12 July 2016: MegaFon and Huawei have signed a cooperation agreement on implementation of solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT). The companies were also the first on the Russian market to demonstrate the use of an integrated solution for the Internet of Things based on the new NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT) cellular standard, using which the operator can capture new markets and attract new IoT clients.
According to GSMA forecasts, the number of cellular and LPWA connections to the Internet of Things will exceed 3 million by 2020. Utility meters, smart watches and bracelets, pet collars and parking meters all need internet access. To make this possible, MegaFon and Huawei are actively working together to promote the new NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT) cellular standard on the Russian market. This IoT technology significantly reduces the amount of power devices consume, ensures greatly improved coverage and reception and increases the maximum number of network connections.
MegaFon also became a member of the GSMA NB-IoT Forum, the aim of which is partnership in developing NB-IoT technology globally. Members include major operators (China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and others) and leading technology providers (Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm).
The new NB-IoT standard was developed by the 3GPP consortium taking into account operators’ requirements: IoT services should operate using a transmission technology known as Low-Power and Wide-Area (LPWA) and use existing operator infrastructure. In terms of universality, NB-IoT is the most suitable LPWA solution for businesses in different industries and can be used to connect utility meters, monitoring sensors and systems and a huge range of other devices to mobile networks. One of the special features of the technology is the ability to connect up to 100,000 devices to a single base station cell, which is ten times more than is possible using existing cellular standards. Using a low-frequency band makes it possible to ensure coverage in hard-to-reach places such as basements. Also when using the new standard, devices consume less battery power, which allows them to operate for much longer without needing to be charged. For example, a water meter with its own battery can operate for up to 10 years using NB-IoT, without charging, and can receive a signal in a basement.
The first devices supporting NB-IoT are expected on the market at the end of 2016 — beginning of 2017. NB-IoT technology uses LTE networks and will be relevant in the future switch to 5G.
"MegaFon is one of the key players on the Russian Internet of Things market. Using current technologies, our company has implemented a whole host of successful M2M/IoT projects. And today in partnership with Huawei we are pleased to announce we are stepping up to a higher level — the open NB-IoT standard — which will allow a huge number of devices from a broad range of manufacturers to connect to MegaFon’s network in an extremely energy efficient manner. We are confident that the new technology will make life for our corporate clients and for ordinary MegaFon subscribers more mobile, simpler and more exciting," said Alexander Bashmakov, Chief Technology Officer, MegaFon.
"In partnership with leading global operators, Huawei has already made a significant contribution to the creation of NB-IoT technology around the world. We are pleased that MegaFon is focusing on the most cutting edge technologies like NB-IoT and bringing the Russian ICT market into the global arena. This will allow MegaFon to offer its B2B clients effective services from which end consumers will also gain," said Dmitry Alferov, VP, Delivery and Services, Huawei, Russia.
Before finally adopting NB-IoT, Huawei and its partners carried out preparatory work for app standardization and testing so as to better understand client needs and speed up the modernization and optimization of technical solutions. In H1 2016 alone Huawei completed a number of joint projects. For example, together with Etisalat, Huawei tested smart parking services and apps; with Australian operators VHA and Optus and South East Water the company launched tests of a smart water management system; and Huawei also concluded a strategic partnership agreement with Chinese firms China Telecom and Shenzhen Water Group for a similar system.
At the Innoprom trade fair, MegaFon and Huawei demonstrated an example of the use of NB-IoT — smart parking. The smart parking solution makes it possible for commercial car park owners to effectively manage their parking areas, optimize occupancy monitoring expenses and also offer end users a convenient interface in the form of a mobile app for booking, paying and navigating to their parking space.
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