HPE, Tata to build ‘world’s largest’ IoT network in India
HPE will work with Tata Communications on an IoT LoRA network
HPE will work with Tata Communications on an IoT LoRA network Image credit: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

HPE, Tata to build ‘world’s largest’ IoT network in India

Information technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) will work with global telecoms business Tata Communications to support the roll-out of what the partners claim is the world’s largest IoT network.

Tata had revealed plans for India’s first LoRaWAN (LoRA) based network last year. The first phase of the roll-out targets Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 cities in India. Alongside trials in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, there are also 35 proof-of-concept applications on trial on the network.

Building on that announcement at Mobile World Congress 2017, Tata said that HPE’s Universal IoT Platform will be used to connect devices and applications over the LoRa network in smart buildings, campuses, utilities, fleet management, security and healthcare services in nearly 2,000 communities, with the technology affecting up to 400 million people.

The HPE Universal IoT Platform will be used to support long-range, low-power connectivity deployments and devices that use cellular, radio, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

“We are creating a cohesive, resilient and highly secure network to deploy IoT applications in India. We are excited to be partnering with HPE in this project as this platform is critical to amalgamating all the complex variables in enabling a truly digital India,” said Anthony Bartolo, president of mobility, IoT and collaboration services at Tata Communications.

Related: AT&T signs deals to develop smart city capabilities in Ireland and beyond

LoRa networks are becoming an increasingly popular choice for cities or countries that want to be able to exploit the Internet of Things. Earlier this year, Digital Jersey teamed up with telecoms company JT to build Jersey’s first LoRa Wide Area Network in a bid to attract IoT start-ups to the area. Earlier this week, managed service provider Pinacal Solutions announced that it was deploying a LoRaWAN-based IoT network across the Welsh city of Newport. These follow similar announcements across the world – there have been LoRa network deployments in Ireland, Scotland, South Korea, France, the US and the Netherlands.

However, despite the popularity of LoRaWAN, Ian Hughes, analyst of IoT at IT advisory organization 451 Research, suggested that there is no ‘one size fits all’ choice when it comes to deploying an IoT network.

“There is no one size fits all, nor one winning protocol – both LoRaWAN and SIGFOX are seeing some early-mover advantage, but the standardization of Narrowband IoT brings similar function to existing telecoms installations, so the choice is muddied over time to market and risk tolerance choices,” he said.

Hughes wasn’t surprised by Tata’s selection of HPE over a smaller partner for this particular project.

“SMEs may have an advantage in the early proof of concept projects but [the larger companies] offer a single point of contact and program management pulling in the many parts required for IoT roll-outs,” he said.

“The connectivity for IoT is important, but the conversation is moving up the stack to business outcomes, with an understanding that there is often more than one way for data to be gathered and transported,” he added.

Related: Actility and Inmarsat deliver global LoRaWAN network