IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

22 Mar 2018

Sigfox USA expanded its network coverage by 50% in 2017 to reach 25% of the US population and 24 out of the country’s 25 largest metropolitan markets (and ‘48% of all major metros’), around two years after launching. In 2017 the company reached 15 new markets with its unlicensed spectrum-based IoT network including Seattle, South Florida’s Gold Coast, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Philadelphia, San Diego, Washington DC, New Orleans and San Juan (Puerto Rico), and also reported a 45% enlargement of its partner ecosystem. In 2018 Sigfox USA says it will focus on expanding in key regions including the Chicago metropolitan area, Seattle metro, Las Vegas, New York City-to-Boston corridor and the greater San Francisco Bay area.

machineQ, the IoT division of US broadband giant Comcast, has launched a new website to promote its services, highlighting that it has deployed LoRaWAN network coverage in more than 15 of the top US metropolitan areas, plus other major Comcast markets, for businesses to ‘connect multiple IoT customers quickly, with reduced cost’. machineQ is currently expanding LoRaWAN coverage in additional US markets, inviting businesses to: ‘Purchase gateways that are pre-provisioned to our network. Select the gateway type, quantity, and shipment location for your specific solution and coverage needs.’

Another US broadband player, Cox Communications, has launched a connected asset services division, Cox2M, advertising an ‘open, enterprise-grade’ IoT platform and turnkey solutions for monitoring and tracking commercial assets (including ‘inventory, equipment or infrastructure, everything from cars to power lines’). The company highlights that a connected car pilot using the Cox2M platform last year will now be implemented across the US and Canada to connect more than 500,000 vehicles.

Dutch full-service telco KPN has announced reaching ‘nationwide’ LTE-M network coverage. KPN earlier announced deployment of the LTE-M network in The Hague and Rotterdam at the end of 2017, whilst alongside the cellular licensed spectrum-based IoT deployment, it has also rolled out a LoRa network (augmenting existing legacy M2M services) to offer business customers a wider range of connectivity options. Rival T-Mobile Netherlands, meanwhile disclosed that it will introduce a standardised range of NB-IoT access packages for businesses this summer, with options for connecting between ten and 1,000 devices, plus tailor-made packages for larger customers; the range will replace the current free access introductory offer on T-Mobile’s nationwide NB-IoT network.

Singtel is partnering cloud services provider Twilio to develop an IoT platform leveraging Singtel’s IoT network in Singapore and Twilio’s Programmable Wireless product to enable developers to manage the cellular connectivity of their connected devices over a set of application programming interfaces (APIs). Singtel’s head of IoT Diomedes Kastanis said that the partnership ‘will create a one-stop shop to accelerate the adoption of IoT solutions and help enterprises create exciting new products and services.’

South African LPWA IoT network operator Sqwidnet is collaborating with SMME IOT, an IoT ecosystem management specialist, to support a plan to connect one million devices within the next three to five years. The partnership will include cross-marketing SqwidNet’s IoT services to SMME IOT’s existing partners.

Vodafone Czech Republic has announced the country’s ‘first commercial NB-IoT project’, connecting smart energy meters in partnership with Veolia Energie, initially in Prague and Ostrava. Similarly, KaR-Tel (Beeline Kazakhstan), which announced successful NB-IoT network tests in December 2017, has revealed that it is launching a project to install smart (NB-IoT) gas meters with utility KazTransGaz, firstly in Kostanay this summer.

KDDI (au) announced it is using Sierra Wireless LPWA modules to provide IoT applications over its LTE-M network for its enterprise customers in Japan. Next-generation gas smart meters will be the first commercial products deployed on KDDI’s LTE-M network, in mid-2018, it said in a statement, adding that the extended coverage provided by the IoT network will allow gas service providers to reach more of the Japanese market, whilst the operator is also expanding its IoT offerings into segments including logistics and wearables.

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