Ingenu's RPMA beats cellular, satellite for Shell's Niger Delta IoT project

Ingenu's RPMA (Random Phase Multiple Access) network technology won over the hearts and minds of a technology services firm in Nigeria that chose it over potential alternatives like satellite and GPRS to deploy digital oilfield capabilities for a Shell Nigeria pipeline facility.

Ingenu partnered with KONCAR INEM, a producer of industrial electronics and power electronics devices and systems, to deliver an Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solution to the oil pipeline facility in the Niger Delta. It's supported by Upland Consulting, a technology services firm based in Nigeria.

"Upland evaluated several communication technologies to present Shell Nigeria with a solution to replace its manual oilfield data collection processes," said Bola Awobamise, president and CEO, Upland Consulting Nigeria Ltd., in a press release. "The key criteria for selecting a solution were the technology's ability to cover difficult terrain, power performance, and long-range transmission as well as network scalability, two-way communications, and secure data transmission. Ingenu's RPMA offered all of these attributes and eclipsed the competition with its connectivity, network capacity, and exceptional value."

RPMA was developed specifically for M2M/IoT connectivity by a group of engineers that formerly worked at Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM). The company was known as On-Ramp Wireless until a name change last fall. Qualcomm co-founder and former CTO Andrew Viterbi is a strategic advisor to Ingenu.

The project in Nigeria took just three months to deploy whereas it would take anywhere from 18 to 24 months to get a system in place using alternative technologies, said Landon Garner, CMO at Ingenu. "We're all about making it easy and keeping it simple," he said. The digital oilfield deployment in the Niger Delta involved just eight access points.

In the United States, Ingenu's first markets, Dallas and Phoenix, are under construction and it will soon start on five other cities. Ingenu CEO John Horn said with RPMA, it takes just 14 towers to cover the entire Dallas metro area – which is another factor in keeping costs low for customers. The low-power, wide area RPMA technology translates in a cost savings of more than $1 million over alternatives for Shell Nigeria.

With 2G U.S. networks getting ready to sunset – AT&T (NYSE: T) is shutting down its 2G this year – a lot of companies in need of an alternative or interested in expanding their footprint are knocking on Ingenu's door, according to Garner. The company gets more than 1,000 inbound leads a month from those types of companies.

But the competition for IoT business is heating up as big players like Intel, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and more are upping their games. According to Horn, their involvement just shows that these types of companies see the great potential and don't want to get left behind. "It's great for us that they're out there creating awareness," he said. "It does nothing but help us… The advantage that we bring is years of experience knowing how to build it, how to support it," and how to make it work.

Ingenu's RPMA works in the 2.4 GHz spectrum globally, so one device can work on one frequency throughout the world – and so far, Ingenu intends to keep it that way rather than complicating it with more bands, Horn said. Because Ingenu owns the IP, no one can come from an outside agency, standards board or hardware manufacturer and say, "'we're not going to support or build that anymore,'" he said, adding RPMA is there for the long haul.

Horn said an Ingenu licensee in Italy recently tested cellular, Sigfox, LoRA and more before deciding the best IoT solution was from Ingenu. The ratio from RPMA to cellular is about 30 to 1, in that when Ingenu puts a tower up, it would require 30 in cellular to match it.

For more:
- see this press release

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