M1 Limited, a Singaporean telecoms company, and Nokia claim to have completed Singapore’s first narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) demo.
The demo, which took place at M1’s labs last week, aimed to highlight the potential commercial applications for NB-IoT. It marks a significant step in the companies’ mission to deploy a nationwide NB-IoT network in Singapore in 2017.
A tale of two (NB-IoT) demos
To showcase the narrowband IoT opportunity, M1 and Nokia said they carried out two demonstrations. The first demo – a simulated environmental monitoring telemetry service – supposedly showcased how NB-IoT could be used to connect millions of sensors and aid Singapore’s bid to become a ‘Smart Nation‘.
The demo featured a remote room temperature and humidity sensor application, which collected and shared data from the sensor via NB-IoT connectivity.
The second illustration was apparently all about the benefits of the low latency provided by 5G networks. It involved three robots with 5G connectivity, which supposedly demonstrated the industrial automation use cases enabled by 5G’s potentially near zero latency (less than 1ms) and bandwidth scalability.
The robots performed tasks that showed viewers what intelligent, real-time, responsive automated production could do to minimize manufacturing errors and reduce material waste.
A route to ‘innovative IoT applications’
Narrowband IoT is an industrial grade Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network layer that has been standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), and specifically designed for the Internet of Things (IoT).
It is thought to provide better network coverage for machine-to-machine communications as it supports more connections and lowers power consumption.
For Denis Seek, chief technical officer at M1, the successful demo “provides compelling examples of how NB-IoT can support new and innovative IoT applications to drive business productivity and enhance our quality of life, and accelerate Singapore’s journey to becoming a Smart Nation.”
In exclusive comments emailed to Internet of Business, Tom Rebbeck, research director, digital economy, at Analysys Mason, suggested the deal was a good win for Nokia, given Huawei has typically been the supplier in previous NB-IoT demos.
“It is also interesting that M1 is the first of the established operators in Singapore to announce NB-IoT, or any sort of LPWA (low-power wide-area) network,” he said. “It is a dynamic move from a small operator that may force the larger operators to act.”
“The challenge for M1, and for others building NB-IoT networks, is about getting the word out and getting developers playing with this technology. Most IoT developers have never worked with telecoms operators and have only limited understanding of what NB-IoT is and what it can do. A big job for operators is now to market the technology and get it in the hands of developers.”