Caroline Bergmann


SPS Drives 2017 NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT)

NarrowBand IoT has a huge range, consumes little energy and is inexpensive. These advantages make this new technology particularly attractive for Internet of Things (IoT) applications compared to established communications technologies such as mobile networks, WLAN or Bluetooth.

Example: Smart metering. Conventional  mobile communication technologies often struggle with gas and water meters installed in cellars. Any alternative wireless solution must be able to penetrate thick walls, preferably without an external power source. This is where NB-IoT modules come into play. They work reliably even from cellars and mostly only transmit small data packages at large intervals. As a result, standard batteries can last for years. Moreover, NB-IoT has a long range of over ten kilometers, making it ideal for tasks such as tracking containers or monitoring pipelines.

Network build-out by late 2018

The roll-out of the NB-IoT network is in the home straight. This wireless technology is already available at approximately 300 locations across Germany including Berlin/Potsdam, Cologne/Bonn, the Ruhr basin, Mannheim/Heidelberg and Stuttgart. Deutsche Telekom will have largely completed the network's Germany-wide roll-out by the end of 2018. 

Growing developer community

Just as important as expanding the network is the role played by the developer community that has sprung up around NB-IoT. At the end of the day, an extensive network is of little use without suitable hardware and applications. More than 150 German companies are testing NB-IoT right now and working to develop applications using the technology. Deutsche Telekom supports them in many ways, in particular with development and test packs, SIM cards, NB-IoT connectivity and access to Deutsche Telekom's Cloud of Things platform.

Monitoring rooms and tracking goods

The developer community has already put some initial prototypes and products on the market.  One example is the NB smart plug by Exelonix.  It attaches to power outlets like an adapter and continuously transmits data on room temperature, humidity and lighting.  The smart plug can also turn devices on or off remotely from the cloud. It is the ideal way to monitor warehouses and server rooms. 

Swiss company LOSTnFOUND has developed a self-titled solution to locate objects or goods. With the INCUS (GPS) and INCUS II (GPS & temperature) devices the market now has two inexpensive products to track goods along the entire supply chain. And thanks to NB-IoT and its low energy consumption, the LOSTnFOUND devices' batteries will last for eight years at least.