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LTE-M: Driving the future of IoT in UK business

From remote monitoring to asset tracking, Paul O’Sullivan – Director of Wholesale & Commercial at O2 – explains what our new low-power IoT technology means for UK businesses.

At O2 Business, we never stop looking for better ways to meet our customers’ needs. This means investing in the most innovative technologies capable of transforming how the UK does business. Like the Internet of Things (IoT).

We know that businesses looking for better connectivity want the benefits of IoT solutions now. Not in five years. Not in ten years. Now. That’s why we are proud to be the first UK operator to announce the roll-out of an LTE-M (Long Term Evolution, category M1) network.

Enhancing efficiencies, improving insights and bringing costs down

The LTE-M network, a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN), will enable businesses to support millions of long-life IoT devices simultaneously. It’s designed as a catalyst to help encourage massive scale for future IoT deployment for UK businesses.

Enabling IoT devices to transfer small amounts of data between them at a low power consumption, the impact of our new LTE-M network will be huge. Organisations will be empowered to work with greater operational efficiency. They will also have access to better insights across their entire IoT portfolios. What’s more, LTE-M provides higher throughput than other LPWAN technologies, with wide coverage for urban and rural areas, and lower latency.

But perhaps most significantly, where mobile networks cut the data cable, low-power networks finally cut the power chord. This allows devices to become truly mobile for up to 10 years, without an electrical connection or the need for charging – with all the cost savings that this brings.

The LTE-M network is already live in 50 UK cell sites. The national rollout of the network in 2020 will unlock first-of-its-kind low-power use cases. From transport planning to agriculture and healthcare, this technology has the potential to effect massive change for UK business.

For example, local councils will be able to monitor the status of waste containers to help optimise waste collection, or connect traffic lights wirelessly to improve road users’ experience. Retailers will be able to track the whereabouts of pallets and goods, as well as benefitting from real-time visibility of trucks and warehouse operations. And farming businesses will be able to monitor soil, temperature and weather conditions.

Growing our IoT offering – one connection at a time

This milestone builds on our strong history of success in the IoT space. We have already launched O2 Smart Vehicle, transforming fleet safety and efficiency. And we have created secure, convenient networks for businesses with O2 Cellular WAN.

One of our biggest successes though, is delivering the world’s largest IoT deployment: providing Smart Meters in 23 million locations. Our flexible, reliable and highly scalable network allows us to support ambitious national programmes like the Smart Metering initiative. It enables us to serve millions of businesses and consumers across the UK, benefitting not just businesses but lives and communities.

Our investment in the LTE-M network reflects O2 Business’ focus on IoT as a key growth area. It is our biggest step towards deploying long-range IoT communication on a vast scale. And we are looking forward to building more partnerships with UK businesses to bring these use cases to life.

Interested in finding out more about partnering with O2? Contact us or call on 0800 955 5590 to see how we can help you trial or develop LTE-M applications.

Or come and talk to us at Smart IoT London, 11-12 March, Excel London, where we will be speaking on the importance of IoT for business and smart cities, exploring example use cases for LTE-M and demonstrating our Kite platform to help customers manage their IoT estate easily and effectively.


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