Can LTE-M and NB-IoT coexist in the near future? Apparently so

25 May 2018

Close-up view of solar sensor. Image: Cholpan/Shutterstock

This week in IoT, we heard how Ericsson predicts that rival technologies NB-IoT and LTE-M will happily coexist, while Apple gets its autonomous car project moving with VW.

It’s been a busy week in the internet of things (IoT) world, most notably Amazon again having to deal with the fact that its Echo device is still listening in to people’s conversations and recording them.

In the latest example, a woman who had her whole house rigged up with the devices found out that a random person in the Seattle area had, for seemingly no reason, received a recording of her talking at home. Amazon has since said it is working to fix the oversight ASAP.

Meanwhile, the IoT security front also took a hammering with the spread of a new multistage and modular malware dubbed VPNFilter.

Having already infected more than 500,000 home and office routers, the malware can ostensibly be used to collect communications, permanently destroy devices and launch attacks on other devices.

Researchers from Cisco’s Talos cybersecurity arm found that the malware is likely state-sponsored or affiliated in some respect with a nation state.

LTE-M and NB-IoT, together again in harmony

Low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) are all the rage these days for their ability to send continuous streams of data for whatever purpose, but their development has been anything but straightforward.

This is most notable in the battle between LTE-M and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), which are both attempting to be crowned the standard to rule them all among major companies and governments.

But, according to Ericsson’s strategic product manager, Yasir Hussain, both will successfully coexist in parallel as early as 2019.

According to Mobile World Live, Hussain said at the recent LPWA World event in London that he sees the two technologies overlapping, with operators having the capacity to enable both in their infrastructure.

“We are starting to see combinations depending on what you want to do,” he said. “That’s a key picture for us to realise … for us as a vendor and as an entire ecosystem that we will have the two technologies to work with.”

Apple teams up with Volkswagen to develop autonomous cars

While Apple’s mobile phone business seems to progress with a somewhat straightforward, issue-free process, its plans to launch an autonomous car have been anything but smooth.

Having once decided to go it alone before realising it couldn’t be both a tech company and a car manufacturer, Apple has reached out to a number of car companies.

After many failed dealings, it has finally revealed it is teaming up with German manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) to turn the latter’s T6 Transporter vans into autonomous shuttles for Apple employees.

Reaching this point has not been easy, The New York Times reports, saying that Apple’s car team has found itself behind schedule and eager to begin a deal with VW.

London hospital starts replacing doctors with AI for some tasks

The hospital has always been pinpointed as a place where artificial intelligence (AI) is set to take off, and now The Guardian is reporting that one of the UK’s biggest hospitals, University College London Hospitals, is starting to use the technology in a big way.

As part of the move, many of the common tests undertaken by doctors and nurses, such as cancer diagnostics and CT scans, and even who gets seen to first in A&E, will be decided by AI.

Prof Bryan Williams, director of research at University College London Hospitals, said it will be game-changer for an antiquated system.

“You can go on your phone and book an airline ticket, decide what movies you’re going to watch or order a pizza … it’s all about AI,” he said. “On the NHS, we’re nowhere near sophisticated enough. We’re still sending letters out, which is extraordinary.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic