IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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1 Apr 2021

Saudi Arabian cello Mobily has partnered Nokia to deploy NB-IoT 1800MHz network coverage connecting more than 4,000 sites with cell radius averaging 20km per cell, and offering new services to enterprise customers. NB-IoT has been enabled in central, north and east Saudi Arabia, where Nokia is the network vendor partner, providing IoT connectivity for enterprises in verticals such as energy, transport and health, enabling wider coverage ideal for rural and deep indoor locations. The partners highlighted a wide range of NB-IoT commercial uses such as smart metering for utilities, powering connected health and industrial appliances, and smart city infrastructure.

Hong Kong telco HKT has built a trial 5G Standalone (SA) network architecture capable of network slicing which supports industrial grade applications. The telco says that the network can support time-critical applications requiring ultra-low latency, including forward collision warning and emergency stop warning in the transport industry, and remote surgery and 4K UHD diagnostic imaging for healthcare. HKT has launched a trial of cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology on public roads, using roadside units on traffic poles to provide real-time traffic intelligence to on-board units installed in vehicles.

Canada’s Telus and the University of Alberta announced a five-year partnership to establish a 5G ‘Living Lab’ to accelerate research and drive technology roadmaps, with a direct path to public or commercial viability in the areas of precision agriculture and autonomous vehicles, with potential subsequent partnerships in precision health, virtual medicine and smart cities. The Lab will also leverage strengths in artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver innovation and technology solutions. The University is home to the Autonomous Vehicle Testbed, while the venture will aim to utilise expertise across the agrifood value chain and extensive industry collaborations to generate initiatives in teaching and research.

Italy’s TIM has launched the ‘Smart District’ project for digitisation in 140 industrial districts, encompassing 2,100 municipalities and representing 25% of the national production system and 65% of Italian manufacturing production. Industry partners will be able to take advantage of solutions in automation, remote real-time maintenance, augmented reality, video surveillance, logistics and fleet management, process control, supply chain via blockchain, ‘smart working’, intelligent data management and others. Private and public sector organisations will be offered Cloud services in partnership with Noovle and Google Cloud, Olivetti vertical IoT services, cybersecurity solutions from Telsy and international connectivity services from Sparkle.

European satellite and communications start-up Hiber secured EUR26 million (USD30.5 million) in EU and private investment to expand its IoT satellite network. The European Innovation Council Fund co-invested with an innovation credit provided by the Dutch government and existing shareholders. Hiber’s in-house-developed satellite constellation is designed to track and monitor machines and devices for a wide range of IoT solutions in some of the world’s hardest-to-reach places. The funds will be used to further expand the satellite network and grow its customer base.

Telenor Group is unifying its IoT offering across the Nordics and internationally. The Nordic IoT portfolio and the global Telenor Connexion portfolio will be gathered under the brand Telenor IoT. Effective immediately, Telenor IoT will be offered from all Telenor business channels in the Nordics, internationally by Telenor Connexion and through selected partners. As a part of introducing Telenor IoT, a new operating model is being launched to leverage on Telenor’s global competency, synchronise product development, accelerate the customer facing business and improve technical support. In doing so, Telenor is bringing together 200 full time IoT specialists, the largest team for any Nordic IoT service provider, it claims. Telenor Group has over 17 million connected devices active in more than 190 countries. In one recent development, Danish robot company FarmDroid, which currently supplies fully automatic agricultural robots in ten European countries, has chosen Telenor as its IoT partner, giving potential access to over 400 network roaming agreements worldwide with a single SIM card.

Australia-based Myriota, a provider of secure, low-cost/long battery life satellite connectivity for the Internet of Things, has launched commercial IoT services in the US and Canada, with the first of three new nanosatellites. The launch is accompanied by a new Myriota Developer Toolkit. Myriota’s first-generation network covers Australia and New Zealand, connecting critical industries like environmental monitoring, agriculture and mining, and its US/Canadian expansion follows the acquisition of satellites and ground stations from exactEarth last year.

Sweden’s Netmore has begun deploying a nationwide LoRaWAN IoT network in Ireland as part of an international rollout plan for its IoT Network business area. The company says the decision to expand the existing network – having been present in Ireland since 2010 – is based on local demand for large-scale IoT connectivity.

Vodacom South Africa and its subsidiary IoT.nxt have hailed the success of a 5G connected mining vehicle trial with Aard Mining Equipment. The project involved installing an intelligent edge gateway on Aard’s ‘Raptor’ mining vehicle and providing real-time alarming notifications on IoT.nxt’s cloud-based platform, supported by Vodacom’s 5G mobile connectivity. The solution enabled alarms, notifications and telemetry in real time whilst improving safety by e.g. identifying when an operator failed to close a vehicle door or when an operator was speeding. Vodacom added that mining companies are beginning to ‘cautiously’ invest in IoT-based projects, with many reporting that their deployments are already impacting their bottom line. In a separate release, Vodacom highlighted its IoT solutions to improve water resource management, particularly in rural communities, which it says are ‘set to help drastically reduce water loss by giving municipalities a real-time view of their water infrastructure’ by monitoring faulty meters and accurate consumption, alerting maintenance teams about faults with instant, detailed information including the GPS location of the meter, its status, flow rates and consumption.

Lastly, Vodafone Romania has launched a ‘smart forest’ project connected to its ‘Supernet’ network, initially in Covasna County, equipped with a system for monitoring and signalling in real time to combat illegal deforestation, in partnership with non-profit start-up Rainforest Connection. The system uses solar-powered devices called ‘digital guards’ with a coverage radius of 1km, mounted in treetops, equipped with acoustic sensors that send sounds to an AI cloud platform which decides in real time if the sounds are potentially suspicious – e.g. chainsaws, vehicles, etc. – with real-time alerts also sent to an application installed on foresters’ phones and/or to a data centre for zonal or national monitoring.

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