Korean operators make plans for Internet of Small Things

Yet another acronym can be added to the list: IoST, for the Internet of Small Things, which presumably is something different from the Internet of Things (IoT) and also known by the term NB-IoT, for narrowband network.

The Korea Times reports, via Telecoms.com, that KT will be investing $128.7 million in establishing an NB-IoT network using LTE-M to support the network in Korea. It will also offer about 100,000 IoST sensor modules for developers to spur the IoST business ecosystem.

"We will provide 100,000 IoST telecom modules for free and offer the service without charge this year. We will pour 150 billion won into this sector, which is an aggressive investment," KT's IoT business division senior vice president Kim June-keun said during a press conference in central Seoul, according to the Korea Times. "We aim at increasing the number of connected IoST modules to 4 million by 2018 to lead the IoT business."

IoST can be applicable to every industrial sector, from manufacturing to agriculture, he said. Sensors attached to manufacturing lines will enable factory automation and boost industrial safety. "We will provide modules almost limitlessly to developers to fulfill diverse business needs that we cannot yet imagine," he said.

Most of the operator's IoST partners are small and medium-sized enterprises, and it wants to help them achieve mutual growth.

The company showcased diverse IoST services such as a bicycle security management system and a smart blood transportation box, based on its LTE-M network, during the event. The LTE-M standard has been considered more stable than other IoST technologies such as Sigfox and LoRa because it does not suffer telecom quality degradation due to frequency interference, KT said. It also said it is more expandable on an international scale through global roaming, the Korea Times reports.

Advancing to the LTE-M standard, KT said it will push for the world's first launch of a nationwide NB-IoT network by completing service testing within the final quarter of this year. The NB-IoT network is expected to cover a wider range of areas and support 10 times faster network speeds compared to LTE-M, the company said.

Business Korea also reports that LG U+ has released an ultra low-cost and low-power LTE module for the IoST, together with LG Innotek. LG U+ is focusing on using LTE rather than proprietary IoT networks. The size of its module is reduced by 50 percent compared with existing LTE communication modules, and it's price is around $9, as opposed to earlier modules costing $26 to $34.  

For more:
- see this Korea Times article
- see this Telecoms.com article

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