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HPE, Tata Communications to build world’s largest IoT network

The Lora-based network will benefit around 400 million people in India who can expect improvements in water quality and public safety

More than 2,000 communities in India can expect better water quality and waste management when the world’s largest internet of things (IoT) network rolls out following successful trials in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

The IoT network will be implemented in stages across a number of Indian cities by telecoms giant Tata Communications and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE). Around 400 million people are expected to benefit from the network through public infrastructure and consumer applications.

A HPE spokesperson told Computer Weekly that trials are also being carried out in the areas of street lighting as well as theft protection using proximity sensors. Safety measures using tracking and SOS-based devices will also improve the personal safety of individuals.

Powered by HPE’s Universal IoT platform, the IoT network uses a proprietary flavour of low-power wide-area networking (LPWAN) called Lora to provide IoT connectivity for sensors and devices.

“The sheer size of this project is incredible, bringing new services to millions of people,” said David Sliter, HPE’s vice-president and general manager for communications solutions business.

“Through our partner centric approach, the HPE Universal IoT platform will enable Tata Communications to build multiple vertical cases for its IoT network in India on a common platform with a common data model.”

On the choice of Lora’s LPWAN technology over other IoT connectivity options, such as the GSM Association’s Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), HPE said Lora stood out over all the available technology that was tested and compared more than 12 months ago.

“LPWAN is a highly secure, wireless technology, developed to support low power, wide-area network requirements for efficient machine-to-machine [M2M] communications and IoT applications,” it said.

“With HPE’s IoT Network platform, we now provide an integrated system that is device agnostic and can measure and monitor and support with insights to deliver a complete IoT management service capability.”

Besides India, Southeast Asia is set for a flurry of IoT developments in 2017. In April, Thailand will roll out an IoT network in Phuket and central Bangkok, where tourists can look forward to a location tracking service.

And in the third quarter, Singapore’s largest telco Singtel will start trials that let consumers monitor IoT apps and devices from a single platform it developed with Ericsson. This follows the launch of the city-state’s nationwide Sigfox-based IoT network in February 2017.

Irza Suprapto, director at Asia IoT business platform, told Computer Weekly that adoption of IoT in Southeast Asia has been increasing over the past four years, with some companies beginning to see the benefits of adoption.

Read more about IoT in APAC

  • Australia is adopting an internet of things standard that was developed in the UK to help improve security, among other things.
  • Experts in Singapore say physical security, encryption and tokenisation can enhance the security of connected things.
  • Malaysia is exploring the use of internet of things technologies for agriculture in Asean, driven by collaboration between government and the private sector.
  • Australia is preparing for the rapid adoption of the internet of things with a regulatory framework.

Suprapto noted that cost has been a driver for IoT adoption in the region, with more interest from countries that are in early stages economic development due to lower costs of upgrading from legacy systems. Other drivers include efforts by telcos to provide IoT system as well as government support.

“Governments have created policies which increase the number of solutions available to enterprises and promote their adoption by providing financial and non-financial support. For example, Singapore has spent a lot of resources to promote their Smart Nation programme globally to attract international companies to partake in local projects,” he said.

“Malaysia has the National IoT Roadmap which targets RM9.5bn (US$2.2bn) contribution to gross national income by 2020. The execution of these programmes will determine how local adoption rates of IoT vary over the next three to five years,” he added.

Read more on Internet of Things (IoT)

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