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Vodafone the first to unveil a live Internet of Things demo test using the NB-IoT technology in the Czech Republic

24. October 2016

Vodafone and Huawei attracted a lot of professional attention at the IoT Forum 2016 with their first NB-IoT demo test in the Czech market. The test, one of the first sof its kind anywhere in the world, connected IoT modules using the NB-IoT (narrow band Internet of Things) technology. In addition to a transmitter, Vodafone also needed to prepare special IoT modules that were incorporated in a 3D model of a town under parking spaces. The test then used remote control toy cars and a web application to demonstrate how drivers in the future will be able to find, book and pay for parking using the NB-IoT technology. At the same occasion, Vodafone, also presented its IoT projects implemented in other countries as well as IoT solutions already used by customers in the Czech market including car fleet management or remote control and monitoring of various devices and machines.

Vodafone’s global network is already being used to connect 41 million devices to the Internet of Things and each month nearly a million new devices are added. The launch of NB-IoT will significantly boost the development and growth of this field. With this in view, Vodafone needs to deploy new software in its network in order to be ready to test NB-IoT in selected portion of its network in spring 2017. The first countries that will test the benefits of the Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) standard in live commercial operation at the beginning of 2017 will include Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain. More countries will join them at the end of 2017 In the Czech Republic, Vodafone will run commercial tests with selected customers early next year. A country-wide coverage plan will be prepared based on the results of this pilot run.

NB-IoT is an evolution of the existing infrastructure and will allow millions of everyday devices to connect to the Internet of Things. It was developed by international mobile operators, module and IT solution providers as well as manufacturers of end devices. Among the factors in favour of a large-scale rollout of this technology is its compatibility with 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) standards and the fact that more than 20 leading global mobile providers who together serve over 90 of the IoT market have already endorsed the NB-IoT standard.

The NB-IoT technology is based on Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) standards and thanks to its low energy requirements and great penetration characteristics it offers a great chance of a wide-spread use of IoT. It enables solutions for the industry (including energy, automotive, engineering, agriculture, etc.), healthcare and smart city projects as well as applications for everyday life (monitoring and security for homes, vehicles, pets, etc.). The biggest advantages of NB-IoT include excellent signal penetration through obstacles, which means that signal can reach even basement areas and underground parking spaces. The technology is also operated on a licensed frequency for reliable and safe communication and boasts roaming options, low energy consumption by end devices (batteries last 10-15 years) and low price of end devices.