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Huawei and Partners Release World’s First Operational NB-IoT Electrical Energy Smart Meters in Portugal

This is a pioneering project at a worldwide level that is the result of a partnership between five major companies: NOS, EDP DISTRIBUIÇÃO, HUAWEI, JANZ CE and U-BLOX and which will be concluded by the end of the year.

Huawei, which has been one of the main contributors towards standardizing NB-IoT technology (4.5G technology), has developed the first NB-IoT Smart Meter in partnership with JANZ CE and u-blox.

EDP Distribuição is using this technology for a pilot project as part of the UPGRID projectof the Horizon 2020 Program of the European Commission.

The infrastructure network using NB-IoT technology has been installed by NOS, based on Huawei’s technology. NOS thus becomes the first operator in Portugal to test the 4.5G – IoT technology on its network infrastructure.

This solution combines emerging technologies with the smart metering of electrical energy and with the latest generation networks to oversee the electricity network.

António Papoila (Janz CE)
From left to right: António Papoila (Janz CE), João Torres (EDP Distribuição), Manuel Ramalho Eanes (NOS), Chris Lu (Huawei Portugal)

NB-IoT is a Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) wireless access technology, which offers a wide range of advantages, including a battery life of up to 10 years, a gain of 20dB over conventional GSM networks and support to more than 100,000 connections per cell. NB-IoT thus represents a disruptive step on the path towards the Gigabit Society and will evolve over the next few years to 5G (in the field of massive Machine Type Communications) that will support up to 1,000,000 connections per cell.

Based on optimized and bi-directional communication, the value of NB-IoT is recognized worldwide in relation to intelligent networks, and addresses the following challenges:

  • Customer satisfaction, through the automatic detection of failures, improving the time needed to restore service. In case of storms or other abnormal situations, quicker detection of the area affected allows teams to be allocated immediately and precisely on the ground for the problem to be resolved rapidly;
  • Online measurement of consumption, supporting various values per hour, and a range of energy events and statistics;
  • On demand response functionality, based on the installed capacity being managed almost in real time. This function is particularly useful taking into account the ongoing and progressive adoption of electric vehicles and the increasing pace of transition towards renewable sources of electrical energy;
  • Continuous development of technology, driven by the potential mass adoption by operators worldwide. This implementation, on a major scale, will ensure a mature eco-system and technological evolution, achieved by perfecting its features and introducing new elements, in accordance with the requirements of the Smart Grid.
Smart Meter integrating NB-IoT technology
Smart Meter integrating NB-IoT technology

The Parque das Nações area in Lisbon was chosen by EDP Distribuição to pilot the project among around 100 customers, until the end this year.

Representatives from the companies involved in this ambitious project have highlighted their satisfaction at the challenge involved and its successful completion, which has involved a multidisciplinary team of scores of people since September 2015. Manuel Ramalho Eanes, board director of NOS, says that “we are really proud of NOS’ involvement in this innovative project, which will make a real difference in making electricity consumption more efficient in Portuguese homes in the near future. Working with long term partners, such as Huawei, and with new companies with a vision of the future, is always a guarantee of success and will strengthen the competitive position of NOS”.

“Huawei, a leader in innovation in this industry, has been an important contributor to the NB-IoT standards. We strongly believe that this technology will be the driver for mass adoption of IoT due to its unique advantages. Huawei is also contributing towards faster development of the E2E ecosystem, by deploying several labs around the world focused on the integration of NB-IoT technology in a variety of devices. We are proud to participate in this first successful NB-IoT Electricity Smart Meter project with our partners NOS, EDP Distribuição, JANZ CE and u-blox,
and we renew our commitment to continuing partnerships of this kind to develop the maturity of the NB-IoT ecosystem in Portugal,” said Chris Lu, CEO of Huawei Portugal.

Chris Lu
Chris Lu, CEO of Huawei Portugal

João Torres, chairman of the Board of Directors of EDP Distribuição, makes the commitment that “EDP Distribuição is available, as it always has been, to participate in partnerships and share knowledge with a view to finding ever more innovative solutions that can leverage value creation for final customers in relation to new concepts of intelligent networks and new business models.”


BiS Team

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