Vodafone said it will become the first operator to introduce low-cost technology for connecting devices that have very low demands for power and bandwidth to the Internet of Things (IoT).
The UK-based operator said the technology, called the Cellular Internet of Things (Cellular IoT), will use its existing global machine-to-machine (M2M) network to provide a network access layer specifically designed for low-power, low-cost devices such as water meters and fire extinguishers.
The Cellular Internet of Things, which Vodafone said will operate in its licensed spectrum, will be published as an open industry standard by 3GPP, enabling other telecoms companies to deploy the technology. The concept was developed in collaboration with Chinese equipment manufacturer Huawei, Neul--which is owned by Huawei--and Switzerland-based u-blox, Vodafone said.
"Having greater ability to support low cost, low power devices as part of our existing global Internet of Things service gives us the ability to connect the largest range of objects and devices on a single network infrastructure," commented Vodafone's head of research and development Luke Ibbetson.
According to Andreas Thiel, vice president of cellular at u-blox, providing a standards-based solution for low power and low bandwidth devices will become increasingly important as the IoT evolves. "We are pleased to partner with Huawei, Neul and Vodafone to show how these vital criteria can be achieved," Thiel added.
Vodafone cited forecasts from M2M specialists Machina Research that predict there will be 26 billion connected IoT devices by 2023. Objects and devices requiring very low power consumption and a wide area connection are estimated to increase to 3.3 billion connections by that point.
- see this Vodafone blog
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