Majority government-owned telecommunication services provider Omantel has launched a new subsidiary to support the roll-out of a nationwide Internet of Things (IoT) network, embodying technologies that provide the groundwork for the establishment of, among other things, smart cities, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart grids of the future. Internet of Things LLC is a partnership between Omantel (55%) and SIGFOX (45%), a provider of communications services for the Internet of Things (IoT). Under the partnership, first unveiled in April this year, both companies have pledged to provide IoT network coverage extending to around 85% of the Sultanate’s population by end-2017.
Tech pundits have characterised IoT as a “game-changer” that will assimilate all kinds of “things” into the world of the Internet. IoT connects appliances, machines and devices over the Internet, letting them gather data, communicate with each other and transmit data over wired or wireless networks. This data can be suitably leveraged to, say, enhance energy efficiency, improve productivity, lower costs and generally contribute to the creation of ‘smart’ environments.
For example, IoT-enabled homes, offices or warehouses can be remotely monitored from the standpoints of energy efficiency, security, and so on. The same principle can be applied to traffic signals, road networks, transport systems, logistics, and so on — systems and services that can be monitored and remotely controlled from the vantage point of one’s own smartphone or a PDA or computer.
In the Sultanate, IoT networks will likely be employed in the short term in, among other things, smart metering of electricity and water consumption, energy conservation and efficient billing, and in the long term, in the creation of smart homes, offices and apartment blocks, and so on.
“(Internet of Things LLC) is engaged in the development of applications and services across a wide spectrum of smart, connected objects and M2M (machine to machine) communications. The commercial operation is expected to start in 2017,” said Sultan Hamdoon al Harthy, Chairman of Omantel’s Board of Directors, in a report of Omantel’s financial performance for the three months ended September 30, 2016.
France-based SIGFOX specialises in building low-energy, low-cost wireless platforms to connect all manner of objects such as electricity meters, smart watches and washing machines, providing the infrastructure that underpins the IoT.
As the Middle East’s first SIGFOX Network Operator, Omantel says it will work closely with the brand’s global IoT ecosystem, including manufacturers of components and objects, to offer a wide variety of connected solutions for smart applications, energy efficiency, agriculture, security and other uses.
(AS REPORTED IN OMAN DAILY OBSERVER)
© Oman Daily Observer 2016