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IoT

Eurobites: Vodafone trials 'vehicle-to-everything' system

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia digitizes Philip Morris' logistics; EE preps for a staycation summer; UK charity wants cheaper broadband for those on low incomes.

  • Mobile connectivity from Vodafone is being combined with technology from Nokia and Chordant to create a new "mobility cloud" platform that its backers hope will improve the safety of road users the world over. Using an open platform at its center, Vodafone says it is creating an "ecosystem" of connected vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians across Europe and Africa, with each one acting as the "eyes and ears" of the road. Vodafone describes the whole shebang as the UK's first mobile "vehicle-to-everything" road system and the first live implementation of cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology in the UK. The system is initially being put through its paces in the West Midlands region of the UK, with real-time information from roads agency Highways England displayed on users' smartphones and, in time, on in-car "infotainment" systems too.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has signed a deal with tobacco giant Philip Morris to help digitize logistics at the Morris plant in Crespellano, Bologna. The collaboration plans to use a "yard management" system developed by TIM and sister company Olivetti, with the aim of improving the planning and tracking of flows of transport vehicles and goods entering and leaving the production site, minimizing road haulier wait time.

  • As the UK government refuses to add any countries to its "green list" of holiday destinations approved as safe to visit in the context of COVID-19, mobile operator EE says it is adding extra mobile capacity in some of the country's most popular coastal locations in anticipation of a "staycation summer." As well as providing better connectivity for day-to-day calling, EE says the enhanced 4G coverage will be a boon to the likes of the RNLI, the emergency service organization that is usually extremely busy during the summer months as hapless paddleboarders drift out to sea and unprepared beach-strollers find themselves cut off on sandbanks far from shore.

  • Citizens Advice, a high-profile campaigning charity in the UK, is calling on the government to urgently ensure all broadband providers offer low-cost tariffs to people on low incomes as the number of Brits falling behind on their broadband bills rises to around 2.5 million, with around 700,000 of those having fallen into the red on broadband bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The charity argues that fixed-line broadband is now an essential utility, and that mobile data is not an adequate substitute. It points out that in December, communications regulator Ofcom "strongly urged" all providers to consider offering cheaper broadband tariffs for those on a low income but that only two nationwide and two local providers currently offer these tariffs – usually for people on welfare.

  • Cecilia Lundin is to step down from her position as executive vice president/head of personnel and leave Telia Company after seven years in the role. Lundin will stay with the company for most of 2021 "supporting the appointment of her successor."

  • Nokia's GPON technology will make an appearance in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal as local operator CG Net rolls out fiber-to-the-home broadband there. The rollout will initially cover 5,000km with fiber in the urban district of the valley.

  • UK fiber update, part 94: CityFibre is breaking ground on its £21 million (US$29.6 million) rollout in Worcester; Hyperoptic is to supply full-fiber broadband service to social housing residents in the London borough of Waltham Forest.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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