Proximus launches smart city project in Belgium as Telia takes NB-IoT to Finland

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Proximus is to use a Walloonian town as a real-life testbed for IoT solutions, as Telia launches NB-IoT across Finland.

The Belgian operator is working with Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve in the country's Walloon region to develop appliocations in the security, efficiency, tourism, energy management and mobility areas.

The initial focus of the partnership will be setting out a plan to overcome the hurdles that deploying a smart city will involve and developing new services. These solutions will then be deployed in real-life situations.

[Read more: 5G is a journey requiring leaps of faith and baby steps, claims Proximus CTO]

Smart lighting is the first area that is set to be explored with mobility player Be-Mobile and Belgian energy company ORES working on the project.

Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve has a population of over 30,000 and is located south east of Brussels.

Alex Bosmans, Public Sector Manager at Proximus, said: "The choice of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve was a logical one. There is a diverse infrastructure, population and ecosystem in a medium-sized town, which makes it an ideal laboratory for carrying out the tests."

David da Câmara Gomes, the alderman for Mobility, IT and Administrative Simplification in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, added: "The aim is to make the Smart Cities concept more tangible for the general public. One could imagine a smart lighting system in public parks to increase security, or a solution facilitating the management of flows and movements of crowds at events. Those are just two possibilities among many; the main thing is that they meet the needs of citizens."

Proximus has been an enthusiastic proponent of LoRa IoT technology and announced in January its aims to increase its footprint across Belgium by fivefold this year.

Meanwhile, Telia has launched NB-IoT onto its network in Finland and plans to extend the technology to all of markets by the end of this year.

The operator has been working with the Finnish postal service by enabling connected postboxes that notifty postmen when they need to be emptied.

Björn Hansen, Head of Telia Company's IoT business, said: "Many businesses across the Nordics and Baltics, large and small, are looking to IoT to drive efficiency in their operations by monitoring assets or steering production processes for example, and to innovate richer services for their customers.

"The upgrade in Finland, which was made to our entire network, enables the Internet of Things to reach massive scale, cost effectively, which can help smart cities and smart homes develop, and even track our pets and monitor our health.

"We are rolling out this upgrade across the Telia footprint, and anticipate launching commercial services in all main markets by year end."

Rival DNA launched NB-IoT in Finland last year and now covers 85 percent of the country's population.