By most accounts, the Internet of Things (IoT) will be an important component of the next tech revolution, if it isn't already. All key players in the consumer electronics industry are aware of that fact, which is why they've been investing a lot of resources into being a part of this highly connected future. The Chinese tech giant Huawei and the South Korean wireless carrier LG Uplus (LG U+) have both been rather active in their contributions to IoT-related research and development in recent years. Because of their previous endeavors, it isn't terribly surprising to hear that these two companies have now decided to work more closely together in an effort to drive further growth of the IoT market.
Earlier this week, LG Uplus and Huawei held a joint press conference at the former's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, revealing their brand new NB-IoT Open Lab. As the name suggests, this lab will be focused on developing the so-called NarrowBand-IoT, a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard designed to connect various IoT hardware via traditional cellular telecommunications bands. With that in mind, this collaboration between Huawei and LG Uplus makes even more sense seeing how both companies have recently been investing a lot of resources into NB-IoT technology.
The NB-IoT Open Lab will be situated in South Korea and cooperate with a broad range of companies associated with the IoT industry, allowing them to develop and test their solutions using the lab's top-of-the-line facilities. Huawei has pledged to provide the NB-IoT Open Lab with 100,000 NB-IoT-enabled systems-on-chips and modules at no cost. This hardware will then be distributed to lab's partners with the goal of expanding the market for this emerging technology. Speaking of which, the NB-IoT market is still in its infancy, which means that Huawei is also using this opportunity to test its viability in South Korea before potentially moving to other territories.
As revealed by Zhou Cheng, the Chief Executive Officer of Huawei's Cellular IoT division, the Chinese company is looking to create an NB-IoT ecosystem in South Korea as early as mid-2017. The NB-IoT Open Lab will initially be developing solutions designed for implementation in commercial terminals and services which are expected to start shipping by April of next year. So, we should know more about first fruits of this collaboration by spring.