IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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16 Jun 2022

Japan’s SoftBank Corp has become the second mobile network operator – after Germany’s Deutsche Telekom – to take an equity stake in 1NCE, a global provider of flat-rate cellular IoT connectivity in more than 110 countries. SoftBank also signed a deal to exclusively offer 1NCE IoT services across 19 Asia-Pacific countries including Japan, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, while 1NCE will open regional offices in Singapore and Tokyo. Daichi Nozaki of SoftBank Corp commented: ‘We’ve closely followed 1NCE’s strong US launch earlier this year and expect the same explosive growth in the underserved APAC region.’

Vodafone Italy has announced the launch of national LTE-M (Cat-M) IoT network coverage, complementary to its existing NB-IoT network. Vodafone says LTE-M ‘will significantly contribute to the development of smart cities in the coming years, also in strategic areas such as mobility and healthcare.’ Among the applications for LTE-M, the cellco highlighted vehicle fleet management/tracking and monitoring of assets such as containers in the logistics sector, monitoring of supply chains to reduce waste and improve efficiency, as well as enabling smart homes by networking household appliances and alarm systems for intelligent management of energy supply and early detection of danger. Furthermore, LTE-M supports wearable IoT technology and telemedicine applications.

Vodafone Qatar has launched its first consumer IoT product, the Vodafone Smart Tracker, a multi-purpose tracking solution to locate users’ valuables, such as wallets, bags, luggage, laptops, motorbikes and cars. Built on the Vodafone IoT Platform, the solution enables users to find and track their belongings locally and globally in over 155 countries, through a dedicated Android/iOS app, developed in-house by Vodafone. The lightweight Smart Tracker device comes with a built-in SIM, and uses three different tracking technologies; GPS, Wi-Fi and cellular, to provide a more reliable connection.

Latvian cellco Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) has signed an agreement with port services provider Rigas Brivostas Flote (RBF) on developing and deploying 5G innovations for the maritime sector, including ship-to-port and ship-to-ship communications, with the first demos to be held next year. A press release says the partnership is aimed at improving real-time communication between ships and ports, promoting the digitisation of port services, and enabling the development and use of autonomous solutions in the maritime industry, while from an environmental perspective the 5G network enables collecting data to evaluate, for example, the changing coastlines, the state of coastal seas, and more. 5G-enabled devices can observe and record environmental parameters, providing an accurate and data-based outlook on the current ecological state, crucial for making sustainability-led decisions.

Sweden’s Tele2 IoT and Finnish-based Haltian have launched a partnering programme to support B2B and IoT customers in digitalising their offices. Haltian’s smart hardware solutions for smart buildings enable large corporations to manage their offices and workspaces more efficiently and in a sustainable way through, among other things, energy optimisation and perceptive building usage. Through the programme, Tele2 IoT says it can offer the IoT market an ecosystem that gives customers access to best-in-class solutions and services in all verticals. Haltian’s platform and sensors will enable Tele2 IoT clients to optimise workspaces by tracking people’s movements in order to identify underused workspaces.

EMnify announced that it is partnering with Canadian network operator Videotron to equip enterprise customers with consistent, reliable, and secure cellular IoT connectivity across diverse industry verticals. Videotron will leverage EMnify’s global IoT connectivity, cloud-based integration, and local network access spanning 2G-to-5G, LTE-M, and NB-IoT in over 180 countries and more than 25 cloud regions. Videotron’s enterprise customers will also benefit from EMnify’s robust IoT network security and 360-degree IoT device visibility via the co-branded EMnify IoT portal.

TIM Brasil announced upgrades to its NB-IoT network, which currently covers more than 4,100 Brazilian municipalities. The NB-IoT 1 protocol (3GPP release 13 standard) has been updated to the new release 14 (NB-IoT 2) which, according to TIM, delivers connection speeds (uplink and downlink) up to three times higher than the previous version, and corporate customers will now have access to new features. Furthermore, the implementation of the new PSM (Power Saving Mode) functionality supports savings of up to 80% in battery consumption, thus extending the useful life of the batteries and promoting a more efficient management of the battery. Alexandre Dal Forno, Director of IoT & 5G Market Development at TIM Brasil, said: ‘This network will enable new use cases that require mobility and energy savings in wireless sensors in the most diverse verticals. Imagine a smart tag with complete mobility, connection capacity in the basement of a building, a battery lasting more than ten years and national coverage.’

Romanian broadcasting/infrastructure firm Radiocom (National Radiocommunications Company – Societatea Național de Radiocomunicatii [SNR]) has disclosed plans to deploy a national LoRaWAN IoT network to support smart cities, with applications envisaged to optimise city resources, reduce waste, sustainably treat household waste, implement security and safety solutions, and improve residents’ quality of life. Radiocom is promoting LoRaWAN as ‘an alternative to 2G or 3G cellular connectivity in projects where greater coverage and transfer of a small amount of data to devices with increased energy autonomy are required,’ adding that ‘this type of network meets essential requirements in IoT projects: two-way communication, full security, mobility, and location services.’ LoRaWAN networks are proposed for all cities nationwide, interconnected via fibre-optics, with Radiocom asserting that the open LoRaWAN standard, combined with no-cost operating frequencies and low-cost base stations, will allow deployment of networks ‘in just a few months with minimal investment.’ The company also claimed that the deployment will be the largest LoRaWAN network in the EU.

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Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Qatar, Romania, 1NCE, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT), Radiocom (formerly SNR), SoftBank Corp, Tele2, TIM Brasil, Videotron, Vodafone Italy, Vodafone Qatar