IoT ProtoLab was officially opened on Friday 9 March by Sigve Brekke, Gunnar Bovim, and Thomas Ulleberg in front of invitees from the municipality, county council, established industry, investors, and the startup- and research community in Trondheim.
“Exactly one year ago we launched Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab and it is a pleasure to announce another technology powerhouse in Trondheim,” said Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group CEO, as he opened the lab. “IoT ProtoLab will be an experimental centre for research and innovation within the Internet of Things. IoT means that data on our physical surroundings are made available in large quanta, which in turn fuels fantastic opportunities for research and innovation within artificial intelligence (AI). Our two labs in Trondheim will be strengthened by each other and will contribute to fostering digital innovation in Norway,” added Brekke.
The new lab will use the citywide IoT-testbed activated by Wireless Trondheim and is connected to Telenor Group’s initiative, Start IoT. Through this, users get access to IoT devices, a developer portal, and an experimental LPWA network (e.g. NB-IoT), which enables piloting and developing of prototypes without large costs.
Accelerating a digital future
The IoT and AI labs are established as part of Telenor Group’s commitment to helping accelerate a digital future for Norway by stimulating increased innovation and new competencies. IoT ProtoLab is located at FAKTRY, a newly established community for ambitious startups in hardware-centric disciplines at Sluppen in Trondheim. A number of startups will work in the IoT lab on solutions for anything from healthcare and drones to smart cities. Smart Cylinders, Sevendof and Mode Sensors are three of the companies who will use the new offering.
“The mission of the IoT ProtoLab is to enable students, entrepreneurs and established industry to be able to jointly experiment, test and develop new solutions using next-generation IoT technologies,” said Thomas Ulleberg, manager for Wireless Trondheim, and responsible for the daily operation of IoT ProtoLab.
Collaboration with the AI lab
IoT services developed at the IoT Protolab will generate large sets of data that are of interest to the projects at Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab. In addition to exchanging data, the labs will be able to share experiences and collaborate on new and existing projects.
“We’re already seeing that Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab solves important challenges for society through machine learning. The IoT ProtoLab will further accelerate the knowledge generation by contributing with valuable data into the AI-lab. It will also increase the number of innovations to the market by being an important arena for collaboration where knowledge meets entrepreneurship,” said Gunnar Bovim, rector at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
Telenor’s AI/IoT initiatives
In August 2016, Telenor Group announced two specific initiatives for entrepreneurs to strengthen Norway’s competitiveness, develop new competencies, and to stimulate job creation by Norwegian startups. The first initiative was to establish Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab to conduct research and run innovation programmes within artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and IoT at NTNU in Trondheim. The lab opened 8 March 2017.
As the second initiative, Telenor would develop and launch a dedicated, next-generation IoT network in several Norwegian cities, Start IoT, with low cost access to students and startups to test and develop IoT technologies, products and services. Today the pilot network offering, which has been rolled out in Trondheim, Oslo, Tromsø, and Longyearbyen, is based on LoRaWAN technology, but other network technologies are also be included. Currently, over a million things are already connected to Telenor’s mobile network in Norway. Newly released LTE standards enable Telenor’s 4G networks to commercially support IoT devices that are based on Narrowband-IoT. For example, proof of concepts have been carried out with Telenor Norway’s NB-IoT network, which will get national coverage during 2018.