IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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8 Apr 2021

India’s Bharti Airtel has launched a new 5G-ready IoT platform, claiming capabilities to connect and manage billions of devices and applications as the company looks to build its enterprise business by targeting automobiles, manufacturing, banking, financial services, insurance, utilities and industry 4.0 verticals, reports the Economic Times. The new ‘Airtel IoT’ platform supports 2G, 4G LTE and NB-IoT connectivity, and will support 5G in due course, with Ajay Chitkara, Director & CEO, Airtel Business, noting: ‘NB-IoT network readiness is available across the country. Depending upon where we are activating the customer, we are activating NB-IoT network accordingly.’ Chitkara added that ‘[India’s IoT sector] is quite a large market … Airtel being the largest B2B player with largest share, we will be able to capture substantial share due to network and customer strength. We have deeper knowledge and understanding in this space … We have got MG Motor, Pine Labs, Paytm, Kirloskar, BSES, Genus, and Kent among other businesses on board. They are already using Airtel’s IoT solutions.’

Another Indian cellular heavyweight, Vodafone Idea (Vi) has strengthened its IoT portfolio via its enterprise division’s launch of integrated IoT solutions comprising connectivity, hardware, network, application, analytics, security and support. The Economic Times reports that ‘Vi Integrated IoT Solutions’ include consulting-led engagement to support businesses in identifying their digital transformation needs and design/develop/implement tailored IoT applications, integrated with an enterprise-grade IoT framework. Vi – which claims to be the largest IoT player in India – is offering a comprehensive range of IoT solutions across vertical industries for Smart Infrastructure, Smart Mobility and Smart Utilities on a 5G-ready network. Vi CEO Ravinder Takkar commented that the company is ‘well positioned to capitalise on future growth driven by the government’s push towards Digital India and Smart Cities’, adding that ‘the launch of Vi Integrated IoT Solutions is a strategic step towards making Vi Business an IoT ecosystem integrator for Indian enterprises, and positioning Vi to have an Ecosystem Play driving our transformation from a Telco to TechCo.’

Orange Belgium has renewed a large-scale contract with railway company SNCB for eight years, providing connectivity for around 13,000 employees and 11,000 connected devices ranging from smartphones and tablets for ticket collectors to train drivers, screens or ticketing machines, sensors for pre-emptive train maintenance and smart parking solutions. Werner De Laet, Chief B2B, Wholesale and Innovation Officer at Orange Belgium, said the renewal ‘opens the door to new projects based on Orange Belgium’s experience in many key areas such as IoT, data analytics and, in the near future, B2B usage of 5G technology’.

The Russian branch of Orange Business Services (OBS) has launched a LoRa (Long Range) private network deployment and engineering service, via the establishment of a specialised team focused on LoRa-based IoT projects, Telecompaper reported.

Zain KSA has sealed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON), offering 5G, telecommunications and high speed internet services, as well as cloud and IoT services across MODON’s industrial cities, aimed at enabling factories to achieve digital transformation in their operations. MODON’s CEO Khaled bin Mohammed Al-Salem said: ‘The MoU is an extension to the long-established collaboration between MODON and Zain KSA, and it cements the success we achieved together in securing 5G coverage for the second industrial city of Dammam. Building on this accomplishment and strengthening it to serve the development of an advanced industrial Saudi framework expands the horizons of Saudi industries and boosts its contribution to the fourth industrial revolution through achieving comprehensive digital transformation in the sector.’

Belgian operator Citymesh has begun a remote drone project at Brussels Airport. Citymesh’s ‘Safety Drone’ began flying this week connected to the airport’s private 5G mobile network, performing security tasks on the airport grounds. A system was also tested for detecting unauthorised drones. The pilot project aims to map the use of drones and further investigate the synergy of manned and unmanned flights, Citymesh’s press release stated. The Safety Drone is controlled from the Citymesh headquarters in Oostkamp – the first time a drone flight in the airport area has been performed remotely.

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Belgium, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bharti Airtel, Citymesh, Orange Belgium, Orange Business Services, Vi (Vodafone Idea Limited, VIL), Zain Saudi Arabia