IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

EricssonSony Network Communications Europe and Telenor Connexion are partnering to develop smart IoT healthcare devices to connect people and things with intelligent tracking and monitoring solutions. Use cases for Sony’s Visilion platform include the logistics and healthcare sectors where sensors can provide information about the real-time position of staff, patients and hospital equipment such as ECG machines and beds. Similarly, Sony’s mSafety platform includes user-friendly wearables which can be used to monitor health data such as body temperature and heart rate, track location and send alert notifications in case of an emergency. More than 35 service providers spanning more than 100 countries are currently part of the Ericsson IoT Accelerator ecosystem.

European mobile virtual network enabler/aggregator (MVNE/A) Transatel has launched IoV Connect, a global, secure cellular connectivity platform for vehicles giving manufacturers the benefit of 160-plus mobile network operator (MNO) access agreements ‘out-of-the-box’. Transatel announced that IoV Connect is available in Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) mode and is ‘dedicated to solving vehicle manufacturers’ greatest challenges currently not being addressed by the market’, adding that a key differentiator is ‘MNO selection at network-level’ wherein any addition/removal/change of host radio network anywhere in the world is programmed at network level and thus implemented instantaneously, not requiring complex Over-The-Air SIM profile update campaigns. Transatel identifies a second key differentiator as ‘end user management, for which most connected car platforms come unequipped’, with IoV Connect promising professional tools, insights and expertise to cover all aspects of pricing, marketing, billing, customer experience, customer care and regulatory compliance. Thirdly, IoV Connect offers the ‘Ubigi’ fully re-brandable service for onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, complete with marketing and end user support services. Transatel – part of NTT Group – has supported the launch of over 170 MVNOs since its inception in 2000 while building its presence in M2M connectivity, before entering the Internet of Things arena in 2014.

Nokia announced that Polish energy company PGE Systemy has chosen its 5G-ready, industrial-grade private wireless solution, following the successful trial of a 450MHz proof of concept (PoC) network in operation since April 2019. Nokia says this marks a critical first step in evaluating the use of the 450MHz band to support the wide-area operations of energy distribution system operators (DSOs) across Poland. PGE Systemy will use the PoC infrastructure to further develop its concept of a country-wide critical communications network. The final private wireless network will potentially support 15,000-20,000 private radio users over LTE/4.9G, as well as wireless connectivity for up to 14 million smart meters and 35,000 existing and future SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) connections. The Polish Energy Ministry has chosen PGE Systemy to operate a 4.9G private wireless network on the 450MHz band for critical and operational communications in its next-generation power grid.

Polish gas distribution company Polska Spolka Gazownictwa (PSG) has issued a tender for the launch of its own MVNO to provide M2M services, Telecompaper reported. PSG aims to grant a four-year contract with an estimated value of PLN1.5 million (USD360,000) covering mobile services on 2G and 4G networks.

Finnish network operator Elisa has deployed a private 5G network for a new-generation IoT hub developed by UROS and Qualcomm set to open this year in Oulu, Finland. The Innovation Centre is the first facility in Finland to utilise private 5G networking in IoT product development and validation. The network itself is already up and running and will serve all IoT ecosystem partners at the hub facility.

Swiss telco Sunrise has launched its ‘Sunrise IoT Connect’ IoT SIM connectivity management platform aimed at segments including smart manufacturing, smart agriculture and smart stadiums (e.g. sports arenas). Clients can manage between 50 and 100,000 SIMs on the platform and can integrate different IoT applications via an application programming interface (API). Features include secure, location-independent data access with real-time data analytics, personalised reporting options, ‘guaranteed’ 3G/4G/5G cellular indoor/outdoor coverage in Switzerland, and international IoT roaming options via partner Vodafone Group mobile networks.

Xinhuanet reports that China will launch the first two communications satellites for its space-based IoT project in mid-to-late April, according to the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC). The rocket to send the satellites, Kuaizhou-1A, was developed by Wuhan-based Sanjiang Group under the CASIC, which has continued working on the mission despite its proximity to the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two low-orbit communications satellites, Xingyun-2 01/02, are the first of 80 in the planned constellation under the ‘Xingyun Engineering’ project, which will test IoT applications for industries related to marine, forestry and engineering machinery.

Myriota, a start-up based in Adelaide, Australia, received USD19.3 million in Series B funding for its low-cost, low-power satellite connectivity for IoT, bringing its total funding to USD37 million, ConvergeDigest reported. The company claims that its technology will revolutionise the way companies share information across multiple industries, such as agriculture, defence, mining, transport/logistics and others. Myriota CEO Alex Grant said: ‘This is a critical time for IoT. Presently, 90% of the earth’s surface lacks connectivity. At Myriota, we’ve been focused on filling that gap and overcoming constraints in existing infrastructure. With this new round of funding, we’ll continue to grow our network of satellites to deliver on an affordable, environmentally friendly, and powerful solution to make data accessible for our global customer base.’

Lastly, Belgian MVNO Mobile Vikings and Digitopia have launched a project to enable isolated patients in Flemish hospitals to communicate with family and friends amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The solution is based on James care robots built by Zorabots which ‘can enter a patient’s room autonomously to facilitate a video chat between the patients and the health care workers [which] reduces direct contact with the patient to a minimum and helps save on protective gear.’ A press release added that, ‘as of today, James has extended functionalities: from now on, health care workers can use James to start a video chat with family, friends, or the patient’s treating physician, for example.’ Mobile Vikings provides ‘optimal 4G network connections’ and an unlimited 4G subscription for each James robot.