In September, Telenor expanded its 4G network to cover the Internet of Things (IoT), which has enabled ‘things’ to communicate via Telenor’s existing mobile network. Today, the network is being strengthened thanks to a new communication technology: LTE-M. Telenor has already signed contracts with several companies who will use the new technology, including Oss Norge and Flowbird.
“We have had a long succession of companies approaching us wanting to use IoT on 4G. Optimising our existing 4G network for the Internet of Things opens up a plethora of opportunities. It’s exciting to be able to offer and discover specific solutions to real challenges,” says Ove Fredheim, CMO Business at Telenor Norway.
Providing insights into one’s electricity consumption
The new communication technology means that objects are able to send more data quicker, even in places with less coverage. The tech company Oss is one of the first companies to make use of this new technology. They have developed a tag, which thanks to LTE-M is able to provide its users with an overview of- and insight into their own electricity use.
“Before the end of 2018, every Norwegian household will have received a new smart electricity meter. These electricity meters will collect large volumes of data about your electricity use, which will be sent to the power companies. The Oss tag provides you with easy access to this data so that you, the consumer, can also track what uses the most electricity in your own home. The tag is connected to the fusebox and sends the data to the Oss app, which interprets and translates the information so that it is easy to understand. LTE-M ensures we have rapid data transfers and that the tag is always online, even if it is located in the basement or somewhere else with poor coverage,” says Janne Blaasvær, Marketing Manager at Oss.
The technology is currently being rolled out to the first 500 test users, and 100,000 tags (or more) are scheduled to be delivered over the next three years.
Norway is first up
Another company that is ready to start using LTE-M is the French firm, Flowbird. Their supply parking meters can measure air pollution and noise, provide statistics about the traffic situation, and help motorists to find and pay for parking spaces via an app. “Thanks to Telenor’s new IoT network, we are finally able to test our product and service properly. The first tests are taking place in Norway before we roll out in multiple countries,” says Egon Bjune, CEO of Flowbird Norway.
Different technologies for different purposes
The new mobile network for the Internet of Things consists of two new communication technologies: NarrowBand IoT and LTE-M. NarrowBand IoT provides excellent, penetrating coverage and is ideal for things that run on batteries and only occasionally send data via the network. This means the battery lifetime can last up to 10 years. LTE-M has several qualities in common, but can send more data quicker, making it well-suited to sensors that are in motion or that send data more frequently.
“As the market leader in IoT in Norway, it’s crucial to us that we remain ahead of our customers’ needs. It is particularly gratifying to be the first operator in the Nordic region to offer a full, nationwide network for the Internet of Things, covering more than 99 per cent of the population and up to 81 per cent of the land area. We currently have approximately 1.3 million devices connected to 2G and 3G. In the long-term, these will all transition to LTE-M, says Ove Fredheim, CMO Business at Telenor Norway.
Facts: Oss Norge ASOss has developed a new technology that enables information from your new, automated electricity meter to be easily made available to you. The Oss tags help you to retrieve information from the electricity meter, and the Oss app translates and interprets this data for you. Both the hardware and software were developed and are produced domestically in Norway.Flowbird ASThe Cale group was established in 1955, and is currently part of Flowbird following its merger with French firm Parkeon in 2018. Flowbird produces and supplies its own smart city parking meters, mobile applications, and electronic parking solutions with cameras to gather statistics about city centre traffic. All parking meters have a top hat/measuring station for meters that measure NOX/CO2/noise. Flowbird offers its own app that helps motorists to find empty parking space, and also enables them to reserve a space in parking garages. Payment is made via Vipps in combination with a dedicated payment app.LTE-M
- LTE-M stands for Long Term Evolution-Machines and is a new communication technology suitable for use with sensors that are more active and need extended battery life and/or stronger coverage.
- LTE-M is similar to NB-IoT, but offers higher speeds and facilitates bigger data packages than NB-IoT. LTE-M supports SMS, and will also eventually support VoLTE.
- The technology is well suited to tracking people and objects, security alarms and payment terminals, etc. LTE-M is expected to replace many current 3G (2020) and 2G sensors (2025).
- Narrowband-IoT is a communication technology that is customised for sensors that make few and small data transfers that require a long battery lifetime and expanded, penetrating coverage.
- The maximum recommended amount of data is 250kB per month of 5MB per year. Lower speeds with longer battery life and better penetrating coverage than LTE-M.
- The technology opens up the potential for millions of everyday items such as bins, electricity meters and fire alarms to be connected to the Internet.