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M1 launches network to support Internet-connected devices

M1 launches network to support Internet-connected devices
Reuters file photo

M1 launches network to support Internet-connected devices

SINGAPORE — Local telco M1 on Tuesday (Aug 8) announced the launch of its nationwide narrowband Internet of Things (IoT) network — a network that will support Internet-connected devices, with competitor Singtel saying it will follow suit by next month.

Just like mobile networks, IoT networks can support millions of Internet-connected devices and sensors, in offering services to businesses and consumers alike. With the roll-out of M1’s new network, businesses can also develop their own IoT solutions that can tap this network.

Some examples of solutions M1 and its partners have produced are smart energy management for buildings, waste management and fleet management, among others.

Eventually, there will be a shift towards more consumer-driven IoT solutions such as wearables, said M1.

Ms Karen Kooi, chief executive officer of M1, said this would “accelerate our journey into a digital society”. She said the company would work to “enable smart solutions for everything and everyone”.

Energy retailer Keppel Electric is piloting M1’s smart metering solution and wants to use it to help its customers — commercial and industrial buildings for now — cut down on their energy bills eventually.

“Commercial buildings account for more than one third of Singapore’s energy needs, so it’s quite energy intensive. But currently, they have no visibility on what is using the most electricity, for instance,” said Mr Nicholas Tan, head of retail at Keppel Electric.

“With smart metering, we can track which devices or systems use how much energy ... With that, our customers can then know how to conserve energy.”

Mr Tan added that Keppel Electric also hopes to do the same for residential customers next year, when the energy market becomes fully liberalised.

Smart bins are also on the way, with Smart City Solutions — one of M1’s solutions partners — already piloting it at hospitals, the airport and Sentosa.

With a sensor attached to the bin, alerts are sent out to inform cleaning companies to clear the bins when they are full, said Smart City Solutions director Mr P Renganathan.

M1 chief innovative officer Alex Tan said: “It is no longer a scenario where we are providing connectivity, we go beyond that, not just into device management, but digital solutions that meet businesses’ needs.

“We are also now in a position to leverage (data) analytics that we collect on behalf of customers, to provide expertise in assessing the data and ... preventive maintenance, for instance.”

Singtel also said it will be launching its nationwide IoT network by the end of September, in a statement on Tuesday.

Since 2016, it said, it has been exploring IoT usage with local companies and large corporations across a wide range of applications, such as monitoring of medicine consumption, environmental sensing and waste management.