China Unicom announces IoT partnership

Ayla's Agile IoT Platform will be used by China Unicom to help develop a series of smart home, connected car, artificial intelligence, and other Internet of Things solutions.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

China Unicom has announced signing an Internet of Things (IoT) collaboration deal with Ayla Networks that will see the two companies develop various consumer and enterprise solutions.

Plans already in the works for their IoT collaboration include solutions across smart homes, smart hotels, connected cars, artificial intelligence (AI), and intelligent cold chain technology.

Building such solutions will "enhance" Ayla's IoT platform ecosystem, Ayla Networks co-founder Phillip Chang said, with China Unicom adding that Ayla is an "ideal partner" for its IoT program due to its global scale.

"Ayla's IoT platform provides comprehensive device, cloud, and mobile app connectivity for any kind of product," China Unicom said.

"The Ayla platform not only speeds manufacturers' time to market for connected products, it also handles the intricacies of IoT security, performance, scalability, and interoperability."

Chang said Ayla Networks and China Unicom's work will see them focus on mobile IoT solutions.

"With China Unicom's comprehensive high-quality information and communications services, we are particularly excited about developing mobile IoT solutions," Chang said.

Ayla Networks, which received a funding boost from global networking giant Cisco back in 2014, spruiks its offering as the industry's only end-to-end complete platform for IoT solutions.

In addition to its Ayla Agile IoT Platform, Ayla also has a mobile app platform; an IoT design kit including hardware, software, access to developers, and support; and an insights offering -- meaning it provides connectivity, security, and analytics solutions.

Also working for customers including Fujitsu, Hisense, and United Technologies, Ayla Networks has helped developed such products as smart air conditioning, heating, and ceiling fans; connected thermostats; smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; a connected weather station; Wi-Fi door locks; smart lighting; and connected water heaters.

China Unicom in June launched its Global IoT Connectivity Cooperation Initiative, inviting partners to help develop enterprise and consumer IoT solutions.

The Chinese carrier has also been working on improving its mobile network, last week announcing the launch of a commercial gigabit-speed 4G LTE network, which is now live in Beijing, Guangdong, Shandong, and Hainan while trials are ongoing in the Sichuan, Shanxi, Hubei, Jilin, and Jiangsu provinces.

The 979Mbps peak-speed network is enabled through the combination of Ericsson's three LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B)-enabling solutions: Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS); High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC H.265); and MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG DASH).

"To accelerate the development of China Unicom's video strategy, Ericsson supported China Unicom with eMBMS in the high-speed train scenario so that passengers could enjoy high-definition video without buffering on the network," Ericsson explained.

China Unicom has similarly been working with ZTE on 5G New Radio (NR) field trials, in July attaining rates of up to 2Gbps for single-user equipment.

ZTE made use of its pre-commercial sub-6GHz 5G base station at the 3.5GHz frequency with 100MHz bandwidth alongside Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology during the trial with China Unicom's Guangdong branch.

Competitor provider China Telecom launched its own open IoT platform with Ericsson in July, powered by the networking giant's global Device Connection Platform.

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