China’s plans to create a modern day version of the ancient Silk Road are set to include an IoT network, according to Actility.
Yesterday, the low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) specialist announced that the Xi’an Beilin District Science and Technology Bureau and Shaanxi Radio and Television Network Group have signed an agreement with ThingPark China – a collaborative initiative between Foxconn and Actility to provide end-to-end IoT services to the Chinese market – to launch the network on the ‘New Silk Road’.
The initiative is part of President Xi’s $100 billion Belt and Road program, which aims to create a modern day version of the trade routes that made up the ancient Silk Road, to drive commerce, connectivity and cooperation between nations.
The Belt and Road program, which was first announced as the “Silk Road Economic Belt” in September 2013, has re-branded and expanded, and now aims to increase trade and stimulate growth across Asia. President Xi hopes to achieve this by building infrastructure that connects China to the rest of the world, meaning IoT connectivity will be an integral part of the initiative.
Start small, build investment
The first stage of this IoT network will be on a somewhat smaller scale, however. The companies hope to leverage some of the already present science and technology rich resources in the Beilin District of the country to launch a test network. The aim is to deploy Actility’s ThingPark platform to build a low-power network that spans the 23 square kilometers in the District, Xi’an, the historic starting point of the Silk Road.
The companies say the network will be tailored to meet the district’s business needs, but its immediate benefit will come from an environmental monitoring data platform. As the platform collects, uploads and analyzes environmental data within the administrative area, Actility suggests that this information will dramatically increase work efficiency and improve scientific decision-making in the region.
The companies also hope that by demonstrating the benefits of this industrial innovation platform, they will be able to encourage investment in the region and provide a compelling case for high tech enterprises to open-up in the city.
Actility on the march
“China is a vital market for IoT, and with the launch of this network we’re looking forward to driving even more innovation and efficiency, and transforming more cities, workplaces and lives,” added Mike Mulica, CEO, Actility.
“The partnership with Xi’an Beilin District Science and Technology Bureau and Shaanxi Radio and Television Network Group enables us to bring our extensive expertise, gained from deploying LPWA networks all over the world, to the historic and culturally significant city of Xi’an, and support growth and development in the region.
“This network in Xi’an is the first step towards a global-scale cargo tracking and monitoring solution, which will make the New Silk road the standard-bearer of the coming revolution in world-wide trade, powered by the IoT.”
As Internet of Business noted in an interview with Mulica earlier this year, with projects in Sweden, the Middle East, Rwanda and New Zealand already announced in 2017, and a series D funding round closure of $75m, Actility is a company on the move. That the company is marching on into China is just another indication that Mulica truly means to take Actility “where our customers ask us to go.”