NB-IoT Enabled Smart Meter & Smart Parking Solutions Shaping Smart Cities Part 2

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3Q 2017 | IN-4715

In Germany, Deutsche Telekom (DT), Huawei and U-blox launched trials on Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) based smart parking utilizing NB-IoT enabled modules from U-blox at DT’s campus located in Bonn. An ultrasonic sensor was deployed on each parking space to detect availability of a parking space. The information collected by each sensor will be transmitted via a network gateway utilizing an LPWAN connection to a server in the cloud, and notify drivers of available parking space via a smartphone app. Additionally, Huawei conducted a software upgrade on DT’s existing base stations to support NB-IoT.

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NB-IoT-Enabled Smart Parking

NEWS


In Germany, Deutsche Telekom (DT), Huawei and U-blox launched trials on Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) based smart parking utilizing NB-IoT enabled modules from U-blox at DT’s campus located in Bonn. An ultrasonic sensor was deployed on each parking space to detect availability of a parking space. The information collected by each sensor will be transmitted via a network gateway utilizing an LPWAN connection to a server in the cloud, and notify drivers of available parking space via a smartphone app. Additionally, Huawei conducted a software upgrade on DT’s existing base stations to support NB-IoT.

A more detailed discussion on can be found in ABI Research Smart Cities in North America and Industry Survey: Transformative Technology Adoption and Attitudes - Utilities

Accelerate Smart City Deployment with the Cost-Effective IoT Protocol

IMPACT


With the commercial deployment of NB-IoT, vendors confirm their intention to deploy NB-IoT due to the following benefits:

  • Massive Number of Connections. A NB-IoT chipset is affordable (average selling price ranges from US$5 to US$17) which is suitable to smart meters since digital transformation entails massive deployment of sensors across water pipeline networks, smart water and energy meters. Additionally, NB-IoT is suitable since it can support up to 100,000 devices per cellular cell compared with only 1,000 devices for 4G.
  • Longer Battery Life. Battery life plays a crucial role in the deployment of sensors in indoor environments, or deeply buried underground which makes replacement of a battery quite difficult and expensive. Additionally, NB-IoT offers low data rates. U-blox NB-IoT module also known as SARA-N2, measures 16 mm x 26 mm, has a battery life of 10 to 20 years, download data rates of up to 27.2 kbps, and upload data rate of up to 62.5 kbps.
  • Wide Coverage and High Network Reliability. Traditional communications networks may have weak radio signal coverage for indoor and underground environments, including basements, beneath manhole covers, etc. NB-IoT can address these issues since it has wide area and deep coverage (+20dB), which make it suitable for smart meters. Additionally, vendors shared they have experienced inter-network interferences in LoRa networks specifically when several independent LoRa networks are deployed closely.
  • Low Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) and Low Operating Expenses (OPEX). NB-IoT, 3GPP standard (Release 13), can be deployed on existing cellular networks, hence, the capital cost associated with commercial network deployment nationwide is lower compared with LoRa, Sigfox, etc. Additionally, NB-IoT does not require any data aggregation or communication gateway nodes, hence, NB-IoT enjoys low maintenance, low cost connectivity compared with Wi-Fi, mesh network, or LoRa. Leveraging NB-IoT, sensors can communicate directly with the cloud platform.

Smart Parking Shaping Connected Cities

COMMENTARY


With smart parking, drivers enjoy seamless parking experiences, including remotely booking a parking space with ease via a mobile app, and reducing time spent looking for a parking space. Smart parking results in fuel savings since motorists have less travel time to their parking space, which in turn reduces traffic congestion, increases their carbon footprint and improves air quality.

Meanwhile, parking operators benefit from improved operational efficiencies, including optimization of parking space usage, more accurate billing and faster collection of parking fees with paperless billing via mobile app enabling dynamic pricing based on real-time check-in and check-out time to and from a parking space, and digital payment options (e.g. cash card, nets, credit card).

Using data collected from various parking operators, city governments can improve urban parking planning and resource allocation based on real-time occupancy rate of parking spaces, parking space requirements of cities, level of traffic congestion, etc.