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O2 grows IoT offering with national LTE-M rollout for business

O2 grows IoT offering with national LTE-M rollout for business

Low-power technology will enable asset tracking and remote monitoring.

  • O2 announces plans to roll out the first LTE-M network across the UK in 2020 – with 50 sites already live
  • Rollout of this low-power IoT technology will help enable business applications like asset tracking, connected traffic lights, parking sensors, soil monitoring, assisted living alerts and more
  • Investment reflects O2 Business’s focus on IoT as a growth area, as a move towards long-range IoT communication on a huge scale

O2 has unveiled its plans to grow its IoT (Internet of Things) offering by becoming the first network to announce the introduction of an LTE-M (Long Term Evolution, category M1) network in the UK.

The new O2 LTE-M network will help unlock widespread uptake of long-life IoT battery devices out in the field, with 50 UK cell sites already live and national rollout planned to complete this year.

A low-power, wide-area network (or LPWAN), the new LTE-M network from O2 is designed to help encourage massive scale for future IoT deployment in the UK. It will enable businesses to support millions of connected devices, driving increased operational efficiencies and insights. It also provides higher throughput, with wide coverage for urban and rural areas, and lower latency. What’s more, because it allows businesses to share small amounts of data between assets at a low power consumption, it saves on battery life (with devices running for up to 10 years with no need to charge). All these benefits can also help bring down IoT device costs for business customers connecting to the network.

Paul O’ Sullivan, Director of Wholesale & Commercial at O2, says:

“IoT technology has the potential to transform the way the UK does business, so to become the first UK network operator to roll out an LTE-M network is a major milestone for us here at O2. We know that businesses looking into IoT solutions want answers now, not in five to ten years.”

“Introducing a nationwide LTE-M network in 2020 will help unlock low-power use cases we haven’t seen before: from asset tracking and public sector applications like sensors on signage and traffic lights, right through to parking sensors and soil monitoring. We’re looking forward to partnering with UK businesses to bring these use cases to life.”

Potential LTE-M use cases for UK businesses:

Smart cities:

  • Parking sensors: To monitor and report parking space availability
  • Traffic lights: Sending updates between traffic lights (including real-time traffic monitoring)
  • Waste management: Status monitoring for waste containers to help optimise waste collection

Consumer goods: Smart bicycles – For location tracking

Smart buildings: Smoke detectors – Auto-testing, battery checks, real-time alerts

Healthcare: Assisted living – Temperature sensors and alerts

Industrial: Tank process and safety monitoring – For applications such as petrochemical and waste storage, hazardous fluids, high radio frequency interference environments

Agricultural: Tracking and monitoring – For soil, temperature and weather conditions

Retail: Logistics – For asset tracking (e.g. pallets, goods) and real-time visibility of the wide area (trucks) and indoor wide area (warehouses)

O2 has already made significant developments in its IoT offering to date, delivering one of the world’s largest IoT deals – providing smart meters across the UK. The company is now working on trials to bring new LTE-M applications to market via its new network, including projects relating to smart cities, retail and healthcare.

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