Telia is developing NB IoT solutions in partnership with dozens of other technology companies. Building a partner network helps us to provide our customers with the most diverse repertoire of IoT solutions on the market.
Commercial applications built around the NB IoT network are rapidly becoming more common in Finland and around the world. Launched in March 2018, the new network enables significantly longer battery life for devices connected to the Internet. Best practices in utilising the new technology are spreading in the ecosystem of companies in the sector.
“When we encounter companies that are particularly well-versed in a specific branch of technology or industry, we aim to add them to our network. Together with our partners, we are able to provide our customers with better services and instantly hear about best industry practices,” says Marko Lepola, Head of Commercial Product Management, Enterprise and Public IoT, Telia.
Founded in 2015, Unseen Technologies is one of Telia's partners. The company offers a variety of NB IoT solutions to its customers. According to the company’s CEO, Esa Alanen, the threshold for exchanging know-how between Telia and Unseen Technologies is low.
“The NB IoT technology is so new that every now and again, we come face-to-face with challenges that are too tricky without help from the outside. On many occasions, we have turned to Telia’s experts, and they have always been quick to help us out. It is a two-way street.”
New location service opportunities
Another one of Telia’s NB IoT partners, Yepzon, specialises in location services and products. Telia provides SIM cards for Yepzon devices and manages connections. Since early 2018, Telia has also been able to provide its customers with Yepzon’s devices and software integrated into Telia’s own solutions.
According to Heidi Rantala, the Marketing Director of the Tampere company founded in 2013, NB IoT enables Yepzon to use ever more versatile sensors in its devices.
“Combining temperature, humidity or other data with the location data introduces brand new business opportunities. For example, NB IoT makes it possible to monitor the functionality of a logistics chain more accurately than before.”
Yepzon’s Product Development Manager Juha Ritala explains that the difference between NB IoT and the 2G network previously used for locating is vast.
“Lower energy consumption enables us to reduce the size of the devices or extend the battery life. We can make our devices work underground and in other environments that require a stronger signal.”
Data can also be sent to tracking devices from the surrounding area via Bluetooth. This makes it possible to connect different types of mobile devices to the NB IoT network.
“When it comes to products and services built on NB IoT, the only limit is our imagination. We can combine location data with light, radiation or gas concentration measurements. We are constantly finding new industrial applications,” says Ritala.
Who stole the beehive?
The most common applications for Yepzon’s tracking devices are pets and people. Parents like to know the whereabouts of their children. On the other hand, children want to know where their aging parents are. Tracking devices allow them to make sure that their loved ones are safe. The second most common use for location services is to track companies’ mobile equipment.
Juha Ritala from Yepzon explains that tracking devices have also been used for far more surprising purposes. For example, parachutists have installed locators in their main parachutes, which land in random places if the jumper is forced to use a backup parachute. The locator makes it quick to find out where the main parachute has been carried by the wind. Positioning technology can also be used to solve challenges associated with growing bees.
“One of our customers is a Greek bee grower who is frustrated with beehives getting stolen all the time. They are planning to use our locators to keep the hive thieves in check,” says Ritala.