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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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25 Aug 2022

Hutchison Drei Austria has launched LoRaWAN IoT network services across Lower Austria and most of Upper Austria, Vienna and Burgenland, in partnership with SPL TELE following a rollout begun last autumn, and the cellco indicates the expansion will soon cover the remaining federal states. Drei says LoRaWAN is particularly suitable for Austria’s industry, energy providers, cities, municipalities, retail and facility management and saves companies from setting up their own networks for their locations. Management is 100% by Drei, including support for network servers and gateways in Austria, security monitoring and updates, software updates and 24/7 monitoring. Real estate company LaaPlus is already using Drei’s LoRaWAN for smart metering, while another early customer, Nebily, uses LoRaWAN to support pest control, air quality and temperature monitoring in stores. 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.

Chinese network operators reported some big IoT figures this month. China Telecom claimed a total of 359.50 million IoT connected devices in its report covering H1 2022, up by 21% from 297.77 million connections it disclosed at end-2021. The numbers indicated that Telecom overtook China Unicom in terms of IoT volume, as Unicom reported that its IoT connections reached 335.53 million at end-June 2022, up from 312.59 million the previous quarter (without providing comparable figures for 2021). Unicom’s IoT base is continuing to rise at a substantial rate (i.e. monstrous compared to operators in most other countries) as shown in its latest monthly update for July – the figure climbing by 7.87 million in just a month to 343.40 million. In another notable statistic, Unicom claimed to hold a 70% Internet-of-Vehicles (IoV) ‘factory-installed’ market share in China as of mid-2022. China Mobile is known to serve an IoT device base larger than that of its two main rivals combined, but the market leader did not publish full IoT information for 1H22. Having disclosed 1.049 billion IoT connections at the end of 2021, up from 873 million at end-2020, China Mobile was assumed to reach a total of at least 1.1 billion by mid-2022, although its H1 report said only that it had connected 195 million vehicles to IoV services by that date. Note that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) put the national cellular IoT market total at 1.64 billion at end-June, up from 1.40 billion at the start of the year, but it is likely that the regulator’s counting methodology does not match the operators.

Ooredoo Oman has partnered Dahua Technology, a specialist in smart IoT solutions, and Starlink, one of the region’s largest outsource-managed services providers, to focus on delivering some of the key objectives of Oman’s 2040 Vision. These aims include: connecting society through a multitude of ICT services, e.g. CCTV and IoT; assisting in large-scale infrastructure mega projects and smart cities to support economic development; and enhancing government performance with monitoring and support services that can help with traffic congestion, monitoring wildlife, tracking waste streams and boosting sales at retail outlets. Sultan Ahmed Al Wahaibi, Chief Business and Wholesale Officer at Ooredoo, said: ‘We continue to invest heavily in smart technologies that drive digital transformation and unlock new opportunities for development. By leveraging Dahua’s world-leading capabilities in smart IoT, we are able to enhance the customer experience and provide greater security for a variety of sectors including healthcare, energy, retail and e-commerce, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and government departments.’

Brazilian oil and gas giant Petrobras plans to launch private 5G networks at 46 offshore and onshore sites by the end of 2024, including drilling platforms, refineries, gas processing plants, warehouses, technical facilities and ports among others, reports BNamericas. 4G LTE networks are already being deployed at some sites by Telefonica Brasil (Vivo) ahead of 5G upgrades, using spectrum in the 700MHz and 1800MHz bands. A Petrobras spokesperson noted: ‘The expectation is to increase the speed of data transmission by dozens of times, boosting remote operations and real-time monitoring technologies in confined environments, in addition to leveraging augmented and mixed reality and the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), among other advances.’ The company also plans to enhance the remote control of drones and robots at industrial plants, both in onshore and offshore environments, expand digitisation of processes and reduce the risk exposure of its workers. To support offshore 5G, Petrobras aims to complete a 1,600km fibre network in the Campos and Santos basins by end-2023. Petrobras also recently contracted managed services and telecoms integrator Sencinet (formerly BT LatAm) to interconnect all of its offshore and terrestrial units via satellite.

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