China is world’s largest IoT market, accounts for 64% of global cellular connections

In China, the leading mobile operators are using Mobile IoT technologies to connect millions of devices, appliances and machines. For example, in Zhengzhou, China Mobile is using the low power wide area technology, NB-IoT, to connect three million electric bikes to a management platform designed to reduce theft and accidents


According to the GSMA — the mobile operators trade body — by connecting an estimated 960 million devices via cellular networks, China was realising the value of IoT and “transforming society through mass market deployments of smart home, smart industry and smart city solutions”.


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Supporting extensive coverage and low power consumption, NB-IoT is making it feasible to securely remotely monitor and control very large volumes of everyday devices, appliance, machines and vehicles. Both consumers and businesses in China are now benefiting from greater convenience, better reliability, and improved safety and security.

China Telecom is planning to use NB-IoT to connect about 1.2 million appliances, such as air conditioners, washing machines and water purifiers in schools and apartments in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu. The connectivity enables white goods manufacturers to monitor performance, rapidly respond to faults and enable people living in shared
accommodation to easily share appliances. Mobile IoT networks are also helping to improve safety. For example, China Unicom plans to deploy 170,000 NB-IoT-connected smoke detection and alarm devices in rental homes in the Yuhang district of Hangzhou in China.
These Mobile IoT-enabled detectors are more cost-effective and reliable than devices using alternative wireless technologies.

Designed to connect devices with low bandwidth requirements, Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) significantly improves the power consumption of user devices, system capacity and spectrum efficiency, compared with other wireless technologies, especially deep indoors and other hard-to-reach locations. A device battery life of more than 10 years is feasible for a wide
range of use cases.

“Backed by proactive government support, China is now at the forefront in the development and mass deployment of innovative and transformative IoT based solutions based on Mobile IoT technology,” said GSMA Chief technology officer Alex Sinclair.

“These new technologies are being implemented across multiple different vertical sectors fundamentally altering the way we live and work, delivering real-time information and making our cities smarter and our lives easier and more productive.”

The GSMA report said there were a wide variety of different examples of large scale IoT deployments in China across a number of different sectors.

“For example, Sunsea AIoT with partner, China Telecom has installed over 500,000 NB-IoT sensors covering over 37km in the Jing’an District, turning the area into a truly smart community,” the report notes.

The devices monitor fire hydrant water pressure sensors as well as gas and smoke detectors and environmental monitors. Connected manhole covers also monitor gases and underground assets. An integrated platform centralises, monitors and analyses the data to help with real-time improvements.

“China Mobile has installed over 100,000 NB-IoT intelligent fire alarm systems including fire alarms, temperature sensors, smoke and gas detectors across China. China Unicom has installed over 25,000 gas and water meters utilising an NB-IoT solution that combines the IoT with big data to make energy management more intelligent.”

The rollout of NB-IoT connectivity across China’s emerging sharing economy highlights how this Mobile IoT technology is being widely adopted by both enterprises and consumers. With the number of active NB-IoT connections now rising into the millions, economies of scale are increasing, creating a virtuous circle that will drive wider deployments.

An integral part of operators’ 5G IoT proposition, NB-IoT is fully future-proof. For applications with low bandwidth requirements, Mobile IoT networks are likely to remain the most cost-effective way to monitor large numbers of assets
and support related service propositions.

As of February 2019, 69 operators in 46 countries have deployed commercial NB-IoT networks.

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