The Mobile IoT Labs Pioneering Next Generation LPWA solutions

January 30, 2018

Last month, Huawei released its NB-IoT Commercial Premier Use Case Library, detailing some of the uses to which Mobile IoT has been put to date.  The global picture is increasingly encouraging: businesses large and small are now operating a wide range of deployments between consumers, governments, and each another across the world.  Assets from bicycles to livestock, services from parking to utilities, and commercial activities from tracking to logistics – all are becoming increasingly smart thanks to ongoing innovation using Low Power, Wide Area networks in licensed spectrum.

Users in cities across four continents can now find a shared bicycle to use via their phone, and park it for the next user without the need for a docking station, thanks to a connected locking and detection mechanism enabled by Mobile IoT. The advantages to convenience, traffic and pollution in those cities have already been considerable, and the popularity of the schemes is increasing all the time. A new generation of smart white goods has negated the drawbacks of initial models – which suffered from complex configurations, limited coverage and poor mobility – by using Mobile IoT to allow remote configurations and achieve far greater signal penetration.

In the U.S., AT&T recently announced plans to launch the AT&T LTE-M Button, which connects to AT&T’s nationwide LTE-M cellular network to simplify tasks such as ordering office or hospital supplies. The LTE-M Button helps businesses scale by eliminating the need to provision devices on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

LTE-M is sparking innovation and connecting things never thought possible. Last year, the San Francisco-based start-up Revolution11 won the championship in the AT&T Hackathon at Mobile World Congress Americas 2017. They created a smart manhole cover solution, which notifies the user when it is opened, with sensors to track and convey information on what is contained below it. The solution utilizes AT&T’s IoT Starter Kit (LTE-M).

Across Europe, Asia and the Americas, Mobile IoT is helping utilities industries to provide remote usage readings in real time from even the hardest-to-reach locations, with dramatically positive implications for accuracy and running costs for all concerned.

A crucial component in the development of such innovations is collaboration across the ecosystem.  Innovators’ work is made faster and more effective when they can see what their peers are doing, how they are doing it, and when solutions to common problems can be aired and honed.  To facilitate this cooperation, the GSMA has produced an interactive map showing all Mobile IoT Open Labs around the world, where operators, developers, manufacturers, vendors and others can meet to consider works in progress, and discuss the challenges ahead.  Viewers of the map can determine at a glance where each Lab is, who runs it, which Mobile IoT technologies and bands it supports, and to whom the Lab is open.

What is Mobile IoT Open Lab?

Mobile operators and network equipment vendors generally set up Open IoT Labs to help IoT service providers (such as smart energy, smart parking, smart lighting companies, among many others) to test their device prototypes, fine-tune their IoT services, and provide technical support in preparation for commercial deployments. The labs generally give access to specialised teams of experts and to laboratory equipment able to provide measurements and logs. In most cases, Open IoT Labs facilitate close interactions between network equipment vendors and mobile operators with partners including IoT platform vendors supporting managed connectivity, device management and data presentation services, chipset and module vendors, IoT device manufacturers, vertical partners and system integrators.

The number of global Open IoT Labs continues to grow

Mobile IoT labs are an increasingly popular way to aid work in growing the Internet of Things. Russia’s first IoT Lab was opened last month by MTS in Moscow, showcasing solutions in smart homeware, smart city infrastructure, smart utilities and connected security systems based on NB-IoT. “Our Lab serves not only as a showroom for MTS IoT products in action, but also as a real laboratory to rise tomorrow’s IoT products,” explain the organisers. “It is designed to provide our partners and device manufacturers wishing to accelerate development of connected devices with access to our facilities at no cost. They can bring their early stage projects or solutions to our Lab for testing, and receiving first-hand operational experience. MTS IoT experts are also available in the Lab for support.” Moscow’s was the 29th Mobile IoT Open Lab, with recent European launches also in Vienna and Milan; four additional Labs based on LTE-M have also been opened by AT&T in the United States, at AT&T Foundry locations in Georgia and Texas and the AT&T Device Radio Lab in Texas, taking the total to 33.  Greater awareness of these forums can only accelerate development of Mobile IoT solutions, and bring the enormous commercial opportunities they offer closer to hand.  We recommend them highly.

 More information on the impact of the Open IoT Labs

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