Huawei and Vodafone collaborate over open NB-IoT lab as LoRa takes to the skies

The emerging IoT standards war is heating up ahead of MWC 2016, with announcements made regarding both the NB-IoT and LoRa.

Huawei and Vodafone are planning to establish what they claim will be the world’s first NB-IoT open lab. NB-IoT is a low-power fork in the LTE roadmap, supported by the 3GPP and associated officialdom. It is therefore relatively open and seems to be gathering momentum. This future open lab is designed to be a development hub and its founding partners will be hoping other big tech players join the party.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Huawei in the creation of this new Open Lab facility for NB-IoT. As the technology moves towards commercial deployment in early 2017, it’s essential that we start building a strong ecosystem with developers and solution providers,” said Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group R&D Director and Chairman of the NB-IoT Forum.

“This agreement builds on Huawei’s existing strong relationships with Vodafone and our joint commitment to lead the development of NB-IoT technology and its eco-system,” said David Wang, President of Wireless Product Line at Huawei. “Having successfully gained industry recognition, we will now continue to work closely with Vodafone to build a joint roadmap for the continuous evolution of the NB-IoT Open Lab to create innovative solutions to build a better connected world.”

Meanwhile LPWAN startup Actility, which specialises in the proprietary LoRa IoT platform, has announced a partnership with Inmarsat to deliver IoT connectivity via satellite. The principle benefit of this seems to be to provide a connectivity safety net for holes in the regular network.

“This partnership enables additional flexibility for IoT networks – meaning systems integrators and customers using Inmarsat’s connectivity and Actility’s solution – to connect all of their assets on one platform, without having to spend the time and resource dealing with multiple connectivity providers, or the cost and complexity of multiple roaming agreements,” said Greg Ewert, President, Inmarsat Enterprise.

“Actility is thrilled to be collaborating with Inmarsat to provide global customers with an end to end solution and a single service management point to connect their assets and fulfill their IoT business needs anywhere in the world with our ThingPark LoRaWAN platform,” said Olivier Hersent, CEO & CTO at Actility.

Lastly the GSMA has announced the first live demonstrations of low power wide area (LPWA) technology in licensed spectrum, including NB-IoT, EC-EGPRS and LTE-M will take place at its impending Mobile World Congress event.

“LPWA is an emerging, high-growth area of IoT but it requires common, global standards in licensed spectrum in order for it to scale effectively and deliver secure, reliable and robust performance,” said Alex Sinclair, CTO of the GSMA. “With high-quality managed networks, mobile operators are well placed to deliver these industry standard solutions which offer customers a clear choice and we are excited to see the industry move so quickly to provide commercial solutions.”

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