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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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25 May 2023

The UK’s Vodafone Group has chosen advisers to help sell a stake in its IoT division, reports Sky News, which learnt that the telecoms giant has hired Akira Partners, an independent advisory firm specialising in deals in the telecoms, media and technology sectors, to field offers from outside investors. Financial sector sources indicated that Vodafone is studying a potential sale of up to 49% of its IoT arm, which they said could be valued at somewhere in the region of GBP1 billion (USD1.24 billion) and is likely to draw interest from private equity firms.

Japanese-backed Soracom has claimed ‘North America’s largest IoT coverage area’ with the launch of its new ‘US-MAX’ plan offering multi-carrier IoT connectivity across AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon mobile networks. US-MAX also includes access to Soracom’s fully virtualised cellular platform, including advanced cloud integrations and secure networking services designed specifically to accelerate IoT deployment at scale, while connections will be automatically switched between any of the three leading US cellular networks for optimal reliability on the move. Soracom’s containerised multi-IMSI capability, compatible with both eUICC and UICC standards, means that US-MAX is available today as an over-the-air download to any device in North America using Soracom IoT SIMs or eSIMs.

Brazil’s Datora Telecom has finalised a deal to buy STC Solucoes Tecnologicas, an IoT operator specialised in vehicle tracking services, for BRL56 million (USD11.3 million). TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Datora Telecom’s subsidiary Datora Mobile Telecomunicacoes (trading as ARQIA) operates as an M2M-based MVNO piggybacking on the TIM Brasil network, boasting 1.98 million M2M connections at end-2022.

Elsewhere in Brazil, TIM Brasil, M2M Telemetria and Qualcomm are implementing a tele-management project for public lighting in Porto Alegre using TIM’s NB-IoT technology. The project encompasses more than 22,000 intelligent light fixtures on the main avenues and streets of Porto Alegre, covering around 20% of the lighting points in the city. The initiative was classified by TIM as a pioneer in the massive use of wireless connectivity in smart city projects.

In Belgium, Citymesh has selected Nokia to supply a 5G-connected drone platform for its previously-announced ‘SENSE’ project, which will see 70 drones strategically placed around Belgium to provide emergency/first-responder teams with real-time aerial footage. The AI-enhanced drones will be on standby 24/7 in 35 zones, ready to gather information in the 15-minute period immediately following an emergency call.

iot squared, an IoT tech joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and stc Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with global IoT/5G satellite operator OQ Technology. Through the partnership, OQ will provide satellite IoT connectivity/services to iot squared and support the technical development of the latter’s products and services. The partners will also collaborate to identify target markets, verticals and applications that require satellite IoT in Saudi Arabia, with example target segments suggested including traffic management, oil/gas/energy, safety, waste management, and many others.

Inmarsat has announced a new distribution partner for its L-band satellite IoT services, namely IoT solutions provider FreeWave Technologies. The partnership will focus on the integration of Inmarsat’s IsatData Pro (IDP) service in FreeWave’s end-to-end IoT solutions, initially with standalone hardware terminals, with a view to integrating IDP core modules into IoT hardware and assets in the future. IDP is a two-way, real-time, non-IP messaging service that connects mission-critical assets in remote locations where regular terrestrial connectivity is limited or non-existent. The deal gives FreeWave’s customers reliable and scalable connectivity solutions to meet IoT demands across global industries including agriculture, oil and gas, and utilities. It will also support the IoT uses of businesses operating in the environmental tracking space such as earthquake and flooding monitoring firms.

Japan’s NTT and US-based Cisco have partnered to develop and deploy IoT-as-a-Service for enterprise customers. Using NTT’s Edge-as-a-Service portfolio and Cisco’s IoT capabilities, the pair are jointly marketing solutions incorporating managed services, automation, IoT and IT elements which they say offer ‘real-time data insights, security and upgraded decision making’ with ‘predictive maintenance, asset tracking and supply chain management capabilities.’

Nokia and Claro Colombia announced the deployment of an industrial-grade private ‘4.9G’ wireless network and edge computing solution at Sociedad Portuaria Puerto Bahia in Cartagena, Colombia, using the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC), including the Nokia MX Industrial Edge, designed to meet the mission-critical wireless connectivity and on-premises OT data processing needs of an array of industries such as port terminals. A press release says the new ‘Smart Port 4.0’ network securely connects hundreds of workers, sensors, equipment, vehicles and cargo, delivering high bandwidth and low latency and improving network predictability in piers and yards. Nokia notes that it has deployed mission-critical networks to more than 2,600 enterprise customers in the transportation, energy, large enterprise, manufacturing, web scale and public sector segments around the globe, and provides its expertise to 595 private wireless network customers worldwide.

Spain-based 5G/IoT nanosatellite operator Sateliot has so far signed customer agreements with 50 mobile service providers and with an IoT service provider named S4IoT, FierceWireless reports. Mexico’s S4IoT targets industries including agriculture, and one of its customers is BeeWaze, a Chilean firm aiming to improve global food security through digital monitoring of beehives and pollination – an ideal application for Sateliot’s services, the latter highlights, as beehives outside ‘traditional’ mobile coverage zones can connect to mobile networks via satellite, enabling beekeepers and farmers to use their smartphones to track pollination. According to BeeWaze, farmers can use its technology to track the number of bees which swarm around their crops each minute. Beekeepers can monitor the temperature, weight, and humidity of beehives, as well as the surrounding weather conditions. BeeWaze estimates that just 15% of the world’s beehives are currently monitored, and cited data from agricultural associations showing that vigorous pollination can increase crop yields by 40%-90%.

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