Podcast: Mozilla’s IoT Gateway and LoRa Roaming

Screenshots from Mozilla’s new IoT Gateway web software. Clean design, but this is still very DIY. Image courtesy of Mozilla.

There was a lot of smart home related news this week as Mozilla launched IoT gateway software, Apple’s HomePod reviews came out and Nest was folded into Google. Kevin and I discuss all of that, plus Netgear spinning out its Arlo home camera business, Amazon’s creepy wristband patentAlexa at the Superbowl, and Apple’s health ambitions in light of a new study on detecting diabetes with the Apple Watch.  For the enterprise minded, we bring in Bruce Chatterley, the CEO of Senet, to talk about LoRa networks and offer some use cases in the smart city, enterprise and residential setting. Enjoy the show



Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Semtech’s LoRa Technology Help Saves Alzheimer Patients in Real-Time

Semtech’s LoRa Technology Help Saves Alzheimer Patients in Real-Time

Semtech’s LoRa Technology Help Saves Alzheimer Patients in Real-Time

The police in Korea plan to give Lineable’s Silver, a wearable Internet of Things (IoT) device, for free to actively locate Alzheimer patients.

Semtech Corporation announced that Lineable, a Seoul-based startup manufacturer of GPS trackers, has integrated LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) in its new wearable safety device, Silver.

Lineable’s Silver device, co-developed by the National Police Agency of Korea, SK Telecom and SK Hynix, is specifically designed for patients with Alzheimer’s. Through a hybrid GPS system, caregivers are notified when patients leave the house or out of the designated safe zone.

Many patients are not constantly monitored by a supervisor, and in Korea, about 10,000 Alzheimer patients go missing each year. Silver is currently being used by the police in Korea and the police plan to distribute 3,000 devices each year to Alzheimer patients, free of charge. During its first month of service in October 2017, the Silver device helped save six patients and in three months, it helped save 20 more patients.

“The Lineable LoRa-based device provides a universal solution for tracking Alzheimer patients at a low cost due to its low battery consumption and wide network coverage,” said Harris Shim, Head of Business Operations at Lineable.

“SK Telecom has created the first nationwide LoRaWAN™ network and Lineable is one of the first companies to develop a solution that leverages Semtech’s LoRa Technology to track people’s location.”

“Lineable’s Silver wearable technology has already seen early success in Korea by being able to locate Alzheimer patients in real-time,” said Vivek Mohan, Director of Wireless and Sensing Products Group at Semtech. “The LoRa-based device is able help the community and its police force by providing a technology that gives families peace of mind.”

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Semtech develops disposable LoRa IoT nano-tag

Semtech develops disposable LoRa IoT nano-tag

Semiconductor specialist Semtech extends its product and services reach further into IoT networking technologies with a new disposable LoRa-enabled Nano-tag for IoT.

Already known to Internet of Business for its work at the Port of Cork in Ireland, Semtech has now developed a new breed of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors with ‘disposable’ characteristics.

LoRaWAN (standing for long range, wide area networking) is a protocol specification that uses unlicensed radio spectrum in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) bands, in order to enable communication between remote sensors and gateways connected to a network.

Semtech’s latest nano-tag reference design is a disposable, ultra-thin and low-cost device that can be integrated into disposable systems or attached to assets to communicate a specific event trigger.

As defined here, nano-tags are octagonal pieces of microscopic nickel – 6 to 10 microns thin and ranging from 0.3mm to 0.5mm wide, which feature a micro-image of a personalized brand, created to order. They are extremely robust, chemically resistant, able to withstand temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Celsius without oxidising and with a melting point of 1,453 degrees Celsius.

Read more: Ireland set to benefit from Semtech’s LoRa IoT Network

Smart decision-making

According to the company, Semtech’s LoRa-based nano-tag is suited to deployment across numerous IoT verticals that utilize event data for ‘smart’ decision-making.

The nano-tag is equipped with an ultra-thin printed battery and is designed to be integrated into products or systems that send messages to cloud datacenters when a ‘simple’ event is detected. The LoRa-enabled reference design is said to be capable of working with existing LoRaWAN networks.

Semtech has grand designs (or at least big ambitions) for this technology; the company claims that this could enable the proliferation of completely new types of IoT applications. These would be new apps that require real-time feedback, in logistics and shipping, healthcare and pharmaceutical, asset tracking and general-purpose compliance applications, for example.

MachineQ, a Comcast Industrial IoT service, is the first company to pilot the LoRa-enabled nano-tag with interested third parties on its IoT network in Philadelphia.

“By offering lower cost, disposable LoRa-enabled tags, we can expand the current landscape of use cases for Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology and allow companies to integrate the technology to drive many more diverse IoT use cases,” said Marc Pegulu, vice president and general manager for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group.

“We believe the number of use cases should expand rapidly as our connectivity and cloud partners start to leverage the disruptive nature of the LoRa-enabled tag,” he added.

These disposable LoRa-enabled tags will be commercially available in both flexible tape and paper substrate formats in 2018 and are currently being trialled by a number of LoRa Alliance members.

Read more: Actility launches LoRaWAN networks in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia

Disposable computing

Disposable computing is indeed now ‘a thing’ then, both in terms of hardware and software. RFID-enabled passes, name badges and other forms of identification have been around for most of the current decade if not longer.

And it is now reasonable to think in terms of short-term software functions being released as ‘disposable apps’ (an app for a special event or conference for example), especially now that it’s possible to install and delete these pieces of software so rapidly and ubiquitously on our smartphones.

Disposability in terms of both hardware and software could be a key trend for the IoT in 2018. There’s a throwaway statement for you if ever there was one.

Read more: Thin film batteries set for solid (state) growth

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LoRa technology is driving IoT adoption, changing lives

As decades-old technologies, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular are well established, but they were not designed to allow long-range communications at a low bit rate among things such as sensors powered by a battery. These conditions require Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) which aims to connect billions of battery-powered sensors to the Cloud, and this is where LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) and the open LoRaWAN™ protocol both are driving and enabling new applications and business models, says Mike Wong, vice president of Semtech.

The most pressing challenges for Internet of Things (IoT) are interoperability of various networks, security for billions of sensors and the data they produce, providing carrier-grade quality, and reliability at consumer price points. These challenges are tied together because adoption will slow down if IoT options are not available at accessible prices, and the devices will not be economically feasible if there is little adoption.

LoRa technology, originally developed by Semtech, is one of the founders of the LoRa Alliance™ which launched in 2015 and now boasts more than 500 companies. The organisation is dedicated to developing devices, technologies and applications under the same set of guidelines, with the same purpose of making IoT possible and driving the adoption of the LoRaWAN open protocol.

It is fast emerging as the best option for many markets and verticals including M2M applications, supply chain and logistics applications, smart cities, smart metering applications, and agriculture. The platform is seeing success with these applications because it is able to improve quality of life and helps solve real-world problems such as water conservation, environmental monitoring for pollutants, flood-level monitors in cities, and improving food safety and quality. We are all affected by these issues although it may not be obvious to most people that LoRa technology enables these improvements.

Smart metering, for example, uses LoRa-enabled devices to accurately measure the flow of gas or water, and takes away a lot of guesswork by delivering precise intelligence on critical points like when to provide maintenance. Three key features – low-power, low-cost and an open interoperable standard – make LoRa desirable for myriad industrial, commercial and domestic applications where IoT solutions are the future.

LoRaWAN deployments typically come in the form of a star network topology where the concentrators serve as a central coordinator for network traffic. Due to limitations of radio technology, one of the limitations of alternatives such as mesh networks is their inability to extend the range. With star networks and LoRa technology, range is a problem that has been solved.

If you look at the architecture of a LoRaWAN network, a lot of focus has been on keeping end node and concentrators simple, low-power and low-cost because this is what is needed to scale up to billions of nodes. Most of the processing happens in the cloud in a LoRaWAN network, eliminating the need for complex software that, for example, makes it necessary for individual nodes to maintain redundant information to switch roles which drives up the deployment and hardware costs. It’s a […]

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Ofo Adopts Semtech’s LoRa Technology to Expand Bicycle Tracking Coverage

Ofo Adopts Semtech’s LoRa Technology to Expand Bicycle Tracking Coverage

The Chinese-based company integrates LoRa Technology to track bicycle locations and reduce operation costs.

Semtech Corporation, announced that ofo, a leading Chinese bike sharing company, is equipping its bicycles with LoRa® devices and wireless RF technology (LoRa Technology) to complement its licensed spectrum connectivity options to achieve full network connectivity even in remote areas and dense buildings.

Globally, ofo currently operates in more than 180 cities providing approximately 10 million bicycles and 25 million rides daily. The bicycles are outfitted with GPS/GLONASS trackers that transmit data via the Cloud to an online application allowing ofo and its users to pin-point the location of the bicycles. LoRa Technology and the LoRaWAN™ open protocol provide ofo with reliable connectivity across wide areas as the company grows its business globally.

“Ofo is a pioneer in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT) and has pioneered the application of NB-IoT, NFC, BLE and other IoT technologies,” said Xue Ding, Co-Founder at ofo. “On this basis, ofo will continue to explore other IoT solutions as we constantly reduce operating costs and improve operation level. Semtech’s LoRa Technology is one of the best choices and ofo is willing to work with global partners to promote a green riding culture.”

“With its global interoperability, the LoRaWAN open protocol’s capabilities are complementary to licensed spectrum networks to provide customers with full-complete coverage in remote areas,” said Mike Wong, Vice President of Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group. “Long-range, low-power and ease of deployment are crucial for companies that are scaling at the rate like ofo is, and LoRa Technology provides all of these features.”

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