IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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10 Jun 2021

Thailand’s AIS has partnered ZTE and Suranaree University of Technology to transform manufacturing plants into smart factories, using innovations including 5G Cloud AGV Autonomous Vehicles, 5G Patrol Robots, 5G AR Remote Guidance, VR Monitoring in real time, and 5G Robotic Arm solutions. Ling Zhi, Vice President for Global Marketing at ZTE, stated that the three partners were committed to helping Thailand’s manufacturing industry develop towards a green, low-carbon, digital, and intelligent future.

Argentina’s Arsat has opened up its LoRaWAN IoT network to universities throughout the country for research and development projects. Arsat is enabling universities to connect up to ten devices free of charge for six months to its LoRa network nodes, with a possible renewal for a further six months.

Vodafone Qatar has unveiled an enhanced IoT Fleet Management solution aimed at maximising the efficiency of fleet operations. The solution delivers real-time information such as traffic data, vehicle location, fuel consumption, vehicle status and employee work-time, and is managed end-to-end by Vodafone Qatar, with an optional ‘Advanced solution’ including a range of extra features, which can be tailored to the individual requirements of both company administrators and drivers.

Bell Canada has partnered Amazon Web Services (AWS) to utilise ‘AWS Wavelength’ technology for 5G network edge computing. A press release announced: ‘Bell and AWS will move 5G data processing to the network edge to minimise latency and power customer-led 5G use cases such as immersive gaming, ultra-high-definition video streaming, self-driving vehicles, smart manufacturing, augmented reality, machine learning inference and distance learning throughout Canada. Developers will also have direct access to AWS’s full portfolio of cloud services to enhance and scale their 5G applications.

Skylo and Inmarsat have deployed a ‘world first’ commercial NB-IoT over satellite service, initially launching in India via a partnership with state-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), utilising Inmarsat’s L-band network. Skylo CEO Parth Trivedi declared: ‘Skylo makes simple, reliable IoT connectivity available to everyone at disruptively affordable rates … Our global IoT connectivity fabric makes way for thousands of life-changing applications – from managing vaccine efficacy during delivery, to advancing precision farming, to providing early warnings in the event of natural disasters. We look forward to expanding globally and making our platform available to small and large enterprises, companies deploying new sensors, systems integrators, distributors, governments and OEMs.’ In a related announcement, Japan’s SoftBank is launching a ‘Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN)’ solutions range encompassing Skylo’s satellite NB-IoT plus OneWeb LEO satellite communications and High Altitude Platform Station-based services provided by SoftBank subsidiary HAPSMobile. SoftBank highlights that Skylo’s satellite NB-IoT will provide IoT connectivity for fishing, mining, shipping and other industries at more affordable prices than traditional satellite services.

Russia’s network operators have announced a raft of digital transformation partnership deals at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-21). Rostelecom and the Moscow city authorities agreed to create 5G industrial test zones aimed at forming a ‘portfolio of promising 5G use cases in various sectors of the economy and social sphere’ in 2021-22, with the Moscow City Department of Information Technologies coordinating the implementation, which will also involve technologies such as AR/VR, artificial intelligence, robotics and others. Rostelecom, Gazprom Mezhregiongaz and Gazprombank agreed to implement digital projects including development of intelligent automated gas metering systems, information and analytical solutions, dispatch systems and automation of production processes. Rostelecom and Rostec division Shvabe entered into a strategic partnership to create innovative services using 5G technologies to improve production efficiency through digital transformation and automation, while Rostelecom, Rosatom, Gazprom Neft and Roscosmos approved a memorandum of cooperation to create an Association aimed at developing the Russian IT solutions market. Rostelecom also signed agreements with the governments of the Volgograd and Ivanovo regions to expand implementation of the Digital Region and Smart City projects as well as other joint initiatives aimed at increasing the availability of digital services. Furthermore, Russian Railways and Rostelecom agreed to cooperate on development of Russian technologies and solutions in quantum communications and 5G mobile networks, involving the introduction of these technologies in the areas of government, financial, medical, transport and other services, as well as at critical information infrastructure facilities.

Rostelecom’s subsidiary Tele2 Russia has agreed with the infrastructure operator Link Development to deploy 5G-ready base stations along the entire M11 Neva highway, under plans to make the M11 the first unmanned road freight corridor by 2024 as per an agreement signed at SPIEF-21 by the Ministry of Transport and logistics companies. The 5G-ready equipment is a prerequisite for the development of V2X technologies to support unmanned vehicles across the route spanning Moscow, Tver, Nizhny Novgorod and Leningrad regions. Also this week, Tele2 and Rostelecom launched new Transport Control/Monitoring services for their customers, allowing real-time monitoring of transport movements and optimising operations of vehicle fleets to reduce costs.

At SPIEF-21 VimpelCom (Beeline) signed digital development agreements with the governments of eight Russian regions: Irkutsk, Saratov, Sakhalin, Tambov, Yaroslavl, Karelia, Kamchatka and Tatarstan (including an additional pact with hi-tech city Innopolis), plus a new deal with Russian Railways. Alongside development of telecommunications infrastructure, the agreed regional projects will include big data analysis/AI for transport infrastructure solutions, population migration flow monitoring, tourism solutions, audio/video analytics for public services and security solutions. Efforts will also be aimed at: digitalisation of settlements, safety and quality of roads, smart city solutions, telemedicine, digital education, environmental, intelligent resource accounting systems, housing/communal services and other areas.

Another Russian heavyweight MTS and Ericsson have launched a pilot 5G mmWave network in the AS Popov Technopark in Innopolis, Tatarstan, built to operate on a permanent basis and intended primarily for testing smart city solutions; MTS, Ericsson and the Republic of Tatarstan signed an agreement on 5G network pilots for Innopolis two years ago at SPIEF-19.

Russian broadband operator ER-Telecom signed agreements at SPIEF-21 with the authorities of St Petersburg (expanding a 2018 pact on industrial IoT) and Orenburg, aimed at creating smart cities and developing telecoms infrastructure, with solutions highlighted including, among others, energy-efficient IoT-based street lighting for municipalities, intelligent video surveillance and digital solutions for safety in educational institutions. ER’s existing services in St Petersburg include its broadband access network, a public Wi-Fi network, a video monitoring system and a LoRaWAN-based IoT network.

Vodafone UK has begun testing the country’s first live implementation of Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X), using a cloud platform developed with Nokia and Chordant with support from the UK government, aiming to connect vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and infrastructure in a seamless digital transport ecosystem. Tests are beginning in the West Midlands including the cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. Vodafone UK also this week announced a partnership with start-up Proximie on a 5G remote-assisted surgery trial with Cardiff & Vale University Health Board.

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