platform provider Soracom.

Cellco 3 Denmark announced that its 3Business division has launched an IoT-based solution – ‘Asset Management’ – for fleet management and asset tracking in collaboration with Danish company r2pTracking which provided software and equipment such as GPS and sensors. The solution has three service options: Fleet Management (standard service); EcoTrack (providing additional insights into e.g. fuel consumption, driving rest times and road conditions); and Asset Tracking (tracking assets such as tools, containers or others). Asset Management can be used throughout Europe as well as North and South America.

Croatia’s Hrvatski Telekom has partnered the City of Split to create the Split Smart City platform supporting the digital transformation of city services, enabling citizens to access two-way interactive services via mobile and web applications. The project will last three years and is divided into three phases in which Hrvatski Telekom will provide the Cloud infrastructure, and Combis the development/delivery of the application solution. The application should be available to citizens by the end of this year, while the system will also be able to integrate with other existing systems such as the Split Parking app and NextBike.

In the construction sector, Vodafone Turkey has teamed up with Betonsa to launch its Smart Concrete solution, which uses Vodafone Business technologies to enable real-time monitoring via digital sensors inside concrete structures, with a mobile-based user application.

A1 Bulgaria has announced its latest NB-IoT solution, a flood prevention and drought detection service, enabling emergency responses to intense rainfall or water shortages. The solution allows continuous monitoring of water levels in flood-prone areas via specialised cameras and sensors, with real-time data analysis. Clients of the service can access statistical data for their regions.

LoRaWAN operator Everynet Puerto Rico has announced a partnership with IoT managed services provider Ready Wireless to provide ‘ready-to-market IoT solutions in Puerto Rico powered by Everynet’s carrier-grade national network’. As reported by local site Newsismybusiness.com, the partnership is aimed at innovating in segments such as utilities, supply chain, healthcare, agriculture and tourism. Everynet’s LoRa network currently covers 95% of the island, while Ready Wireless offers a platform branded as ‘Ready Asset Pro’ with more than 100 IoT applications in areas such as vehicle monitoring, asset tracking, fleet management and others. Everynet launched its LoRa network in September 2020 and has also formed a partnership with Invest Puerto Rico (InvestPR) with goals including the improvement of logistics/operations for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.

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Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Japan, Kenya, Puerto Rico, Turkey, A1 Bulgaria (Mobiltel), ELSE (Astrocast), Everynet Puerto Rico, Hi3G Access (3), Hrvatski Telekom (HT), Jambo Pay Kenya (IoT MVNO), KDDI (au), Vodafone Turkey