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KPN Technology Labs

Making innovation tangible
and applicable

New services that bring enjoyment and convenience. With this goal in mind, KPN Technology Labs are exploring the boundaries of technology. And, where necessary, we are pushing these boundaries.

Innovation does not just happen; genuine innovation requires hard work, discipline and structure. It is more than just generating ideas. You can’t make a difference with just a good idea. But you can with a tangible, end-user tested application.

We know all about this at KPN Technology Labs. Recently announced or introduced technology was already being developed years ago in KPN Technology Labs. Think of, for example, Voice over LTE (calling via fast mobile internet), LoRa (a super-efficient network that connects devices to the Internet of Things) ,Voice over WiFi (calling via WiFi), and Blockchain applications (the technology behind Bitcoin).

Field Labs

KPN Technology Labs is a collection of multidisciplinary telecommunications labs. Here, KPN experts work together with customers, developers and suppliers. Side by side, we’re transforming ideas into concrete products or services. We test these with the public in our Field Labs (test centers).

We prefer to set the Field Labs up at our partners’ sites. A good example is the Amsterdam Innovation Arena, which we’ve established in collaboration with, among others, Johan Cruijff ArenA and TNO. At this testing ground for innovation, we develop and test smart technological inventions for multiple purposes and demographics.

KPN Technology Labs was the first in Europe to test LTE-M, the new network for the Internet of Things (IoT). LTE-M completes the KPN IoT portfolio, which further consists of LoRa and Machine- to-Machine via 4G. Since March 2018, KPN is also offering national coverage to LTE-M.

Connected society with 5G

The new standard for mobile internet is 5G. Firstly, it is faster than 4G. In addition, it has three important features:

  1. Enhanced Mobile Broadband: more capacity and so higher speeds for customers.
  2. Massive Machine Type Communication: many more devices connected to the network at the same time (up to a million per km2).
  3. Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communication: extremely high reliability and little delay that makes autonomy possible (such as autonomous driving, but also remote surgery).

Together, these features allow for unique applications that we are testing in the 5G Field Labs. The Netherlands is a trailblazer in Europe when it comes to the quality, reliability and speed of mobile networks. Together with customers and technology partners, we have distributed five different (pre-) labs throughout the Netherlands, each focusing on a different kind of application. From autonomous driving to precision farming and from virtual reality in industry to smart antennas in urban areas.

Currently, the following labs are active:

  • Groningen: Rural Field Lab, focus on Transport & Logistics, Health care and Agriculture;
  • Drenthe: Rural Field Lab, focus on Fixed Wireless access;
  • Rotterdam: Industry Field Lab, focus on industry 4.0 and Transport & Logistics;
  • Amsterdam: Urban Field Lab, focus on Smart City and Smart Living and Events;
  • Helmond: Automotive Field Lab.
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Case study:
Tiled Streaming

One of the technological concepts that we’re developing at the Amsterdam Innovation Arena is an application by Tiled Streaming. This technology makes it possible to view real-time, high resolution (UHD or even up to 4K) images captures on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Usually, zooming in on video images happens locally on a mobile device. Tiled Streaming offers the option to send only the requested zoomed-in image to a device in real time, significantly reducing the required bandwidth.

Where will this innovation lead?

Tiled Streaming means that, in future, everyone gets to play at being a cameraman. In real-time, on your own mobile device. In combination with tracking – that allows you to follow a runner, singer or footballer – in tomorrow’s world you can zoom in on the images you want to see during a concert or sporting event. On your own phone, in high resolution. This is tangible innovation.

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Praktijkvoorbeeld:
KPN Smart TV app

Met de KPN Smart TV app hebben klanten met een slimme televisie voortaan geen tv-ontvanger meer nodig. Alles gaat via de app. Het softwareprogramma draait op het platform van je smart tv en is te downloaden in de appstore van je televisie. Momenteel werkt de applicatie alleen op recente smart tv’s van Samsung (vanaf 2017). We werken er hard aan om de app in de loop van 2019 ook voor andere smart tv-merken beschikbaar te stellen.

Waar leidt deze innovatie toe?

Klanten met een compatibele smart tv kunnen dankzij de KPN Smart TV app nóg makkelijker tv-kijken. Dat wil zeggen: draadloos én zonder gedoe met kastjes, kabels en aparte afstandsbedieningen. Omdat er geen tv-ontvanger meer nodig is, besparen klanten bovendien stroom. De app heeft de gebruikelijke functionaliteiten zoals pauzeren, begin gemist, terugkijken via de tv-gids en opnemen, plus een makkelijke zoekfunctie met genrefiltering. KPN-klanten kunnen overigens al langer gebruikmaken van de iTV app, waarmee ze thuis en onderweg programma’s kijken op hun telefoon of tablet.

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Praktijkvoorbeeld:
Mobiel bellen en sms’en over wifi

Met Voice over WiFi kun je mobiel blijven bellen en sms’en op plekken met weinig of geen mobiel bereik, maar waar wél een wifi-netwerk is. Denk aan goed geïsoleerde nieuwbouwhuizen of kantoorgebouwen. Mobiel bellen en sms’en over wifi is een aanvulling op bellen via 4G. Vooralsnog is deze dienst alleen beschikbaar op iPhones en Samsung-telefoons, al breidt de lijst met compatibele toestellen snel uit.

Waar leidt deze innovatie toe?

Is je mobiele signaal onvoldoende terwijl er een wifi-netwerk voorhanden is? Dan schakelt je telefoon automatisch over op wifi. Zo kun je blijven bellen en sms’en zonder dat de verbinding wegvalt of vertraagt. Is het bereik weer goed genoeg? Dan switcht je telefoon automatisch terug naar het mobiele netwerk. Resultaat: op alle plekken in Nederland waar je een mobiele, 4G- óf wifi-verbinding hebt, bel en sms je nu gewoon door. Voor hetzelfde tarief.

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Facts about KPN Technology Labs

Established: 2015

Director: Perry Jackson

Objective: KPN Technology Labs makes tangible and applicable innovations by merging technical experiments with existing network infrastructures and by developing new technologies.

Examples of innovations: Voice over LTE, LoRa, Voice over WiFi, 5G-internet (test phase).

Contact: do you want to know more or to get in touch with KPN Technology Labs? Send an email.

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