Fujitsu Develops World’s Smallest Sensor Device Supporting LPWA Communication

Fujitsu Develops World's Smallest Sensor Device Supporting LPWA Communication

Fujitsu Develops World's Smallest Sensor Device Supporting LPWA Communication

Eliminates Need for Battery Replacement. On-site data can be directly transmitted to the cloud across several kilometers just by placing an 82x24x6 mm miniature sensor.

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced development of the world’s smallest sensor that eliminates the need to replace batteries.

The new sensor supports Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) wireless transmission technology that can reach a broad area with low power.

As the spread of IoT systems gains momentum, expectations are rising for sensor devices that support LPWA technology, which can wirelessly transmit sensor information directly to the cloud. In order to create systems that employ this technology, there has been a demand for the development of easy-to-install miniature devices using solar cells to achieve both convenience and low cost, which dispense with the need to replace batteries.

Fujitsu Laboratories previously developed power control technology(1) that can operate a beacon with the power provided just by a solar cell. Conventionally, power output variation of solar cells due to temperature had been tolerated by enlarging the size of energy storage elements. Now, however, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed technology that achieves high power efficiency by controlling signal transmission timing based on the temperature variation measured by a temperature sensor, which makes it possible to reduce the required energy storage elements for signal transmission by half. This has enabled Fujitsu Laboratories to successfully miniaturize the device to a size of 82x24x6 mm, creating the world’s smallest sensor device supporting LPWA that does not need replacement batteries.

In a test of the sensor device using this technology, Fujitsu Laboratories confirmed that the collected temperature and humidity data can be transmitted to a Sigfox(2) base station over a distance of about 7 km. Since it is now possible to acquire measured data even from locations where it is difficult to secure power and install power cables just by placing these sensor devices, the maintenance-free deployment and management of IoT systems has become a reality, accelerating the process of on-site digitalization.

Development Background

The spread of IoT systems has progressed in recent years, and it is predicted that by 2020, several tens of billions of IoT devices will be connected to the cloud through networks. In IoT systems, information collected from multiple sensors installed in the field, need to be transmitted to and analyzed on the cloud, and LPWA has been gaining attention as a wireless technology that can directly transmit data to the cloud with low power consumption across a wide area. From a convenience and cost standpoint there are high hopes for miniaturization, which not only meets the LPWA standards, while utilizing solar cells that eliminate the need for replacement.

Issues

Fujitsu Laboratories has previously developed power control technology using miniature circuits that can transmit data over short distances wirelessly using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). This technology realizes sensor devices that support BLE without the need to exchange batteries, providing power with solar cells, and reliably activating a wireless circuit by monitoring and adjusting the balance between power generation and consumption.

Sensor devices using this previous technology, however, could not support LPWA. That’s because the time required for transmission with LPWA is significantly longer than with BLE. LPWA transmits small amounts of data slowly in order to ensure signal quality over long distances. In effect, this means that a single transmission can require significant power usage of up to about 1,500 times of BLE.

About the Newly Developed Technology

Now, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed new power control technology to ensure transmission power while minimizing circuit size. This technology’s advantages are as follows.

1. Power control technology that permits power variations with temperature

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed power control technology that can control the timing of LPWA signal transmissions in real time, based on temperature data collected from a temperature sensor. With this technology signal transmissions are only carried out at the time when the activation voltage, which varies with temperature, is maximized in order to prevent it from falling below the minimum operational voltage for LPWA module. By using power efficiently in this way, it is possible to tolerate variation in power consumed by the wireless circuit or power generated by solar cells due to temperature. This eliminates the need for the excess energy storage elements that were previously necessary to respond to power fluctuations, enabling miniaturization of the sensor device with the smallest power storage elements required.

2. Power monitoring technology that reliably activates the temperature sensor

In order for the power control technology to operate reliably, the device must be able to continually and reliably activate the temperature sensor with a small amount of power. To resolve this challenge, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed power monitoring technology that analyzes voltage changes in power source, and accurately judges whether or not sufficient power has been stored to operate the temperature sensor. This technology can prevent unnecessary shutdowns of the temperature sensor by using the minimum amount of power based on the temperature.

Effects

This technology was implemented using Sigfox, an LPWA standard, creating the world’s smallest sensor device (82x24x6 mm) supporting LPWA communications without the need to replace batteries.

Fujitsu Laboratories verified that temperature and humidity data could be transmitted once every ten minutes, over seven days directly to a base station about 7 km away, in an environment with illumination of 4,000 lux. Fujitsu Laboratories also verified that the data could be visualized through the Fujitsu Cloud Service K5 IoT Platform, Fujitsu Limited’s IoT data utilization platform service, which has received Sigfox Ready Program for IoT PaaS certification as an IoT platform that connects to the Sigfox cloud.

This means that sensor data can easily be acquired in the cloud just by setting sensor devices, even in places where it is difficult to secure power or install power cables. This will enable maintenance-free installation and management of IoT systems, accelerating the process of digitalization in the field.

Future Plans

Fujitsu Laboratories will continue to conduct field trials aimed at the real-world use of these sensor devices, incorporating this technology into the Fujitsu Cloud Service K5 IoT Platform and Fujitsu Frontech Limited’s sensor solutions as connected devices, with the goal of commercialization in fiscal 2018. Furthermore, we will continue to develop technologies to miniaturize sensor devices.

Comment from Yoshihito Kurose, President, KYOCERA Communication Systems Co., Ltd. (KCCS):

“As the utilization of IoT is expected to continually increase, KCCS predicts that solutions utilizing the low power consumption feature of the Sigfox network will be developed in a variety of industries.”

“KCCS believes that Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.’s development of a sensor device, which does not require battery charging by way that device operation is enabled by a solar battery, will promote the use of Sigfox not only in Japan but around the world.”

“As the Sigfox Operator in Japan, KCCS is working with Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. and other partners to enable everything to be connected to the Sigfox network and is contributing to the creation of a safe and pleasant society.”

[1] Developed power control technology Fujitsu Develops Industry’s First Flexible IoT-Supporting Beacon That Needs No Battery Replacement (press release, March 25, 2015) http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2015/0325-02.html
[2] Sigfox A global IoT network using LPWA provided by Sigfox, a company established in France in 2009. KYOCERA Communication Systems Co., Ltd. is the sole network service provider in Japan.

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Kerlink Gateways Supporting DIGIMONDO’s Rapidly Expanding Rollout of LoRaWAN IoT Network in Europe

Kerlink Gateways Supporting DIGIMONDO’s Rapidly Expanding Rollout of LoRaWAN IoT Network in Europe

Kerlink and DIGIMONDO, one of Europe’s leading IoT end-to-end solution providers, today announced that Kerlink gateways are being integrated in DIGIMONDO’s LoRaWAN™ network rollouts in Germany and across Europe.

DIGIMONDO offers a cutting-edge LoRaWAN™ network server called firefly. Along with E.ON, DIGIMONDO recently completed one of Germany’s largest LoRaWAN™ IoT rollouts using firefly software and Kerlink hardware in the city of Gehrden and surrounding areas. The deployment installed more than 1,100 smart electricity meters, and smart-parking sensors. Powered by Kerlink’s Wirnet™ iBTS Compact stations, the network generates efficiency of higher than 97 percent uninterrupted connectivity, compared to approximately 80 percent efficiency of meters in basements with classic mobile radio connectivity like LTE.

The LoRaWAN™ network server firefly, offered both as software as a service (SAAS) and on-premise, connects objects to DIGIMONDO’s public and site-specific, customer-owned private networks. Firefly-based networks have delivered 99.99 percent uptime. DIGIMONDO will launch an upgrade for firefly in Q4 2017 with advanced features, including the transport layer security (TLS) protocol to protect data and the MQTT IoT and M2M protocols. The LoRaWAN™ 1.1 standard will be implemented in the upcoming release.

“The Internet of Things is the next major step towards a digital future, and DIGIMONDO is committed to playing a leading role in that evolution with both rapid network deployments and reliable cloud services,” said DIGIMONDO’s founder and CTO Marcus Walena.

“We are one of the big providers of LoRaWAN™ end-to-end service, including connectivity across Europe for smart-solution use cases, and Kerlink’s proven gateways assure reliable, high-performance and stable networks that help maintain our momentum for network rollouts.”

“Integrating Kerlink gateways in DIGIMONDO’s IoT networks helps the company rapidly deliver a scalable, turnkey LoRaWAN™ solution for large and small deployments, and supports Kerlink’s goal to bring LoRaWAN™ technology to countries around the world,” said William Gouesbet, Kerlink CEO. “We expect this partnership to demonstrate that our combined technologies efficiently and reliably deliver the benefits of the IoT for smart applications across a variety of sectors and in any location.”

DIGIMONDO offers its LoRaWAN™ network server firefly to customers with a very competitive pricing model that is based on the number of gateways installed. This highly economical solution contrasts with fee structures based on the number of connected end nodes. Moreover, this gateway-based pricing model increases profit margins for customers because they can scale their sensor connectivity without paying any additional costs.

Kerlink, a co-founder and board member of the LoRa Alliance™, recently reported first-half 2017 revenue of €10.1 million, up 87 percent from the same period last year. Earlier this year, the company announced nationwide LoRaWAN™ deployments with partners in India and Argentina.

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Supporting Internet Development in The Gambia

Dawit Bekele, the Internet Society’s Regional Bureau Director for Africa, paid a visit to The Gambia from 17-18 September 2017. This was the first time a senior Internet Society staff visited The Gambia with the intention of meeting Internet Society Gambia chapter leadership, members, and local partners. The aim was to discuss our past and future plans for more engagement and future Internet development. It was also an opportunity to raise the profile of the Internet Society Gambia Chapter.

During his short visit, Dawit Bekele and the Internet Society Gambia chapter executives took the opportunity to meet with the Minister, Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI), Honorable Demba Jawo.

The team also visited and met with the Management of The Gambia’s Public Utilities and Regulatory Agency (PURA) as well as the Chairperson of the Serrekunda Internet Exchange Point SIXP, Mrs. Isatou Jah. Among the topics discussed was the way forward in fostering partnership with local stakeholders in supporting Internet development, security, and capacity building.

The official visit was preceded by a visit to the Internet Society Gambia office where the team met with the Director General of The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (TANGO), Mr. Ousman Yabo, and toured the Internet Society Gambia office, library, and the TANGO hall facilities. The team ended the tour with a lunch and discussion at Ocean Bay Hotel and a short visit to Kachikally Museum and Crocodile Pool in Bakau.

About the Internet Society Gambia Chapter
The Internet Society Gambia Chapter’s goal is to bring together and work with local stakeholders in supporting local Internet development initiatives, especially in the areas of building technical capacity for local engineers and fostering Internet literacy and user awareness. The chapter also aims to work on promoting the development of local content, access, and policy and to encourage more engagements of our local community in national/regional efforts towards promoting open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people in The Gambia.

View photos of the visit.

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Supporting IoT services on 5G network slices through Service Quality Management – Part 2

High speed, high reliability and low latency are the key benefits that CSPs expect from 5G. While high speed (targeted at 20 Gbps) helps to upload and download video-based content faster and in larger volumes, high reliability (always 100%) supports mission-critical services especially in the IoT world. Below is the Part 2 of the article […]

The post Supporting IoT services on 5G network slices through Service Quality Management – Part 2 appeared first on IoT Now – How to run an IoT enabled business.

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Supporting IoT services on 5G network slices through Service Quality Management – Part 1

High speed, high reliability and low latency are the key benefits that CSPs expect from 5G. While high speed (targeted at 20 Gbps) helps to upload and download video-based content faster and in larger volumes, high reliability (always 100%) supports mission-critical services especially in the IoT world. Here is the Part 1 of the article. […]

The post Supporting IoT services on 5G network slices through Service Quality Management – Part 1 appeared first on IoT Now – How to run an IoT enabled business.

Blogs – IoT Now – How to run an IoT enabled business