Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Huawei and Telefónica demo smart meters at Munich Airport

Steve Rogerson
May 1, 2018

At last week’s Hannover Messe, Huawei, Telefónica and IoT provider Q-loud jointly launched a smart meter proof of concept based on NB-IoT for Munich Airport.
Insufficient wireless signals in buildings and underground has limited the application of sensors in various fields across the airport, making it difficult to replace analogue and manual readings of electricity, water or gas meters. However, the trial-based introduction of NB-IoT potentially opens up completely new fields for the application of sensors at Munich Airport.
Munich Airport, Huawei and Telefónica have created an intelligent service that uses NB-IoT to bring older analogue systems into the digital world. The EnergyCam, a camera system developed by Q-loud, can record meter readings of traditional roller meters, analyse images and recognise displayed meter readings through integrated software, and transfer the data in digital form through NB-IoT in the Telefónica network to Huawei's OceanConnect IoT platform. This enables the airport IT department to access meter data for rapid analysis.
For organisations such as Munich Airport, selecting a suitable technological infrastructure requires consideration of many factors. For example, the networking technology required should ideally cover the total area of 1575 hectares – around 2200 football pitches. In addition, it cannot disrupt the air traffic control system in any way.
According to Johann Götz, who is responsible for software and infrastructure development at Munich Airport, an important requirement for the ongoing digital development of the airport has already been established: the IT department and technology department need to join efforts if the physical world on premises is to be connected to the internet and become part of the IoT.
"The internet of things is not a goal in itself,” said Götz. “We want to increase efficiency and enable new services. We are responsible for numerous electricity meters, based in the buildings on our premises and in properties in a 10km radius from the airport. These need to be read at least once a year, and many need to be read monthly. It's a lot of work and, because electricity consumption cannot be recorded in real time, we cannot quickly intervene if there are any unforeseen changes."
Through digitisation, he said, the airport had experienced dramatic changes in almost all departments.
“We're proud that Munich Airport has introduced a new technology like narrow-band IoT," said Götz.
The IT specialist is convinced that by embracing technologies such as NB-IoT to drive digitisation, Munich Airport can become a model for other smart cities.
Alexander Rupprecht, director at Telefónica in Germany, added: "For the first time, we have implemented a new mobile communications standard for this trial in Munich Airport using narrow-band IoT, which is specially designed for industrial-grade internet of things deployments and enables energy-efficient data transmission from corresponding IoT devices.”
And Jörg Diederichs, CTO of Huawei Technologies in Düsseldorf, said: “We have found our ideal IoT partner in Cologne-based Q-loud. Not only do they have many years of experience in prototyping industrial IoT end-user devices, but in this case they offer a production-ready product for digitising analogue meters that comes pre-integrated for connection to Huawei's OceanConnect IoT platform. Meter data from analogue meter equipment can therefore be transferred in real-time using the NB-IoT transfer standard to data platforms for further processing. Together with Telefónica Deutschland, our long-term innovation partner who has finished upgrading the LTE network at Munich Airport, we are able to actively support Munich Airport in its digitisation strategy."