IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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18 Feb 2021

Slovenia’s telecoms regulator Agency for Communications Networks & Services (Agencija za komunikacijska omrezja in storitve, AKOS) has announced BeeIN as the winner of the public tender for the allocation of frequencies exclusively for M2M/IoT communications in the 700MHz band, beating one other bidder. BeeIN won a 2×3MHz block of spectrum (733MHz-736MHz/788MHz-791MHz) for EUR970,000 (USD1.17 million) under licensing conditions to ‘build a dedicated network that covers at least 75% of the territory of the Republic of Slovenia (municipalities), for users of business-critical communications or for industries such as transport, energy [and others] which require high network reliability for operation but do not require high transmission speeds.’ The 75% coverage threshold must be achieved by end-2030, but intermediate targets also apply: network services must be launched by end-2021, and by end-2025 the 700MHz network should ‘cover at least 90% of the key locations of an individual user of dedicated network services.’ BeeIN calls itself ‘the first Slovenian operator dedicated to digitising industries’, with a vision ‘based on an in-depth analysis of the development potential of the mobile communications market of the future’ wherein ‘5G technology will deliver disruptive improvements in digital connectivity, particularly in the domain of industrial applications’.

A new UK-based venture, ThingSIM, aims to make IoT technology accessible to companies of all sizes through the provision of lower cost connectivity and device management. Commsbusiness.co.uk writes that ThingSIM connects devices, vehicles and employees to central IT systems via private network SIM cards backed up with a user-friendly, self-serve IoT device/connection management platform, providing connectivity through ThingSIM’s own extensive private UK network, as well as via mobile data roaming with more than 300 network operators in 197 countries. Chris Byrd, CTO at Netavo, owner of the ThingSIM brand, previously co-founded internet infrastructure and hosting business M247 before selling it for GBP47.5 million (USD65.9 million) to Metronet in 2016. Mr Byrd explained: ‘IoT technology tends to be dominated by very large companies, in part due to the cost of the network infrastructure and expertise needed to support it. We want to help democratise this technology by providing an affordable network and management solution, which will lead to a more level playing field and greater innovation.’

Singapore’s StarHub has selected Germany-based Software AG to offer an end-to-end 5G-ready IoT platform to help local organisations accelerate IoT implementation, TelecomLead reports. The 5G IoT platform service connects, manages and monitors IoT devices, creates customisable analytics, and provides APIs to integrate with existing and new systems. Bernd Gross, CTO of Software AG, said StarHub’s new platform allows organisations to aggregate all their existing IoT applications and devices for a real-time, clear overview on a single aggregator platform, without a need for platform migration. The platform supports, for example, real-time vehicle tracking, automated inspection of vehicle condition and prediction of potential issues for fleet managers, whilst a facility management company can use the platform to develop smart building maintenance strategies to serve building owners better, differentiate their services from competition or improve operational efficiencies.

Switzerland’s Sunrise is partnering on IoT projects with Virtuelle Fabrik, a network of Swiss companies in various innovation, development and manufacturing sectors. Robert Wigger, Chief Business Officer at Sunrise, announced: ‘’Thanks to this new partnership with Virtuelle Fabrik, Sunrise customers are gaining access to a comprehensive ecosystem for IoT.’ Marcel Strebel, president of Virtuelle Fabrik, added: ‘’We accept [project] assignments and organise the appropriate competences and resources – this way our customers get their own virtual factory. Thanks to the pronounced culture of cooperation and tried and tested networking, the customer saves time and money compared to conventional collaboration models.’

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL), in collaboration with Huawei Technologies Pakistan, has launched the Smart Cloud Campus Solution for enterprise customers, including AI Enabled WIFI-6 Campus, Software Defined LAN and Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN)-as-a-service, supported by PTCL’s connectivity, capacity and data centre infrastructure alongside Huawei’s ‘intelligent network automation Cloud platform’ integrating management, control and analysis functions, life cycle automation of enterprise networks and big data analytics. Zarrar Hasham Khan, Chief Business Services Officer for PTCL, said: ‘PTCL Business Solutions is catering to the ever-growing business needs of our enterprise customers. As software-defined networks are key enablers for providing robust, scalable and secure architecture, it will surely help our enterprise customers to build more agile and reliable networks.’

Lastly, Vodafone, in partnership with global positioning provider Sapcorda, has successfully used new precision positioning technology to remotely track a vehicle to within ten centimetres of its location, an improvement of more than three metres compared with current standard satellite based systems, IoTBusinessNews reports. The group’s announcement highlighted that pinpoint accuracy is critical to the mass adoption of autonomous vehicles not just on the road but in factories, airports, dockyards and any site where machines are in motion, as a matter of centimetres could be crucial to ensuring the safety of passengers on a driverless bus, or knowing the precise location of a medical drone. Vodafone Business Platforms and Solutions Director Justin Shields said: ‘We might not be able to locate a needle in a haystack yet, but we are getting close. What we can do now is take new digital services like this one, integrate it with our global IoT platform and fast networks, and offer it securely at scale to many millions of customers.’

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