Chip-maker u-blox is parntering with Digicom, a company that offers a wide range of hardware and software with cellular connectivity, to develop narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) products and solutions. Both companies have carried out a series of innovative and successful field trials of the new NB-IoT technology.
The announcement reflects u-blox’s and Digicom’s eagerness to meet pent-up demand for Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) connectivity, as delivered by NB-IoT technology, standardized by 3GPP in June 2016.
The benefits of NB-IoT over other cellular radio technologies include lower device complexity, ultra‑low power operation and support for > 50 k devices per single cellular cell. As NB-IoT operates on networks within the licensed spectrum, it also offers greater security and freedom from interference.
It is therefore suitable for IoT and M2M applications requiring extremely low power consumption and better coverage even in shielded areas.
The collaboration is driven by a complementary business relationship between the two companies. Digicom offers innovative solutions for the industrial markets using NB-IoT, with a particular focus on connectivity solutions for Smart Cities, Smart Buildings, Industry 4.0 in general and the Automotive industry. Digicom platforms are designed for the protection of vehicles, people and pets, offer ultra low power consumption and several years operation in battery mode.
Embedded in Digicom’s products and solutions is for instance the u-blox SARA‑N2 NB-IoT module, which was announced in June 2016 as a cellular radio module compliant with 3GPP Release 13. Release 13 defined the NB-IoT cellular air interface standard, specifically targeting devices that need to communicate small amounts of data over long periods of time in hard-to-reach places.
“We have collaborated with u-blox for a long time and the quality and innovation of their modules enable us to develop cutting-edge products and solutions,” said Stefano Galzignato, business line manager at Digicom.
“We are excited to be part of this partnership, which showcases u‑blox as a global leader in developing NB‑IoT solutions for IoT applications,” said Stefano Moioli, u‑blox director of product management, cellular.
The partnership is expected to grow steadily alongside a rising demand for Digicom solutions for IoT markets.