IoT for startups: Telenor unveils free pilot to spur big data, AI development

Starting next week, startups and researchers will be able to test out their ideas for new Internet of Things apps on a free pilot service in Norway.
Written by Stig Øyvann, Contributor

Norway's Telenor is encouraging young companies, students, and researchers to play around with the Internet of Things.

Image: Telenor

Telenor has unveiled an experimental pilot service called Telenor Start IoT, for researchers and young companies wanting to explore the Internet of Things (IoT) in Norway.

The Norwegian telecom operator is setting up a physical low-power wide-area (LPWA) experimental network and a backend system and will be giving development kits to startups, students, and developers. This offering will be free for testing and experimentation for five years.

The Telenor Start IoT pilot network offering will initially be based on LoRaWAN technology (LoRa) but other network technologies may also be included, such as the 2G/3G/4G, NB-IoT and eMTC standards, the company said. Telenor will offer such networks commercially in 2018, hence the start of exploring the opportunities now.

In addition to the transmission network, Telenor will provide a developer portal and access to backend services on its Telenor Connexions Cloud Connect product. This platform is built on Amazon Web Services IoT (AWS IoT), and will be made available independently of the underlying transmission technology.

The pilot network is aimed at stimulating LPWA innovation in Norway and will initially be rolled out in the Norwegian cities Trondheim, Tromsø, and Oslo from May 1. All three cities have a good selection of education and research institutions.

"This is part of a broad initiative from Telenor to drive growth in the use of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT, and big data in Norway," Telenor Group president and CEO Sigve Brekke said in a statement.

The offering is one of several examples of Telenor's strategy of stimulating and supporting startup companies. The company has accelerator programs in place in eight of its markets and says it supported 70 startups in 2016 alone.

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