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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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23 Sep 2022

SFR Business this month launched an LTE-M IoT network in France to complement its existing NB-IoT system which it has operated since 2019. SFR’s LTE-M population coverage initially reaches over 80%, with a target of 99% by the end of the year – to match the operator’s 4G LTE coverage – while international LTE-M roaming agreements are also planned soon. SFR highlights that its 800MHz LTE-M network provides higher throughput than NB-IoT, thus supporting uses that require processing larger volumes of data, and with latency of a few tens of milliseconds, comparable to 4G, particularly suitable for tracking objects in real time. Unlike NB-IoT, LTE-M manages the handover between radio cells when a connected object moves quickly. SFR also notes that although NB-IoT is ‘unbeatable’ on indoor/underground penetration, LTE-M is significantly more efficient than 4G in this respect. The operator underlines that LTE-M is not intended to replace NB-IoT, 4G or 5G IoT solutions, but instead it ‘completes the existing infrastructures by optimising the energy consumption, the performances and the uses’ of a large sub-section of connected objects.

Vodafone Germany has announced that it is launching the Vehicle to Anything (V2X) platform ‘STEP’ (Safer Transport for Europe Platform). The provider-open system for road traffic is aimed at authorities and companies that transmit safety and traffic information directly to map apps on smartphones and to in-vehicle navigation systems in real-time. In the future, STEP could also be used to analyse road usage based on anonymised and aggregated position data in order to facilitate data exchange between vehicles.

A partnership between Thailand’s state-owned National Telecom (NT), local MVNO The WhiteSpace Co (Penguin SIM) and Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom has progressed to the deployment of a 5G private network for power station sector group TEDA at its plant in Bangpu Industrial Zone in Thailand. The network supports functions such as AR remote collaboration and, in the near future, TEDA aims to migrate to the 5G enterprise network as its communication infrastructure for smart applications, and gradually introduce it into other factories. Sanpachai Huvanandana, president of NT, said: ‘By using [the] 5G network, IoT can be upgraded to massive IoT and support higher density of connected devices. In addition, all data collected from different fields will be processed on cloud services [supporting] big data processing and calibration.’ A press release adds that in the future, Chunghwa Telecom will continue to cooperate with Thai partners; NT will provide 5G core networking, The WhiteSpace will provide local marketing and operational functions, and Chunghwa will provide its self-developed 5G MEC solution, ‘5G Intelligent. A+’ and design/planning expertise.

French telecoms regulator Arcep published a decision granting Kineis a ten-year licence for IoT satellite services in the 400MHz frequency range. The new Kineis constellation of 25 IoT-dedicated nanosatellites, to be launched in 2023 by Rocket Lab, complements the current system operated by Kineis, which was formed in 2018 and inherited the Argos System, itself launched in 1978 as a French-American cooperation.

Nokia and MEXT, the Turkish Employers’ association of metal industries technology centre, are deploying a 5G private wireless digital automation cloud (DAC) solution at the MEXT Technology Centre, connecting more than ten manufacturing use cases with plans to add more. Located in Istanbul, the centre supports Turkish industrial companies along their digital transformation journey towards Industry 4.0. Ozgur Erzincan, country manager for Turkey at Nokia, noted: ‘Although 5G is not yet a commercial reality in Turkey, there is a lot of interest from Turkish enterprises to explore the possibilities of 5G private wireless solutions.’ Nokia currently has 485 large private wireless customers worldwide across various sectors.

Brazilian network operator Claro and its B2B sister company Embratel have collaborated on a project with Ericsson and multinational food conglomerate Nestle to build what the partners claim is the first private 5G standalone network in Latin America. Using the Ericsson Private 5G (EP5G) solution, the 100% on-premises network (separate from the public mobile network) supports secure autonomous factory operations with data transfer speeds up to 25 times higher than 4G and ultra-short response times to support business-critical applications. The project used frequencies licensed for experimental use by Claro.

Cleaning technology and equipment company ICE Cobotics is using the global ‘T-IoT’ service provided by Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile US for exclusive mobile connectivity to 7,500 existing and forthcoming autonomous robots. The company noted the service also bolsters its subscription model by providing data on cleaning operations to verticals including retail, healthcare, education and hospitality, removing the need for physical visits. T-IoT – launched in February this year – also simplifies software and firmware updates, while enabling remote analysis of mechanical and telemetry data.

Orange France and tiko have signed an agreement on an LTE-M energy-saving programme, under which Orange Business Services will provide LTE-M connectivity for 800,000 devices to be deployed over a period of five years in France, with the possibility of deployment in other European countries. tiko – part of energy group Engie – develops eco-friendly solutions connecting to existing electrical devices such as electric heaters or heat pumps, adapting older-generation convectors into connected devices to save energy and money, and enabling customers to optimise, program and remotely control their heating room-by-room. Orange currently provides over 98% LTE-M population coverage in metropolitan France, and the project will benefit from Orange’s ‘IoT Continuum’ programme which aims to simplify the model for IoT design and deployment in association with key players in the value chain including Sierra Wireless, Lacroix and STMicroelectronics. tiko’s president Frederic Gastaldo declared: ‘With Orange’s strong connectivity coverage and the speed of development that the IoT Continuum brings, we will deliver this winter our solution to as many French households equipped with electric radiators as possible, enabling them to achieve substantial savings. It will also allow them, through their participation in our virtual power plant, to reduce the reliance on gas or coal-fired power plants. A heater equipped with tiko will prevent the emission of two to three additional tons of CO2 per year during this critical period.’

Senet has expanded its public LoRaWAN IoT network across all five boroughs of New York City via a combination of owned infrastructure, roaming on partner networks, and formal integration with the Helium network, while promoting usage of LoRaWAN for monitoring utility operations, building management, food safety, and municipal services. Its arrangement with Helium gives Senet customers access to 27,500 ‘Helium compatible’ hotspots in the city while also utilising the Senet network for ‘carrier-grade’ connectivity. Senet – which offers services in 180 countries – owns and operates one of the largest publicly available LoRaWAN networks in the US, and in addition to industrial and commercial applications the company has designed smart meter networks for many US municipal water utility districts representing millions of households.

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