Chinese telecommunications and networking giant Huawei is now working with Spanish telco Telefonica on a new IoT laboratory.
Dubbed the Open IoT Lab, this multi-location co-working space is specifically designed to focus on the the development of products and applications related to Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology.
The Open LAB will have a permanent showroom in Telefonica´s headquarters in Madrid and a second space at Telefonica’s R&D center in Chile.
Narrowband IoT (often written as NB-IoT) is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) radio technology standard that has been developed to enable a wide range of devices and services to be connected using cellular telecommunications bands.
In less technical terms, NB-IoT works well for IoT devices that require small amounts of data over long periods and so are capable of existing on low power supplies. NB-IoT devices almost always exist ‘indoors’, or at least in defined spaces where network coverage parameters can be accurately tracked. NB-IoT is a two-way communication technology and can work well in products such as energy or water meters.
The NB-IoT Open Lab hopes to welcome equipment vendors, service providers, end-user OEM device makers and application developers.
The CEO of Telefonica’s I+D Centre is Hernán Orellana. Airing his views on the opening of the new lab, Orellana has claimed that this work will put Chile “at the forefront of technology” and added that his organization is “already recognized in the industry” as a key player in NB-IoT.
The Chile R&D Centre is in fact a joint initiative between Telefónica and the Chilean government. The lab organizers will now start organising events such as ‘plug-fests’ (events focused on software plug-in development, presumably), collaborative design and testing, tutorial sessions and co-development programmes for start-ups.
Telefonica and Huawei have already jointly deployed the first field NB-IoT smart metering service in Chile during 2016.
“Telefonica NB-IoT Open Lab is an IoT space that aims at building a complete ecosystem of partners, manufacturers, technicians, developers and designers to bring the best solutions to market around Mobile IoT networks. Chile NB-IoT Open Lab will accelerate the development of IoT commercial solutions and ensure they are supported by a broad ecosystem,” said Vicente Muñoz, chief IoT officer at Telefonica.
Huawei marketing and solutions department president Patrick Zhang has returned the pleasantries, by saying that his company is proud to be partnering with Telefonica in the creation of the NB-IoT Open Lab.
“The NB-IoT Open Lab will strengthen the strategic cooperation between Huawei and Telefonica on technology innovation and eco-system maturation relating to NB-IoT. Huawei will work closely with Telefónica to launch the NB-IoT Open Lab for the continuous technology evolution and acceleration of the commercial deployment,” said Zhang.
Huawei has already worked with Vodafone since 2016 to establish another Open IoT Lab. These facilities exist to provide pre-integration testing environments software application developers and OEMs. Huawei has initially said that it plans to open seven such centers around the world.