Vodafone, Huawei demo NB-IoT in water meter

Vodafone, along with Huawei, has laid claim to successfully completing the first commercial trial deployment of internet of things technology based on narrowband technology.

NB-IoT is an emerging principle in the IoT space, and allows for cellular connectivity of low-power devices on the wide area network, also referred to as Low Power Wide Area (LPWA). NB-IoT essentially allows for more efficient connectivity of objects which have both a low battery life and difficulty or complex connectivity requirements, such as hard-to-reach areas over licensed spectrum bands. It is thought battery life in NB-IoT devices can be boosted to a minimum of 10 years, as well as providing thorough and deep indoor cellular connectivity penetration.

Vodafone and Huawei have both claimed that their integration of NB-IoT into existing network infrastructure run by the former is a world first for the tech, as the first pre-standard NB-IoT messages were sent to a u-blox module installed inside a connected water meter.  Huawei has also said that this is just the start of the possibilities for NB-IoT devices, with a variety of enterprise applications available in the future, such as utility meters, sensor monitoring and asset tracking.

”NB-IoT technology has been recognised by the industry,” said David Wang, Huawei’s wireless network product line president. “This long-established joint innovation initiative with Vodafone strengthens our commitment to providing innovative solutions to help customers meet their business challenges and to lead the development of the technology and industry ecosystem. Together with Vodafone, we will build a better connected world.”

Matt Beal, Vodafone’s director of architecture and innovation, says the demonstration proves the telco’s credentials in the IoT space – M2M is already a successful and growing market for it. “Vodafone has led the development of NB-IoT, the LPWA technology in licensed spectrum that has gained huge industry support,” he said. “The completion of this first commercial trial with our partners is further evidence of that. Once commercialised, NB-IoT will provide tangible benefits for our enterprise customers, principally making it feasible to connect more devices to IoT.”

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