IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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6 Oct 2022

Orange Belgium and Dutch counterpart KPN are investigating how 5G technology can accelerate the further digitalisation of the Westerschelde waterway corridor of Belgium and the Netherlands. The ‘5G Estuary’ project is eligible for European Commission subsidies, aiming to ‘define a low-altitude cross-border digital corridor for mobility applications and aviation that will make key nodes in the global supply chain, namely ports and hinterland waterways, more efficient, secure and sustainable.’ 5G-driven applications are envisaged, including: real-time data exchange to and from vehicles and vessels, ports, and the remote control and support of trucks and boats, deployment of autonomous robots, augmented reality, sensors and drone inspections. Alongside improving logistics chain efficiency, goals would include upgrading security of critical infrastructure as well as environmental targets. The Westerschelde is one of the busiest waterways in the world with shipping traffic to the seaports of Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Terneuzen and Vlissingen, accounting for more than 150,000 ships per year.

Nepal Electricity Authority has belatedly been permitted to apply for frequencies to operate next-generation remote smart energy meters, following a Council of Ministers decision to amend the Radio Communication (Licence) Rules, reports NepaliTelecom. The changes make certain frequencies (within ‘30MHz to 10.5GHz’ ranges) available for telemetry services to non-telecoms operators at a cost of NPR12 million (USD91,000) per MHz. NEA is expected to vastly expand its fledgling smart meter network with the eventual aim of installing six million devices. In February this year, IoT Time reported that NEA had been waiting three years for the opportunity to gain spectrum licences in the 393MHz-398.5MHz band.

Mexico’s Movistar Empresas has announced reaching the milestone of one million active IoT/M2M connections in the B2B segment, claiming a market-leading position via its own platform for device connectivity self-management, ‘Kite’. Movistar Empresas provides IoT and Big Data services in collaboration with its parent group’s Telefonica Tech unit, while its local IoT operations have been boosted by the expansion of the Movistar 4G LTE network which today covers 83% of Mexico’s population compared to 53% three years ago.

Sensolus, a specialist in connected asset management, is partnering telecoms operator Citymesh in a project based on the Belgian Sigfox IoT network which Citymesh took over last year. Sensolus will gain access to the portfolio of Citymesh customers who will switch to the Sensolus platform with their tracker devices. Citymesh in turn will expand its multi-technology offering with IoT products from Sensolus. As a result the partners say that ‘customers are now able to safely take the step from merely asset localisation, to process optimisation and efficiency gains.’

Shareholders of Canadian IoT solutions provider Sierra Wireless have approved the 100% takeover of the company by US-listed LoRa technology developer Semtech. Following completion of the transaction, Sierra will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Global Market. The merger deal was first announced in early August as an all-cash transaction representing a total enterprise value of USD1.2 billion.

NTT has announced a Private 5G (P5G) network expansion for the City of Las Vegas, aiming to build ‘the most extensive private network in the United States’ to serve as ‘an open platform available to local businesses, government, and educational institutions for deploying innovative solutions that enrich the lives of citizens and visitors.’ NTT is working with partners to more than double the number of network access points (APs) throughout Las Vegas, and says that, unlike most Citizens Broadband Radio Spectrum (CBRS) deployments which are in-building or industrial, its CBRS network extends across public spaces, whilst is also ‘the first network of its size to be open to third-party APs and end-user devices’. A press release added: ‘With the support of NTT’s bespoke services, local organisations can use their own devices and develop their applications on the network. City-wide, residents and visitors will receive improved connectivity, safety and security, and access to healthcare and other critical services.’

Vi Business, the enterprise arm of Indian telco Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), has announced a partnership with Trilliant, a global provider of utility solutions for advanced metering and smart grid systems. The partnership will help Vi Business and Trilliant leverage joint domain expertise to create and implement integrated IoT solutions for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) projects in India. Vi Business also announced that it has so far installed 1.67 million smart meters in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in partnership with energy company EESL under its contract covering five million meters in the two states. Arvind Nevatia, chief enterprise business officer, Vodafone Idea, said: ‘The Vi IoT enabled smart meters minimise human intervention in the overall metering, billing and collection process and helps reduce theft by identifying loss pockets.’ EESL is deploying India’s first large-scale smart metering project under the Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP), in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, New Delhi and Andaman. India’s government has set the wider goal of converting 250 million electricity meters across the country to smart devices.

Soracom a global provider of advanced IoT connectivity, announced it has expanded its IoT connectivity offerings to include native support for satellite messaging capability, allowing SMBs, SMEs and enterprise customers to manage SatIoT connections and billing directly through the Soracom platform. This capability is now available on a Technical Preview basis, with support available today for Astrocast, with additional satellite services to follow. The launch of native support for satellite enables customers with remote monitoring, asset tracking and other use cases to ‘bring their own’ compatible satellite hardware and manage all of their connections and billing in one place. In addition, users can integrate advanced platform services supporting device management, cloud integration and secure private networking into IoT use cases requiring satellite communication.

Vodafone Hungary and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics are testing a 5G remote controlled racing car, under the umbrella of the Formula Student East (FSE) programme. Vodafone reported that tests on the Hungaroring race track proved the speed, accuracy and real-time response time of 5G for remote-controlled vehicles.

Indra, a leading global technology engineering company for the aerospace, defence and mobility sectors, has signed a collaboration agreement with MASMOVIL, one of the leading 5G operators in Spain, to drive smarter, more connected and sustainable mobility through the development of advanced solutions and services based on 5G communications for different modes of transport. Both companies will create a test site, a new innovation space for validation and testing at Indra’s Madrid facilities equipped with state-of-the-art 5G technology and the necessary hardware and software to deploy and validate new smart mobility solutions and services that can later be transferred to a real environment.

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