Ten years of trees, one hundred years of trees.
2014 is a very crucial year for Huawei Hisilicon. The ten-year chip marathon finally ushered in the dawn of victory on the Kirin 910. Judging from the long cycle of chip manufacturing, this day is not too late.
"It doesn't matter if you do it slowly, it doesn't matter if you don't do it well. As long as you have time, Hisilicon will always have a day to come." He Tingbo, then the head of Hisilicon chip, encouraged the team to say that toughness was revealed in bitterness.
Also in 2014, in addition to the counterattack of Huawei Hisilicon's mobile phone chips, driven by Vodafone's good offices and the promotion of Huawei's wireless department, Huawei acquired a company named Neu in the United Kingdom for $ 25 million. The 25 million USD investment demonstrates Huawei's vision for the global Internet of Things . Neul will provide core technology for Huawei's IoT development plan, and Huawei will use Neul as the core to build a "center of excellence" in the UK.
Throughout China and abroad, the founding teams of semiconductor companies often have one thing in common-they consist of a group of "rebels" from large companies, and Neul, based in Cambridge, England, is no exception. In 2010, a group of "rebels" who had worked in the British semiconductor manufacturer CSR established Neul, and the CEO of Neul was Stan Boland, the CTO of the former CSR (a Fabless fabless semiconductor manufacturer in Cambridge, UK). The company was founded Initially there were only 16 employees.
After being incorporated into Huawei, Neul quickly demonstrated its value and potential in low-power data transmission. In February 2013, Neul released the white spectrum transceiver chip Iceni. Based on this, in November 2014, the chip Iceni for low-power wide area network (LPWAN) came out.
At the 2015 Global Mobile Broadband Forum, Huawei's NB-IoT demo used Neul Iceni. In 2016, Huawei showed samples of the second-generation NeulBoudica at MWC, and the NB-IoT IoT application demonstration based on this product attracted wide attention.
Although the acquisition of a smaller company such as Neul was part of Huawei's plan to enter the British market at the time of GBP 1.3 billion, to some extent, it was this acquisition that determined the future of NB-IoT in China.
Leading the elder brother Huawei's leadership, policy support, and technological progress ... made NB-IoT a wave of waves in China after 2010, and a large number of people of compassion devoted themselves to the NB-IoT chip startup boom.
This is very similar to the chip boom 10 years ago, but it is different. Similarly, the policy is still vigorously supported; the core of China is equally strong; the initial staff are still based on the background of returnees, Tsinghua Department, and large enterprises. The difference lies in the technical difficulty and the domestic and foreign environment. These startups choose NB-IoT to be somewhat "different" in the corner overtaking idea, because their choice of chip entrepreneurial channels is extremely limited, and the vast blue ocean of the Internet of Things has given them the direction and enough confidence.
The 5G boom may slow down the optimization of NB-IoT networks by operators, and the NB-IoT market has entered a stage of spontaneously driven demand.
Recently, 3GPP has submitted NB-IoT as a 5G candidate technology to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). NB-Io is a part of the 5G family in the future, giving the industry confidence in long-term evolution. But confidence is not always more important than gold at all times. When faced with shuffling, or a place with feathers, or a small mountain at a glance.
Demand is the best soil for breeding new technologies. A £ 2 billion project determines that the birth of NB-IoT is not accidental.
In 2013, the British government's DECC smart meter reading project was tendered, with a total project value of up to 2 billion pounds. The tender requires that the network coverage of meter-metering scenarios must reach 99% or more. However, due to the poor indoor coverage of the GSM network, only 80% of the GSM-based remote meter reading coverage is evaluated. Go straight out in the first round.
Operators have begun to focus on the construction and improvement of the wireless cellular network's ability to cover IoT scenarios, and a new technology is about to be born.
June 16, 2016 is an extremely important day for the Internet of Things industry and even the entire communications industry. The 72nd meeting of the 3GPPRAN plenary held in Busan, South Korea on this day was successfully concluded. The relevant content of the 3GPP protocol corresponding to NB-IoT has been approved by the RAN Plenary. It is officially announced that the core protocol of the NB-IoT standard has been completely completed after more than 2 years of research, marking that NB-IoT is about to enter the stage of large-scale commercial use.
Huawei dominates NB-IoT standards
The freeze of the NB-IoT standard is the result of multiple games among the interested parties, which is not easy. The game players include communication giants such as Huawei, Vodafone, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, etc. Huawei's victory comes from its insistence on NB-IoT for many years.
In early 2013, Huawei worked with operators, chip makers and other industry players to discuss technologies and needs and began to formally study NB-IoT. At the time, this narrowband cellular IoT was called LTE-M, and its full name was LTE for Machine to Machine. As can be seen from the name, the industry expects that this technology will not only achieve the low cost and low power consumption required for M2M connectivity, but also be deployed with LTE networks.
LTE-M has determined the key goals of narrowband cellular IoT: coverage needs to be 99.9%, link budget is at least 20dB higher than GSM; the lower the terminal power consumption, the better; the terminal module cost is expected to be less than US $ 5.
Today, these goals have been achieved one by one.
To become a 3GPP standard, a technology needs to go through a number of established procedures: first, the project becomes SI (Study Item); after research and analysis, TR (Technical Report) is generated, and after 3GPP organization reviews, it is converted into WI (WorkItem), and then by each The work item group outputs TS (TechnicalSpecification).
Therefore, the entire process is usually led by one or several industry leaders, and the company with the largest contribution will generally be the reporter. The four speakers of this NB-IoT are Vodafone, Huawei, Ericsson, and Qualcomm.
In May 2015, based on the consensus, Huawei and Qualcomm jointly announced a converged solution, that is, the uplink uses FDMA multiple access and the downlink adopts OFDM multiple access. The name of the converged solution is NB-CIoT ( Narrow Band Cellular IoT).
As the market structure becomes clearer, cellular IoT standards and industry actions continue to accelerate. The integration of Huawei and Qualcomm technology solutions has further shaken the industry. In the face of the market direction of the cellular Internet of Things with huge space in the future, no one wants to stay behind. After Huawei and Qualcomm announced the integration of technology solutions, more companies participated in tracking the progress of the NB-CIoT SI standard.
At the same time, other manufacturers are being driven by market demand, which has also accelerated the pace of research and development in the field of narrowband Internet of Things. After a period of gestation, Ericsson joined several companies to propose the concept of NB-LTE (Narrow Band LTE) at the last meeting of GERAN SI, that is, the GERAN meeting on August 10, 2015.
At the RAN 69 meeting in September 2015, after intense discussions, the parties finally reached an agreement. The two technical solutions NB-CIoT and NB-LTE were merged to form the NB-IoT WID. NB-CIoT has evolved to NB-IoT (NarrowBand IoT).
NB-IoT has received unprecedented attention from the industry. 3GPP companies have contributed a large number of proposals. Starting from GERAN's SI, each company has contributed a total of 3205 technical proposals. A total of 447 approved proposals have been achieved.
Among them, Huawei contributed 1,008 proposals and 184 were approved, accounting for 41% of all 447 approved proposals. Huawei contributed the most standards proposals, ranking first in the world, and demonstrated strong standards and conceptual leadership. Huawei and 4 leading European and American companies together contributed about 98% of the approved proposals.
With the freezing of standards, more and more industry partners have joined the NB-IoT camp. This huge blue ocean market has already been opened. Who will become the "merry man" today?
Different choices for head players
As promoters of the NB-IoT standard, Huawei and Qualcomm have become the two top players of the current NB-IoT chip, but their routes are different.
After the NB-IoT standard was announced, Huawei quickly launched the NB-IoT commercial chip, which is also the industry's first official commercial NB-IoT chip-Boudica120. Later, the newer version of Boudica 150 began small-scale commercial use. From the perspective of NB-IoT applications, Huawei has cooperated with Shenzhen, Yingtan, and Fuzhou Water in the water sector; Huawei has cooperated with Shenzhen Gas and Beijing Gas in pilot projects in the gas sector.
Because domestic NB-IoT has cost and power consumption advantages, operators also prioritize the implementation of NB-IoT. China Mobile and MediaTek jointly launched the NB-IoT universal module.
Unlike Huawei and domestic operators, which mainly promote NB-IoT, Qualcomm does not place a single bet on NB-IoT. Instead, it adopts a multi-mode and multi-frequency method to be compatible with NB-IoT and eMTC at the same time. GSM multi-mode IoT chip MDM9206.
Qualcomm's choice has no slight advantage in terms of cost, but it may have certain advantages in controlling the evolution of future Internet of Things technology.
Qualcomm's multi-mode and multi-frequency chips can meet the needs of more IoT applications, so there are also a handful of chip manufacturers who choose to be compatible with NB-IoT / eMTC like Qualcomm.
Overseas, Intel, the old Bluetooth chip manufacturer Nordic, the chip design company Altair that produces 4G technology terminal baseband processors, and the 4G LTE chip manufacturer Sequans' IoT chips all support NB-IoT / eMTC at the same time.
Domestically, Ruidico, a subsidiary of Ziguang Zhanrui, not only launched 2G, NB-IoT dual-mode IoT chips, but also launched chips supporting eMTC, NB-IoT and GPRS tri-mode. Therefore, many people think that dual-mode chips will become the mainstream of NB-IoT chips. NB-IoT wants to land. Although cost and power consumption are the key factors, they are not the dominant factors.
So, is it a Qualcomm multi-mode NB-IoT / eMTC / GSM chip with a wider application field, or a Huawei NB-IoT chip with more cost and power advantages that can seize the IoT market faster? Only the market can answer this question.
By 2019, the cost constraint is obviously weakening, and application scenarios and ecological mining are more critical.
At the beginning, China Telecom hoped to boost the maturity of NB-IoT modules through a 300 million yuan subsidy, of which NB-IoT modules were subsidized at 20 yuan / module, and it was expected that the market price of NB-IoT modules would be comparable to 2G. The subsidy rate for the group can also be as high as 50%.
From this perspective, in the initial stage of NB-IoT implementation, when the cost and power consumption are not ideal, the advantages of single-mode NB-IoT chips are obvious, and for the three-meter application where NB-IoT will be preferentially implemented, single-mode NB- IoT is also more suitable. As for IoT applications with higher positioning and delay requirements, dual-mode chips are naturally more suitable.
Another Intel, which may become the NB-IoT head company, did not perform satisfactorily.
Despite Intel's madness in the Internet of Things, Intel's Galileo, Joule and Edison, three computer module platforms for the emerging Internet of Things market, have been discontinued since September 2017.
Edison is a computer module for wearable and IoT device development systems; Galileo is designed for manufacturers and education; the Joule platform is suitable for wearable, embedded, IoT, robotics, AR / VR and many other fields.
As early as the end of 2015, Intel announced that it would launch its own NB-IoT products in 2016; later in 2016, it announced that it would conduct trial production at the end of 16; as a result, by the end of 2017, there was still no movement. According to people familiar with the matter, Intel has now abandoned the development of NB-IoT chips.
Perhaps Intel believes that the period of large-scale outbreak of NB-IoT is too long compared with the large amount of costs invested, and the profit after shuffling fails to meet its expectations. It is a wise choice to exit the stop loss early.
Huawei leads the way in setting standards, operators paving the way to build networks, and the large-scale development of NB-IoT in China is well established. A large number of chip startups have sprung up like mushrooms!
Entrepreneurs have a "rebellious" gene, especially in the chip industry, whether it is the wave of the Silicon Valley semiconductor industry in the 1950s and 1960s, or the current NB-IoT entrepreneurial wave.
"Rebel" dominates the semiconductor empire
The US Impressions section once filmed a "Silicon Valley" documentary, which focused on the "Rebellious Eight." It was these eight who left Shockley Semiconductor Labs that gave birth to what is now Silicon Valley. The eight were Neuss, Julius Blanc, Victor Grinick, Jean Herni, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Rast, Gordon Moore, and Sheldon Roberts.
Picture: "Rebellious Eight"
According to normal logic, Shockley Labs with so many god-like figures at that time should have become a very great company, but it did not work. Geniuses are confident and arrogant, especially founder Shockley, who claims to be smarter than everyone else. Many geniuses came together. In addition to the spark of wisdom, there was also anger.
On September 18, 1957, this day was called by the New York Times as one of the ten important days in human history. The "rebellious eight" collectively submitted their resignation reports to Shockley. These eight people quickly established Fairchild Semiconductor after the showdown with Shockley, which is the famous "Fairchild" semiconductor.
At the time, only 29-year-old Neuss became the leader of these people, and they set the stage for the future of Silicon Valley's entrepreneurial spirit. During his leadership of Fairchild Semiconductor, Neuss and his colleagues followed an egalitarian corporate culture, which has become part of the way Silicon Valley behaves.
In the frenetic era, unwilling geniuses need to belong to their own stage, and egalitarian company culture does not allow these geniuses to fully express themselves. Since 1959, some people have "defected" from Xiantong Company to start business. In the end, even the leader of the eight people, Noyce, left Fairy with Moore and Andy Grove to start Intel. Intel is one of many companies hatched by Fairchild Semiconductor.
After the eight geniuses left one after another, Fairy Tong fell, and the golden age of Fairy Boy came to an abrupt halt, and eventually could not escape the fate of being sold. As Wu Jun said:
Although Neuss operates Fairchild in a very tolerant and consistent manner in the information age management philosophy, he and his partners have a fundamental problem that cannot be solved, which is the issue of corporate ownership or employee equity, and even Neue He himself did not own any equity in Fairchild.
Throughout the 1960s, on the one hand, Neuss and others were attracting fresh blood to join Fairchild and joined the semiconductor industry. On the other hand, the old employees of Fairchild continued to resign and founded nearly 40 semiconductor companies. With so many competitors in the market, the decline of Fairchild is only a matter of time.
Although Fairchild did not eventually become a "Big Mac" like IBM, GE, and Apple, his seeds were scattered throughout the semiconductor industry, and eventually he ruled the semiconductor country and was his former employee. "Church apprentice, starved to death master" , Can be considered "deadly."
History is always strikingly similar, but it is not a simple repetition. The "circle" of the semiconductor industry is always so narrow. To the prosperity of the NB-IoT market today, "rebels" still need to create.
"Agitator" stirs up NB-IoT chip situation
In September 2018, Kong Xiaozhen led a team of twelve people with a "middle-aged crisis" to create Nordlink Technology and joined the army of NB-IoT chip design. Almost all of them have more than 15 years of semiconductor industry experience. When these people got together and decided to make a chip, there was a somewhat "I want to change the world" idea.
"Middle-aged crisis" is why Kong Xiaoyong chose to leave Qualcomm after 14 years of work. The "middle-aged crisis" he mentioned was not a so-called job crisis, but a gradual transition from a job full of excitement, which is intolerable by any creative person including him.
The trillion-scale market created by the Internet of Everything in the age of the Internet of Things gave Kong Xiaoxuan the hope that NB-IoT is one of the best ways to achieve his role as a participant in the age of Internet of Things, not bystanders.
Compared with the old owner Qualcomm, Xiaoyun Kong believes that startup companies have certain flexibility advantages in making NB-IoT chips, and can provide customers with personalized, small and beautiful products in the Internet of Things market. In some segments and vertical fields, traditional mobile phone chip manufacturers, such as Qualcomm and Huawei, rarely optimise development for an application field. Large companies are often not and are not suitable for "tailoring" in a certain segment, they are not competitive in terms of cost and applicability.
During Mobile World Congress 2019, Nordlink Technology released its first fully integrated NK6010 SoC chip for the Internet of Things. The chip is targeted at IoT application scenarios such as smart cities, asset trackers, wearables, and transportation management, such as smart meters and industrial sensors.
NK6010 SoC is currently the most integrated NB-IoT chip in the industry, and supports all NB-IoT frequency bands, facing the major global operators.
"Middle-aged crisis" and "I want to change the world" are the persistence and feelings of Nuoling Technology's core team.
In September 2013, Beijing Zhilianan Technology Co., Ltd. was established. In the early days of its establishment, it focused on research and development of custom chips for various industries. However, the team has deep technical accumulation in the field of 4G LTE communication chips and has been accumulating strength to find business breakthrough opportunities. When the NB-IoT standard was frozen at the end of 2016, Zhilian An moved its main business to the cellular IoT communication chip and chose the NB-IoT chip.
Like most domestic chip startups, Lu Yuechuan and Qian Wei, founders of Zhilian Security, are alumni from Tsinghua University. Despite the difficulty of chip startups, Lu Yuechuan is very optimistic. He believes that the advantages of startup companies are focus, small companies do subtraction, and large companies do addition.
Small companies can take advantage of certain properties to the extreme, and large companies often pursue large and comprehensive products in order to make their products more widely used. They do not have an advantage in the field of IoT segmentation-experience is often their burden.
Previous experience has enabled Zhilian An to use the concept of "addition and subtraction" of startup companies very well. In September 2018, Zhilian An successfully launched the NB-IoT terminal communication chip MK8010 for low-power wide area Internet of Things. It is understood that this chip has been approved for 16 years. Why was it launched in 18 years?
Speaking of which, the birth of this chip can be described as quite a twist. Soon after the NB-IoT standard was frozen in 2016, Zhilian An preemptively developed the prototype. According to schedule, the product should be officially launched in 2017, but the result was half a year later. This is because a usable IoT chip is very different from a good IoT chip.
At that time, the chip fully met the standards in the communication layer, but did not meet the company's stringent requirements in terms of power consumption and functions. Therefore, Zhilian An started from the "addition and subtraction", re-developed the chip specifications, do subtraction on the communication side, reduced a lot of unnecessary memory and other resources to achieve frequency reduction. Add on the application side and the product side to add ultra-low voltage and open MCU functions.
In the end, the product was successfully launched in September 2018, and it is the first wave of manufacturers that can complete the introduction of module manufacturers and operator testing.
Doing "addition and subtraction" well is slow for the future, one step at a time. This is the core experience accumulated by Zhilian An over the past six years.
The Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, known as the "China Silicon Valley", is bound to have the footprint of NB-IoT chip companies. Zhangjiang Shanghai was established.
The founding team of Xingyi Information Technology is mostly returnees, and it is expected to catch up with this wave of "China chip", so that their technology can really help the industry, and by the way, realize their personal dreams. The demand for chip localization, coupled with China ’s push to promote NB-IoT, combined with the team ’s own situation, Corewing Information Technology chose NB-IoT as the entry point for the core and adopted CMOS PA integration technology.
The NB-IoT chip comes with PA, which can not only guarantee performance, but also reduce customer costs. At the same time, the NB-IoT chip that Corewing Information Technology will do is a general SOC for the Internet of Things market.
The founder, Dr. Xiao Jianhong, is very low-key and possesses the "hands-on" quality of most technical staff. He advocates "just doit" in the company, "do it directly, don't hesitate, make the product well and make things happen." This is what he often dangles.
In June 2018, Corewing Information Technology released the "world's first" NB-IoT system single chip XY1100 with integrated CMOS PA. In March of this year, XY1100 completed mass production chip verification and entered the state of hardware mass production. On June 26 this year, during the 2019 MWC Shanghai Exhibition, Corewing Information Technology announced that XY1100 NB-IoT SoC has entered mass production.
"With the core as the wing" and "Just Do It" are the core entrepreneurial style of the core wing information technology team.
The core team of Shanghai Mobile Core Communications established in May 2017 is mainly from Marvell and Spreadtrum. The founder Liu Shi has rich experience. He has led teams at Huawei, Spreadtrum and Marvell, and has accumulated a wealth of industry experience. System-wide expert.
Returning to the functions of NB-IoT's wide coverage, large connection, and low power consumption, "to the extreme" is the concept that Mobile Core Communication upholds.
During this year's MWC Shanghai exhibition, Shanghai Mobile Core Communications released its latest NB-IoT single-mode chip, EC616. EC616 has started shipping in small quantities.
"The development of the NB-IoT industry depends on the reduction of module prices. Only when the price of NB-IoT is lower than 2G can NB-IoT be truly popular," said Liu Shi, the founder of Shanghai Mobile Core Communications. It is reported that the current price of EC616-based modules can be reduced to 15 yuan. In addition to cost, NB-IoT's ultra-low power consumption and low latency have always been the focus of innovative research and development of mobile core communications.
"Return to the product itself, product planning according to the market." Shanghai Mobile Core's "China Core" road has gone very clearly.
The "restless" of NB-IoT is far more than that.
ASR was established in Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in 2015;
In May 2016, the innovation dimension was established in Beijing Haidian Pioneer Park;
Goodix Technology announced its formal entry into the NB-IoT field during MWC2018;
Image source: IoT think tank report research group
Either "rebel" or "restless"; "I want to change the world", "addition and subtraction" and other NB-IoT chip entrepreneurship and development concepts must be in line with historical processes. In the new era, relevant companies competing for NB-IoT chips must be inseparable from these four objective situations: as always, policy support; no faulty talent reserve; stable and favorable international situation; strong chip sentiment of big powers.
Everything is ready and Dongfeng has arrived. In 2017, NB-IoT is on the cusp of the storm.
In June 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the "Notice on Comprehensively Promoting the Construction and Development of Mobile Internet of Things (NB-IoT)" notification requirements: by the end of 2017, the scale of NB-IoT base stations in China will reach 400,000. -The scale of IoT base stations should reach 1.5 million to achieve national coverage.
This announcement has drawn great attention from all parties in the industry, provided a direction for the development of NB-IoT scale, and also demonstrated China's firm determination to develop NB-IoT.
In order to achieve the above goals, the three major operators responded quickly and actively deployed. As of September 2018, the number of NB-IoT base stations opened by China Telecom has expanded to 400,000. China Mobile has now achieved continuous coverage and full commercial use of NB-IoT in approximately 348 cities. In May 2018, China Unicom commercialized 300,000 NB-IoT base stations.
In June 2017, China Telecom launched the world's first NB-IoT package, which changed the previous method of charging based on traffic and innovatively billed according to the number of connections. A few months later, China Mobile also released its NB-IoT tariffs to the outside world, including two annual rates of 20 yuan and 40 yuan. However, in the actual commercial process, these tariffs have a large discount, even as low as the cost level that users can ignore.
NB-IoT modules that were once blamed for "high cost" are now approaching the cost of 2G modules.
The scale of operators' bidding for NB-IoT module collection is also increasing.
In September 2017, China Telecom's 500,000 NB-IoT module "Universal No. 1 bid" was opened. Twelve module manufacturers participated in the bidding. The final bidding result was announced: Gaoxing IoT won the bid exclusively.
In this tender, China Telecom hopes to guide the industry chain to reduce the module price to US $ 5-6, so it promises to provide a subsidy of 30 yuan per piece for the winning bidder, and choose a winning bidder to play the scale effect. Yuan / piece.
In August 2018, China Unicom's 3 million NB-IoT module tender results were released: 5 companies including Youfang Technology, Jun Jun, and Gaoxing Internet of Things shared the entire share. The price limit for this bidding was finally fixed at 35 yuan / piece. After only one year, the NB-IoT module dropped from about 70 yuan to less than 35 yuan, which basically reached the previous 5-6 of the initial NB-IoT standard formulation. Expected target for US dollars.
In November 2018, China Mobile's 5 million NB-IoT module bidding projects increased the number of successful bidders to 9: Gaoxing IoT, Guanghetong, Youfang Technology, Yiyuan, and Jun Jun among the module companies among them. Although the price is not limited in this tender, the final result is that the lowest bid price is less than 20 yuan, which is closer to the price of 2G modules.
Figure: Three major operators NB-IoT module centralized bidding
It has been argued that an important reason for the failure of NB-IoT is the high cost. This reason often falls on the head of the module. However, the NB-IoT module is now low enough to compete with 2G modules. At this moment, it can be seen that module cost is no longer the bottleneck of NB-IoT development.
Today, three operators have completed the commercialization of more than 900,000 NB-IoT base stations. China has built the world's largest NB-IoT network. Network optimization and deep coverage will be the focus of the next layout. Along with the deep optimization of the network, the application of NB-IoT will be extended from the three tables to all walks of life in the national economy.
Smart new city-in the name of NB-IoT
The 2017 NB-IoT outlet created a "smart new city"-Yingtan, Jiangxi. The experience of successful people is inseparable from "time, place, and harmony", as is the construction of Yingtan Smart City.
Picture: China · Yingtan Mobile Internet of Things Industrial Park
Cao Shumin, the secretary of the municipal party committee who initiated the construction of the Yingtan Smart New City, is an expert manager. Before heading Yingtan, Cao Shumin served as the dean of the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology. He is a rare top expert in the domestic communications industry, the Internet, and the Internet of Things.
"My major, I have the final say", expert managers are generally pragmatic and innovative, and their senior professional level has made Cao Shumin the first to take a solid step forward.
With the advancement of communication expert Cao Shumin, in mid-2017, the three major operators built and opened more than 900 NB-IoT base stations in Yingtan, covering the entire Yingtan area. The base station coverage rate is the highest in the country, and 15 large-scale applications have been reached. .
At the beginning of 2018, 70,000 units of Yingtan NB-IoT water meters were launched, becoming the nation's first city to apply intelligent meter reading. In addition to smart water, NB-IoT applications such as smart parking, smart street lights, smart agriculture, smart smoke detection, and underground cable monitoring have blossomed. As of March 2018, the number of Yingtan NB-IoT connections has exceeded 100,000, and the mobile Internet of Things has been established. Alliance and IoT Industrial Park, and has hatched a number of local IoT companies.
While preemptively enjoying the convenience brought by the new technology, it is bound to pay for some early "bugs." These "bugs" include the installation of different terminals in the same area, when large-scale terminals are connected at the same time, there are problems such as being unable to go online at the same time, and different application scenarios under the same base station will affect each other, and the success rate of downlink control is not high.
The “bugs” that appeared during the “internal test” of Yingtan Smart New Town were successfully resolved, making NB-IoT's future large-scale applications smoother.
Tieda's NB-IoT, the star application of "flowing water"
"Standing on the wind, pigs can fly up", this sentence of Lei Jun has been regarded by many entrepreneurs as a guide, but the second half of "Rebus" "grow a small wing, you can fly higher" Someone mentioned.
2017 can be called the "first year of sharing", shared bikes, shared cars, shared charging treasures, shared umbrellas, etc., among them, the most popular of which must be shared bikes. The popularity of bike sharing has not only brought various operational and regulatory difficulties, but also allowed NB-IoT to directly enter the public's vision.
However, the "shared" air vent did not wait for the small wings to grow, and it "slaughtered" a large number of players. The typical one is the shared bicycle that is expected to ignite the massive connection of NB-IoT.
In February 2017, ofo announced a cooperation with China Telecom and Huawei. The three parties will jointly develop a shared bicycle intelligent solution based on the new generation of IoT NB-loT technology. China Telecom will provide ofo with the widest coverage of wireless network resources in China, and Huawei will provide ofo with NB-IoT chips and provide network technical support.
Four months later, the NB-IoT IoT smart locks jointly developed by these three companies were officially launched and fully launched for commercial use. This is the first commercial application of the NB-IoT IoT technology in mobile scenarios, and it also marks that the IoT technology reserve that has been brewing for nearly 20 years has ushered in a truly large-scale application scenario.
At that time, Xue Ding, co-founder of Ofo Xiaohuang, said to the public, "Ofo Xiaohuang is the most representative application scenario in the era of the Internet of Things. Ofo combines the pileless sharing model with the Internet of Things to make bicycles a service and data. And became the first breakthrough for the interconnection of all things. "Standing in the present moment, thinking back then, why not be the highlight moment of NB-IoT.
Another bike sharing giant, Mobike, introduced the latest NB-IoT technology Mobike at the International Wireless Standards Organization 3GPP Working Group meeting in May 2017.
In addition, Mobike also reached strategic cooperation with Sichuan Mobile and Huawei in areas such as NB-IoT innovation to build an NB-IoT industrial park and promote the development of the narrowband IoT bike sharing market.
The air vents come fast and go fast. With the bleak end of shared bikes, NB-IoT's "star application" pinned on the mobile scene of shared bikes has also returned to rationality, and most of the shared bikes running on the street still mainly use 2G connections.
The frustration of bicycle sharing has its own industry attributes, but it does not represent the frustration of NB-IoT. NB-IoT continues to penetrate in other industries. Water meter, gas meter and other meter industries are still the largest applications of NB-IoT.
In addition, NB-IoT has ushered in large-scale connections in industries such as fire protection, smart door locks, electric bicycle anti-theft, and shared white electricity, creating "star applications". According to Huawei's data, as of May 2019, the number of NB-IoT connections has reached 45 million, of which meters, electric vehicles, smoke detection, white electricity and other applications have exceeded 1 million, which is expected to impact tens of millions of connections by the end of this year.
After the air vent, it returned to reality; market guidance and healthy development are exactly the path that NB-IoT is taking now and in the future. The smooth passage of this path depends on: Continuous deployment and optimization of operator networks. Mining of more innovative application scenarios. Stubborn persistence of practitioners under brutal shuffling.
On August 7, 2009, then-Prime Minister Wen Jiabao delivered an important speech during his inspection of the Wuxi IoT Industrial Base, which opened a new era in the development of China's IoT. Time is like an arrow. If counting from then on, the course of China's Internet of Things has just gone through a full 10 years.
The pace of development in the next 10 years is bound to be much faster than our imagination. Because it took only 3 years for NB-IoT to be commercialized, it took 10 years for other communication standards.
At the recent ITU-R WP5D # 32 meeting on July 17, China formally submitted the IMT-2020 (5G) candidate technology plan to the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) and received a confirmation letter from the ITU.
This solution is often called a 5G wireless air interface technology (RIT) solution. This solution includes two parts, one is 3GPP new air interface 5G NR, and the other is today's protagonist NB-IoT.
The ITU defines three major application scenarios of 5G as reference targets for 5G indicators. In other words, true 5G must have the ability to cope with these scenarios. Three major scenarios are eMBB, uRLLC, and mMTC.
eMBB: enhancement MobileBroadband, enhanced mobile broadband.
uRLLC: ultraReliable & Low Latency Communication, ultra-high reliability and ultra-low latency communication.
mMTC: massive Machine Type Communication, massive machine type communication.
Among them, mMTC is a technical indicator for the Internet of Things connection. The NB-IoT technology involved in the RIT solution provided by China this time is fully equipped with the basic conditions for smooth integration into 5G networks. Currently, NB-IoT can indeed be regarded as one of the 5G network standards, but it is exclusively dedicated to the field of mass connection of the Internet of Things.
In June 2020, at the WP5D # 35 conference, the ITU will officially announce the final 5G technology solution, which is the final 5G standard. At that time, NB-IoT will officially obtain a 5G "ID", which can be expected in the future!
In the end, Bill Gates used a word to describe today's NB-IoT: people always overestimate the changes in the next one to two years and underestimate the changes in the next ten years. In three years, NB-IoT has completed the commercialization process, so to what extent can it reach seven years later? We cannot imagine or predict, but we can be certain that the NB-IoT and the entire IoT industry under the leadership of 5G will completely change our world and our lives.
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Author: on three sources: Things think tank