South Korean telco SK Telecom recently claimed it was rolling out the world's first nationwide Internet of Things (IoT) network, but it looks like the Netherlands has beaten it to the punch. Dutch telecommunications company KPN has switched on its own system this week, which reportedly covers the entire country and will be used to connect millions of devices.
KPN technicians fitted hundreds of existing mobile transmission towers with LoRa (Long Range) gateways and antennas, to create a new public network dedicated to IoT devices. Sections first went online in Rotterdam and The Hague in November 2015, before work ramped up earlier this year in response to customer interest.
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"Last year we identified an increasing demand for low-power network technology for Internet of Things applications," says Joost Farwerck, COO of KPN. " We are responding to this by choosing LoRa, so millions of devices can be connected to the internet in a cost-effective manner. In less than a year KPN has implemented a network that allows us to satisfy this market demand."
Already, the company has contracts for 1.5 million devices to utilize the LoRa network. Baggage handling at Schiphol Airport, depth sounders in the port of Rotterdam and rail switches at Utrecht Central Station are all currently being handled by smart connected devices, with plenty more expected to join the party as KPN continues to optimize and add functionality to the system.