Russia has its very first consortium dedicated solely to the Internet of Things (IoT), thanks to help from a Moscow-based government fund. The consortium brings together a public startup fund, the Foundation for Internet Development Initiatives (FRII), private hi-tech company GS Group and several Russian mobile operators: Megafon, MTS and VimpelCom.
Its objective will be to define a “single protected protocol of data transmission,” according to a report by East-West Digital News. “Seeking and agreeing on such a standard will enable the connection of different industries and accelerate the diffusion of IoT in Russia,” an FRII representative was quoted as saying. According to FRII, they want to bring companies working on general and specific solutions to IoT networking together to lay out what will one day be a smoother communications platform for IoT devices. The country is no slouch in the IoT market, with J’son & Partners Consulting estimating there will be some 32.5 million IoT devices in Russia by 2018, up from the already strong 16 million last year.
Launched in 2013 to build up Russia’s hi-tech sector, FRII runs three different accelerator programs and several regional programs that include workshops, hackathons and working weekends. FRII has been building up its own investments in the startup world, signing a cooperative agreement with Brazil’s Ministry of Industry and Trade to create a new fund called INNOPROM-2016.
The announced partnership comes following a number of related developments for Megafon. They announced a different IoT-related deal last week with Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei. The two companies are looking to cooperate on introducing new IoT services based on a Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) standard the two companies have been working with, according to Telecompaper, building on a successful 5G network trial in St. Petersburg using Huawei network equipment. Megafon also joined an international consortium of telecoms called the GSMA NB-IoT (link in Russian) Forum that includes Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and China Mobile.