Vodafone and Huawei have opened a new NB-IoT facility at the UK operator's headquarters in Berkshire, where developers and organizations targeting Internet of Things (IoT) opportunities will be able to test equipment and services.
The facility is expected to be the first of a number of IoT labs that Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) will open worldwide and has been described as a "catalyst" for the technology by Matt Beal, Vodafone's director of innovation and architecture.
Vodafone and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. announced their NB-IoT Open Lab initiative back in February with the aim of speeding up technology development. The companies are targeting a commercial launch of NB-IoT services in early 2017.
While standardization work on NB-IoT has yet to be finalized, the UK operator is confident that specifications will be included in the 3GPP's Release 13 by June.
"We'll be adding the ability to access developer toolkits and providing access to critical business support systems to put the full service wrapper around this," said Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone's chief engineer for Group R&D, when discussing the role the NB-IoT lab will play. "We want to speed things up -- we hear about the monolithic and slow nature of the telco industry and we need to shatter those perceptions."
Light Reading has included a selection of photographs taken at the opening event in the following pages.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading