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MWC Americas sees live public NB-IoT demo

Steve Rogerson
September13, 2017

What is said to be the first live public NB-IoT demonstration in North America took place this week at Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco. This featured Minnesota-based MultiTech Systems’ cellular modems based on LTE Category M1 and NB-IoT technologies.
The networks operate in licensed spectrum and address the requirements of IoT applications, offering an alternative to LPWA technologies operating in unlicensed ISM spectrum. The M1 and NB-IoT modems and devices are targeted at applications in industry verticals ranging from smart cities to energy, utilities and factory automation, as well as healthcare.
"Our new LTE M1 and NB-IoT modems and devices build upon our industry-leading LoRa portfolio, leveraging our proven experience in LPWA technology and real-world deployments," said Daniel Quant, vice president of MultiTech Systems. "We strongly believe there is a place in the market for both licensed and unlicensed LPWA technology – often used together to cost effectively provide LAN and WAN connectivity – just as there will continue to be a need for ever higher-bandwidth solutions. There are applications for which unlicensed spectrum is ideal, and others for which licensed spectrum provides an enhanced level of availability and access to global network ubiquity, which is why we have developed this entire suite of LTE-M and NB-IoT devices."
The MultiConnect Cell 100 cellular modem and SocketModem Cell embedded modem have been sampling to network operators and their customers evaluating IoT applications or transitioning from legacy standards or proprietary technologies to the LTE M1- and NB-IoT-based networks. MultiTech is extending this networking technology across its product lines to include the MultiConnect rCell cellular router, QuickCarrier USB-D dongle and MultiConnect Dragonfly Arm MBed OS-programmable embedded system-on-module families.
"With a long history of working with MultiTech in IoT services, we are delighted that they have accelerated the portfolio of licensed spectrum solutions, which we believe are critical building blocks to large-scale IoT deliveries as we move into the next decade", said Alex Brisbourne, CEO of Kore Wireless Group. "With carriers somewhat split between the North American Cat M focus and the growth of NB-IoT in other markets, being able to deliver a single solution, with Kore eSIM choice as well, is very compelling for the market overall."
In the first quarter of 2017, MultiTech LTE M1 MultiConnect rCell 100 series cellular router was integrated and publicly showcased in a smart vending pilot with America's largest IoT carrier, while the NB-IoT MultiConnect Cell 100 cellular modem has been globally tested on live NB-IoT networks and in multiple major GSMA operator owned labs.
The MultiConnect Cell NB-IoT modem was demonstrated on T-Mobile's NB-IoT network this week at the San Francisco Mint opposite the MWC Americas Moscone centre. The demonstration was said to be the first live public NB-IoT demonstration in North America.
"MultiTech has taken the lead in delivering low-power, wide area networking technologies for IoT, including its award-winning suite of LoRa technology-based modules and gateways," said James Brehm, founder and technology evangelist at consultancy James Brehm & Associates.

Also at MWC Americas, OriginGPS demonstrated an IoT-enabled baseball developed without a single line of embedded code in six weeks. Enriched with partner technologies, the 23 by 25mm device was embedded in a baseball, IoT-connecting it to display quality of pitch data on a dashboard.