Displaying items by tag: Nokia
Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia have taken a significant step towards the creation of an IoT ecosystem in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the successful trial of NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) technology at a live site in Mina area of Makkah Province.
"This Saudi-first IoT trial in a live network again shows our strong commitment to bring new services to make people's lives more comfortable and productive,” said Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer, Zain Saudi Arabia. “It has been a fruitful, decade-long journey with our longtime partner Nokia in transforming telecom services in Saudi Arabia, and now this successful joint trial accelerates our initiatives in building smart cities across the Kingdom including Riyadh and Jeddah."
In the trial - which used smart metering as a potential use case - NB-IoT was applied to communicate temperature, humidity and air pressure from a remote location via a Nokia LTE base station at 900 MHz, demonstrating the role NB-IoT could play in applications such as smart metering for electricity departments, smart parking and smart waste management. The trial follows the MoU signed by Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia to collaborate on 5G and IoT development.
"This trial is the first step in utilizing Zain's country-wide LTE network assets to create a cost-efficient IoT ecosystem and introduce new services,” said Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia customer team at Nokia. “NB-IoT will help connect numerous devices, opening revenue opportunities in many verticals including transport, manufacturing, healthcare, energy, agriculture and home appliances."
NB-IoT is a 3GPP Release 13 radio access technology designed to enable connectivity to IoT devices. The technology works in almost any environment, with its strong coverage capability connecting devices in hard-to-reach locations and its use of existing mobile networks allowing for the transfer of small data packets securely and reliably. In addition, with NB-IoT's very low power consumption, device battery life can last about 10 years.
In the NB-IoT trial, data was transferred using Nokia's LTE radio platform Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station and Nokia's professional services expertise, including system integration, network implementation, and care services.
Zain KSA and Nokia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April 2016 to collaborate on a major initiative that will transform Jeddah into a model for smart cities in the country and worldwide by 2018.
The US Territory of Puerto Rico was recently hit by the strongest storm in almost 90 years. Knocking out the island’s electricity grid, 90 percent of cell phone sites stopped working, according to the US Federal Communications Commission. The recent string of monster storms in North America has drawn attention to the importance of critical communications and promoting public safety.
In the space of two months (August and September 2017), the southern United States and Caribbean region were slammed by three mega storms: Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and the most recent Hurricane Maria. Harvey caused at least 75 confirmed deaths; 1 in Guyana, and 74 in the US. As of September 27, Irma caused at least 124 deaths; while as of October 1 Maria caused at least 68 deaths.
Still recovering from Irma two weeks prior, approximately 80,000 people in Puerto Rico were left without power after Maria hit. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) had struggled with increasing debt, reaching $9 billion even before the hurricanes, prompting them to file for bankruptcy. The island’s aging infrastructure left it vulnerable to damage from the storms. Consequently, mobile coverage was cut off.
When Maria finally subsided, in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, cars were reportedly pulling up on the side of roads with occupants emerging holding their cell phones up in the air in search of network coverage. For miles, cell phones displayed a frustrating “No Service” message. This is in stark contrast to the US states of Texas and Florida that had cell service restored almost completely in storm-affected areas a week after Harvey and Irma hit.
The aftermath of the storms has drawn fresh attention to the importance of critical communications. Following the storms, the United States Federal Communications Commission urged Apple to activate the FM (frequency modulation) chips that are in iPhones to promote public safety.
Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released a statement applauding those companies that have “done the right thing” by activating FM chips in their phones in light of natural disasters hammering the country. “In recent years, I have repeatedly called on the wireless industry to activate the FM chips that are already installed in almost all smartphones in the United States,” said Mr. Pai.
He highlighted the importance of FM chips during natural disasters. When wireless networks go down during a disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow people to get vital access to important information without an internet connection. “Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so,” said Mr. Pai. “But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.”
According to the FCC, 89.3 percent of cell sites were out of service after Maria. All counties in Puerto Rico, except San Juan, had greater than 75 percent of their cell sites out of service. 29 out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico had 100 percent of their cell sites out of service. On the US Virgin Islands, 69.8 percent of cell sites were out of service.
Since there were widespread power outages in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the FCC received reports that large percentages of consumers were left without either cable services or wireline service (one company reported that 100 percent of its consumers were left out of service due to lack of commercial power).
In one of the few places that had connectivity on Puerto Rico, the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, tourists reportedly overwhelmed the lobby to use the working cell service and Wi-Fi to connect with the outside world. With a cell phone penetration rate of nearly 100 percent, according to government data, Puerto Ricans have been heavily impacted by the lack of network services on the island.
Confidence in connectivity
Puerto Rico has five main mobile operators: AT&T, T-Mobile, Claro, Sprint and Open Mobile. Connectivity provided by operators is the backbone of relief efforts today. AT&T and Sprint both dispatched teams to restore coverage to the island. The companies also waived certain fees for customers to establish a way for people to contact their families and friends.
The electric grid fallout presented one of the biggest challenges to restoring connectivity to the island. “Power is essential to restoring wireless and wireline communications. Given the breadth of power outages across the islands, we’re deploying portable generators as quickly as allowed,” AT&T said.
Social media giant Facebook also pledged support for Puerto Rico. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced $1.5 million in aid to organizations assisting in the island’s recovery from Maria, together with direct assistance from Facebook’s connectivity team in an effort to get people back online. The company also said it would donate Facebook ad space to share critical information with Puerto Rican users.
Facebook’s connectivity team previously came under the spotlight for ambitious technology initiatives like the Aquila drone, a high-altitude solar-powered aircraft designed to connect remote areas to the internet. Facebook is pushing forward with the Aquila program's progress to help bring the world closer together through connectivity.
“Communication is critical during a disaster,” Zuckerberg said in a post after Hurricane Maria. “With 90 percent of cell towers on the island [Puerto Rico] out of service, people can't get in touch with their loved ones -- and it's harder for rescue workers to coordinate relief efforts.”
Recovery efforts have suffered in Puerto Rico as a result of its cell network outage. Utilizing social media proved immensely effective after fallout from Harvey in Texas, as people could publish posts that were quickly relayed to rescuers. Due to the lack of connectivity on Puerto Rico, in some remote areas people resorted to painting “Help” signs on roads and buildings, hoping that relief efforts would reach them.
The public safety community has long called for mobile broadband to support its mission to save lives. With the adoption of LTE mobile broadband technology, public safety networks can benefit from the advantages of fast and reliable broadband data and real-time video services, opening up new communications possibilities for rescue missions and disaster recovery situations.
In an effort to make mission-critical mobile broadband a reality, Nokia, for example, has a dedicated comprehensive technology and services portfolio called ViTrust. The portfolio includes rapidly deployable solutions for emergency and disaster recovery situations to establish coverage in remote areas, among other features.
The Finnish company recently expanded the portfolio with new services to help first responders take advantage of reliable and secure high-performance applications on their public safety devices. The services provide trouble-free continuity of operations for public safety agencies across a multi-vendor, multi-technology mission critical communications environment.
‘Care for public safety’, for instance, is a service Nokia introduced to ensure that the most demanding communications needs to public safety organizations are fulfilled. The company says it ensures that new network functionality and services interworking with multivendor LTE networks are available from day one.
One European operator is already using this service and seeing the benefits of reduced operational downtime risks, according to Nokia, with service levels stabilizing faster than before and fulfilling public safety requirements.
“The success of moving to broadband-based critical communications requires deep technological and operational expertise,” said Asad Rizvi, head of Nokia's global business development in Global Services. “Nokia has both, from our long history of working with agencies to our global service expertise in broadband.”
The public safety LTE market is expected to be valued at US$3,091.3 million by 2023, according to new market research published by MarketsandMarkets, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 25.7 percent from US$782.9 million in 2017. The factors that are driving the growth of this market, according to the report, are the rising demand for unmanned operations and remote surveillances, and elimination of connectivity issues between networks.
Nokia and Jordanian telecom operator Orange Jordan are deploying a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network that will bring new ultra-broadband access and triple-play services to thousands of homes and businesses across Jordan besides Orange Jordan's existing ADSL (Asymmetric digital subscriber line) technology.
Using a combination of Nokia's GPON (gigabit passive optical network) technology, fixed network professional services, as well as Nokia Applications and Analytics advanced network and device management software, Orange Jordan will be able to quickly deliver over 200Mbps services needed to meet surging demand for high-speed residential and commercial services.
“We needed to quickly deploy a FTTH network that would provide the end-to-end capabilities we required to support our customers' evolving ultra-broadband needs,” said Orange Jordan CEO Jérôme Hénique. “Nokia's credibility along with its innovations and expertise in fiber technology were strongly considered during the selection process for the current phase of technical deployment.”
Today, broadband penetration in Jordan is predominantly wireless-based. Only five percent of the population accesses the internet via a fixed connection, a fraction of the six million total broadband subscribers, according to 2017 report concerning ICT in Jordan.
However, as demand for e-services, e-commerce, e-health, and e-education services grows across the Kingdom, the Jordanian government is focused on enhancing its fixed access infrastructure to ensure higher speed internet access is more broadly available.
As the first operator to launch a FTTH service in 2016, Orange Jordan is applying its global expertise to initiate and maintain digital transformation in the Kingdom. These ambitions are in line with the Orange Group's five-year corporate strategy, Essentials 2020, which focuses on connecting people to all that is essential to them.
“Today, we have successfully enabled Fiber connectivity for more than 30,000 homes-and are now focused on fiberizing the rest of the network, which is expected to be up and running by the end of 2017,” said Mr. Hénique. “This is all in effort of confirming Orange Jordan's position as the strongest provider of high-speed internet and the leading provider of the most powerful telecommunications services.”
Utilizing Nokia's GPON FTTH technology, Orange Jordan will be able to deliver enhanced services to new customers as well as extend the service to subscribers already served by the existing ADSL-based network. With the use of the Nokia Network Analyzer, Home Device Manager, and Home Care solutions, Orange Jordan will be able to proactively manage the GPON network and communication devices in customers' homes.
"We are pleased to continue our long-term collaboration with Orange Jordan and support its FTTH project, from infrastructure deployment to homes connected,” said Jean-Francois Pigeon, head of the Orange Customer Team for Middle East & Africa at Nokia.
“As a leading provider of GPON technology and associated services, we have the software tools, expertise and experience to cost-effectively address the various deployment needs of Orange in Jordan, addressing its network deployment needs and Quality of Experience challenge today and in the future.”
Nokia said will help Indian telecom provider Idea Cellular meet ever-increasing bandwidth demand by deploying Nokia's 1830 Photonic Services Switch (PSS) based Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) solution.
The optical transport network solution will be implemented across fiber-constrained geographies on the Idea network in India. Once the technology is deployed, Idea will be able to provide high-bandwidth services to its subscribers.
"With the roll-out of Idea's pan-India wireless broadband network in the last one year, we have witnessed massive data growth leading to high bandwidth demand,” said Anil Tandan, Chief Technology Officer, at Idea Cellular. “We have a long standing partnership with Nokia and we are confident that Nokia will bring the same expertise and commitment in deploying optical network as it does in Radio, Core and IP domains.”
Nokia's 1830 Photonic Services Switch allows service providers to extend reach by providing a cost-effective alternative to expensive fiber. The solution will be strategically deployed in fast-growing areas to allow Idea to offer high-bandwidth services to its subscribers without worrying about the added load on the network.
Nokia WDM helps in creating a new access layer, is easily scalable and ensures optimized power consumption and space utilization. The new transport network will also be able to support the increased demand in the future.
“Through a combination of new operator offerings, aggressive data plans and continued mass adoption of smartphones, India has witnessed unprecedented data usage growth since the beginning of 2017,” said Nitin Dahiya, Head of Customer Team - Idea, at Nokia. “We are delighted to be working with Idea to deploy an optical transport network that will help address the high-bandwidth data demands of its customers.”
Nokia is to completely modernize the nationwide LTE network for Ukkoverkot, the Finnish private network operator offering wireless data communications services for infrastructure operators, the industrial IoT market, public safety authorities, the maritime industry and both residents and enterprises in remote areas.
The new network will be powered by Nokia's leading LTE solution, which provides superior network quality, capacity, security and reliability required for such specialized use cases.
"Ukkoverkot is totally focused on serving our customers, for whom connectivity means the world,” said Mikko Uusitalo, CEO of Ukkoverkot. “The agreement with Nokia enables us to roll out the most advanced public protection, IoT and campus network functions as they are available. The agreement with Finavia to develop their airport infrastructure on Nokia technology is clear testimony to the potential we have."
Founded in 2014, Ukkoverkot operates its own LTE-based mobile data network and a number of local private LTE networks, offering fast connections using the 450 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum bands.
Ukkoverkot's low-frequency nationwide network is largely reserved for the use of its industrial and public safety customers, which helps ensure exceptional network stability and reliability, while its high frequency network is reserved for private micro-operator networks. As a pure broadband operator, Ukkoverkot's network exclusively carries data services.
Starting in Q4 2017, Nokia will upgrade Ukkoverkot's older-generation network technology to Nokia's state-of-the-art LTE-based solution, which significantly improves network performance. This enables Ukkoverkot's customers in industrial IoT settings to capitalize on opportunities related to new Industry 4.0. applications, while critical communications and public safety operators can benefit from ultra-reliable, high-bandwidth services supporting all standardized public safety features.
Due to better propagation characteristics, low-band spectrum can provide a larger coverage area than high-band spectrum, which makes Nokia's 450 MHz LTE network solution ideal for delivering services in sparsely populated areas such as the Nordic countries.
This agreement highlights Nokia's growing momentum around the delivery of critical communications networks for customers outside of the traditional communications service provider market. Large industrial and public sector organizations are seeking robust, reliable and highly resilient networks to support services on which - in some cases - lives depend, and Nokia's solutions are ideally suited to addressing this challenge.
"With their LTE network based on Nokia's wide portfolio of technologies, Ukkoverkot brings the benefits of broadband data to the reach of new customer segments such as the industrial IoT market and public safety authorities,” said Thorsten Robrecht, head of Advanced Mobile Network Solutions at Nokia. “We are proud to team up with Ukkoverkot in its network modernization to ensure these customers can benefit from first-class network quality, and to prepare them for the services enabled by future 5G networks."
MegaFon, one of Russia’s leading telecom providers, posted positive results for Q2 2017, with revenue up 13.9 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) to reach RUB 89,689 million. OIBDA increased by 15.8 percent y-o-y to reach RUB 34,236 million. The company has denied recent press speculation regarding the possible resignation of its CEO Sergey Soldatenkov.
In an effort to reassure its shareholders, MegaFon said recent reports and media speculation published in Russian business daily Vedomosti on the possible resignation of the company’s CEO are inaccurate. Sergey Soldatenkov has the “full support” of the board of directors, the company said in a press release, who have been “encouraged by a number of improvements in performance.”
“Shareholders are satisfied with the company’s development and support the management and specifically Mr. Sergey Soldatenkov,” said Mr. Streshinsky, Chairman of the Board of Directors at MegaFon. “Competent implementation by the company’s management of the new strategy made it possible to turn around negative sector trends in 2Q 2017, and the situation in the company’s business and on the market has shown the first signs of improvement.”
According to the press release, the Board of Directors is looking forward to Mr. Soldatenkov “leading the company forward in implementation of its 2020 development strategy.” In May, MegaFon announced a new strategy for its development over the next three years, to transform from a traditional telecom operator into an integrated digital services provider.
In terms of financials, Mr. Soldatenkov said the company has “reached a turning point where we see signs of recovery in our overall mobile revenue which has been declining during the previous quarters.” Mobile data and VAS services were the strongest revenue drivers, he said, as customers “continue to recognize the high quality of our 4G/LTE network.” MegaFon is also focused on increasing efficiency and improving margins, he added.
In August, MegaFon became one of the first operators in Europe to launch a commercial Gigabit LTE network in partnership with Nokia. The peak data download speed reached 979 Mbps using Nokia Air Scale. The test was conducted using Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium smartphone, using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which was the first commercial mobile device in Europe which supports Gigabit LTE.
Nokia Flexi Multiradio modules were used as the base station, which are equipped in most of the sites of the Moscow MegaFon branches, and the Nokia AirScale system module is already in place in order to support the path to 5G.
The demonstration, according to Nokia’s vice president, Eastern Europe, Demetrio Russo, was “another important step towards the launch of MegaFon’s 5G network.”
Russo noted that Nokia was “excited by the cooperation involved in this project, the successful implementation of which will make it possible for MegaFon to offer its subscribers a unique experience of using modern broadband services during the transition to 5G.”
In June, during the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, together with Huawei, MegaFon demonstrated the operation of a 5G network at 35Gbps, achieving what was then the absolute record in Russia for mobile internet speed.
South Korean telecom provider SK Telecom and Nokia have successfully reduced latency between handset and base station to 2 milliseconds over SK Telecom’s network, the company announced on September 4.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) states that technologies designed for 5G need to deliver a peak rate of up to 20Gbps under ultra-low latency of 1 millisecond. Therefore, with the successful demonstration, SK Telecom moves closer to realizing 5G.
The latency between the handset and base station in the existing LTE environment is around 25 milliseconds, according to SK Telecom. While the round-trip latency of 25 milliseconds can support two-way communication services like remote learning, it is not low enough to seamlessly provide services that require real-time transmission of data such as autonomous driving and telemedicine.
Against this backdrop, the newly developed 2 millisecond latency technology is expected to facilitate the development of diverse real-time services – e.g. autonomous driving, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) services – which will become widespread in the 5G era.
For instance, with a latency of 25 milliseconds, upon sending a stop signal to a self-driving vehicle running at 150 kilometers per hour, the vehicle travels about one meter further before it actually begins to decelerate. However, with the 2 millisecond latency technology, the vehicle moves only 8 centimeters before it begins to slow down, which will significantly enhance the overall safety in autonomous driving.
Moreover, the low latency communication technology can support services that require real-time monitoring of remote sites and control of equipment such as disaster relief robot, and will also contribute to the growth of next-generation media services like 360° VR.
SK Telecom and Nokia dramatically reduced the latency between LTE handset and base station by applying Uplink Pre-Scheduling, a technology that enables the handset to immediately transmit data to the base station, and short Transmission Time Interval (TTI), a technology that reduces data transmission time between base station and handset to about 1/7. The companies will continue to work together to reflect the short TTI technology to the 3GPP global standards.
“Low latency technology is essential in realizing 5G services such as autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and virtual reality services,” said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center of SK Telecom. “We will continue to improve our low latency technologies to achieve 5G evolution, while applying the latest technologies to our LTE networks to further enhance customer experience.”
Saudi Arabia receives around 1.75 million pilgrims from around the world for the annual Islamic Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca. Making necessary arrangements each year for the growing number of pilgrims poses a logistic challenge for the government, as well as telecom providers striving to cater to the dense crowds. The solution, according to reports, has been the implementation of smart connectivity.
Hajj pilgrim numbers have steadily increased in recent years which have led to numerous accidents and deaths due to overcrowding. In 2015, a stampede resulted in 769 deaths and injuries to 934 others, according to Saudi authorities. The Associated Press totaled at least 1,470 fatalities from official reports from other countries, making it the most deadly Hajj incident to date.
But the Hajj is a major revenue driver for Saudi Arabia, raking in around $8.5 billion in 2014. It’s the kingdom’s highest source of revenue after oil and gas, and the country is expected to depend more on the event as oil and gas sales decline. Saudi Vision 2030 is Saudi Arabia’s plan to reduce its dependence on oil by diversifying its economy and developing service sectors.
Introducing more connectivity and smart solutions, it seems, has made the Hajj pilgrimage a lot safer the past two years in Saudi Arabia, and a much more seamless experience for those involved. In 2016, for example, Saudi authorities issued electronic bracelets to pilgrims containing personal and medical information to assist authorities caring for and identifying people, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The water-resistant bracelets, developed by British security firm G4S, are connected to GPS and contain crucial information such as passport numbers and addresses, and also useful information to worshippers, such as timings of prayers, and a multi-lingual help desk to guide non-Arabic speakers around the event. The high-tech measure, G4S said, would help Saudi authorities provide care “and identify people.”
Wearable technology company Daira Tech also pledged its services to make Hajj and Umrah “safer and simpler” by developing its own connected bracelet called ‘Hajj Guider’, which provides tracking, voice communications and an emergency/panic button. The company’s smartphone app allows users to navigate offline, setup groups, track friends and family, and create custom geo fences.
Since the 1950s, Saudi Arabia has spent over $100 billion to increase pilgrimage facilities, according to the Encyclopedia of Islam. The government has addressed and improved major issues such as housing transportation, sanitation and healthcare, with the result that pilgrims now enjoy modern facilities and perform rites at ease.
Saudi authorities reportedly installed more than 800 surveillance cameras at the Grand Mosque in Mecca linked to control rooms staffed by Special Forces monitoring pilgrim movements during Hajj rituals to ensure maximum safety and security.
Live crowd analytics software has also been implemented by authorities, which is not only able to spot incidents happening in crowds, but can also predict where overcrowding is likely to happen. Authorities can analyze live data that feeds into an operations room. The software, developed by London-based CrowdVision, provides real-time feedback on crowd numbers, densities, and so on.
“Crowds can be dangerous places. Whether triggered by factions within the crowd, by natural disasters or misguided crowd managers, there is a long history of crushes, stampedes and failed evacuations," said CrowdVision co-founder Fiona Strens. "[The software] spots patterns of crowd behavior that indicate potential danger such as high densities, pressure, turbulence, stop-and-go waves and other anomalies.”
Improved telecom services
Busy public events like Hajj create challenges not only for government, but also for telecom operators, as many people attempt to access mobile networks at the same time. Saudi Arabia’s telecom providers, in response to the growing number of Hajj pilgrims, have stepped up their game for the event by providing premium connectivity for all.
Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the kingdom’s largest telecom provider, increased Wi-Fi coverage in Mecca and Holy sites this year to prepare for the Hajj pilgrimage. The increased coverage extends to tunnels, bridges, and a number of public utilities in Mina.
STC increased Wi-Fi by 206 percent compared to last year, it said. The increase enabled a high speed of data to flow to pilgrims and workforces. The company said it dedicated all of its technical and human capabilities “to serve pilgrims coming to the country.” STC even announced a special offer for the first time with "SAWA Ziyara" SIM cards, that were specialized for this year’s Hajj season.
Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecom provider, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), also made exceptional connectivity preparations to cater for the needs of Hajj pilgrims this year. The company said it increased data capacity by 50 percent through 4G in Holy areas to improve data services.
Mobily also provided over 1,300 Wi-Fi access points with a capacity of 2,080 MB per second in the Holy areas of Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah, it said. Additionally, the telecom provider set up more than 1,000 fixed and mobile communication towers in Mecca and other Holy places.
The company, partly owned by UAE’s Etisalat Group, recently signed an agreement to develop its mobile network in different regions around the Kingdom with Nokia, Huawei and Ericsson. The agreement comes in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and its objectives that focus on developing Saudi Arabia’s telecom and IT sector, said Eng. Ahmed Aboudoma, CEO of Mobily.
Mobily’s Chief Technology Officer and Head of Hajj Committee, Eng. Maziad Alharbi, said the company feels “honored to be one of the national companies working in serving pilgrims every year.”
Efforts to increase connectivity for Hajj have also been undertaken by Zain Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Zain Group, which announced in May this year that it had deployed Nokia’s Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform for the delivery of smart applications to subscribers heading to Mecca. The new solution enabled Zain subscribers to navigate crowded areas safely.
Zain Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Al Deghaither, Chief Technology Officer, said the company had invested in modernizing its network in the Hajj area. “The deployment of the Nokia MEC platform and two smart Hajj applications on this network is yet another milestone in our evolution toward building smart cities in the kingdom,” he said.
Following the successful trial during the 2016 Hajj, Nokia and Zain deployed the Nokia Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform together with Edge Video Orchestration over the network using both macro and small cell base stations to enhance the experience for Zain's subscribers.
The Nokia MEC platform allows applications to be hosted closer to the edge of the network, therefore closer to subscribers, to efficiently use network resources and open up new opportunities for the delivery of tailored services in high-traffic locations. By combining MEC with Edge Video Orchestration, video feeds can be efficiently broadcast to multiple subscribers' devices simultaneously with millisecond latency.
During Hajj, subscribers could download and use two site-specific applications over the MEC-enabled network, including ‘Zain People Finder’ which helps to easily navigate crowds and locate people; and the ‘Live Hajj’ app which allows users to view video streams from the Al Rahmah Mountain, to identify the best time of day to perform the 'flinging of the pebbles' ritual.
“We are pleased to work with Zain to provide the benefits of using MEC to deliver a differentiated experience at such an important event,” said Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia Customer Team at Nokia.
Nokia also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with STC this year to collaborate on the development of 5G and IoT use cases in Saudi Arabia. Under the terms of the MoU, Nokia and STC will carry out trials of technologies such as 4.5G Pro and 4.9G, key steps on the path to 5G to build the capacity and throughput speeds needed for new applications.
The collaboration will play an important role in STC’s digitalization transformation and its support of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision, which includes a strategic and comprehensive plan to develop the Hajj sector so as to allow the largest number of Muslims possible to attend.
Qualcomm has joined AT&T, Nokia, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec and Trustonic as part of the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance formed earlier this year. The purpose of the group is to collaborate and pool together collective capabilities and resources to tackle emerging security challenges in the Internet of Things (IoT).
With over 1.5 billion IoT devices shipped using its chips, Qualcomm brings to the Alliance expertise in comprehensive security solutions rooted on hardware, for a wide array of edge devices including wearables, voice and music, connected cameras, robotics and drones, home control and automation, home entertainment, and commercial and industrial IoT.
“Robust IoT security needs to be built into the silicon that powers edge devices. A solid IoT security approach requires a combination of hardware-based security features tightly integrated with the software, communication protocols, applications and the cloud,” said Seshu Madhavapeddy, vice president, product management, IoT, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
“We are pleased to work with other members of the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance to support the IoT ecosystem, sharing best practices that help to protect consumers and businesses adopting IoT technologies,” Seshu added.
The IoT Cybersecurity Alliance brings together leading security providers and IoT experts to research and raise awareness of best practices for securing the growing IoT ecosystem. The Alliance’s mission is to advise businesses and their customers as well as to educate the industry on the cybersecurity measures needed to help create a safer IoT ecosystem that fosters collaboration and advances technologically secure IoT innovation.
Alliance members are raising awareness around IoT security at the endpoint, network, cloud and application layer, using overarching threat analytics to study the IoT ecosystem. The Alliance advocates for an “always-on” security approach.
T-Mobile recently announced plans to roll-out its new 600MHz LTE network in the US, leveraging the massive haul of super-premium low-band spectrum the operator won in the government broadcast incentive auction concluded earlier this year. The announcement came just two months after the company received its spectrum licenses from the FCC.
The first of T-Mobile’s 600MHz LTE network sites were switched on in Cheyenne, Wyoming using Nokia equipment. Starting in rural America and other markets where the spectrum is clear of broadcasting, T-Mobile plans to deploy the new “super spectrum” at “record-shattering pace” – compressing what would usually be a two-year process from auction to consumer availability into a short six months.
The operator said additional 60MHz sites are slated for locations including Wyoming, Northwest Oregon, West Texas, Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, Western North Dakota, Maine, Coastal North Carolina, Central Pennsylvania, Central Virginia, and Eastern Washington. Those deployments and other network upgrades will help T-Mobile increase total LTE coverage from 315 million Americans today to 321 million by the year’s end, it predicts.
“Earlier this month, wireless customers coast to coast proved T-Mobile already delivers America’s best unlimited network. We swept the competition in OpenSignal’s report on all counts—a global industry first. And that was before we started lighting up the world’s first 600 MHz LTE network,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile.
To meet this aggressive timeline for getting this “super-spectrum” into customers’ hands, T-Mobile said it has been coordinating closely with infrastructure providers, chipset makers and device manufacturers to bring 600 MHz LTE to customers at breakneck speed. Nokia and Qualcomm have launched new technology, and both Samsung and LG plan to launch phones that tap into this new spectrum in the fourth quarter of this year.
T-Mobile is also working closely with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and broadcasters like PBS to clear the spectrum in record time, investing where necessary to preserve programming consumers care about while paving the way for new wireless coverage and competition for consumers.
“To work with T-Mobile in lighting up the world’s first 600 MHz LTE network is a momentous achievement,” said Rajeev Suri, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia. “We knew this spectrum would be key for covering wide areas, providing bandwidth in hard-to-reach places, augmenting capacity and improving data speeds, so we began testing and readying 600 MHz network infrastructure equipment and software long before the incentive auction was over.”