LIVE FROM HUAWEI MOBILE BROADBAND FORUM 2016, TOKYO: Japanese mobile operator SoftBank introduced a smart parking app at the Makuhari Messe conference venue in Tokyo using the country’s first NB-IoT field trial.
Ken Miyauchi, SoftBank’s president and CEO, said it is using NB-IoT technology to run its smart parking app, which supports a large number of concurrent connections. The app is being demonstrated at the MBB Forum expo.
NB-IoT is a 3GPP-backed technology for powering low power wide area networks. It is competing against non-cellular offerings (operating in unlicensed spectrum) such as Sigfox and LoRa.
SoftBank announced recently it was the first operator in the world to commercially deploy massive MIMO technology, starting with 100 base stations in the most congested areas, such as train stations.
Demonstrating the power of MIMO, Miyauchi said that in the past it offered 5GB data plans for $50 a month. “MIMO has allowed us to offer customers 20GB for $60 a month.”
A survey of students and office workers found most users don’t consume data freely because they worry about exceeding their limit. “In the next five years 20GB won’t be enough. As operators, how do we continuously increase our capacity? This is an important mission for us as the high capacity era is coming.”
Data traffic increased 2,300 times from 2006 to 2016, and SoftBank expects another 10-times increase in the next few years.
Miyauchi also expects autonomous driving to be available in four to five years, and when 8K is supported globally, which isn’t far off, “then we can support remote diagnostics and artificial intelligence”.