China Mobile invests $300m in IoT push

China Mobile invests $ 300m in IoT push

The world’s largest telco by subscriber numbers, China Mobile, is set to subsidize IoT equipment manufacturers.

Telecoms operator China Mobile is to plough £300 million into subsidizing IoT makers as part of a push to build one of the largest IoT networks in the world.

According to a report in China Daily, half of the money will finance companies making NB-IoT modules, the rest will go to 4G IoT module makers, said Li Yue, president of China Mobile.

The subsidy should make IoT devices cheaper and increase adoption, said Li at the company’s global partners’ conference in Guangzhou, China.

The plan is to increase the country’s total IoT connections to over 320 million. It also aims to create the world’s largest NB-IoT network, covering 346 cities by the end of 2018.

“Narrowband IoT is the latest IoT battlefield that global telecom carriers are scrambling for so they can establish a beachhead,” Xiang Ligang, chief executive of telecom industry website Cctime, told China Daily.

Read more: Ecommerce giant Alibaba opens ‘China’s smartest warehouse’

China 5G IoT test

According to a report published in May, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has urged NB-IoT’s commercial use in industrial IoT and urban public services. It also supports smart factories and the internet of vehicles.

The newspaper also reported that China Mobile had carried out the world’s first end-to-end 5G New Radio technology test in collaboration with ZTE and Qualcomm and is moving closer to commercialization of the technology. The test used ZTE’s 5G NR pre-commercial base stations and Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G NR UE prototype.

The interoperability test was based on the 5G New Radio specifications under development by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). It was carried out at China Mobile’s 5G Joint Innovation Center. The test also looked at 5G in a car, a drone, and a submarine. It also tested 5G wireless access and virtual reality cloud gaming.

Read more: Ericsson and China Telecom launch open IoT platform

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Telit Certifies NB-IoT Modules with Global Mobile Interoperability Regulator, Global Certification Forum (GCF)

Telit Certifies NB-IoT Modules with Global Mobile Interoperability Regulator, Global Certification Forum (GCF)

Telit Certifies NB-IoT Modules with Global Mobile Interoperability Regulator, Global Certification Forum (GCF)

Telit, today announced that its single-mode, NE866B1-E1 and NL865B1-E1 modules for European and Chinese markets, received LTE Category NB1 (NB-IoT) GCF certification upon conclusion of extensive laboratory and field testing under multiple networks by two of Europe’s largest mobile operators.

GCF certification is voluntary and means that IoT integrators and providers looking to deploy cellular-connected devices are assured modules will inter-operate across the vast landscape of mobile networks worldwide. The modules are also on final stages of Radio Equipment Directive (RED) and China Compulsory Commission (CCC) certifications, mandatory for deployment in European and Chinese markets respectively.

“This certification is a testament to Telit’s commitment to quality in a market increasingly crowded with low-cost, high-risk modules,” said Yosi Fait, Interim CEO, Telit.

“The NE866B1 and NL865B1 are the first modules in the market to undergo the full breadth of testing and evaluations under the now-mature guidelines and specifications for NB-IoT interoperability by GCF.”

“They were evaluated in labs and field trials under different major networks in Germany, Spain and UK. NB-IoT is in such demand in Europe and China that the ecosystem has been pushing through products and approvals somewhat ahead of full maturity just to meet this demand. We are pleased to be the first to deliver modules that are full standard and interoperability compliant. Eliminating unnecessary technology risk for our customers is a major part of our mission, particularly as commodity products continue to flow into developed markets like Europe and China.”

The dual-band NE866B1-E1 and NL865B1-E1 modules, for use in Europe and China, are ideal for new space constrained products and also to extend the life of existing xE866 and xL865-powered devices in market with the extended longevity of the LTE Cat NB1 standard. Typical application areas well suited for the compact modules include smart buildings and cities, smart agriculture, waste collection, healthcare and remote monitoring including smart meters in the utilities sector. When used as an upgrade for existing applications designed in 2G, 3G, or LTE Cat 1, the target device can be NB-IoT revitalized with little to no redesign impact.

Summary:

  • NE866B1-E1 and NL865B1-E1 modules are among the first to comply with GCF’s new NB-IoT certification guidelines recently ratified by global mobile network operators.
  • The two LTE Category NB1 modules are the first to pass lab and field testing under four networks by two of Europe’s largest mobile operators.
  • Voluntary GCF certification ensures cellular devices operate across mobile networks around the world.

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Crunchfish aims to make mobile payments swimmingly easy

Crunchfish mobile payments swimmingly easy

Crunchfish is on a mission to make mobile payments as simple as holding a mobile phone next to a card reader. 

The trouble with mobile payments today is that, for many customers, they’re just too much bother, according to Joachim Samuelsson, executive chairman at augmented reality (AR) specialist Crunchfish.

“You have to do too much fiddling with your phone: unlocking the phone, finding the right app, logging in, perhaps starting the camera to scan a QR code. It’s hardly worth it. No wonder people prefer just to use a tried-and-tested plastic card.”

Crunchfish mobile payments swimmingly easy

Joachim Samuelsson of Crunchfish

In other words, mobile payment interactions are just too clunky. There are some efforts to get around the problem, but these fall short in other ways, he says. With an Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay, there is a certain degree of streamlining, because close integration with the phone’s operating system means that it’s not necessary to go into a dedicated app – but if you’re a merchant, you’ve got to decide on which customer groups you’re going to focus your efforts. It’s just not inclusive or universal enough.

“A merchant generally wants to take payments from every customer, regardless of what kind of mobile device they have,” says Samuelsson.

Read more: Bank of America, FitPay partner to speed up wearable payments

Simpler than a plastic card

What’s needed for mobile payments to truly take off, then, is a universal solution that is even easier than that so-simple plastic card – and Samuelsson says that Crunchfish’s patented physical m-commerce technology has the potential to disrupt the payment ecosystem in this respect.

In other words, Crunchfish’s technology kicks off a payment by holding any phone next to any payment card reader. That, says Samuelsson, will open the doors not only to faster, safer, simpler and more flexible payments but also to new models of in-store service delivery, integration of loyalty programs and handling of coupons.

That’s not just marketing hype, either. Crunchfish’s technology is already in use at Malmö Arena, one of the largest and most modern entertainment venues in Sweden. It has chosen the m-Commerce app Pej, with patented proximity technology from Crunchfish, as its preferred solution for handling ordering and payments from visitors.

This means that spectators can place orders via the Pej app – for refreshments, for example – while they’re enjoying an event. When an interval rolls around, they line up at kiosks and staff are automatically notified of their presence by beacon technology, so that they can start assembling their orders.

As soon as those refreshments are delivered into the hands of hungry spectators, payment can be made by a simple tap of the mobile phone at the service terminal. And, that, says Samuelsson, is a big bonus to arena visitors and employees alike, given that Malmo Arena can seat up to 12,600 visitors for a show, who typically make huge volumes of purchases in very short intervals during performances.

Read more: IBM gets into bed on mobile with fintech Dream Payments

Technology showcase

“This is a showcase for our technology – but in this digitized world, I’m really optimistic that we can put our solution out there very quickly,” says Samuelsson.

“With our technology, it’s about one interaction to make a payment – holding a phone next to a card reader and that kicks off the whole payment process. If it’s a small amount, that’s all you need to do, like a contactless phone. For a larger amount, you could enter your pincode on the card reader or acknowledge the payment on your phone,” he explains.

“Either way, the interaction is far simpler, far faster – faster even than taking your credit card out of your wallet or purse, because let’s face it, when you’re standing in line to pay, you’re usually looking at your phone anyway. It’s right there, in your hand, ready for you to kick off that payment with a simple action of holding it close to the card reader.”


Joachim Samuelsson of Crunchfish will be a keynote speaker at our Internet of Banking and Payments event, to be held at Canary Wharf in London on 21-23 November 2017.

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IoT sends demand for mobile skills soaring, say recruitment experts

IoT sends demand for mobile skills soaring, say recruitment experts

The rise of connected technologies is sending demand for mobile technology skills soaring in the UK, a report published this week claims.

However, as more businesses implement IoT technologies, so-called “citizen developers” could play a part in helping to transform the market, according to the Tech Cities Job Watch report from recruitment company Experis.

Released on a quarterly basis, the report monitors IT jobs posted in five technology disciplines (big data, cloud, IT security, mobile and web development) across ten major UK cities.

These are: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Read more: IoT held back by skills gap, say a third of execs

Demand for mobile soars

The highlight finding of the report is that, over the past year, demand for permanent IT staff boasting mobile skills has grown by 39 percent. There’s also been a 26 percent rise in contractor roles.

Mobile roles topped the rankings of the five primary disciplines for the first time in the report’s history. accounting for 28 percent of all technology jobs posted in the third quarter of 2017.

Despite growth here, the report found that the rise in demand fluctuations isn’t matched by a corresponding rise in remuneration. In other words, while the number of permanent and contractor roles advertised for mobile skills grew significantly, salaries failed to keep in pace with inflation. Permanent salaries grew by just 1 percent, and day rates by 2 percent.

Other areas of technology showed similar patterns. There were only modest salary rises in permanent big data roles (1 percent) and cloud computing roles (1 percent).  

Meanwhile, web development fared slightly better, despite a drop in demand for these roles. Permanent salaries in the discipline saw a rise of 2 percent, respectively. Remuneration in IT security, on the other hand, fell by 3 per cent.

Read more: How can organizations close the IoT skills gap?

Emerging disconnect

Martin Ewings, director of specialist markets at Experis UK & Ireland, said: “Despite the growth in app development across the tech industry, the results show an apparent disconnect between increasing demand for these roles and the salaries they command.”

“We’ve seen an explosion in the Internet of Things (IoT) in recent years, with multiple industries experimenting with new mobile and web applications. Both disciplines play an integral role in innovation within organisations, as developers continue to build and experiment with this connectivity.

“But the results from this research tell us that companies are taking a new approach to tackling the technology skills crisis they are facing in this area.”

He added: “While hiring additional permanent and contractor mobile skills to tackle IoT remains a priority, businesses are also looking to upskill from within the business and outside the IT team through citizen developers.

“On this basis, businesses should aim to foster a culture of learnability, upskilling and transferable skills within their organisation. The pace of change is such that specialisms in technology can quickly become obsolete.”

Read more: IT managers fear shortage of IoT skills, report says

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GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative Helping Operators Target European Connected Energy Market

GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative Helping Operators Target European Connected Energy Market

GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative Helping Operators Target European Connected Energy Market

New Figures Highlight Huge Potential in Smart Energy Sector for Mobile Operators Deploying Mobile IoT Networks; Mobile IoT Networks Supporting Utilities Applications Globally.

The GSMA today announced that mobile operators deploying new Mobile IoT networks will be able to benefit from the European connected energy market estimated to be worth USD$ 26 billion by 20261.

Data shared by analyst house Machina Research highlights the huge growth opportunity in the emerging connected energy market that could connect approximately 158 million new smart meters on LPWA networks across Europe. The total number of connections in Europe could be further increased if the 60 million cellular connections are also included with LPWA.

“The Internet of Things is fundamentally disrupting the smart utility market by providing ubiquitous connectivity and real-time, actionable data. Mobile IoT networks will take this further by offering energy providers a cost-effective solution to connect millions of smart meters,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “There is a real sense of momentum behind the roll-out of Mobile IoT networks with multiple global launches, however, there is still a huge runway for growth. We encourage operators to act now to capitalise on this clear market opportunity and further accelerate the development of the IoT.”

The current connected energy market, which includes applications related to the generation and transportation of energy, microgeneration, smart grid and distribution monitoring and smart metering, is worth an estimated USD$ 11.7 billion. The European connected energy market represents approximately 21 per cent of all global revenues, with APAC claiming 54 per cent and the Americas 21 per cent. The European Commission recently published a proposal indicating that approximately 200 million electricity smart meters and 45 million gas meters will be rolled out by 2020. The Commission also estimates that by 2020, approximately 72 per cent of Europeans customers will have a smart meter for electricity and about 40 per cent for gas2.

“In the coming years we will see an important change in the way natural gas networks operate. The need for more efficient operations, improved safety and better quality of service will be paramount and we can do this through the roll-out of smart gas metering systems, commented Gianfranco De Feo, Executive Director, Shanghai Fiorentini Ltd

“We are moving towards the digitalisation of gas networks, a transformation from “pipe-centric” systems to “data-centric” systems. To make this happen, reliable communication means are a must and the arrival of NB-IoT and LTE-M represents an acceleration of this evolution. These new technologies offer everything necessary, such as long battery life, penetration and data security, as well as licensed spectrum.”

Mobile IoT Networks Supporting Growth of Connected Energy

Mobile IoT networks are designed to support mass-market IoT applications across a wide variety of use cases including connected energy solutions such as water and gas metering, smart grids, electricity and energy monitoring. They support IoT applications that are low-cost, use low data rates, require long battery lives and often operate in remote and hard to reach locations making them ideal for the connected energy sector. Mobile networks are already supporting the smart electric metering market, but now other sectors such as water and gas metering are turning their attention to the benefits of adopting NB-IoT and LTE-M networks due to low power and better ground penetration.

In Europe, Deutsche Telekom has already deployed NB-IoT networks for smart metering and smart lighting solutions in several locations in The Netherlands, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Vodafone is also working on a number of initiatives including a water metering project in Valencia using NB-IoT. Globally, AT&T is working with Capstone Metering in the U.S to monitor water usage using LTE-M. In Asia Pacific, the largest global market for smart metering applications, China Mobile is piloting NB-IoT for water quality monitoring across several locations, while China Unicom is using NB-IoT to collect readings from energy and water meters and is working with an energy company, SoftGrid on a smart cities project3.

Mobile IoT Momentum

There are currently 21 commercial Mobile IoT networks available around the world from 14 operators, including AT&T, Telstra and Verizon (LTE-M), as well as 3 Hong Kong, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT, LG Uplus, M1 and Vodafone (NB-IoT). Etisalat and Turkcell have launched both NB-IoT and LTE-M.

For further information on the Mobile IoT Initiative, visit www.gsma.com/iot/mobile-iot-initiative/.
1 Machina Research 2017. The figure refers to the total potential revenue available to all companies in the connected energy ecosystem.
2 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52016PC0864R(01)&from=EN
3 https://machinaresearch.com/report/connected-energy-smart-meter-rollouts-are-driven-by-government-policy-decisions/

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