Singtel inks IoT partnership deals with China Mobile, Microsoft

Singapore telco teams up with China Mobile Internet to drive the adoption of both carriers' IoT services and launches an "artificial intelligence-powered" IoT network on Microsoft Azure.

Singtel has inked two partnership agreements as part of efforts to boost its deployment and provision of Internet of Things (IoT) services. The Singapore telco has teamed up with China Mobile International to drive the adoption of their IoT devices amongst their respective enterprise clientele, while Singtel's collaboration with Microsoft will see the carrier launch an IoT network--powered by artificial intelligence (AI)--over the Azure cloud platform. 

Singtel said its Master Services Agreement with the Chinese telco would enable both their business customers to roll out IoT devices installed in consumer electronics, industrial equipment, and cars in China and Singapore. China Mobile also would tap Singtel's network to deploy its narrowband IoT products and services in Singapore, said Singtel on Tuesday. 

IoT boom will change how data is analysed

Deluge of data generated by Internet of Things will impact machine learning and the quality of data analysis, driving the need for such devices to get smarter and decide where data should be analysed.

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The collaboration would allow China Mobile's customers to roll out their IoT devices on Singtel's Singapore network without the need to manually configure the devices or switch networks within the country. The same benefit would extend to Singtel's enterprise clientele in China, running on China Mobile's network. 

In addition, customers from both telcos would access a common management platform to control their devices in both countries as well as receive a single, consolidated bill. 

"In an era where successful businesses run on data-driven insights, IoT is the invaluable resource enabling enterprises to unlock value from data to achieve business breakthroughs and solve critical challenges," Singtel's head of IoT Diomedes Kastanis said, adding that the China Mobile partnership aimed to yield economies of scale and enable businesses to more quickly expand their IoT coverage in both countries.

Citing figures from industry group GSMA, Singtel said the Asia-Pacific IoT market was the world's largest and projected to reach US$386 billion by 2025, chalking up 11 billion connections. 

In a separate statement, the Singapore telco unveiled plans to integrate its IoT network functions with Microsoft Azure, offering "AI-powered" IoT applications via the cloud platform. This, Singtel said, would enable such applications to easily migrate between devices and networks, including cloud environments. 

The collaboration also would leverage Microsoft's cloud services including IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and other machine learning and cognitive applications to push analytics capabilities to the devices.

Organisations would be able to implement network policy control functions using the platform's intelligent IoT capabilities, including network on-demand, rate limiting, locking the SIM card in the IoT device, and blacklisting an IoT device from activating.

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