Global communications major Vodafone is getting its telecommunications infrastructure updated and plans to offer solutions and services based on NB-IoT or narrow band Internet of Things by 2017.
“We’ve already started the process of upgrading our core and radio network and we expect to launch services across Vodafone markets during 2017,” wrote Luke Ibbetson, Director of Research & Development, Vodafone Group & Chair of the NB-IoT Forum in his blog. “While there is still work to do, we believe it could be one of the fastest roll-outs of new technology that we’ve ever completed.”
NB-IoT benefits from using existing network infrastructure, which means that it will have excellent coverage, reliable connectivity and will benefit from using established networks that are continually monitored and managed for performance.
As per Vodafone, a large proportion of its network hardware only requires a software upgrade to support the technology, which means the job of getting it ready for widespread NB-IoT deployments can be completed extremely quickly. The company estimates that 85% of its base stations will be able to support NB-IoT with a straight-forward software upgrade, however in some markets, such as the Netherlands, the figure rises to 95%.
“As we move towards commercial deployment, we will work with the industry to provide developers and engineers with the support they need to bring their products to market. The NB-IoT open labs programme will play an important role and act as a catalyst for the technology.,” he added.
Vodafone had launched its first NB-IoT lab in the UK in April and it is planning to add more such labs across Europe in the coming months.
Following trials of the technology over the past 12 months, NB-IoT is now widely recognised as the best technology for a wide range of applications and services. From keeping track of utility meters, to monitoring car park sensors, through to asset-tracking, the technology has demonstrated outstanding capabilities and has exceeded industry expectations, writes Ibbetson.