China is the world’s largest Internet of Things (IoT) market with 64% of the 1.5 billion global cellular connections, including the rapidly growing mobile IoT licensed low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies.
The data is from the intelligence report in the fourth quarter of 2019 of GSMA, the industry association of more than 750 operators with nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem globally.
“By connecting the estimated 960 million devices via cellular networks, the country is realizing the value of the IoT and transforming society through mass market deployments of smart home, smart industry and smart city solutions,” the GSMA said in a recent news release.
Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA, said China’s lead in mass deployment of innovative and transformative IoT based solutions based on mobile IoT technology, is backed by a proactive government support.
“These new technologies are being implemented across multiple different vertical sectors fundamentally altering the way we live and work, delivering real-time information and making our cities smarter and our lives easier and more productive,” he added.
Growing number of IoT use cases
GSMA cited a growing number of uses cases for IoT, especially large scale deployments across sectors in China.
First, it said Sunsea AIoT has partnered with China Telecom to install 500,000 NB-IoT sensors covering over 37 kilometers in the Jing’an District to monitor five hydrant water pressure sensors, gas and smoke detectors and environmental monitors.
Even connected manhole covers also monitor gases and underground assets, according to GSMA.
China Telecom and Huawei have also partnered with Shenzhen Water and Shenzhen Gas to demonstrate the benefits that NB-IoT connected smart meters would bring to both utility companies.
GSMA explained in a previous report “that supply of water and gas to consumers in Shenzhen has historically been a challenge, but significant investment in improving the delivery of both of these utility services across Shenzhen and wider Chinese markets is gathering pace.”
It added that “significant investment in infrastructure is occurring with 40,000 kilometers of new gas pipeline newly connecting 470 million people, and equivalent investment in water infrastructure to better control issues such as leakage and infrastructure management.”
Meanwhile, China Mobile has installed over 100,000 NB-IoT intelligent fire alarm systems, including fire alarms, temperature sensors, smoke and gas detectors across China while China Unicom has reportedly installed over 25,000 gas and water meters utilizing an NB-IoT solution that combines the IoT with big data to make energy management more intelligent.
A report published in October 2018 by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, affirmed that China’s state-led approach to IoT, including ongoing efforts to influence international IoT standards, has put the country “in a position to credibly compete against the United States and other leaders in the emerging IoT industry.”
It has also acknowledged that “China has laid a solid groundwork for a comprehensive roll-out of fifth-generation wireless technology (5G), which will make the IoT faster and more effective, relying on a whole-of-country approach that has created an entire ecosystem for domestically manufactured 5G technologies and furthered their inclusion in international technical standards.”
On the same month, the Beijing-based World Internet of Things Convention (WIOTC) released the 2018 World Internet of Things Ranking List (WIOTRL), featuring the top 500 companies involved in the development of connected things.
For the second year in a row, Chinese telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics company Huawei topped the list. Seven other companies joined Huawei in the WIOTC Top 50 — China Unicom, China Telecom, Alibaba Cloud, China Mobile, Haier U+, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), and Softbank.
Last April, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) and the General Administration of Market Supervision and the Bureau of Statistics jointly released a new occupations list, which includes, for the first time, IoT professionals, including drone drivers, agricultural managers, IoT installation and commissioners, and industrial robot system operators.
The ministry explained that “China’s economy has shifted in the past few years that it now requires more high-level workers for its high-tech industries.”