Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Deutsche Telekom carries out largest NB-IoT field trial

Steve Rogerson
January 15, 2019

In what is said to be the biggest field trial of its kind so far, real estate service provider Ista has tested NB-IoT in buildings together with Deutsche Telekom. The technology scored well with very high availability. 
In 99.75 per cent of the cases, it was possible to establish a stable connection that enabled rapid, energy-optimised data transmission. Therefore, NB-IoT well exceeds the performance of existing technologies such as GSM, UMTS and LTE.
Deutsche Telekom made available its company-own NB-IoT machine and sensor network based on a licensed spectrum. This network already covers large parts of Germany and eight other European countries as well as the USA. Ista provided access to over 500 metering points in some 60 apartments in the Cologne and Bonn area. In addition, Ista made its NB-IoT-capable devices available for the tests. The measurements were performed by independent consultant P3 Communications.
"Today we already have over 23 million IoT-capable devices in use throughout Europe and the number is increasing every day," said Achim Dicke, chief technology officer at Ista. "The successful field trial shows that narrowband-IoT has everything that is needed to become the new, globally interoperable standard in the low-energy machine-to-machine or M2M communication sector. And this applies not only outside buildings but even nationwide in buildings themselves and for the measurement of energy consumption just as for further services that require stable and energy-efficient data transmission." 
The pilot project is part of a technology partnership between Ista and Deutsche Telekom. Together the two companies are investigating how NB-IoT can be optimally used for the end-to-end communications of battery-powered devices in buildings. Data traffic is expected to increase as the number and spread of NB-IoT-capable devices grow. At the same time, further technical optimisations based on more field trials will increase the performance of the network. As a result, within the next few years narrowband-IoT could already become the new standard for many applications in buildings.
"Telekom's machine and sensor network has fully demonstrated its capability during this stress test and meets our expectations," said Felix Wunderer, who is responsible for IoT product and portfolio management at Deutsche Telekom. "Our mobile IoT strategy is proving to be successful. As the forerunner of 5G, NB-IoT is already available in large parts of Germany and Europe for commercial use for the rapidly growing IoT ecosystem."
Ista employs more than 5500 people in 24 countries worldwide and helps roughly twelve million apartments and commercial properties save important resources.