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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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17 Feb 2022

Spain’s Telefonica has launched an autonomous drone fleet management solution, with capabilities to send real-time images and on-demand data to a centralised autonomous management platform which synchronises operations for security, surveillance, event verification and critical infrastructure maintenance tasks. The solution – which could ‘detect and neutralise unmanned aircraft over long distances’ according to the company – will be presented on 1 March during the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.

Vodafone Spain has installed a 5G Standalone (SA) private mobile network at the Galician Automotive Technology Centre to carry out tests for the development and validation of autonomous and connected vehicle projects. The dedicated network will allow the Centre to control and optimise its demand for system resources and apply its own security policies, while enjoying the performance benefits of 5G SA.

Latvian operator LMT has piloted an AI-based traffic monitoring system connected to its network in Riga and Liepaja, gathering an ‘unprecedented amount of data’ on cars that run red lights at intersections via plug-and-play traffic light cameras to share with the authorities. The system also analysed driver behaviour to identify the need for measures such as improved signage and speed bumps.

Astrocast has commercially launched its bidirectional satellite IoT (SatIoT) service, to connect IoT devices globally when outside of cell-based terrestrial networks at a comparable cost. Utilising a nanosatellite constellation in Low Earth Orbit, Swiss-based Astrocast focuses on affordable connectivity, supporting applications in asset tracking, telemetry and telematics across sectors including maritime, agriculture & livestock, environment & utilities, land, transport, freight & storage, mining, and oil & gas. Astrocast has also formed a partnership with IoT service provider UnaBiz, to develop an end-to-end IoT solution for asset tracking and monitoring, utilising UnaBiz’s UnaConnect IoT device management data platform that currently manages around one million IoT devices. Henri Bong, co-founder of Singapore-based UnaBiz commented: ‘The Satellite-IoT market is growing rapidly. UnaBiz is pleased to partner with Astrocast and leverage its cost-effective, low-power, bidirectional direct-to-satellite services to complement existing LPWAN projects that we are currently driving in the market.’

iBasis announced that its owner Tofane Global has acquired Simfony, a multinational IoT Platform-as-a-Service provider and Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) headquartered in the Netherlands. A press release says the acquisition complements the iBasis IoT portfolio by adding a business management layer to its global connectivity offering, thus creating a one-stop shop for its customers who gain access to a fully-featured IoT Connectivity Management Platform for their remotely programmable SIMs (eSIMs), from online ordering, provisioning, product catalogue, device lifecycle control, trouble ticketing, online rating, and billing, to account profitability.

Nokia has signed a contract with 450connect, a joint venture backed by German energy and water companies, to deploy a nationwide LTE-450 network targeting operators of critical infrastructure. Nokia says the LTE-450 technology – coupled with ‘industrial-grade private LTE/LTE-M solutions’ – is ideally suited to achieve wide-area coverage and is optimised for M2M/IoT applications and critical voice communications. Initial end-to-end tests will take place in the field by mid-2022 to ensure performance for the upcoming rollout. Radio services will be offered in the first regions of Germany in 2023. The nationwide rollout will take place by 2025. Nokia will manage the supply and performance of all LTE components, including maintenance services, until 2040.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has published its regulatory framework for the provision of IoT services. The regulations clarify the licensing requirements and general conditions for the provision of IoT services, including the introduction of a new concession for the operation of LPWANs using shared frequency bands. Under the new guidelines, mobile providers and other operators with licensed spectrum may provide IoT services over their assigned frequencies under the conditions of their existing licence and without purchasing an additional concession. Companies wishing to provide long range IoT services over LPWAN bands – defined by the PTA as 433.05MHz-434.79MHz and 920MHz-925MHz ranges – must secure a new LPWAN licence and comply with additional conditions regarding interference and installation of base stations. LPWAN licences are valid for five years, and cost PKR100,000 (USD569) upfront plus an application fee of PKR1,000 and an annual licence fee of PKR5,000 per base station.

Canada’s Rogers Business is expanding its suite of Smart Cities and Smart Buildings IoT solutions, working with a broad ecosystem of partners to deliver a number of new solutions including: Smart Water Management (with Ayyeka); Smart Parking (with Cleverciti); Smart Traffic (with NoTraffic); Mixed Fleet Management (with Titan GPS); Transit Fleet Management (with ISR Transit); Indoor Air Quality Monitoring and Purification (with IES Ventures); Digital Signage (with Corum Digital); Smart Security (with Caliber Communications); Smart Washrooms (with Mero Technologies); and Water Leak Detection (with Eddy Solutions).

Elsewhere in Canada, Telus has launched a Smart Cities initiative partnering Google Cloud for infrastructure and data analytics and utilising the ‘Smart City-as-a-Service’ platform of NXN Digital, saying it aims ‘to deliver the next-generation of sustainable, efficient, secure, and innovative IoT technologies that will empower businesses, communities, and their residents through a vast ecosystem of people-first solutions.’ Applications will range from dynamic traffic signalling for reducing congestion and emissions, to data analytics for creating smarter, more efficient city planning. Telus’ Smart City solutions fall into four categories: Infrastructure and environmental sustainability; Intelligent transportation; Public safety and security; and Healthcare services.

US tech firm Honeywell has inked a partnership with Egyptian mobile operator Etisalat Misr to develop advanced solutions for smart buildings, communities and cities, with the pair collaborating on the construction of a cloud-based IoT platform. Honeywell and Etisalat Misr will explore solutions based on AI, machine learning, connection and hosting technologies that can be applied to various vertical segments such as industrial, healthcare, hospitality, education, real estate and transportation. The development extends a strategic relationship formed in 2019.

In Belgium, the Antwerp Port Authority has selected the 6th NeTWorK consortium, a collaboration between DroneMatrix, Proximus and SkeyDrone, for the rollout of a large-scale drone project named ‘D-Hive’, deploying a network of drones capable of performing automated flights from strategic locations in the port. The drones will be deployed without manual intervention to support core processes and optimise operations, for example, the detection of oil slicks and floating debris, infrastructure inspections, safety coordination, vessel traffic management support, calamity and incident support, site monitoring, environmental inspections and asset management. Proximus activated its 5G 3.5GHz network in the port in March 2020, with most parts of the port area today enjoying 5G coverage.

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