IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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7 Jul 2022

Sweden-based Netmore announced that its network company European Connectivity Networks, co-owned with Polar Structure, has launched a project to expand LoRaWAN IoT infrastructure in Denmark nationwide, whilst developing IoT services for Danish water, gas and district heating utility companies. The Danish LoRaWAN network will form part of Netmore’s growing European LoRaWAN footprint also covering Sweden, the UK, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands. Initial coverage zones in Denmark include Copenhagen, Odense, Arhus, Kolding, Vejle, Varde and Silkeborg. Netmore also announced a bilateral roaming agreement with Swiss telecoms provider Swisscom between their respective LoRaWAN IoT networks, with the pair also collaborating on LoRaWAN-based water leak detection using a solution from Swedish IoT company Quandify which is launching its CubicMeter device on the Swedish market.

TIM Brasil has partnered Adecoagro, a major food and renewable energy supply group, to invest in weather stations connected via TIM’s NB-IoT network in Brazil. Adecoagro has previously developed IoT applications and solutions, while its production units and farms in Mato Grosso do Sul are connected via TIM’s 4G network, with around one million hectares of coverage, also extending to approximately 200,000 people in surrounding cities and towns. TIM and Adecoagro highlight that the digital transformation process is helping to reach coverage targets set three years ago, ‘raising the use of technology to levels that were previously unfeasible and increasing the efficiency of production.’

Elsewhere in Brazil, steel producer Gerdau and network operator Embratel are rolling out a dedicated 5G and LTE private network at the Gerdau industrial plant in Ouro Branco, Minas Gerais state, supporting connectivity and automation, and covering more than 8.3 million square metres. According to the partners, this is the first project to use 5G in the steel sector in Latin America, and will expand the use of Industry 4.0 concepts to leverage automation, productivity, flexibility, visibility, traceability, use of data and security in processes, including planning, production and logistics. Gerdau says it is aiming to further expand its digital capabilities to enable a fully connected production chain. A first-phase private LTE network will subsequently be augmented with 5G using the 3.5GHz frequency band.

Satellite provider EchoStar Mobile has announced the deployment of its pan-European LoRa-enabled IoT network, operating in its licensed S-band spectrum via the EchoStar XXI satellite. The company says the system is the first to offer ‘bi-directional, real-time LoRa connectivity across Europe using a single network.’ EchoStar is offering ‘seamless’ coverage to provide multinational service continuity to meet the needs of mobility customers, or those with widely distributed locations, in sectors including utilities, transportation, railway, logistics and agritech. Telemaco Melia, vice president and general manager of EchoStar Mobile, stated: ‘We, along with dozens of partners participating in our early adoption programme for LoRa, are evaluating prototype devices and testing the network with applications such as railway track monitoring, smart farming, utility monitoring and asset tracking in preparation for commercial service launch, which is on track for late 2022.’

Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) has switched on what it calls the UK’s first 5G-connected hospital, reports Computer Weekly. The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is part of a digital health trial using a private 5G network from VMO2 Business to connect mission-critical hospital activity, including smart medicine storage and e-observations. The trials are investigating the efficiency, safety and security benefits of using smart, 5G-connected technologies in NHS hospitals – including IoT, AI and augmented reality (AR), with partners including Nokia. Trials will also involve ‘Remote Expert’, VMO2 Business’ AR-connected headset, allowing a specialist in a remote location to guide on-site workers in completing complex tasks.

Nokia and Contela have announced the completion of South Korea’s first ‘interoperability trial between SME Core and global Radio Access Networks (RAN) for private 5G’ at Nokia Korea’s Private 5G Open Lab (e-Um 5G Open Lab). Going forward, enterprises will be able to opt between Nokia’s industrial-grade Core or Contela’s optimised core solution, depending on their unique requirements. The two companies will work closely to develop the private 5G ecosystem in the country. Nokia’s Josh Lee declared: ‘The … test enables us to offer diverse and advanced Industry 4.0 solutions for private 5G deployments. The interoperability between our RAN and Contela’s core solution allows us to offer more options to the enterprises thus enabling them to leverage the benefits of 5G to gain a business edge.’

A rural project in Dorset, UK, sees Qualcomm working with 5G RuralDorset utilising 26GHz mmWave spectrum to investigate how connectivity can revolutionise agriculture, increase productivity and reduce environmental impact. The trials will test 26GHz frequencies and the latest microchips to transmit the huge amounts of data required to enable ‘per plant’ farming made possible by autonomous vehicles and robots. The ‘Future of Food’ initiative led by Wessex Internet has previously overseen 5G RuralDorset’s 5G agri and aquaculture trials – the largest so far in the UK – involving sensors across multiple farms, drones to aid crop spraying and AI-powered cameras to monitor cattle health and seaweed growth. The latest funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport enables research at Dorset Innovation Park, where the project has facilities ‘with the potential to supercharge the rural economy and change global markets’, the partners announced. 5G RuralDorset’s Dave Happy noted: ‘Higher frequency spectrum expected to be released by [UK telecoms regulator] Ofcom this year may be able to transmit large volumes of data quickly, transforming sectors including agriculture. Intelligent teams of robots which can spot weeds and destroy them naturally have the potential to increase yields by 200% and reduce the need for harmful herbicides and chemicals by up to 95%.’

As a first step in developing its Multi Access Edge Compute capabilities, New Zealand’s Spark has joined an AI-powered pilot developed by Qrious for EnviroNZ, the parent company of EnviroWaste, and enhanced it with 5G connectivity and local edge computing (AWS Snowball Edge). Qrious worked with EnviroNZ to develop a hazard detection system using AI computer vision and IoT video cameras to detect if people are too close to excavators in the waste disposal area at a resource recovery centre. To help explore the potential of Multi Access Edge Compute within this pilot, the EnviroWaste video feed is transmitted over 5G connectivity to the cloud-based application hosted at the edge.

In Belgium, the Flemish government has given its support to the Smart Data Space project to build a network of smart sensors and data processing systems developed by a consortium including Cegeka, DXC and the imec research institute, backed by public sector agency Digital Vlaanderen. Smart Data Space will be designed with the ambition to make Flanders ‘the European frontrunner in the field of smart regions, smart cities and IoT’, with solutions expected to benefit regional transport and the climate plan. The construction of Smart Data Space has already started, with a first ‘sample reference’ expected to be ready by the end of this year.

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