IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

15 Nov 2017

Etisalat of the UAE has claimed the Middle East’s first VoLTE call over a Cat-M1 (LTE-M) network, in trials partnering Qualcomm. Previously, Etisalat claimed the region’s first deployment of a nationwide Cat-M1 network in July this year, supporting an array of use cases ranging from water meters to asset trackers to consumer electronics.

South Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT) has upgraded its national LTE-M network to the latest LTE Cat-M1 standard in collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm, reports LTEWorld. Following trials completed in August this year, SKT began deployment of Cat-M1 upgrades at commercial LTE cell sites for field tests. SKT also disclosed that it has linked the Cat-M1 network with its commercial LoRaWAN IoT network, aiming to allocate higher-volume IoT data traffic to Cat-M1 and low-volume data to LoRa. South Korean cellcos were the earliest commercial adopters of the LTE-M technology platform in H1 2016.

Romanian quad-play operator RCS&RDS (Digi) has announced that Ericsson will assist it to deploy NB-IoT-ready radio equipment across its network, initially focusing on Bucharest and other main cities, a project it says will pave the way for Digi Mobil’s commercial introduction of IoT services in Romania.

Inmarsat has signed a strategic partnership with international telecoms provider JT Group (formerly Jersey Telecom) to deliver global IoT connectivity. Inmarsat is providing satellite communication infrastructure supporting mobile data services provided by JT, enabling Inmarsat’s customers to access a global connectivity network from a single provider.

Croatian capital Zagreb has its first Sigfox IoT base station, which was deployed and put into operation by IoT Net Adria, Telecompaper reports. The company targets a Sigfox network of 200 base stations covering 96% of the population of Croatia in the next two years.

In Finland, Digita says it will have 400 LoRa IoT base stations in commercial usage by the end of 2018, having added 50 new base stations ‘across Finland’ in the autumn (under a target of 150 new sites in full-year 2017), increasing indoor coverage in the largest cities ‘by 40%’. Digita’s IoT services offer a wide range of solutions to meet the needs of the real estate, logistics and infrastructure sectors, among others, enabling, for example, the remote reading of water meters in basements.

Bell Canada has partnered BeWhere Technologies and Huawei in its first publicised pilot LTE-M project ahead of its planned full commercial launch of the technology next year. The latest project involves IoT solutions for an Ontario winery, using wireless environmental sensors connected to Bell’s LTE-M network, enabling the winery to remotely monitor temperature and water levels, prevent vine disease, and ultimately improve the health of its plants, lowering operating costs and providing maintenance-free data gathering for years, a press release stated.

Finally, we go from winos to rhinos, as the Sigfox Foundation has designed and implemented a remote rhinoceros tracking solution that uses horn-mounted GPS sensors to send positioning data to a secure online platform via Eutelsat satellite resources. The project aims to fit 3,000 rhinos over a three-year period to track movements and provide precise data to help protect against poaching and increase understanding of the endangered species. Eutelsat and Sigfox have collaborated since November 2016 on a pilot operation in southern Africa connecting around ten animals, with three Sigfox base stations connected to the secure platform using Eutelsat’s smartLNB satellite service.

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