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Smarter Cities Now a Reality with NB-IoT

IoT is now so deeply embedded in both consumer and businesses sectors that a digitalised future is all but certain. The technology is also finding a place in the public sphere and laying the foundations for smart cities.

NB-IoT pilot projects in various cities the world over have demonstrated the viability and potential of NB-IoT through numerous applications. And public-private partnerships in NB-IoT implementation are well-positioned to further drive innovation and lead digital transformation in cities and states.

For example, Penang's smart city initiatives include a smart monitoring system that will help identify, among other things, fallen trees and illegal dump sites. The state is also planning to obtain 5G connectivity by 2021, making it an ideal base for NB-IoT implementations.

We’re working with state governments to support their smart city initiatives and have activated NB-IoT in key areas including Penang, Cyberjaya, Kuching, Putrajaya, Johor Bahru, and KLCC.

Efficient, smart solutions

With NB-IoT being a 5G-ready solution, it will be one less headache for city planners who need to ensure their smart networks can support 5G.

NB-IoT's ability to use existing LTE infrastructure means that it can co-exist with current networks without sacrificing future-readiness and quality of service, particularly with providers such as Maxis, which offers LTE service with wide coverage and stability.

This coverage is crucial in smart cities using IoT for the management of infrastructure, like monitoring parking and utility meters, traffic conditions, as well as general environmental conditions.

With smart devices to collect data in the city, it will be far more cost-effective than manual data collection – little to no manpower needed and real-time reporting, as opposed to waiting for meter readers to file and send reports.

The data will be crucial for better city governance; instead of reacting, cities can be proactive in managing the city's present and future needs.

Managing utilities (such as water) with NB-IoT could help solve issues such as water leakages, water theft, and inaccurate meter readings.

NB-IoT sensors could be placed in areas that would be difficult to reach, such as underground locations or basements. With the readings, cities could act quickly to solve issues such as blockages while discovering ways to optimise usage and water flow.


China is proving to be a pioneer of smart services, and one example is its deployment of 280 NB-IoT controlled intelligent street lamps in three different locations, with GPRS-powered (2G) lamps now getting a long-overdue upgrade.

NB-IoT's range is suitable for large city areas, and could scale with a 'city's growth and needs easily, thanks to its low latency and wide coverage. Its reliable quality of service is also a factor in its suitability for large scale public sector deployment.

NB-IoT's minimal energy consumption makes it an ideal choice for cities wishing to reduce costs in lighting. Areas needing more lights and areas that could be served with less can now be easily identified.

Instead of lights being turned on at a set time, sensors could help optimise lighting so it 'wouldn't be turned on too early or shut off too late.

Sensors could also help determine optimum lighting output to help further reduce energy costs. This would accumulate hefty savings over time, with resources then being available to meet other city needs.

Smarter cities now a reality with NB-IoT
Championing innovation

While the above use cases are impressive, there is much to be done with regards to innovation in the IoT space, which is why we've established our very own IoT lab in Kuala Lumpur.

The lab enables our enterprise customers, solution providers, and device manufacturers to come together to develop solutions on a live NB-IoT network, reducing the time needed to ready a solution for commercial deployment.

We aim to help develop an ecosystem in Malaysia that will assist businesses and governments in adopting NB-IoT solutions and accelerate digital transformation.

It's no longer practical or feasible for cities to cling to older mobile networks or technologies that are unable to keep up with modern demands, not to mention the costs involved in maintaining older tech.

NB-IoT is also more secure, an important consideration when considering the public implementation of Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) as the stakes would be higher should the network be compromised. Its cost savings, maturity, and future-readiness make it the best solution for growing, modern cities.

The era of the smart city is only just beginning, but with NB-IoT, state and city management can be made more efficient, keeping pace with the growth of technology and future needs. NB-IoT is, quite literally, a solution tailored with the future in mind.

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See how you can transform your business with Maxis NB-IoT