IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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11 Nov 2021

Hutchison Drei Austria has announced it is building the first ‘Austria-wide’ LoRaWAN IoT network in partnership with SPL Tele, aimed at customers including cities/municipalities, energy suppliers, industry, facility management, start-ups, sensor manufacturers and others, with ongoing national coverage expansion expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Hutchison Drei previously launched a nationwide NB-IoT network in May 2019, and it intends the LoRaWAN network to complement NB-IoT and 5G-based solutions, touting the advantages of LoRaWAN including cost/energy efficiency due to low data rates and simple protocol, long transmission ranges and a diverse sensor and device ecosystem with the LoRa Alliance open industry standard. Elisabeth Rettl, head of Drei’s business customer area, declared: ‘With our new LoRaWAN network, we are the only full-service provider to offer domestic companies, in addition to the country’s first 5G standalone network, the full potential for IoT connectivity and IoT solutions from a single source.’

In Japan, Rakuten Mobile, Oki Electric Industry Co and Nagoya University have launched research and development into autonomous mobile network services, as part of the ‘Beyond 5G R&D Promotion Project’ for which the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) recently invited applications for proposals. The R&D partners will develop an autonomous mobile robot that can move while adapting to its surrounding environment through linkage to autonomous network foundational technologies, and they also aim to create efficient video streaming and IoT services using the autonomous mobile robot.

The UK’s BT Group is another network operator delving deep into robot research, having launched a facility billed as the country’s first dedicated telecoms civil engineering robotics test lab. BT reveals that its in-development robots inspired by the movement of mammals such as moles for digging and worms for weaving through ducts are showing ‘real promise for delivering so-called trenchless infrastructure deployment,’ the BBC reported. Future usage of underground robots is expected to limit the need for digging up roads and pavements, with the new R&D facility near Ipswich tackling problems such as how to clear blocked cable ducts, mend collapsed ducts and install new fibre infrastructure without trenches.

Fixed and mobile operator Telkom Indonesia is partnering semiconductor supplier Semtech and IoT architecture provider Everynet to offer an insulated vaccine carrier to track and monitor vaccine temperature via LoRaWAN network connectivity to decrease waste, improve customer confidence and increase inoculation rates. The system is designed for a continuous and consistent data stream in real time to monitor temperature-sensitive vaccines.

US giant AT&T reports that its IoT connectivity technology is being used by Austria-based smaXtec to support a solution for the dairy farming sector, incorporating smart sensors in cows’ stomachs monitoring animal health indicators such as temperature, rumination, movement activity, pregnancies, PH levels and others. smaXtec is active in 25 countries including the US, Germany and the UK, and is planning to expand its operations over the next year with the goal of having more than a million connected cows. In a similar field, Canadian network operator SaskTel has partnered Australian agtech specialist Smart Paddock to develop advanced livestock tracking and monitoring services in Canada, primarily via Smart Paddock’s smart ear tag solution which is already deployed on herds across Australia, equipped with GPS tracking, accelerometer and temperature sensors providing farmers with real-time location and biometric data.

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