It seems that Vodafone is doing its best to move past the Vodafail saga of a couple of years ago. As well as a new suite of business apps, they have also announced a big push into the IoT game with a new offering that will allow devices to run for a decade on a single charge.
The new Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network will connect devices that don't need stacks of bandwidth. Typically, those devices don't suck a whole lot of juice either so they can last years between battery changes.
The new NB-IoT network is initially being deployed around Vodafone's office in North Sydney and Port Melbourne, as well as Frankston in south-eastern Melbourne. Melbourne's CBD gets blanketed with the new network next month with some Sydney and Canberra locations connected during December.
Vodafone’s Executive General Manager of Enterprise, Stuart Kelly, said “NB-IoT offers customers a range of benefits including greater power efficiency, with devices able to run on batteries for 10 years or more on a single charge. This means there is less need for investment in hardware and resources relating to sourcing and replacing batteries. The result is increased longevity for assets, reducing the need for site visits while devices are being used in the field".
Vodafone's testing has found NB-IoT showed significantly greater coverage, in terms of distance and depth, compared to those offered by existing 2G, 3G and 4G technology, penetrating two to three double-brick walls, and enabling connectivity of objects in underground car parks and basements. Testing in suburban Melbourne also achieved extended coverage of up to 30 kilometres.
This announcement, as well as the recent expansion of their ReadyApps service suggest Vodafone is trying to place themselves as a serious competitor to the other carriers when it comes to business customers.