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Nokia, Telit and Vodafone collaborate on NB-IoT

Steve Rogerson
December 27, 2016

Nokia, Vodafone and Telit, are collaborating to expand the IoT ecosystem using NB-IoT technology.
Nokia has deployed a fully integrated NB-IoT system at Vodafone's Open Lab in Dusseldorf, Germany, using its radio access network and elements from its Cloud Packet Core. The system leverages IoT technology from Telit and will be used by device manufacturers and applications developers in trials of products and services to expand the IoT ecosystem.
In a trial during Vodafone's recent Innovation Day event in Dusseldorf, Nokia and Telit used the technology to demonstrate how NB-IoT will meet the connectivity needs of devices. The companies used an Intel chipset integrated in a NB-IoT module, which was embedded in a Shitek technology ultrasonic gas meter.
"The low power attributes and reach of NB-IoT make it an ideal technology to connect the internet of things,” said Roberto Loiola, global customer business team head at Nokia. “The trial with Telit showed how NB-IoT is perfectly suited to manage a network comprised of devices and sensors from multiple vendors. At Nokia we are constantly innovating to allow our customers to evolve their offer and anticipate the needs of their subscribers and our work with Vodafone at the Open Lab is a prime example of this."
The system connected with a meter to transmit data on gas flow over a 4G Vodafone test network, demonstrating how NB-IoT technology could be used to manage an integrated network comprised of components from multiple vendors.
"NB-IoT will be commercially available from early 2017 and, because it has strong support from across the telecoms industry, will be the technology used to connect millions more things to the internet,” said Luke Ibbetson, head of R&D for Vodafone Group and chair of the GSMA NB-IoT Forum. “We are very pleased to make the Vodafone Open Labs available to companies that want to exchange ideas and to develop and test connected products and services powered by NB-IoT."
NB-IoT will optimise 4G networks to meet the dynamic demands of billions of connected devices. It enables wider coverage indoors and outdoors, for example allowing the radio signal to reach further inside buildings such as factories and hospitals to connect sensors and devices and transmit information.
Lower power consumption allows device battery life to be prolonged for up to 15 years, optimising the cost of maintaining the myriad devices that will be found within homes and enterprises.
"We have the industry's broadest portfolio of integrated products, platforms and services to support IoT deployments,” said Marco Argenton, product marketing manager at Telit. “With the collaboration in this trial, we demonstrated real and tangible benefits of automation in the residential energy market, the nature of which can be leveraged in many other industries and verticals."
Cellular M2M module shipments will exceed 400 million in 2021, according to ABI Research, which said this increase over previous forecasts was driven in part by operator announcements of accelerated rollouts of NB-IoT networks.
"In the mid to latter half of 2016, several mobile operators, including DT, Vodafone, China Mobile and China Unicom announced NB-IoT network availability as early as 2017," said Dan Shey, managing director at ABI Research. "While this may not equate to full regional coverage across all operator properties nor service availability, it demonstrates operator commitment to the technology to help drive OEM product development and eventual customer adoption."