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Softbank to deploy IoT networks using LoRa, Cat M1 and NB-IoT

Japanese operator Softbank will deploy IoT networks using multiple LPWAN technologies, starting with LoRaWAN.

Low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology LoRaWAN for IoT networks continues to gain ground as yet another carrier, Japanese Softbank, announced plans to deploy the technology. LoRaWAN supporters already include tier 1 carriers KPN in the Netherland, SK Telecom in South Korea, Orange in France but also broadcast operator Digita in Finland.

In fact, Softbank is planning to deploy IoT networks using multiple LPWAN technologies, starting with LoRaWAN. During fiscal year 2016, Softbank is planning to offer end-to-end IoT solutions including device and application support and consulting using LoRaWAN in the the unlicensed 920MHz band. To do so, Softbank has partnered with Actility, Hon Hai Precision Industry (better known as electronics manufacturing powerhouse Foxconn), and Semtech Corporation, developer of LoRa technology and founder of the LoRa Alliance. “We are excited to see that Softbank has decided to launch an IoT network based on Semtech’s LoRa wireless RF technology. It’s also a great example of how ecosystem partners from the LoRa Alliance continue to work together to establish the LoRaWAN protocol as the leading solution for low power, wide area networks worldwide,” said Marc Pegulu, vice president and general manager of Wireless and Sensing Product Group at Semtech Corporation.

Softbank is planning to add its various network capabilities to the mix, including 3G/LTE, wifi and fixed line, in order to deliver IoT solutions meeting different customer needs. The operator said its IoT networks would target use cases requiring low power and low cost infrastructure, including equipment monitoring/control at commercial facilities, buildings, warehouses and other facilities, automated gas and water meter reading, senior citizen and child monitoring, infrastructure monitoring and logistics and fleet management.

First LoRaWAN, then Cat M1 and NB-IoT

The Japanese operator will later on deploy IoT networks using Cat M1 and NB-IoT, in order to cater for various environments. Softbank has yet to provide a timeline for these roll-outs though.

In comparison with LoRaWAN, NB-IoT, which standards were finalized by the GSMA Standards body 3GPP in June 2016, has yet to be endorsed by as many carriers as LoRaWAN. However, one of the world’s largest operators, Vodafone, is backing the cellular IoT standard – and rejecting LoRaWAN. Vodafone’s stated plans are to launch commercial NB-IoT services next year. Singapore-based operator M1 Limited (M1) also announced it is to deploy a nationwide commercial NB-IoT network by the first half of 2017, together with Nokia.

Backers of LTE Cat M1 include U.S.-based carriers Verizon and AT&T. While AT&T plans to pilot a Cat M1 network in San Francisco in November, Verizon expects to launch commercial IoT services using Cat M1 by the end of this year,

IIoT News Recap: Nvidia presents energy-efficient AI computer for Baidu’s self-driving cars; Commercial insurer Continental Western Group in drone program pilot; After the U.S., South Korea signs 5G cooperation with the U.K.; Today’s forecast: Mobility as a service

IoT networks

Autonomous driving: Nvidia presents energy-efficient AI computer for Baidu’s self-driving cars

Computer technology company Nvidia unveiled a single-processor, palm-sized, energy efficient artificial intelligence (AI) computer that will be used for highway automated driving and HD mapping in Baidu’s upcoming autonomous driving cars. The new computer uses only 10 watts of power. “Bringing an AI computer to the car in a small, efficient form factor is the goal of many automakers,” said Rob Csongor, vice president and general manager of Automotive at Nvidia. “Nvidia Drive PX 2 in the car solves this challenge for our OEM and tier 1 partners, and complements our data center solution for mapping and training.”

Drones: Commercial insurer Continental Western Group in drone program pilot

Commercial insurer Continental Western Group (CWG) has run a drone technology and analytics pilot with Fluttrbox, a company specialized in drone technology aimed at the insurance market, Insurance Networking reports. “Part of the attraction of a drone program for CWG was the possibility of a reduction in loss adjustment expenses and an increase in underwriting accuracy,” said Doug Pearson, senior vice president and chief underwriting officer for CWG.

5G: After the U.S., South Korea signs 5G cooperation with the U.K.

Following a recent collaboration agreement on 5G frequency policies with the U.S., South Korea and the U.K. agreed on closer collaboration on 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), fintech and artificial intelligence (AI) during the second Korea-U.K. ICT Policy Forum held in London this week, Business Korea reports. As part of the collaboration, the 5G Innovation Center of the University of Surrey and the Institute for Information and communications Technology Promotion (IITP) of South Korea signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

Today’s forecast: Global mobility as a service revenues to exceed $1 trillion by 2030

Stimulated by driverless technology, mobility as a service (MaaS) revenues are set for rapid growth, exceeding $1 trillion by 2030, according to a new forecast by ABI Research. “Driverless technology, through the Car as a Service, or CaaS, paradigm, will be the defining factor for the success of on-demand mobility, offering consumers the possibility to summon transportation on the fly,” said Dominique Bonte, managing director and vice president at ABI Research. “MaaS will result in more environmentally friendly transportation through the deployment of fleet-based, alternative powertrain vehicles and reduced congestion through improved utilization rates of available resources.” The analyst firm expects Transit as a Service and Aviation as a Service to start become significant by 2025 and 2030, respectively.

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