TIM has launched Italy's first live NB-IoT network to measure and improve the efficiency of the country's water networks.
The operator’s Olivetti digital hub is working with Italian water management agency SMAT and Huawei on the network to connect water meters.
The first stage of the network has already been launched in Turin, where TIM is testing a wide range of 5G technologies.
TIM said NB-IoT affords it the opportunity to connect water infrastructure that was previously unreachable with other kinds of cellular technology.
Assessment is underway on identifying these "problematic" sites.
NB-IoT is also useful because of its low battery consumption, simplified nature and low costs, TIM noted.
Both Olivetti and SMAT will collect performance data through a NB-IoT connection to work out what further operational activities need to be conducted.
TIM gave no timescale for when the countrywide network would be completed or what the next steps of the rollout would be following the completion of the Turin deployment.
It said by working with SMAT it could share skills and create synergies in developing IT platforms and operational process to make the tracking of water consumption easier and more accurate.
Olivetti’s IoT Marketing Manager Mario Polosa said: “Together with SMAT, we are continuing with the work we started long ago to allow companies in every sector to speed up their adoption of IoT.
“The new NB-IoT technology, alongside the many wireless technologies already used in the cellular or capillary field, will soon achieve national coverage, therefore allowing our customers to introduce IoT services to the market quickly, guaranteeing the reliability of the networks and platforms which the TIM Group and Olivetti have made available to customers.”
SMAT CEO Paolo Romano added: “As regards technological innovation, part of the activities carried out by our Research Centre are aimed at developing 'smart systems' that can provide real time information to the 'advanced' remote control station that monitors the amount of water fed into the network and forecasts the demand for water in the subsequent hours.
“The collaboration with Olivetti is therefore a further step in the development of these activities, which will lead to an improvement in the service for users."
TIM said it was looking to use NB-IoT for wider smart city applications, especially in the likes of basements and cellars. The technology would reduce the need for maintenance call-outs to connected sites, it said.