Huawei and MTN in Africa narrowband IoT launch

By:
Bill Boyle
Published on:

MTN and Huawei debut the first narrowband Internet of Things solution in Africa to monitor and meter water.

The Smart Water Metering solution enables the automated collection of utility meter data. The companies say that manual meter reading leads to high labour costs and missing or inaccurate data. Household water meters will automatically report data on a regular basis, theoretically reducing faults and the operating expense.

The sensor array is designed to serve as a diagnostic spine that underpins network management. The data gathered can be used to control waste water flows from each property, identify faults across the network and improve health and safety outcomes. Through sensors installed in water meters, customers can identify water pipeline leakage earlier.

Babak Fouladi, group chief technology and information officer, MTN said: "NB-IoT is viewed by the industry as the answer for enterprise applications in a range of different areas, from utility meters to sensor monitoring to asset-tracking. In line with our strategy to explore new enterprise markets, MTN is glad to lead the application of this new technology in Africa. Now we've succeeded in the commercial trial of smart water metering, the first NB-IoT service in Africa, we are looking forward to more innovations - wildlife tracking, smart farm, smart parking and many more. Lots of services will be available to bring us a better connected Africa."

Jacky Chen, managing director of Huawei MTN key account group, said: "The number of cellular IoT connections in Africa will grow seven-fold over the next three to four years, and NB-IoT will be a key driver for this trend. Together with our partners, Huawei is applying groundbreaking NB-IoT innovation to solve core challenges around IoT applications. We will build a robust, open ecosystem to drive NB-IoT technology innovation and commercialization."

NB-IoT is a new technology that will extend the utilization of IoT by making it more efficient to connect objects requiring a long battery life and are located in hard to reach areas to the Internet by ways of mobile connectivity. This Low Power Wide Area technology will connect more objects to the Internet of Things.

The global IoT market is expected to be worth trillions of dollars by 2020, and Huawei expects there will be 450 million cellular IoT connections needed in Africa. The Smart Water Metering service from MTN will be commercially deployed in 2017.