In Finland, NB-IoT data transfer technology is used in smart postboxes. Internationally, the technology is used to increase the safety of hiking in the wilderness and to improve the functionality of water supply systems.
NB-IoT operates in a very narrow LTE frequency band and has been developed to transfer small amounts of data, such as measurement results. The devices are not connected to the base stations at all times; instead, they only create a connection when they are sending measurement data. This improves battery life considerably, and a larger number of devices can be connected to the network. In addition, the signal permeates obstacles better than before.
In March 2018, Telia became the first operator in Finland to expand NB-IoT technology into its LTE network. NB-IoT has also been put rapidly into use in other parts of the world.
Find a parking space faster than ever before
When IoT sensors are used to automatically provide information about parking space availability,
drivers will find a parking space more easily than ever before, and utilisation rates will improve.
In a pilot project carried out by the City of San Francisco, nearly 20,000 parking spaces were connected to the network. As a result, revenues generated by parking spaces increased by 1.9 million dollars, and the time required for finding a space decreased by 43 per cent. In addition, emissions into the air decreased, as people spent less time driving around looking for a parking space.
Smart water pipes predict faults
The NB-IoT network can be used extensively to make industrial processes more efficient and optimise the use of existing infrastructure. Operators in Spain, Chile and China have connected water pipes to the Internet to improve water supply companies’ operations. When indicators report any deviations and the network knows how to respond, companies’ productivity improves and faults can be detected and located proactively.
Intelligent vests monitor hikers’ heart rates
In a pilot project in South Korea, hikers are provided with safety vests connected to the network. The vests monitor the hikers’ heart rates and body temperatures and automatically report any dangerous situations to the authorities. The pilot is intended to study whether NB-IoT is a sufficiently reliable and energy-efficient platform for safety solutions in areas where mobile network reach is a challenge.
Smart collars for sheep
Sheep roam free on the fells of Norway in the summer. This freedom comes with a price: every now and then, a sheep wanders away from the others, and it may take as many as ten people to find it. This is about to change.
In a pilot project carried out by Telia in cooperation with Nortrace, a local start-up, sheep are wearing smart collars that enable them to be located. This means less work for the sheep farmers and more freedom for the sheep.
An insightful postbox
In Finland, the NB-IoT network is being used by Posti and Oulun Energia, among other companies. Posti has introduced smart postboxes that indicate when they need emptying, and Oulun Energia is studying and monitoring the state of the district heating network.
“A nationwide NB-IoT network offers incredible opportunities in various business areas,” says Timo Hietalahti, Head of Network Architecture and Development at Telia.
Text: Tomi Eklund