Deutsche Telekom has co-founded a new development lab with research organisation Fraunhofer which it says will have a ‘special focus’ on NB-IoT technology.
The first ‘Open IoT Lab’ intends to make advancements in the manufacturing, logistics and aviation sectors. Other firms are welcome to collaborate with the founding companies to develop application-specific IoT prototypes.
"The lab pairs two fields of competence that have to be involved, together, in any successful IoT-related digitisation,” explained Professor Dr. Michael ten Hompel, MD of Fraunhofer IML. “Fraunhofer is providing comprehensive expertise in hardware and applications in IoT environments and Deutsche Telekom is providing its network expertise."
Up to six scientists from Fraunhofer IML, and three IoT experts from Deutsche Telekom, will staff the new facility. IoT solutions will be developed and tested here to ensure their readiness for the market.
Focus on market requirements
Both companies want to focus their efforts on market requirements and will be collaborating with third-parties to identify their needs. In cooperation with Würth Industrie Service, for example, a service button prototype was developed to optimise the reordering process for "C parts" such as screws, nuts, and washers by applying NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) technology.
"At Telekom Open IoT Labs, we will not be pursuing basic research. Instead, we will offer companies specific benefits by solving their problems using IoT solutions," comments Anette Bronder, head of Digital- and Security Department of Deutsche Telekom. "All the technologies necessary for IoT solutions are in place. Now, we need to find application areas that will offer companies real value, in both the short and long terms."
The long-range, low-power nature of NB-IoT makes it ideal for many sectors — but Deutsche Telekom and Fraunhofer are particularly excited about its potential for advancements within the logistics industry.
"The logistics sector is moving very rapidly on digitisation,” Bronder added. “With IoT solutions, companies will be able to achieve high added value – in the short term – in a number of business processes."
Deutsche Telekom now offers NB-IoT commercially throughout Germany and the Netherlands. The operator is expanding its existing coverage to additional cities in other European markets such as Austria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.
What are your thoughts on the open lab and its focus on NB-IoT? Let us know in the comments.