Participants at the 3GPP RAN (WGs 1 through 6) and SA2 Working Group meetings hosted by Huawei in Hangzhou last week wrapped up the meetings with an “NB-IoT bicycle tour” meant to demonstrate how NB-IoT can work with bike-sharing services.
According to a 3GPP blog post, the demo – which used bikes from bicycle sharing service ‘ofo’ – featured NB-IoT equipment that enabled bicycles to be unlocked via a PIN from a smartphone, by scanning a QR code on the bicycle.
The PIN code wakes up the module, which reports to the server then goes back to sleep until the user finishes the ride. When the customer locks the bicycle, the module re-activates to report the journey information and to generate a new PIN for the next user. The NB-IoT module can also wake more often to provide other functions, such as periodic location reports.
By installing NB-IoT modules – which are pin-for-pin compatible with GPRS modules in the existing locks – power consumption was much improved, with the stand-by time extended by years, using the same battery, the 3GPP says.
The 3GPP said Release 13 standardization of the NB1 category device, followed by the Release 14 enhancements to NB-IoT, completed in March 2017 (including multicast, positioning and a reduced 14 dBm power class) have all helped to bring this technology to LPWA (low-power wide-area) IoT products quickly.
With Release 15 now underway, the evolution of NB-IoT will bring TDD support, increased small cell capability, and a number of new techniques to optimize device power consumption for the Internet of Things.
“With the maturing of the end-to-end ecosystem, since the start of 2017, there are now chipsets, modules, infrastructure, and applications – as the fruit of 3GPP’s accelerated standardization of NB-IoT,” said Zhiqin Wang, director of the Institute of Communications Standards Research at the China Academy of Information & Communications Technology (CAICT).