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“This launch is important for the digitalisation of Norway and will make IoT accessible to all. Rather than building and operating separate networks for Internet of Things communication, companies and municipalities can now focus their efforts on developing better digital services. IoT over 4G has superior coverage, is more secure than unlicensed networks and is easy to use,” says Ove Fredheim, CMO Business at Telenor Norway.
NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is the name of the new technology that facilitates the connection of millions of everyday appliances, like waste bins and power meters, all over the country. With NB-IoT, Telenor’s existing 4G network will be well suited for IoT communication.
“The challenge with current technology is that digital meters and sensors do not have sufficient battery capacity to continuously submit real-time information over extended periods of time. In addition, dedicated and proprietary network used by sensors today often have patchy or unreliable coverage. NB-IoT is far more energy efficient and uses a fraction of the bandwidth compared to regular 4G communication. This means that sensors and meters will have coverage even in areas where it might be tricky to make a phone call. A water meter installed in a pipe or drain, or a parking sensor placed in the basement of car park, can now be connected to the network,” says Ove Fredheim.
From tracking cages to Smart Agriculture
Telenor is already working closely with several Norwegian businesses that are ready to start using the new network. Several of them demonstrated their products in connection with the launch of IoT over 4G at the Smart City fair at Nordic Edge Expo in Stavanger.
Alexander Haneng, Senior Vice President Digital Innovation at Posten and Bring, a Nordic postal and logistics group, explains that they see great potential in IoT over 4G. They have already run a pilot project that tracked 100 parcel cages:
”We see a great potential in the Internet of Things. Posten currently has 22,000 specially designed parcel cages used to transport packages from post terminals to postal counters in stores and post offices. With our current distribution system these parcel cages tend to pile up in the wrong terminal. By using IoT over 4G, we can now track these parcel cages. This hasn’t been possible previously because we have lacked full coverage.”
Agdir, a smart farming startup based in Arendal, Norway, was also present at the launch of the new network. They want to use the new network to make agricultural enterprises more efficient for Norwegian farmers by means of sensor technology.
”By installing a sensor in the ground, the farmer gets access to real-time data on their mobile notifying them if they need to water or fertilise the soil. Thanks to IoT over 4G, the sensors will now have a far longer battery life and good coverage. We are looking forward to testing our product nationwide,” says André Skoog Bondevik, CEO of Agdir.
Facts about Narrow-Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT)
- NB-IoT is a new communications technology that makes it possible for ”things” to communicate via the existing 4G network.
- The network is designed to connect objects to Internet that are placed in locations where it previously has been too expensive to provide a connection.
- The sensors used are affordable to produce and have a long battery life – almost 10 years.
- This will make it possible to connect “things” to the Internet where it previously not have been profitable or practical to do so due to challenges linked to power supply and coverage.
- The trade body GSMA estimates that 5.5 billion “things” will be connected to the new technological standard by 2021.