Displaying items by tag: Smart Cities

Cell carriers race to prepare UK for 5G launch

Written on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 12:12

Europe’s leading cell carrier, EE, is bringing 5g service to sixteen cities in 2019. London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast are expected to be the first to receive the mobile service in its initial rollout phase. They are to focus on high volume centers such as Heathrow airport, Edinburgh Waverly train station, Hyde Park and the Welsh Assembly.

Manchester and Birmingham are scheduled to follow later in the year.

There are also plans to bring 5G to an additional 10 cities, including Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol throughout 2019. EE intends to upgrade 1,500 sites that are responsible for 25% of the cell traffic. 

As part of its 5G plans, EE is launching 5G home broadband service, which looks set to bring high speeds to UK households via a specialized router and external antenna.

Other major European carriers such as Three UK and Vodafone are to also join them in launching mobile 5G.

Currently, none of the flagship phone models support 5G. However, cell manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, are working together to get ready for the transition.

Published in Telecom Operators

US city implements KT’s 1Gbps wireless technology

Written on Thursday, 05 October 2017 07:48

The first line of South Korean telecom provider KT’s innovative ‘GiGa Wire’ technology has been installed in the United States. The technology can get internet speeds of up to 1Gbps, with plain copper wire and without any fiber-optic cable. KT signed an MoU with the city of Boston, Massachusetts, in June, for the implementation of the new technology.

The technology has been available in Boston since September 18, according to KT CEO Hwang Chang-Gyu and Boston City CIO Jascha Franklin. It is the first case of a Korean company demonstrating Korea’s advanced communication technology in the USA, the company said, emphasizing the significance of the technology being supplied to Boston, a city steeped in American history.

The construction of the GiGa Wire in Boston is in line with the main policy pushed by the city, the Boston Digital Equity Project, aiming at bridging the digital gap. The GiGa Wire will also play an important role in solving a difficulty encountered by Boston, where it is difficult to improve network infrastructure due to the large number of historical buildings.

Boston has many buildings over 60 years old, making it difficult to set up in-building infrastructures and to improve the city’s network infrastructure. However, KT’s GiGa Wire technology solves this problem, thanks to its ability to improve the network environment of the existing buildings without doing any damage to them.

In collaboration with the Boston Digital Equity Project, the goal of this public-private partnership is to improve network infrastructure, providing high-speed internet to all, KT said. This plays into KT’s goal of creating a world where everyone has access to the internet without difficulty.

The GiGa Wire project pilot has started in Boston’s downtown and will cover approximately 130 households. Following this case study, KT’s various network technologies and smart solutions businesses are expected to rollout across the US, continuing with San Francisco.

“Without any additional construction, they were able to just switch the modem in my house, and now it feels like the internet is more than 10 times faster than it previously was,” commented Robin Jeffries who lives in Haynes House, one of the locations where the new GiGa Wire was set up.

“This Boston GiGa Wire project is an excellent example of what we can do to improve the American network infrastructure,” said KT CEO Chang-Gyu. “My hope is that this will contribute to the revitalization of the cooperation between South Korea and the USA in the IT industry. I hope that not just in America, but in all countries around the world, KT’s achievement will become a successful model of ICT technology.”

Published in Telecom Operators

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.

Published in Telecom Operators

Singtel pushes fibre adoption to support Smart Nation

Written on Monday, 02 October 2017 08:07

Singapore-based telecom provider Singtel announced that it will accelerate fibre-based service adoption for its business and residential customers. Currently, fibre-based networks deliver speeds of up to 100Gbps and provide the connectivity needed for Smart Nation envisioned by Singapore.

“We are pleased to make this technology adoption push in support of today’s digital economy and tomorrow’s connected Smart Nation,” said Mr. Wong Soon Nam, Vice President, Consumer Products, Consumer Singapore, Singtel.

Smart Nation, launched in 2014 by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is a government initiative introduced to harness ICT, networks and big data to create tech-enabled solutions. The initiative aims to develop people-centric solutions to address global urban challenges.

“Fibre-based networks today are capable of offering far greater speeds and supporting a much wider range of services than the prevailing copper-based networks,” Mr. Wong said. “Fibre also provides customers with a robust connectivity that supports unified business communication applications and smart home services.”

In line with this push, Singtel will cease copper deployment to commercial buildings that obtain Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) status from April 2018 and will serve customers in these buildings using fibre-based networks. Commercial buildings that obtain TOP status before April 2018 will not be affected. Singtel ceased copper deployment to new residential buildings since 2013.

Singtel will also progressively close copper-based ADSL that support broadband, TV, Digital Voice and private network services. This closure is scheduled to be completed by early 2018.

“Singtel will work closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure our customers will enjoy a smooth and fuss-free transition to the fibre network. We will also reach out to customers through various channels to make sure they are informed of the impending change and make available a range of affordable plans to cater to their varied communication needs,” added Mr Wong.

Published in Telecom Operators

Dutch telco KPN ranked world’s most sustainable

Written on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 12:43

Dutch telecommunications company KPN has been recognized as an “industry leader” in the telecommunications category of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The independent experts consider KPN the most sustainable telecom company in the world as it outranks all others in the index.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which was introduced in 1999, gives the sustainability scores of the world’s largest 2,500 publicly traded companies and is divided into sectors. The ranking is based on economic, societal and environmental performance.

KPN scored well for its climate policy, network reliability and innovation management, the figures show. A total of nine telecom companies have been included in the global index. The results were announced on September 7.

“KPN has a huge impact on society. That’s why we have for years focused on reducing CO2 emissions and have become climate-neutral in 2015,” said Eelco Blok, CEO of KPN. “We also help customers bring down their own CO2 emissions, and we seek to contribute to solving social challenges with the help of our services.”

Since 2012 KPN has been present in the global index, which for investors is an important benchmark in the domain of sustainability. Additionally, KPN has been named “industry leader” for the first time, even as competition for a listing in the DJSI index has increased and despite the fact that Dow Jones raises the bar every year so as to ensure that companies continue developing in terms of sustainability.

“The DJSI evaluation is a reflection of the progress we are making in embedding sustainability in our company,” said Blok. “We are proud of this recognition and we will continue to improve so as to make the most positive possible impact on society.

“Take for example the program we have launched to make our company circular and our long-term energy targets which have been scientifically ratified,” Blok added. “We are also making advances in the healthcare sector and looking to bring benefits to society through our SMART city initiatives.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Are you prepared to pay more for 5G?

Written on Sunday, 27 August 2017 08:13

5G won’t come cheap. In the United States alone, fiber infrastructure to prepare for the next-generation technology could cost up to $150 billion, according to Deloitte. But despite 5G’s hefty bill, a recent survey discovered that 75 percent of end-user organizations would be willing to pay more for 5G mobile capabilities.

The survey conducted by Gartner found that just 24 percent of respondents would be unwilling to fork out more to pay for 5G. 59 percent of respondents believe that 5G is a network evolution, while 37 percent perceive it as an enabler of digital business. The survey also found that respondents from the telecom sector are less persuaded than those in other industries that 5G will be a revenue enhancer.

The telecom industry tends to view 5G as a “matter of gradual and inevitable infrastructural change, rather than as an opportunity to generate new revenue,” said Sylvian Fabre, research director at Gartner. Telecom companies will be willing to pay a 5G premium for their internal use, he added, while end-user organizations in the manufacturing, services and government sectors, for example, are “less likely to be willing to pay a premium” for the technology.

There’s no doubt about it: 5G rollout will be expensive. Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom Group, says blanketing Europe with a 5G network will require investments of between €300 billion ($355 billion) and €500 billion ($558 billion). There’s also the issue of coping with the explosion of data that will come down the line in the next few years with the rapid introduction of Internet of things (IoT) devices.

In addition, revenue potential for 5G remains uncertain. Operators, for example, are not expecting to see much increase in mobile broadband revenues as a result of launching 5G, according to Bernard Bureau, CTO of Canada’s Telus Group. Speaking at 5G World in London this year, he said despite the high costs and uncertainty of return investment, it would be “foolish” not to use more efficient technology [5G].

For example, if your phone breaks, you’re most likely going to upgrade to a new model – not a model as old as the one that broke. But you also want to know how much that new model will cost. That’s the dilemma facing the telecom industry today – operators know that investing in 5G isn’t pointless, but there’s no guarantee that it will bring the returns they desire.

The strongest potential for 5G is IoT and ultra-reliable low latency, whereby everything – including connected cars, robot surgeons, and even fridges – will be connected via a 5G network, which will generate new streams of revenue. Smart cities and the evolution of IoT adoption will drive fast uptake of 5G, transforming the focus from a consumer-centric cellular coverage to more machine-centric communications, Deloitte predicts.

5G misunderstandings 

IoT communication stands out as the main use case for 5G in Gartner’s survey of respondents. The majority of respondents (57 percent) said their organization’s main intention is to use 5G to drive IoT communication. This finding is surprising, according to Gartner’s Mr. Fabre, as the number of connected ‘things’ won’t necessarily exceed the capacity of existing cellular IoT technologies before 2023 in most regions.

Even once fully implemented, 5G will suit “only a narrow subset of IoT use cases that require a combination of very high data rates and very low latency,” he said. “In addition, 5G won’t be ready to support massive machine-type communications, or ultra-reliable and low-latency communications, until early 2020.”

The study suggests there might be misunderstandings about 5G’s applicability, since there are “many proven and less expensive alternatives” that already exist today for IoT connectivity – use of Wi-Fi, ZigBee or Bluetooth, for example, would avoid the cost and complexity associated with cellular communications, the study says.

4.5G speeds and capacity, for instance, will likely be sufficient for most devices in the near future. Therefore, massive IoT communications could be difficult to sell today as a 5G use case, because the requirements are diverse and current solutions can do the job. Telecom consulting firm Analysys Mason suggests that while this ultra-high performance use case won’t be possible for quite some time, it’s the only use case that “exploits the unique capabilities of 5G performance.”

There also tends to be confusion about 5G’s rollout date: a large majority of respondents in the study (84 percent) believes that 5G will be widely available by 2020, whereas CSPs’ plans indicate that wide availability may not be achieved before 2022. What’s more, Gartner predicts that, by 2020, only 3 percent of the world’s network-owning mobile CSPs will have launched 5G networks commercially.

“Although standards-compliant commercial network equipment could be available by 2019, commercial rollouts of 5G networks and services by CSPs before 2019 are likely to use pre-standard equipment,” said Mr. Fabre. CSPs’ marketing organizations need “realistic roadmaps” for 5G coverage and typical performance, so that they communicate with customers accurately, he added. They also need to publish “clear 5G rollout plans for the years 2019 to 2021.”

Weighing up the risks

Many operators have already announced plans to launch 5G even though they have only recently deployed LTE-Advanced. In the GCC, Etisalat, Ooredoo and STC are eager to deploy the technology by 2020, particularly Etisalat, with Dubai’s Expo 2020 looming. But there are many unknowns to consider: for one, use cases haven’t yet been defined, standardization of 5G is progressing slowly, and regulators must allocate additional suitable spectrum.

In these circumstances, the deployment of 5G by 2020 is uncertain, even though 2020 is widely regarded as the target launch date in the Gulf region. Telecom operators will require the support of equipment vendors such as Huawei, Qualcomm and Nokia who are keen to use 5G to support them in maintaining leadership in mobile services, says Analysys Mason. Vendors have an opportunity to provide operators “the full suite of evolution technologies from LTE-A to 4G Pro and ultimately to full 5G services.”

5G is still in the early development stages, and standards for the technology are yet to be agreed upon by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). The ITU’s Radiocommunication sector (ITU-R) has set an expected schedule for 5G standardization process for 2019-2020. As such, 5G is expected to start rolling out globally sometime in 2020, with commercial launch dates expected at the beginning of 2021, Deloitte predicts.

5G will not only connect people but also machines, automobiles, and city infrastructure on a much grander scale. The leading players across the 5G value chain are today looking for use cases of the future to establish their investment plans. Rollout of the technology may be expensive and full of risks, but the bottom line is, 5G will bring the promise of energy efficient networks, speeds of up to 10Gbps and latencies of mere milliseconds.

Published in Reports

BT announced the launch of a new project with See.Sense, an innovative cycling company from Northern Ireland, to provide sensor-enabled and connected bike lights to up to 180 cyclists across Manchester as part of CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator.

The See.Sense light sensors, known as ICONs, connect via Bluetooth to an app on Android phones. The app will transmit anonymised data on the cyclist’s environment – such as the quality of the road surface, light levels, as well as cycling routes, collisions and near-miss events - back to BT’s Internet of Things (IoT) data hub.

Many thousands of IoT data feeds are collated by the BT hub and presented in a uniform way for innovators and city planners working with CityVerve. By acting as an information broker, the hub lowers the barrier to participation in the IoT ecosystem. Easy access to the data will help developers turn innovative ideas into applications in many areas, including planning ways to improve cycling infrastructure, and creating policies to promote cycling in the city.

See.Sense were crowned winners of a BT competition last year and received a £15,000 prize fund to help with their project. The award-winning lights are designed specifically to be daylight-visible, enhancing cyclist safety in all lighting conditions, while flashing brighter and faster in riskier situations such as round junctions and roundabouts. They were also recently voted ‘Best Bike Gadget’ by readers of road.cc, the UK’s biggest online cycling website.

Professor John Davies, Chief Researcher of Future Technologies at BT, said: “This is an exciting project to be working on with Manchester City Council and CityVerve. There are wide range of opportunities emerging from the real-time data collected from the lights and other sources stored in our platform, bringing valuable insights for the city’s infrastructure and policies, and helping develop a safer and better cycling experience for the people of Manchester.”

Irene McAleese, Co-founder of See.Sense, said: “This project is providing us with an opportunity to have a closed trial for data collection at scale, and show how our unique crowdsourced data can be used to reduce barriers to cycling, particularly around safety. Better data will help to make cycling more visible to policy makers, and allow cities to take adaptive, data-driven decisions. This will also provide the opportunity for improved integration of cycling into the city’s mobility plans.”

The app which tracks the lights is only available via Android phones. The trial will run from the 14th of August until the end of the CityVerve project, and the cyclists can keep using their lights at the end of the trial.

Published in Internet of Things

Alibaba and Macau join forces to implement smart city vision

Written on Thursday, 10 August 2017 11:47

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group will contribute its cloud computing capabilities to transform Macau, an autonomous region on the south coast of China, into one of Asia Pacific’s leading smart cities, South China Morning Post reported. Alibaba and Macau signed an agreement on Friday August 4.

The two parties will collaborate in upgrading Macau’s IT infrastructure, by leveraging the technologies of Alibaba Cloud, the group’s cloud computing arm. Improving the city’s IT infrastructure is expected to bring in more digital developments in tourism, transportation, healthcare, governance and talent development.

The partnership will bring various benefits to both residents and tourists in Macau, which will see Alibaba Cloud leverage its experience in deploying smart city projects across mainland China. The tech giant’s expertise in the field include using artificial intelligence to improve road management, air and water transportation, and also customizing guided tours based on data-driven analysis.

The Chinese autonomous region of Macau has built a reputation for gambling similar to Las Vegas in the United States. In fact, Macau is currently the world’s wealthiest gambling hub, with casino revenues topping 23 billion patacas (US$2.86 billion) in July 2017, official data indicates.

“Alibaba Cloud’s big data and deep learning technologies have been helping to build ‘city brains’ in China to help local governments effectively make management decisions,” said Simon Hu, senior vice president of Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Cloud.

In an interview with South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba, he said, “We are confident about making Macau’s transformation into a smart city a demonstration project across Asia-Pacific region.”

Alibaba’s partnership with Macau will span four years, with the first phase (2017 to 2019) focusing on cloud computing, smart transportation, smart tourism, smart healthcare, smart city governance, and talent acquisition. Training programs will be undertaken by Alibaba to increase Macau’s cloud computing and e-commerce professionals.

The partnership will mark Alibaba’s first smart city project outside mainland China. Macau chose to collaborate with Alibaba to foster the development of cloud computing and big data technologies, said a statement by O Lam, head of the region’s office of the chief executive, after observing how other cities have developed their own smart city visions.

“By leveraging the power of these technologies and connecting resources of different government departments, the project is expected to enhance the model of socio-economic operation in Macau, expediting the city’s transformation into a smart city,” O Lam said.

Alibaba has proven its smart city capabilities, particularly with Hangzhou City Brain, and artificial intelligence-enabled transportation management system, which has enabled traffic speed to increase 11 percent in the city’s Xiahshan district, where the project is being piloted.

Middle East organizations are adopting the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technology infrastructure to drive the wider region’s US$ 8 billion market, SAP said.

As the inter-connected Internet of Things era advances, Middle East organizations are forced to manage a vast network of connected devices, wearables, and physical objects – from cars to oil drills. Using machine-to-machine technology, organizations can provide a secure, usable infrastructure that shares machine and sensor data for actionable information in real-time.

In the Middle East and Africa, the Internet of Things spend is set to reach US$ 8 billion in 2017, according to a recent report by IDC. In particular, the highest-spending industry verticals include manufacturing and transportation, both at USD 1.3 billion, and utilities at USD 918 million.

“Every industry vertical in the Middle East is set to be transformed by the Internet of Things – from smart utilities predicting service outages, to healthcare providers predicting patient treatments,” said Gergi Abboud, Managing Director for the Gulf, Levant, North Africa, and Pakistan at SAP.

"The strength of an Internet of Things use case improves exponentially when you unleash the connectivity between all of the ‘things’ inside and outside of an enterprise across its supply chain. Hence, a secure Internet of Things platform on the cloud becomes vital for supporting next generation applications, which can scale up quickly and easily," added Abboud.

Showing the strong demand, 82 percent of organizations see the Internet of Things as “strategic” or “transformational” to their business, according to a recent survey by IDC.

In the Middle East, SAP is seeing strong demand for the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system. SAP Leonardo provides breakthrough technologies and services that let organizations take advantage of embedded Internet of Things capabilities and other technology innovations on the cloud.

SAP is already working closely with Middle East organizations on Internet of Things co-innovations, such as a remote inspection robot for the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and Emirates NBD bank on augmented reality housing loans.

Exchanging global best practices, SAP’s global Internet of Things customers include Italy’s Trenitalia, Buenos Aires, Argentina to prevent floods, and the Hamburg Port Authority for smart port logistics.

Published in Internet of Things

Professional Communication Corporation Nedaa, the Dubai Government security networks provider, has announced that it has signed an agreement with Nokia formally designating Dubai as the headquarters of their pioneering Innovation and Creativity Lab.

In December 2016, Nedaa and Nokia formed a strategic partnership to develop the lab as a key contributor to Dubai’s ‘Smart City’ initiative envisioned by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 

The region’s first-of-its-kind research and innovation hub will introduce creative solutions for education, health, utilities and transport, with local government agencies, the Smart Dubai project, educational and healthcare institutions, and private companies involved in the development and implementation of Smart City applications as primary beneficiaries.

A key stipulation under the Nedaa-Nokia agreement is the Emiratisation of all positions and jobs and the training and qualification of employed UAE Nationals to international standards.

Nokia will also grant Nedaa and approved technology partner Esharah Etisalat Security Solutions access to its advanced radio systems and Intelligent Management Platform for All Connected Things (IMPACT), the company’s innovative Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

These and other industry-leading Nokia technologies will be used to create new IoT platforms and applications as well as solutions for next-generation Internet Protocol (IP) and wireless connectivity, security, big data, and analytics.

“Now, we can start following our cooperative roadmap with Nokia to help accelerate Dubai’s transformation into a truly Smart City,” said Mansoor Bu Osaiba, CEO, Nedaa. “We will be bringing top Emirati talents onboard in keeping with the UAE’s vision of empowering its citizens to proactively participate in key sectors such as information and communications technology (ICT) that will underpin country’s transition to a Post-Oil Era. We look forward to commencing the lab’s operations within the next few months.”

Amr El-Leithy, Head of Middle East & Africa, Nokia, said: “After months of scouting we now have a worthy base of operations for our Innovation and Creativity Lab from where we will partner with Nedaa to innovate Dubai’s ICT landscape. This latest development takes us several steps closer towards achieving Dubai’s dream of an inclusive, connected and technology-empowered society.”

Other salient provisions under the Nedaa-Nokia Innovation and Creativity Lab partnership include the training of the Dubai Government’s employees and fourth-generation technicians; development, testing and deployment of IoT communications interface operations through approved networks from Nedaa; and the enrichment of national intellectual property through support for research and development.

The highly-anticipated Nedaa-Nokia Innovation and Creativity Lab is scheduled to start operations within the next few months. This will be the right platform for local innovative initiatives and accelerating SME across the UAE.

Published in Telecom Vendors
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