UK telco group BT has launched a ‘multi-million-pound’ NB-IoT network, which it says will pave the way for more UK smart cities and industries.

Andrew Wooden

February 22, 2024

2 Min Read

BT says its Narrowband Internet of Things network covers 97% of the UK population and is now available to business customers. It will enable widescale IoT use across various industries and shape future ecosystems such as smart cities and smart agriculture, we’re told.  

NB-IoT is a low-power network which BT is holding up as having the ‘the potential to transform industries such as utilities, construction, and the public sector’ – by connecting devices and automating many processes that currently require manual oversight or direct involvement.

Examples of low-data demand assets BT’s new NB-IoT network will enable are given as street lighting or underground water sensors connected over a smart network. It will deliver long battery life, and the point of that sort of device is to enhance efficiency and reduce costs by doing things like automatically detecting leaks in water infrastructure, we’re told.

“Growing numbers of businesses are beginning to realise the benefits of IoT applications, and our UK-wide NB-IoT network opens up a wide range of connectivity solutions for monitors, sensors, and other smart devices,” said Chris Keone, MD, Division X at BT.Whether it’s building the smart cities of the future or reducing carbon emissions, our network will provide customers with the reliability and efficiency they need.”

Ultimately the rollout of the network will allow BT to help fast-track ‘smart cities of the future’ through things like monitoring and optimising energy use, storage, and distribution.

The agricultural industry will also benefit from IoT connectivity, with previous BT trials involving sensors to monitor haystack temperature and prevent fire risks, as well as safekeeping of livestock through gate sensors.

The grand vision of smart cities and the purported benefits of connecting up as many objects as you can to a network is not new. In the past has been used as an example of what other areas of technology will be good for – such as 5G, data analytics and AI.

We’re probably not about to see this coalesce into anything on a noticeably grand scheme in the short term, but smaller deployments such as tweaking the efficiencies of farms, while not as impressive sounding as a Blade Runner-esque city of the future, have delivered some practical looking solutions in the past.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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