Vodafone Turkey’s successful trial of pre-standard NB-IoT, a first for this country, could one day lead to an easing of our country’s congestion problems.
In common with many countries, congestion is an issue in Turkey. One study found that drivers in Istanbul spent nine days in 2014 sitting in queues.1 I can relate to that!
International studies have suggested that almost a third of the time drivers spend queuing in cities can be for parking.2
Vodafone Turkey, working with Huawei and u-blox, used pre-standard NB-IoT to connect a parking sensor. Parking sensors connected to a mobile network can tell drivers using a smartphone application exactly where to find a parking space, improving traffic flow.
NB-IoT is a Low Power Wide Area technology supported by multiple network operators, equipment providers, chipset and module makers.
NB-IoT standards are on track for publication by 3GPP in June 2016. They will enable the creation of low cost connected devices with a long battery life and extended coverage. That will make it easier for technology like smart parking meters to be deployed at scale.
In the Turkish trial, an NB-IoT signal was sent over 4G eNodeBs (the hardware that is connected to the mobile phone network that communicates directly with mobile handsets) using licensed 900 MHz spectrum, upgraded to support the pre-NB-IoT technology and backhauled to the core network.
We expect NB-IoT to have broad application for a number of our enterprise customers and will be seeking to trial it with some of them.
In particular, NB-IoT provides a long range mobile connection and consumes little power, making it ideal for customers seeking to connect devices not plugged into mains power, or in areas where one would not want to swap out batteries regularly, e.g. utility meters, sensors or objects that need to be tracked.
We expect the first commercially-available devices connected by NB-IoT technology to be available during 2017.
We cannot say when the residents of Istanbul might start benefitting from smart parking meters, but this ground-breaking trial was a step (or perhaps a roll) in the right direction.
Mallik Rao, Chief Technical Officer, Vodafone Turkey
1 Daily Sabah, 2014, ‘Study: Istanbulites spent 9 days in traffic this year’ [online] 30 December. Available at: http://www.dailysabah.com/nation/2014/12/30/study-istanbulites-spent-9-days-in-traffic-this-year
2 Shoup, Donald, 2011, ‘Free Parking or Free Markets’ [online] Spring. Available at: http://www.accessmagazine.org/articles/spring-2011/free-parking-free-markets/