Ericsson has unveiled a suite of network services for "massive Internet of Things" (IoT) applications, in addition to launching software that enables voice over LTE (VoLTE) support across Cat-M1 IoT networks.
According to Ericsson, the new product "packages a broad range of radio network services together to enable operators to smoothly introduce Internet of Things applications on their networks", and works across both Cat-M1 and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) networks.
The suite designs and optimises massive heterogeneous IoT networks, and enables the scenario assessment, network modelling, development, developmental appraisal, deployment, operation, and management of mass amounts of connections through Ericsson's Support Services offering.
"There will be 18 billion connected IoT devices in 2022; this massive uptake requires a different approach to network planning, design, operations, and capabilities than traditional mobile broadband networks," Ericsson's head of Business Area Managed Services Peter Laurin explained.
The addition of support for VoLTE across Cat-M1 networks will also enable telcos to connect IoT devices, applications, and services that could benefit from voice services, such as "security alarm panels, remote first-aid kits, wearables, digital locks, [and] disposable security garments", according to Ericsson.
Ericsson has also added automated machine learning to its Network Operations Centers in a bid to improve the efficiency and bring down the cost of the management and operation of networks.
The announcement follows Ericsson last week launching an open IoT platform with China Telecom in order to offer "enterprise customers reliable connectivity based on service-level agreements and a common, unified overview of devices and access networks".
The China Telecom IoT Open Platform is powered by Ericsson's global Device Connection Platform, which is part of Ericsson's IoT Accelerator launched in 2012. It now supports over 2,000 enterprise customers and 25 telecommunications carriers in managing their IoT connections across the globe.
"With this platform, enterprise customers can integrate their business processes with the managed connectivity service offered by China Telecom to create highly reliable IoT solutions," Ericsson said.
Ericsson last month told ZDNet that it is ahead of its competition in trialling and deploying Cat-M1 IoT networks; the networking giant is currently deploying a 4G Cat-M1 IoT network across Australia with Telstra, with trials under way in Tasmania and Melbourne.
The network is being rolled out in partnership with device providers Sierra Wireless, Altair, and Bosch; sensors are being connected to Telstra's 4G Cat-M1 network using a Sierra Wireless AirPrime embedded module on Altair's Cat-M1 chipset.
Telstra said the Cat-M1 network, once made commercially available, will be supported across its entire 4G network covering 98 percent of the population. It will be powered by Ericsson's Massive IoT network software.
Ericsson similarly unveiled a more consumer-centric IoT ecosystem for operators, networks, and devices alongside Singaporean telecommunications provider Singtel in March.
In February last year, Singtel and Ericsson also announced their collaboration on enabling Singtel's 4G network for IoT, including a trial of NB-IoT technology during the latter half of 2016.
Ericsson's recent annual Mobility Report predicted that around 29 billion IoT devices will be connected globally by 2022, 18 billion of which will be IoT devices such as connected cars, machines, meters, sensors, electronics, and wearables.
Of these 18 billion, just over 15 billion are expected to be short-range IoT devices, while more than 2 billion will be wide-area IoT devices, Ericsson said.
"Cellular networks are well suited to providing connectivity for emerging IoT applications due to their ubiquitous deployments, as well as their inherent characteristics, which include security and reliability," Ericsson explained.
"The newly standardised 3GPP low-power wide-area (LPWA) cellular technologies, Cat-M1 and NB-IoT, can be deployed on existing LTE networks, and are helping to overcome these challenges. The technologies meet massive IoT coverage requirements and support a wide range of low-cost devices."