Nokia, Vodafone and Telit have announced that they are collaborating to expand the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem using Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) technology.
According to Nokia, the firm has deployed a fully integrated NB-IoT system at Vodafone's 'Open Lab' in Germany, using its radio access network and elements from its Cloud Packet Core solution.
The system leverages IoT technology from Telit and is intended to be used by device manufacturers and application developers during trials of innovative products and solutions to expand the IoT ecosystem.
In a trial during Vodafone's recent Innovation Day event, Nokia and Telit used the technology to demonstrate how NB-IoT will meet the connectivity needs of devices. They used an Intel chipset integrated in a NB-IoT module, which was embedded in a Shitek technology ultrasonic gas meter.
The system connected with a meter to transmit data on gas flow over a 4G Vodafone test network, demonstrating how NB-IoT technology can be used to manage an integrated network comprised of components from multiple vendors.
NB-IoT is set to optimise 4G networks to meet the demands of billions of connected devices, as is forecast for the coming years. It will enable wider coverage indoors and outdoors. For example, it will allow radio signals to reach further inside buildings like 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.
Luke Ibbetson, head of research and development and technology strategy for Vodafone and chair of the GSM Association NB-IoT Forum, said: "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.”
Roberto Loiola, global customer business team head at Nokia, added: "The low power attributes and reach of NB-IoT make it an ideal technology to connect the Internet of Things. The trial with Telit showed how NB-IoT is perfectly suited to manage a network comprised of devices and sensors from multiple vendors.”