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Optus and Cisco complete NB-IoT trials

Cisco has integrated its Jasper platform with Optus' 4G network to allow for NB-IoT applications during a live trial, the companies have announced.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Cisco has announced completing live trials of its Cisco Jasper narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology across Optus' core network in Australia.

The wireless low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) trial, announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Tuesday, saw Cisco integrate Jasper, a cloud-based IoT platform, to support NB-IoT technology on Optus' 4G network.

"Optus sees the evolution of LTE technology to support dedicated IoT networks as a critical step towards mass adoption of IoT solutions by both enterprise and consumers," said Allan Burdekin, head of Optus' NCSi Incorporating Safe and Smart Cities business arm.

"Incorporating Cisco Jasper into our NB-IoT plans allows us to provide a consistent user experience to our customers across both traditional cellular and NB-IoT, all on a single platform. Cisco Jasper will be a key partner in enabling our customers to grow and scale with the IoT market in the most efficient way."

Earlier on Tuesday, Cisco also announced Jasper partnerships with automaker Honda, telecommunications provider Korea Telecom, and wearable health tracking company Jupl.

Jasper is now partnered with over 50 service providers globally and manages IoT devices on more than 550 mobile networks across the world.

Cisco also announced in September that it would be partnering with Salesforce to integrate Jasper with Salesforce's IoT cloud.

Cisco's $1.4 billion acquisition of Jasper was aimed at enabling enterprises to put connected products on mobile networks to take the complexity out of IoT, head of IoT Strategy for Cisco Jasper Macario Namie told ZDNet last year.

Jasper supplies the cloud-based software-as-a-service control centre that sits between mobile providers and enterprise customers wanting IoT connected solutions, with the control centre providing access via either the web or application programming interfaces (APIs) to control turning the service on, rate plans that customers are assigned to, the policies involved, usage monitoring, reporting, and fraud controls.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has previously said the acquisition of Jasper was "critically important" to the networking giant's overarching strategy.

"Jasper is such a great fit for us, because it is a technology that we acquired, but it's one that we partner with the service provider to actually drive that connectivity, and we're looking at how we not only provide value to the enterprise by giving them the ability to leverage that data into their applications and make decisions, but we're also at the same time looking at how do we provide more services for the service provider to offer on top of that platform," the chief executive said in July last year.

Optus' rival telecommunications provider Vodafone Australia also conducted LPWAN NB-IoT trials last year with Chinese networking giant Huawei over a number of live sites in suburban and central Melbourne.

Vodafone and Huawei were able to attain greater depth and distance -- to the tune of penetrating through three double-brick walls in depth, and up to 30km in distance -- in coverage using NB-IoT in comparison to 2G, 3G, and 4G.

In Singapore, Singtel and Ericsson have also been trialling NB-IoT technology.

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert attended Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona as a guest of Huawei

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