IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

7 Dec 2017

Hong Kong’s Communications Authority has issued guidelines for applicants competing for new five-year Wireless Internet of Things (WIoT) Licences in the 920MHz-925MHz frequency band. Applicants’ proposals should include a three-year implementation plan, whilst a licence carries a fixed annual fee of HKD100,000 (USD12,800) plus HKD1,000 per base station for the first 50 (HKD500 per base station 51-100, and HKD100 per base station thereafter), and HKD200 per 100 WIoT devices used by customers.

Vodafone Romania has completed trials of NB-IoT technology both ‘in the field’ and in laboratory conditions, in partnership with OMV Petrom, successfully connecting and monitoring specialised oil/gas industry equipment to OMV Petrom’s data centre through Vodafone’s commercial mobile network.

Beeline Kazakhstan has announced successful NB-IoT tests, in partnership with Huawei and Kazakh company KazTechInnovations (nbiot.kz), and is inviting the public to get acquainted with the technology at its open office in Astana. Huawei provided support in setting up the NB-IoT test network and also provided the IoT device communication/monitoring platform.

Taiwan’s Far EasTone has introduced NB-IoT services, initially in the Greater Taipei area and the industrial zone of Taoyuan, in cooperation with Ericsson, with plans to expand the number of NB-IoT base stations to 8,000 by the second quarter of 2018. The operator expects to grow its NB-IoT enterprise subscriber base to 7,000 within three years of the commercial launch, whilst by 2020 Far EasTone expects its NB-IoT business to contribute over TWD1.2 billion (approximately USD40 million) in revenue.

Ooredoo Tunisia and France-based Sagemcom have launched Tunisia’s first LoRaWAN IoT network, aiming to support the development of solutions in areas including Smart City, Smart Industry, Smart Environment and other uses in health, transport, agriculture and other sectors. Youssef El Masri, CEO of Ooredoo Tunisia, declared: ‘Following the marketing of the first connected device in 2014, the launch of the first M2M managed connectivity solution in 2015 and the success of the first tests on various long-range, low-consumption technologies, Ooredoo is launching the first IoT network in Tunisia. This has been made possible through the licence issued by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies in June.’

MTN South Africa has signed a partnership agreement with Cisco Jasper to deploy the Cisco Jasper Control Centre connectivity management platform for enabling MTN’s business customers to deliver IoT services worldwide. The partnership represents Cisco Jasper’s first expansion into South Africa.

Russian cellco MegaFon has introduced two special tariff plans for M2M/IoT devices. ‘Internet of Things for Business’ features unlimited 32kbps domestic internet access for RUB100 (USD1.70) per month, whilst ‘IoT without Borders’ also costs RUB100 a month, for 15MB of domestic/international (roaming) data; if exceeding this volume, 5MB add-on packages are offered. Both tariff options include access to MegaFon’s ‘M2M Monitoring’ platform.

Also in Russia, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has launched an integrated IoT management platform to support enterprises’ connected device strategies and monitor equipment performance, compatible with a variety of IoT technologies. MTS is initially targeting the agriculture, logistics and real estate sectors, MobileEurope reports, whilst an MTS spokesperson added: ‘For government customers, our IoT platform can become a driver for development of smart cities, smart grids and intelligent transportation.’ MTS has been upgrading its network preparing for widespread deployments of NB-IoT and LTE-M next year.

New Zealand operator Chorus has undertaken a proof-of-concept project for a LoRaWAN network in Takapuna and Torbay on Auckland’s North Shore. The project involves providing deep network coverage to enable sensors to communicate with the IoT network in locations such as underground water pipes or sewage pumping stations.

Hungary’s Magyar Telekom and its T-Systems Hungary division have launched NB-IoT services over the operator’s 4G LTE network throughout capital city Budapest. The group is highlighting NB-IoT’s advantages including indoor coverage, long device/battery life, secure communication and support for high numbers of devices to its enterprise customers and partners.

In yet another NB-IoT development this week, Slovenia’s Telekom Slovenije has announced a project to test the technology in Ljubljana and Maribor, inviting companies, developers and educational institutions to participate in connecting their own IoT systems in Telekom’s NB-IoT test environment.

Finally, Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp and Inuitive have agreed to collaborate on the development of artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning (DL) and advanced 3D sensing with computer vision capabilities for future IoT. The partnership will leverage Inuitive’s existing and future vision processors and its AI framework alongside SoftBank’s IoT platforms which offer advanced heterogeneous processing capabilities for embedded products. The companies expect the collaboration to drive the popularity and development of smart IoT devices and systems. Shlomo Gadot, CEO of Inuitive, said: ‘The strategic collaboration between Inuitive and SoftBank will advance on-device intelligence … Together we’ll push the performance envelope and extend AI to places that are currently beyond reach. Our strategic collaboration will become a turning point for the whole on-chip AI industry.’

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