Telenor Group Unveils ‘Start IoT’ to drive Innovation for Norwegian entrepreneurs

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Telenor Group has unveiled a new experimental Internet of Things (IoT) offering, Telenor Start IoT, in Norway.

Available free of charge to Norwegian entrepreneurs and students, the multi-city pilot initiative will support entrepreneurship, boost innovation and new national competence building.

“By providing cost-free access to next-generation IoT infrastructure, we provide Norwegian startups and students with the ability to develop and rapidly prototype new IoT products and services. 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,” says Sigve Brekke, President and CEO, Telenor Group.

The registration for Telenor Start IoT will be officially opened at a launch event today at StartupLab in Oslo. With the new initiative, Telenor will set up a physical Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) experimental network, a backend system and provide development kits to startups, students and developers free of charge for testing and experimentation purposes over the period of 5 years. The pilot network is aimed at stimulating LPWA innovation in Norway and will initially be rolled out in Trondheim, Tromsø and Oslo from 1 May.

Last year, Telenor Group announced two specific initiatives for entrepreneurs to strengthen Norway’s competitiveness and to stimulate job creation by Norwegian startups. The first of these projects, the Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab, was officially opened on 8 March 2017 at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The lab will conduct research and run innovation programs within artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and IoT. Telenor Start IoT is the second of the initiatives. Both initiatives complement each other as emerging, large IoT data sets are of interest to projects in the AI-Lab.

Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab and Telenor Start IoT are the latest additions to Telenor’s broad global approach to supporting startups, including accelerator programs across eight of its markets – with a total of 70 startups supported in 2016 alone.

The Telenor Start IoT pilot network offering will initially be based on LoRaWAN technology (LoRa) but other network technologies may also be included, such as the 2G/3G/4G, NB-IoT and eMTC standards.

Today, over a million things are already connected to Telenor’s mobile network in Norway. Newly released LTE standards will allow Telenor’s 4G networks to commercially support IoT devices that have Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) requirements. Such networks will be available for commercial use in 2018 and it is therefore key to start exploring this opportunity today.