IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

11 Jul 2019

Vodafone Ukraine has announced successful completion of a test phase on its NB-IoT network in capital city Kiev, using smart utility metering modules provided by Kievvodokanal, enabling automated transmission of readings with ultra-low power consumption ‘both in standby mode and in data exchange mode,’ the cellco’s press release said, adding that it will expand NB-IoT across its 4G LTE mobile network which currently covers more than 60% of the population. Note that Vodafone Ukraine had already reported ‘completing’ testing its NB-IoT network – in February 2019 – in Kiev and Kharkiv, before announcing its rollout in Odessa in April.

Vodafone Greece has launched a ‘Smart City’ range of digital services aimed at supporting municipalities in their digital transformation process. The new services offered by the Vodafone Business division comprise: the Smart City app; Smart Waste Management; Smart Marina; Smart Street Lighting; and Smart Debt Management (including functions for pricing and debt collection).

TIM Brasil has launched an agricultural IoT project, ‘Telemeclima’ initially connecting around 700 machines over its 700MHz LTE network via the Jacto OtmisNet platform, using Nokia equipment/IoT solutions and satellite backhaul. The project seeks to optimise agribusiness by collecting and analysing, in real time, information that can be used to prevent failures and waste of production. Alexandre Dal Forno, Head of B2B & IoT Products at TIM Brasil, said that the cellco aims to connect five million hectares of farmland via 4G by the end of the year.

Moscow fixed network operator MGTS, part of Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), has launched the ‘Telematika’ IoT tariff range for business and public sector customers, CNews reported. The special packages are aimed at low data traffic consumption, enabling corporate clients to connect ‘millions’ of smart devices with reduced communication costs, in use cases such as utilities and industrial meters, alarm systems, security and POS cash registers, and transportation systems. The tariff line is designed to transfer data between smart M2M and IoT devices through MTS’ 2G/3G/4G network, with monthly packages of mobile data ranging from 5MB to 100MB.

Elsewhere in Russia, the country’s largest fixed telco Rostelecom has launched its M2M Control platform enabling remote management of M2M SIM cards in devices and sensors, with functions including confirming devices’ IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) codes, monitoring status and traffic, managing SIMs and integration with control systems through API (Application Programming Interface). ComNews notes that cellco MTS launched its M2M Manager platform in Russia back in 2011, the same year that rival PJSC VimpelCom (Beeline) introduced the M2M Control Center solution from Cisco, allowing real-time monitoring/operation of ‘any number’ of M2M devices. MegaFon also has its own automated SIM card management platform in Russia, supplied as part of service and product packages, launched in 2014.

Ooredoo Oman announced on its website the signing of a partnership agreement with end-to-end digital solutions provider Gulf Business Machines (GBM) Oman to work jointly on ‘key areas including IoT solutions, predictive maintenance, smart cities, smart mobility and smart retail and manufacturing, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI), connectivity and unified communications’ with the aim to ‘enable enterprises in Oman to leverage new disruptive technologies towards accelerating their digital transformation.’

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Beijing-based satellite company Commsat plan to launch 72 small low-earth orbit satellites for the Internet of Things in the next three years, Xinhuanet reports. Last December, seven small satellites called the ‘ladybeetle series’ manufactured by Commsat went into orbit, and are being used to test a closed-loop system for IoT, which includes satellites, cloud computing platforms, ground control stations and terminals. Commercial services are earmarked for 2020 with the launch of a further four satellites, and the full 72 constellation deployment is planned by end-2022.

In other orbital news, Israeli start-up NSLComm has launched its first nano-satellite, the NSLSat-1, fitted with an antenna that expands and offers high performance and affordability, providing throughput ‘up to 100 times’ faster than existing nano-satellites. NSLComm says its technology ‘is the only solution that can bring high speed broadband connectivity to and from small terminals, allowing for a full array of applications around IoT and sensors, in areas such as agriculture, mining, oil and gas, shipping, government and more’. The technology can also support large data pipes for internet and video at significantly lower costs compared to current standard satellite communication systems.

Telia Sweden has launched a project in partnership with forest owner association Sodra to explore what IoT and automation can do for the forestry industry to improve on existing industrial technology. A customised 4G network ‘with higher capacity, coverage, availability and robustness’ has been deployed at Sodra’s hi-tech pulp mill in Morrum. Sodra has 52,000 associated members, making it the largest forestry organisation in Sweden, which is the world’s second largest exporter of forest-sourced products such as pulp, paper and sawn timber. Sodra has also joined Telia’s 5G partner programme, which the operator launched in summer 2018 and includes Volvo Construction Equipment, Einride, Tieto and Mid Sweden University, with Ericsson a technology partner.

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