Telecoms giants Huawei and Vodafone have teamed to build what they claim is the world's first open lab dedicated to the development of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), telecoms.com reports.
The partners believe the facility will drive the deployment of NB-IoT globally by providing application developers and device, module and chip manufacturers with a pre-integration testing environment to put prototypes through their paces.
The lab, which resides at Vodafone's headquarters in Newbury, UK, is the first of its kind, according to the firms.
"As one of the founding members of the GSMA NB-IoT forum, we're delighted that the first lab is up and running," said Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group R&D Director and Chairman of the GSMA NB-IoT Forum.
Ibbetson added that good progress has been made in establishing industry standards for the technology in the past year, with the next phase of development – to build a vibrant NB-IoT ecosystem – dependent on utilising labs like the one Huawei and Vodafone have created.
David Wang, President of Wireless Product Line at Huawei, called the creation of the lab another important milestone in its long-term relationship with Vodafone, which stretches back 10 years.
He said: "Working with Vodafone, we have accelerated standardization of the technology and carried out successful pre-commercial trials. This facility will be crucial in supporting the deployment of NB-IoT globally and contribute to the promotion of its ecosystem."
Meanwhile, Graham Trickey, Head of Connected Living Programme, GSMA, hailed the work of the GSMA NB-IoT Forum, which took place back in February.
He said the event at Mobile World Congress has helped to accelerate the availability of commercial solutions in licensed spectrum and has been instrumental in aligning the industry behind three complementary technologies in NB-IoT, Extended Coverage GSM For IoT (EC-GSM-IoT) and Cat-M "that will underpin a diverse range of solutions in the burgeoning LPWA market."