A few months ago, in February 2017, Tata Communication and HP Enterprises had entered into a partnership to deploy LoRaWAN technology to create world’s largest network – connecting over 400 million people. The aim was to use this to create an IoT ecosystem that will enable people to use a mobile platform to connect over their various IoT-enabled devices.
The genesis of this platform is to be in India. The aim of the company is to IoT enable cities across the country so that they become smart city. In fact, this is part of Tata Communications’ global strategy deploy LoRa network as part its long-term strategy to develop mobile platforms and an IoT ecosystem. When announcing the strategy to bring IoT applications to India, Anthony Bartolo, president, Mobility, IoT and Collaboration Services, Tata Communications had said, “As part of our commitment to innovation and in driving digital transformation globally, we are creating a cohesive, resilient and highly secure network to deploy IoT applications in India. We are excited to be partnering with HPE in this project as this platform is critical to amalgamating all the complex variables in enabling a truly digital India.”
Opting for the LoRa Platform
LoRa is the latest in the world of IoT applications. LoRa is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification supported by HPE, which is a member of the LoRa Alliance, an open, non-profit association that is working towards standardising LPWAN to enable IoT, machine-to-machine, and smart city applications globally.
LoRa enables battery operated IoT devices to run on IoT requirements like secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localisation services. Globally, many other technology compnies are adopting the LoRa specification as a standard for connecting LPWAN IoT devices and sensors, complementing other connectivity options such as LTE, Wi-Fi and more.
Last year, Tata Communications had announced its plans to adopt the LoRa network for creating its mobile platform and IoT ecosystem. It is p[art of the company’s long term IoT enablement and Smart City deployment strategy. The company working with HPE has selected LoRa because of its long range capabilities, low cost of deployment and usage and low power requirement – all of which work for the Indian infrastructure scenario.
Smart city and IoT enablement in India
The project outlined by Tata Communications is ambitious and highly beneficial for the community as it enables new services and eases many pain points that plague the infrastructure in India currently. The project involves connecting devices, applications and other IoT solutions over the LoRa network in smart buildings, campus, utilities, fleet management, security and healthcare services. Talking about the project, David Sliter, vice president and general manager, Communications Solutions Business, HPE, said, “The sheer size of this project is incredible, bringing new services to millions of people.”
According to Tata Communication, this is a first-of-its-kind initiative in India connecting nearly 2,000 communities, covering over 400 million people across the country. The first phase of the roll-out targets tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 cities in here. Alongside successful field trials in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, there are also 35 proof-of-concept applications in trial on the network.
For this project, Tata Communications selected HPE’s Universal IoT (UIoT) Platform to connect devices, applications and other IoT solutions over the LoRa network. This is because HPE’s UIoT streamlines interoperability and management of heterogeneous IoT devices and applications that power the intelligent edge. With this Tata Communications will be able to do long-range, low-power connectivity deployments. This platform also supports devices that use cellular, radio, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
According to Bartolo, Tata Communications selected HPE to be an integral part of its global cellular IoT connectivity services. In fact, through this partnership Tata Communications can use HPE’s IoT solutions to enable a range of domestic and cross-border IoT connectivity and management services, particularly for applications requiring elements of mobility, such as connected cars, fleet management and transportation services.
“The association between Tata Communications and HPE paves the way for a new era in enabling devices with embedded connectivity for enterprise customer solutions throughout the country. Through our partner centric approach, the HPE Universal IoT platform will enable Tata Communications to build multiple vertical use cases for its IoT network in India on a common platform with a common data model,” added Sliter.
Steel city Jamshedpur goes smart
For the Tata Group and citizens of India, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand has an iconic status for being the steel city of the country. In fact, Jamshedpur is the first planned industrial city in India. So it makes sense that this is also the first city in the country to become a smart city.
That is what Tata Communications has done recently with the help of HPE’s solution taking the Steel city and transforming it into one of the region’s first Smart Cities. They have implemented the world’s first LoRaWAN based Integrated City Management solution in Jamshedpur.
According to HPE, the company is working with JUSCO (Jamshedpur Utility Services Company), a Tata Group Enterprise, to roll out the first Smart City Command Center based on LoRaWAN, where JUSCO will be aggregating a diverse spectrum of field sensors, gateways and devices, and integrating multiple data sources to be seamlessly managed by JUSCO.
Nigel Upton, General Manager, Universal IoT Platform, HPE, explains in his blog, “We’ll be using more than 100,000 sensors and gateways to digitize 15 infrastructure solutions including street lights, utilities and parking meters, all managed by HPE’s UIoT Platform.”
With this, JUSCO will not only be able to improve basic utility functionality, all the data it aggregates in the Smart City Command Center will also enable JUSCO to manage, maintain, and monetize new services. With this in place, JUSCO will be able to help the city reduce energy use, increase efficiency in waste management, and make construction zones safer.
According to the two companies, the project is underway, and is expected to take 12 to 18 months to connect all necessary devices and sensors to the HPE UIoT platform. The two are further looking to strengthen their partnership to provide innovative smart city solutions across the globe.