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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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16 Mar 2023

UK-headquartered IoT connectivity platform provider Wireless Logic has agreed a 100% takeover of Singapore-based Blue Wireless, which will continue to operate as a separate business unit with a focus on LTE/5G (fixed) wireless WAN solutions for enterprises in over 80 countries. Blue Wireless will support Wireless Logic’s ambitions to extend its footprint outside Europe into Asia-Pacific and the Americas. Joop Gerlach, COO of Blue Wireless, said: ‘We will continue to deliver wireless network solutions to our global enterprise customers, only now it will be backed by Wireless Logic’s strong position in core Mobile IoT networking. As we move to e-SIM technology and smart management platforms, Wireless Logic capabilities in that space are a major enhancement for our services.’ Wireless Logic manages over ten million active IoT subscriptions in 165 countries via direct partnerships with 50 mobile networks and across more than 750 networks in total.

iWire Global has established a new company named Una-IoT to offer Sigfox IoT network services in Turkey. Una-IoT will be the exclusive operator of the Sigfox ‘0G’ network for the Turkish market. Una-IoT is a venture between UAE-backed iWire and Ankara-based IoT specialist IoT NET Bilisim, aiming to meet growing demand for massive IoT products including smart utility metering, logistics, smart cities and asset management.

The ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF) announced a successful Proof of Concept (PoC) which it says proves the technical feasibility of low latency data roaming to support critical IoT applications functioning across international borders in real time, for example connected cars, autonomous driving, remote surgery, smart grids and factories, patient monitoring, and augmented reality for vital repairs. Four members of the GLF IoT working group – Console Connect, Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, Orange International Carriers and Telefonica Global Solutions – declared the PoC a major breakthrough for global connectivity providers and societies to ‘truly unlock the promise of critical IoT applications.’ The PoC included three separate studies to verify viable global connectivity between Europe, the USA and Asia. In these regions, packet gateways and local roaming connections between the provider networks were implemented. Artificially generated traffic was used to test mock-ups of connected cars located in the three areas. The results confirmed significant improvement in the speed of roaming connectivity with an average latency reduction of 50% in the technical tests.

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) and Vodafone Group have linked up to offer Vodafone’s IoT products, services and solutions to the Pakistani market. The collaboration is aimed at developing and delivering a full suite of end-to-end IoT services to accelerate enterprise digital enablement and improve adoption of connected services in Pakistan. Zarrar Hasham Khan, Chief Business Solutions Officer at PTCL and mobile subsidiary Ufone, said the telecoms group will ‘endeavour to play a pivotal role’ in driving digital transformation via strategic IoT collaborations ‘to create synergies to revolutionise various sectors such as health, education, automotive, retail, energy & utilities, cities, agriculture and industries.’

Belgium’s federal government has awarded EUR20 million (USD21.4 million) in subsidies to 21 pilot 5G projects, eleven of which are led by Orange Belgium. Orange’s subsidised projects involve: mobile surgical collaboration; ‘Smart Field’ services for emergency aid, healthcare and public safety; Smart Field services for inland shipping (exploring VR remote control); remote-controlled container ships in inland navigation; ‘flexible production’ (remote audiovisual production flow via 5G); 5G call priority for home care staff/instant communication with live translated transcripts on video calls; Smart City/Safe City development; 5G for industrial drone surveillance; ‘5GENIBUS’ projects for autonomous/connected public transport; critical communication and security networking for the Belgian military; and ‘5G Automation Platform’ (using an emerging Ericsson platform). Among the other project leaders receiving 5G subsidies, B2B connectivity provider Citymesh, part of European IT services group Cegeka, has launched its ‘SENSE’ project involving a network of 70 safety drones to support Belgium’s emergency services, giving police and fire stations across the country a Drones-in-a-Box (DiaB) solution (two DiaB available in each of 35 emergency services zones); the system is designed to gather critical information via drones within 15 minutes of an emergency call.

Vodafone Spain reported that the number of IoT/M2M connections active on its cellular network increased by almost one million year-on-year to pass the five million mark at the start of 2023, claiming a leading 40%-plus IoT/M2M market share among Spanish mobile operators, writes elEconomista, adding that in 4Q22 Vodafone claimed to account for 69% of national net IoT additions in the three-month period. The report notes that the figures may not tally with the periodic reports from Spain’s National Commission for Markets & Competition (CNMC) due to the regulator’s data excluding some M2M connections belonging to international Vodafone Group customers with operations in Spain. Among recent IoT launches, Vodafone Spain unveiled two new solutions at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, one aimed at managers of parks and gardens to identify environmental problems via usage of AI, satellite imagery and sensor data, alongside a forest fire alert system utilising a network of machine learning-equipped gas sensors installed on trees, connected to a cloud-based analytics tool with the aim of detecting fires in their initial phase.

Japan’s SoftBank has begun field tests in Tokyo to verify AI-based remote monitoring, driving route design and other functions to achieve fully automated autonomous driving operations. SoftBank highlights that when Japan’s amended Road Traffic Act is enacted in April 2023, ‘Level 4’ autonomous driving (‘High Driving Automation’) vehicles will be permitted on public roads.

US-based LoRaWAN IoT specialist Senet and Singapore-headquartered UnaBiz – owner of Sigfox IoT technology – have launched a partnership to provide customers with access to Senet’s LoRaWAN network services and to collaborate on creating future global Sigfox ‘0G’ network access outside of North America for customers deploying hybrid products.

Cox Automotive, part of Cox Enterprises, has acquired FleetNet America, a deal which the parties said would ‘create the foundation that will transform operating a fleet, where every vehicle, and every service is connected.’ FleetNet utilises a network of more than 60,000 independent service providers throughout the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, with its president John Wood stating: ‘While both FleetNet and Cox Automotive are leaders in the market today, we haven’t even scratched the surface of where we will take fleet operations tomorrow.’ Cox Automotive – with over 25,000 employees on five continents – claims the title of ‘the world’s largest automotive services and technology provider’, with ‘2.3 billion online interactions a year’, offering tailored solutions for car shoppers, automakers, dealers, retailers, lenders and fleet owners.

Saudi Arabia’s stc Group has partnered Saudi Ports Authority to launch the Smart Ports Initiative to automate port operations with the aims of advancing performance, raising economic competitiveness, reducing costs and improving safety. The collaboration will support the automation of operational processes across multiple sites and apply modern technologies in logistics services, in line with the Kingdom’s vision to become a global logistics hub. stc is providing enhanced 5G networking to ensure secure and reliable connectivity in the ports of Dammam and Jeddah, supporting digital infrastructure development, crane automation and remote port operation from a central control room through video surveillance. Example solutions will also involve smart cameras and AI to link containers to trucks after removal from ships, and smart monitoring to increase safety and security at the ports through facial recognition, licence plate recognition, fraud detection and real-time alerts.

Ooredoo Kuwait and Huawei have signed a partnership agreement to jointly develop ‘fibre-optic sensing smart solutions.’ Ooredoo plans to test advanced fibre-based sensor applications over its subsidiary FASTtelco’s fibre infrastructure, giving the network capabilities ‘to inspect, detect, locate and measure events, such as temperature and strain, in real time at any point along the fibre installation without the demand of having new IoT sensors and power sources.’ The companies added that smart fibre-optic sensing can be used in various industries in the private and public sectors to support a range of applications for, e.g., ‘oil & gas, pipeline, transport, structured health, electric utilities, security, data centres and telecom cables.’

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