IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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14 Oct 2021

Orange Belgium has launched its group’s eighth European 5G Lab. The Antwerp lab is aimed at developing new use cases for 5G Standalone (SA) network technology alongside ongoing Industry 4.0 developments in the Port of Antwerp. Initial projects highlighted include a robotic arm remotely controlled via smart glasses connected to Orange’s 5G network using augmented reality (AR) to visualise interaction, and an autonomous rail project developed in collaboration with OTIV, a start-up selected through the Orange Fab acceleration programme, using cameras, sensors and an AI-based engine to automatically detect obstacles in front of the train.

Budapest Business Journal reports that ‘Europe’s first smart 5G railway logistics terminal’ is being built at the East-West Gate Intermodal Terminal in Fenyeslitke, to be completed by Q1 2022 in partnership with Vodafone Hungary and Huawei. A private 5G network supports internal communications and operation of technological devices, with the terminal’s fully automated overhead cranes controlled remotely via 5G.

Netherlands-based LoRaWAN IoT provider Hiber has cancelled plans to roll out its own IoT satellite network after encountering technical issues with its existing satellites, and instead has inked a deal with Inmarsat to lease capacity on the latter’s new Elera IoT satellite network. The partners say that the combination of Elera and Hiber’s IoT-as-a-service ecosystem will provide ‘easy-to-use, low power and cost-effective IoT solutions and services to transport, logistics, agriculture, mining and other industries worldwide.’

Spark has expanded its Cat-M1 (LTE-M) IoT network to 99% of New Zealand’s population, including close to 94% of the rural population, following the recent upgrade of 263 rural cell sites. The operator highlighted that the expansion enables Kiwi-owned electric vehicle charging company Evnex to install and real-time monitor its charging points in more rural towns, homes and isolated parts of the country.

Telefonica Deutschland (O2) is launching a new IoT tariff offering NB-IoT to its entire mobile network on a pre-paid basis, designed to make IoT connectivity ‘affordable for a broad market’. The ‘O2 Business Easy IoT’ tariff (complementing ‘IoT Connect’ which was launched in March 2016) supports 2G, 4G and NB-IoT, extending to LTE-M from December. B2B director Karsten Pradel stated: ‘Combining a fully available NB-IoT machine network with the new IoT pre-paid tariff, we are giving the growing Massive IoT market in Germany a major boost and are significantly driving digitalisation.’

Tele2 Russia is now providing free SMS forwarding from smart devices, noting that the service is especially relevant for owners of devices where there is no display for reading text messages – for example, modems, routers, car alarms, online cash registers, children’s smart watches, smart sensors, barriers, gates and other equipment. The client can receive reminders about e.g. tariff balances which may require replenishing, accrued internet traffic and other important messages, even when the device is not online.

In the Czech Republic, Ceske Radiokomunikace (CRa) has formed a strategic IoT partnership with Vantage Towers under a five-year framework agreement enabling CRa to offer LoRaWAN services via 500 of Vantage’s 4,000 tower locations in the country.

The B2B division of Vodafone Italia is partnering Cisco and Alleantia to launch ‘Vodafone Industrial Connect’, utilising Cisco’s hardware and Alleantia’s software for convergent machine/information systems designed to accelerate the digitalisation of Italian companies under a new business model dubbed ‘Digital Twin as a Service’.

Solutions by STC (part of STC Kuwait) has joined forces with Datumcon, a Gulf-based AI and data science company, to offer the ‘Insight AI’ video analytics solution to businesses in Kuwait. A press release said: ‘The remarkable growth in camera use by businesses has created tremendous opportunities in the capture, analysis, and interpretation of the large volumes of visual data being generated daily.’ The partners are currently conducting a joint proof of concept (PoC) under a plan to begin implementation later this year, and are in talks with organisations across multiple sectors to roll out pilot projects demonstrating the solution’s capabilities, with initial focus on logistics and supply chain.

IoT specialist Ingenu has commissioned Phantom Space to build and launch 72 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, with the constellation (branded ‘AFNIO’) to offer connectivity worldwide using the 2.4GHz spectrum band currently used by around 50 terrestrial networks around the world, reports Mobile Europe. Jim Cantrell, CEO of Phantom Space, said: ‘This partnership brings both of us closer to our goal of providing the much-needed disruptive benefits of space technology directly to the consumer.’ Initially the target market will be users of low power wide area network (LPWAN) applications using Ingenu’s random phase multiple access (RPMA) technology, a proprietary utility which aims to maximise capacity.

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