Telenor Group is offering students and entrepreneurs in Norway the opportunity to use its internet of things (IoT) infrastructure to develop and try out products and services.
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The initiative is part of the company’s wider drive to encourage the take-up of the latest technologies and is an attempt to create a national competency in IoT technologies.
“By providing cost-free access to next-generation IoT infrastructure, we give Norwegian startups and students the ability to develop and rapidly prototype new IoT products and services,” said Sigve Brekke, CEO at Telenor Group.
“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,” he said.
Telenor Start IoT will be free to Norwegian entrepreneurs and students for five years through the Start IoT developer site. This will feature documentation on the devices, connectivity and the back end, development kits, startup guides and user forums.
A back-end system allows IoT service developers to access the IoT infrastructure and develop prototypes at a relatively low cost.
It will use Telenor Connexion’s Cloud Connect enablement platform, which is built on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT.
Another Telenor initiative to support the take-up of the latest technologies in Norway is the Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab, which was officially opened in March 2017 at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). It conducts research and runs innovation programmes in artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and IoT.
Telenor was traditionally Norway’s state-owned telecoms operator. The state still owns 54%, and the company has business operations across the world. More than a million things are already connected to its mobile network in Norway.
The company made its first steps into IoT in 2008 with machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, but that technology is now becoming mainstream and the business is preparing to expand.
Through its dedicated IoT unit known as Telenor Connexion, it provides enterprise customers with IoT capabilities as a service. It currently has millions of devices connected to its AWS cloud-based IoT platform via its IoT service customers.
In November 2016, Fredrik Östbye, vice-president internet of things at Telenor, told Computer Weekly that the Nordic region is the logical place to start, with its strong manufacturing sector and Telenor’s legacy there. “We are really strong in the Nordics, with over 80% share of the connected devices market,” he said.
The Nordic region has manufacturing companies that fit the profile to have an IoT strategy, such as heavy machinery manufacturers that are attempting to wrap services around their products. The region is also a hotbed for IT innovation and startups, which support an IoT industry.
Telenor is working with Volvo, Scania and outdoor toolmaker Husqvarna in the Nordics, providing a service to help these companies sell services on top of their manufactured products.