How Scandinavian telcos are testing IoT
Telia Company working with the Finnish postal service to develop a smart mailbox project
The Finnish postal service Posti and Swedish telecommunications group Telia Company have developed a new type of smart mailbox, which claims to be the first in the world to use NB-IoT technology.
Under this new initiative, the connected mailbox will provide information in real time on its use, such as if mail is dropped in the mailbox, if it’s full or empty, or if it has been opened or vandalized.
“With a billion addressed mail items each year, this sort of information will safeguard the environment and save costs,” said Sami Reponen, chief process officer at Posti.
In the three-month pilot project, Posti and Telia will smarten up five mailboxes in the cities of Helsinki and Oulu. If the trial is successful, the next goal is to turn all 5,000 boxes nationwide into smart mailboxes.
“The next step is finding out what we can learn from the smart letterbox. Above all, the pilot seeks to test the NB-IoT network, which can be connected with a variety of features in the future,” Reponen said.
“We installed the first sensor just before Christmas, and the results have been promising. Posti’s test group is also able to continuously monitor the use of the mailboxes with mobile phones,” said Mikael Sundholm, project coordinator at Telia.
Going forward, information from the smart letterbox sensors will be connected directly to Posti’s reporting system. “The goal is that each driver receives information on a 24/7 basis and that we are able to centrally monitor the movements of mail in real time”, Reponen added. Posti operates some 3,300 vehicles around Finland.
Telenor leverages NB-IoT and LTE-M
Also in Scandinavia, Norwegian operator Telenor opened a new test lab which will focus on the development of IoT solutions. The operator previously confirmed plans to launch a nationwide NB-IoT and LTE-M network.
“We opened our 4G network for selected IoT partners and clients for testing and prototyping NB-IoT at 26 locations in Norway in 2017. Ericsson has contributed IoT expertise and equipment to a dedicated virtual core network. The results of the pilots are very promising and we have many customers waiting for the new network,” said Ove Fredheim, Head of Telenor Norway’s corporate division.
“Today there are over 1.2 million things connected to Telenor’s mobile networks, and on 1 October we open a new nationwide network for things in Norway’s largest 4G network. By 2020, we estimate that there will be more things than people connected to Telenor’s network,” he added.
In September 2017, Telenor Norway had signed an agreement with Wireless Trondheim to open an IoT center.
The IoT ProtoLab will focus on next generation Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies and applications. The facility is expected to be opened in the first months of 2018.
To support the piloting and testing of IoT services in Trondheim, Wireless Trondheim has enabled a city-wide IoT testbed. Wireless Trondheim will be responsible for the setup and the daily operation of the IoT ProtoLab,