Largest In-Building NB-IoT Field Trial in Germany Proves to be Successful

German real estate service provider, ista, in partnership with Deutsche Telekom, has started to test narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology in buildings. The technology scored well with very high availability. In 99.75 per cent of the cases, it was possible to establish a stable connection that enabled rapid, energy-optimized data transmission. Therefore, NB-IoT well exceeds the performance of existing technologies such as GSM, UMTS and LTE.

For the biggest field trial of its kind so far, Deutsche Telekom made available its own machine and sensor network (NB-IoT) based on a licensed spectrum. This network already covers large parts of Germany and eight other European countries as well as the USA. The real estate service provider ista provided access to over 500 metering points in some 60 apartments in the Cologne/Bonn area. In addition, the company made its NB-IoT-capable devices available for the tests. The measurements themselves were performed by the independent consultants P3 Communications GmbH.

According to ista’s Chief Technology Officer, Achim Dicke, there are already over 23 million IoT-capable devices in use throughout Europe and the number is increasing every day. The successful field trial shows that narrowband-IoT has everything that is needed to become the new, globally interoperable standard in the low-energy machine-to-machine or M2M communication sector. And this applies not only outside buildings but even nationwide in buildings themselves and for the measurement of energy consumption just as for further services that require stable and energy-efficient data transmission.

Deutsche Telekom's machine and sensor network has fully demonstrated its capability during this stress test and meets the expectations. The telecom giant’s mobile IoT strategy is proving to be successful: as the forerunner of 5G, NB-IoT is already available in large parts of Germany and Europe for commercial use for the rapidly growing IoT ecosystem.

The pilot project is part of a technology partnership between ista and Deutsche Telekom. Together the two companies are investigating how NB-IoT can be optimally used for the end-to-end communication of battery-powered devices in buildings. Data traffic is expected to increase as the number and spread of NB-IoT-capable devices grow. At the same time, further technical optimizations based on more field trials will increase the performance of the network. As a result, within the next few years narrowband IoT could already become the new standard for many applications in buildings.

ista is one of the leading companies in improving energy efficiency in the building sector. With its products and services, the company helps to sustainably save energy, CO2 and costs. It has specialized in sub-metering, which is the individual metering, billing and transparent visualization of consumption data for multi-family buildings and commercial properties.

The results of the field trial can be read in the whitepaper.