IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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13 May 2021

Verizon Business now offers enterprises IoT connectivity for mobile assets in 170 countries on a single SIM, including permanent roaming options in North America and Western Europe, enabling organisations to globally manage an array of IoT devices including asset trackers, industrial gateways and sensors via ThingSpace, Verizon’s self-service IoT platform. Verizon Business CEO Tami Erwin announced: ‘The Internet of Things is changing the way businesses monitor devices and increasing the strategic business value of the data collected. The number of IoT devices is growing exponentially and organisations prefer to align with a trusted technology partner who can offer the technical expertise and geo-scale they require. Our global IoT connectivity services are all underpinned by Verizon’s years of expertise and industry leading ThingSpace platform, not to mention a path to evolving into 5G Massive IoT.’

American Tower Brasil disclosed that its LoRaWAN-based neutral IoT network has reached the milestone of five million connections in signed agreements, Teletime reports. Director of new business and IoT Daniel Laper said: ‘This five million mark is a good measure of the evolution of the market’s maturity and we see the possibility of surpassing this volume due to the great growth potential for the local IoT market and the accelerated maturation that we are following, in addition to the strong ecosystem of partners developed since we started working with an IoT focus.’ The company notes that its fastest growing verticals include asset tracking and logistics, smart metering (water, gas and electricity), smart cities and agribusiness. Services are offered in partnership with Everynet and sold on a wholesale basis, available for any operator to explore applications with end customers. The infrastructure operator has 19,000 network sites including towers and other connection points in Brazil.

Deutsche Telekom reports that Berlin’s digital test track for connected cars is being expanded. In operation since 2017, the track currently runs from the Brandenburg Gate to Ernst-Reuter-Platz and is being extended in the direction of Kurfurstendamm and the Berlin Reichstag. Various sensors operate at the roadside, on street lights and traffic lights, providing data on traffic and environmental factors, with future autonomous cars to be tested on the route. As one of the project partners, Telekom securely transmits around 50 terabytes of data per day via the cloud for AI analysis which is sent back to vehicles, with 5G communications infrastructure being built as part of the programme. Telekom’s Christer Neimock, Senior Programme Manager for autonomous and connected driving, noted: ‘Consistent digitisation of the traffic infrastructure, especially in urban areas, ensures greater safety in traffic. And that increases the acceptance of highly automated driving. In addition, we will see new forms of mobility, especially in cities. An intelligent combination of different means of transport. This opens up considerable potential for new business areas and environmentally oriented urban developments.’

TIM Brasil has partnered Nokia and the Matogrossense Association of Cotton Producers to launch Brazil’s first 5G Standalone (SA) pilot for the agribusiness sector, reports Telesintese. The project, also involving member companies of the ConectarAGRO association, has so far demonstrated remote monitoring of real-time 4K video streaming via drones for the inspection of crop planting. The partners highlight that 5G SA will be essential to enable solutions applied to agricultural harvesting and management, related to both equipment management and communication between employees, while Brazil’s communications minister Fabio Faria stated at a launch event: ‘5G will make our agribusiness grow 20% more, on average.’ TIM Brasil recently disclosed that it currently covers more than six million hectares of agricultural land with commercial LTE/NB-IoT/Cat-M1 700MHz IoT network services, having secured contracts with nine major agribusiness clients to date, including Adecoagro, Jalles Machado, Citrosuco, Amaggi and SLC. For instance, the cellco deployed coverage of a million hectares in Mato Grosso do Sul for Adecoagro, Telesintese reported, while TIM highlights that the LTE-based rollouts have the dual benefit of covering local rural populations with 4G services.

Vodafone Italia and IBM have partnered the Municipality of Milan, public transport company ATM and Politecnico di Milano university to launch ‘Tech Bus’, a 5G-connected bus using hybrid cloud technologies for assisted driving. A joint company statement declared: ‘This is the first step on the path towards autonomous driving, with the aim of further raising the levels of regularity and safety of local public transport.’ Tech Bus uses on-board Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) sensors enabling the vehicle to communicate along the route with traffic lights and other road infrastructure.

UK-based Cellhire has launched an eSIM-based Full MVNO service, initially on the Orange France network with ‘global’ connectivity promised this quarter, having carved out a niche providing SIMs with large data volumes to business customers and for use in mobile broadband devices and IoT devices. Initially using the M2M eSIM specification, Cellhire engineers developed an intelligent eSIM platform to deliver cost-effective international roaming voice and data. Cellhire CEO Martyn Stevens said: ‘Traditionally IoT devices use tiny amounts of data but there is a growing number of IoT devices that require much larger bandwidth, with different control mechanisms, which is where Cellhire’s industry-known Atlas SIM Management and Billing platform comes in. The integration of eSIMsmart into the platform extends even further the real-time control and visibility Cellhire has of all data and calls flowing through its core network.’

Telenor Denmark has expanded a partnership with Aalborg-based IoT company Seluxit to drive end-to-end IoT solutions to market faster. Seluxit CEO Daniel Lux said: ‘By entering into this partnership, we can now offer 5G-based solutions that use Telenor’s stable infrastructure. The goal is to be able to halve the time it takes to develop an IoT project.’ Having already collaborated with Telenor on a heart defibrillator machine monitoring service, Seluxit also offers asset trackers, smart electricity meters and small computers for teaching. Telenor has also established a new IoT test lab in Aalborg.

Batelco, in collaboration with Elear, has launched ‘Smart Property’, an IoT-based home automation product in Bahrain aimed at benefitting property owners, facility managers and tenants. The service is designed to enable property owners to efficiently manage their properties, reduce costs and maximise revenues, through smart and intelligent solutions, with three main elements: Home Automation, Property Management and Smart Energy. Users can control functions such as lighting and air conditioning, remotely or through enabling timer-based operation of equipment and devices, through an app.

In a similar vein, Russia’s MTS is now implementing IoT services into new-build houses at the construction stage in partnership with property developers, Vedomosti reported. The initial partnership is between MTS and the Etalon development group. Services will include IoT-connected water and electricity meters and multi-dwelling building entrance/staircase/intercom services with smartphone app integration.

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