Midweek M2M: IoT and machine-to-machine developments

29 Mar 2017

Telia Estonia has partnered with Connected Baltics – the exclusive Sigfox network operator in Estonia – to integrate low power wide area (LPWA) connectivity based on the Sigfox platform into the cellco’s managed IoT solutions, aiming to offer ‘hundreds of thousands’ of connections to enterprises and consumers. Connected Baltics is the Estonian branch of Connected Finland, the exclusive Sigfox operator in Finland (covering over 50% of the Finnish population). Toomas Karner, Telia’s IoT Area Manager, confirmed: ‘The cooperation with Connected Baltics … makes it possible for Telia [Estonia] to start using Sigfox’s IoT communication technology in Telia’s IoT client solutions.’ International roaming is one potential advantage, via at least 32 active Sigfox country networks worldwide. Meanwhile, the Swedish-owned Telia group is also deploying other LPWA IoT platforms including NB-IoT, with projects in Norway for agriculture and smart parking for instance.

3 Group, a division of Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison has become the latest mobile network operating group to sign up for Cisco Jasper’s ‘Control Center’ IoT connectivity management platform for its global IoT services. Enterprise customers will have access to Control Center from mid-2017 either via 3 Group’s mobile networks in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Austria, or globally via Hue, 3 Group’s mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE). 3 Group is reportedly particularly focused on IoT opportunities in connected car, building security/automation and transport/logistics sectors.

China Mobile, Ericsson, Wuxi national Hi-Tech District (WND) and AstraZeneca have signed a strategic MoU on IoT for healthcare; Ericsson will support AstraZeneca to connect healthcare equipment with NB-IoT technology, while the Swedish vendor will also partner China Mobile’s Jiangsu branch to trial NB-IoT applications and provide network terminal management systems to support real-time surveillance and equipment management.

Swisscom and Swiss Post have begun working together on IoT, with Swisscom operating the LoRa-based LPWA network for both companies, utilising Swiss Post-owned locations to accelerate the development of the network, aimed at benefitting companies and private customers throughout Switzerland. In addition to providing additional base station locations, Swiss Post’s contribution to the network includes its experience from the use of its own pilot LPWA network. Swisscom has been a member of the 400-strong LoRa Alliance since January 2015, and Swiss Post since June 2016. Swisscom’s national LoRa network went live in autumn 2016, and under the new plans 90% of the population will be covered by the end of 2017, it says.

Turkish IoT/M2M product/service provider Sade Group and Dutch IoT start-up Xeelas are partnering to build a LoRa network covering Istanbul. Xeelas announced: ‘This will allow businesses, local governments and conservation groups to collect and analyse data from thousands of connected devices in a streamlined way enabling them to make intelligent decisions about their business operations.’ Olcay Taysi, CEO of Sade Group, said: ‘Xeelas brings us knowledge about the LoRaWAN protocol and ready to use hardware and software. We can start deploying LoRa right away with the support of Xeelas. This will give us the head start we need to be one of the first to bring LoRa to Turkey.’

Ceske Radiokomunikace (CRa) has highlighted its efforts in extending its LoRa IoT network in the Czech Republic, aiming for nationwide coverage by the end of the year. Having launched a pilot in late 2015 and an expanded project in April 2016, CRa’s LoRa network currently covers all regional capitals and an expanding list of other cities/towns, building on its own existing transmission infrastructure. CRa is also currently looking for partners for the implementation and provision of IoT services, including providers of communication infrastructure, secure IoT cloud solutions and technical support for project deployment.

Scandinavian sister TD-LTE wireless broadband network operators Net 1 Sweden and Net 1 Denmark – part of the AINMT Scandinavia group – have signed a deal with US-based Digi International for the supply of Digi’s M2M products including ‘Xbee’ IoT modules, Digi TransPort cellular gateways, routers, modems, adaptors and sensors.

At last week’s CeBIT event in Germany, China’s Huawei announced a commercial NB-IoT-based Smart Water project, in partnership with China Telecom and utility Shenzhen Water which has deployed 1,200 NB-IoT-enabled smart water meters, integrated with China Telecom’s E-Cloud 3.0. It is envisaged that the solution will help water utilities analyse water usage patterns to optimise water pipe networks and increase reliability. Last year China Telecom Shenzhen began its 800MHz NB-IoT network upgrade, with more than 500 NB-IoT capable base stations currently deployed throughout Shenzhen. Also at CeBIT, rival Chinese vendor ZTE released two NB-IoT-based smart water meters, which also utilise other new technologies such as non-magnetic induction, with capabilities to record water metering signals and store data locally.

Also at CeBIT, Huawei announced a partnership with German firm Software to launch a ‘complete one-stop-shop’ enterprise IoT platform, initially focused on Europe, whilst Software also unveiled its ‘Made in Digital Germany’ Industrial Internet initiative, designed to modernise European manufacturing industries.

Finally, Kepler Communications has partnered Canadian Far North-based operating group Iristel/Ice Wireless to develop M2M services across satellite, terrestrial and wireless networks, utilising Iristel’s Canada-wide network and Kepler’s nano-satellites, the first two of which are scheduled for launch this November.

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