DNA trials NB-IoT tech for tracking air quality

James Pearce
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Finnish operator has teamed with Ericsson, Enermix and UnSeen Technologies to trial a new internet of things solution

Finnish operator DNA has partnered with Ericsson to build a narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) network that will be deployed for measuring indoor air conditions.

The two firms also worked alongside Enermix and wireless technology company UnSeen Technologies for the pilot project, which will run over DNA’s commercial mobile network.

To test the solution, which monitors humidity, temperature, and air quality within buildings, DNA deployed it in a Kesko retail store and with a number of suppliers.

"The Internet of Things sets new challenges for network resources, as the number of connected devices will multiply. The Narrow-Band IoT, or NB-IoT, will respond to this challenge. Depending on the customer need, DNA will extend its NB-IoT technology considerably during 2017", says Jarkko Laari, director of radio networks at DNA.

UnSeen was responsible for connecting the devices, while Enermix provided its Talotohtori cloud service to manage the sensors.

Esa Alanen, CEO of UnSeen Technologies, said: "The aggregate costs of data transfer will fall considerably. The number of business-viable applications will increase remarkably. Competent use of technology provides opportunity to enhance the business competitiveness."

Benefits of NB-IoT solutions include long battery life, and reliability. It is one of the three industry standards set out for low powered, wide area networks (LP-WAN) last year. It can run on a band with a width of only 200 kHz, while an LTE channel is normally about 10 to 20 MHz.

The solution is part of a bid by operators and vendors to capture the burgeoning IoT market. According to Ericsson’s forecasts, there will be more than 29 billion connected smart devices in use by 2022, two thirds of which will be IoT devices.

"The network device coverage will expand to areas that are more difficult to access, such as the ground or smart meters in basements, where it has previously been impossible or very expensive to replace or charge the battery," says Olli Sirkka, head of Ericsson Finland.