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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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2 Mar 2023

Belgian B2B network connectivity provider Citymesh, part of European IT services group Cegeka, has expanded to the Netherlands with the takeover of the local Sigfox ‘0G’ IoT network from VolkerWessels Telecom. Mitch de Geest, CEO of Citymesh – which operates an existing Sigfox network in Belgium, acquired in 2021 – noted that his company also aims to deploy mobile private networks and other network solutions in the Netherlands alongside the 0G IoT platform, whilst a press release confirmed that VolkerWessels will continue to be responsible for maintaining, monitoring and expanding the Dutch 0G network. Maarten Van Aerde, General Manager of Citymesh 0G, declared: ‘Our experience in the domain gives us a solid edge. For instance, we have connected more than 300,000 water meters from Waterlink in Antwerp [Belgium] to the Sigfox network … For [frozen produce provider] Ardo, we track 400 containers, while [healthcare group] ZNA tracks their blood transport with 0G technology. That’s also why we want to look across borders. Being able to offer the total package, from 0G to 5G, because connectivity doesn’t stop where map borders do.’ Loic Barancourt, CCO of UnaBiz, owner of the Sigfox technology, added: ‘UnaBiz will continue to support Citymesh in its effort to provide customers with a seamless global 0G network to enable Massive IoT.’

UK telecoms group BT has switched on IoT national roaming to enable business customers to keep smart devices connected nationwide. BT IoT National Roaming SIMs can access other mobile networks alongside their primary connection to BT’s EE network, giving coverage via 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G as well as LPWAN IoT networks, ensuring service on the move and in remote locations. BT says national roaming will benefit courier and delivery companies in particular. BT is offering the product at the same price as its existing pay-as-you-use IoT SIM service. Additionally, customers gain access to a secure device management portal with full security measures to protect data.

Also in the UK, Data Communications Company (DCC, a subsidiary of Capita) confirmed that 15 million homes are now connected to its national secure smart energy meter network, representing over half of households nationwide. The DCC website statistics dashboard as of 1 March 2023 shows 15.07 million connected homes, up from 11.83 million twelve months earlier, and a total of 25.03 million smart energy meters connected – a increase from around 19.20 million a year before – while 14.63 million (58.4%) of these meters are ‘second generation’ smart meters. DCC says that smart energy meter wide area network (WAN) coverage reaches 99.3% of premises nationwide, and the company estimates that 730,812 tonnes of CO2 emissions were saved by all smart meters on the DCC network over the past year.

Vodafone Business and Lenovo Connect have partnered to offer a customised global IoT connectivity service allowing customers with Lenovo smart devices to securely connect to the internet across Vodafone’s global IoT network, initially launching in Spain in May for over 40,000 devices, before expanding across Europe. Vodafone Business is providing an IoT Global Data Service Platform (GDSP) SIM fitted in each Lenovo device, with platform integration via the Lenovo Connect App. Vodafone Business currently connects more than 159 million IoT SIMs globally.

Canada’s Telus announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to create a new ‘Telus smart living solution’ utilising the latest advancements in cloud technologies, IoT, AI and machine learning (ML) for automation applications across various connected devices. Telus says its solution will reduce the complexity of installing and managing connected home devices and services from multiple vendors, device manufacturers (ODMs) and service providers, making it easier for consumers to use existing and new smart home devices to automate home management tasks. The solution will leverage AWS’ portfolio of IoT, ML and AI services and support multiple IoT protocols to offer a flexible, secure and scalable framework and optimise the smart home consumer experience.

Croatian telco Hrvatski Telekom (HT) has installed NB-IoT measuring devices to collect real-time meteorological data at the top of two mountains, Saint Ilija in the Peljesac peninsula, and Snjeznik in the vicinity of Rijeka, under a pilot project to increase safety in mountainous, forested, and non-urban areas.

Soracom and UnaBiz have announced the joint global development and launch of a configurable LTE-M IoT button utilising Soracom’s eSIM and cloud connectivity platform. The LTE-M button will be branded and sold independently by each of the partners, who previously teamed up on proprietary hardware and connectivity projects for selected clients.

UnaBiz has meanwhile partnered The Things Industries (TTI) to ‘provide customers with a better experience for collecting IoT data and heterogeneous fleet device management’. The partnership involves UnaBiz integrating ‘The Things Stack’ into its middleware platform, UnaConnect, to enhance its capabilities in interfacing with the TTI network. This integration will allow customers who want to adopt hybrid solutions to enjoy secure, reliable, and cost-efficient data aggregation service. Henri Bong, CEO of UnaBiz, stated: ‘Interoperability has always been an obstacle for Massive IoT. By integrating The Things Stack onto UnaConnect, we are offering our customers the freedom to choose the best solution that fits their needs. By leveraging the TTI’s global roaming platform, we enable our customers to roam and scale on both 0G and LoRaWAN.’ UnaBiz and its 70-plus national Sigfox 0G operators will also gain access to TTI’s global LoRaWAN roaming platform, enabling carrier-grade LoRaWAN roaming/peering solutions for partners and customers.

Console Connect, which provides a global Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform, has unveiled an ‘edge SIM private connectivity service’ for global IoT projects, enabling secure access between devices and clouds globally. Console Connect, part of Hong Kong-based PCCW Global (itself part of HKT), says the service is designed to help businesses route traffic directly between devices and clouds without traversing the public internet.

Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, via its Telefonica Tech division, has presented a range of IoT-based smart agriculture services built on technologies including AI, cloud and blockchain. A demo at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, showcased the company’s initiatives aimed at reducing the digital divide between different economic activities and contributing to the promotion of more efficient, competitive and sustainable agriculture.

Telefonica has also recently claimed a Spanish-first with a trial of 5G drone cargo transportation. The trial in Madrid used C-V2X vehicular communications technology to enable drones to interact with their environment and react intelligently to changing conditions through short-range messages, alongside an RTK (Real Time Kinematic) system to assist drones landing on mobile collection points.

German telecoms group Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Microsoft have signed a 5G campus networks partnership agreement which will support DT’s plan to introduce a cheaper and simpler private 5G network offering for SMEs. DT said the SME offer, available as a managed service on a per-usage basis, will complement its existing campus network portfolio. The new partnership combines DT’s portfolio of private 5G network products for industrial use with Microsoft’s Azure Private Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC) system, including the Azure Private 5G Core Service deployed on the Azure Stack Edge.

Microsoft is also currently working with wholesale carrier BICS on IoT device SIM roaming between public and private mobile networks, with the aim of enabling ‘secured connectivity and powerful computing in real-time, anywhere in the world.’

Nokia and Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison (IOH) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch an advanced enterprise campus private wireless network in key regions across Indonesia, in East and Central Java, Sumatera and Kalimantan. The collaboration is designed to elevate industrial operations with highly reliable, low-latency connectivity in tandem with a programme closely linked to the government’s digital economic development plan. The partners say that zones vital to economic growth in Indonesia will be boosted by an advanced industrial network and, in a country comprised of more than 17,000 islands, a planned port solution will improve operational efficiency with a high-grade digitalisation platform. Overall, the MoU seeks to build a more agile business environment that ensures IOH’s business customers keep pace with shifting demands, take advantage of the Internet of Things, and have guaranteed connectivity for people and machines.

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