Vodafone says it’s on track for Irish NB-IoT deployment before 2018

25 Aug 2017

Vodafone signs. Image: Nils Versemann/Shutterstock

As it prepares for a European roll-out of NB-IoT, Vodafone says it is on track to deliver a network by the end of this year.

There were some interesting developments within the scientific field of the internet of things (IoT) this week, particularly above the city of Ottawa, Canada.

In a paper published to the journal Optica, a team of researchers explained how it sent a quantum-encrypted message over the city. With some wooden boxes for protection on the roofs of two buildings, the transmitters had an error rate of only 11pc, putting it below the 19pc threshold for secure connection.

“The secure, free-space communication scheme we demonstrated could potentially link Earth with satellites, securely connect places where it is too expensive to install fibre, or be used for encrypted communication with a moving object, such as an aeroplane,” said lead researcher Ebrahim Karimi.

Meanwhile, a team of researchers from the US revealed a new kind of antenna that is around 100 times smaller than conventional ones and could be godsend for IoT devices in the future.

Speaking of the breakthrough, researcher Nian-Xiang Sun said: “This acoustic antenna concept changes the fundamental principle on which antennas have been designed for over a century, and can lead to dramatically compact antennas with improved performance.”

NB-IoT on course for deployment in Ireland

Based on a low-power wide-area network, narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is set to be the technology that defines future connected smart cities, allowing millions of sensors to run at any given time and requiring minimal power.

So, when a test NB-IoT network was announced for Ireland last October by Vodafone, it was understandably met with some celebration. However, the promise of a network in early 2017 came and went, with Vodafone admitting it needed more time to establish it in Ireland and the Netherlands.

Now, according to Mobile World Live, Vodafone has said it is on track for a commercial network launch by the end of this year in Ireland.

Vodafone made the comment as it revealed that Spain now has a NB-IoT network spanning eight cities with 1,000 live base stations.

Satellite IoT start-up secures $4m in funding

Canadian start-up Helios Wire has secured $4m in funding to launch a series of satellites that will be used to track and communicate with billions of IoT devices across the planet.

According to SpaceNews, the company plans to launch its first prototype satellite in December of this year, with the intention of following it with two fully functional satellites towards the end of 2018.

One of its key technologies is a solar-powered sensor, about the size of a mobile phone, which would allow the start-up to monitor a multitude of different variables.

“We think we can track a few billion of these devices for a few dollars a month for industries that don’t need always-on connectivity and are not looking to send huge data files,” said founder and CEO Scott Larson.

IoT security provider ZingBox secures $22m in funding

ZingBox, a US provider of security for IoT infrastructure, has secured $22m in funding to significantly expand its operations.

According to IoT News, the Series B funding was led by Dell’s financial arm, Dell Technologies Capital, and Triventures.

ZingBox said it is was one of the first to offer a “combination of deep learning algorithms to discern each device’s unique personality and enforce acceptable behaviour”.

This new funding marks a substantial increase on its last round, which amounted to $1.5m in seed funding back in 2015.

“[Dell’s] faith in our device personality approach to IoT security reaffirms our vision and strategy of offering revolutionary solutions, designed from the ground up to address the unique security challenges of IoT,” said Xu Zou, co-founder and CEO of ZingBox.

Vodafone signs. Image: Nils Versemann/Shutterstock

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic