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Telenor unveils IoT pilot to help start-ups

Steve Rogerson
April 12, 2017

Norwegian telco Telenor Group has unveiled an experimental IoT offering. Available free of charge to Norway’s entrepreneurs and students, the Start IoT multi-city pilot aims to support entrepreneurship, boost innovation and help national competence building.
“By providing cost-free access to next-generation IoT infrastructure, we provide Norwegian start-ups and students with the ability to develop and rapidly prototype new IoT products and services,” said Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor. “This is part of a broad initiative from Telenor to drive growth in the use of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT and big data in Norway.”
The registration for Telenor Start IoT was officially opened at a launch event last week at StartupLab in Oslo. With the initiative, Telenor will set up a physical LPWA experimental network, a backend system and provide development kits to start-ups, students and developers free of charge for testing and experimentation purposes over a period of five years. The pilot network is aimed at stimulating LPWA innovation in Norway and will initially be rolled out in Trondheim, Tromsø and Oslo from next month.
Last year, Telenor announced two specific initiatives for entrepreneurs to strengthen Norway’s competitiveness and to stimulate job creation by Norwegian start-ups. The first of these projects, the Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab, was officially opened last month at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU). The lab will conduct research and run innovation programmes within artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and IoT.
Telenor Start IoT is the second of the initiatives. Both initiatives complement each other as emerging, large IoT data sets are of interest to projects in the AI-Lab.
Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab and Telenor Start IoT are the latest additions to Telenor’s global approach to supporting start-ups, including accelerator programmes across eight of its markets, with a total of 70 start-ups supported in 2016 alone.
The pilot network offering will initially be based on LoRaWan technology but other network technologies may also be included, such as the 2G, 3G, 4G, NB-IoT and eMTC standards.
Today, more than a million things are already connected to Telenor’s mobile network in Norway. Newly released LTE standards will allow Telenor’s 4G networks to commercially support IoT devices that have LPWA requirements. Such networks will be available for commercial use in 2018.
The IoT pilot network infrastructure will be accessible through the Start IoT developer site, which will contain documentation on the devices, connectivity and the backend, development kits, start-up guides and user forums. In parallel to the LPWA physical pilot network, a backend system allows IoT service developers to access the IoT infrastructure and develop prototypes at a relatively low cost.
Telenor Start IoT will use Telenor Connexion’s Cloud Connect enablement platform, which is built on top of AWS IoT. The platform can be used regardless of the underlying connectivity technology.
Telenor is partnering to set up workplaces at StartupLab in Oslo, Wireless Trondheim, and Flow in Tromsø.