The fledgling LoRa Alliance is shoring up some significant backing, with the Dutch telco KPN promising to introduce LoRa devices later this year.
The mission of the LoRa Alliance is to standardize low power wide area networks (LPWAN) around the world to enable Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), smart city and industrial applications. Alliance members want to drive the global success of the LoRa protocol (LoRaWAN) by sharing knowledge and experience to ensure interoperability between telecom operators.
KPN says the new technology will make it possible to connect low-data M2M devices to the Internet via a low-frequency connection, offering as an example street lights that can be remotely activated and deactivated in real-time.
"The introduction of LoRa and the planned participation in the LoRa Alliance are key factors in accelerating the national and international development of Internet of Things," KPN said in a news release.
Like other operators, KPN has offered M2M connectivity across 2G, 3G and 4G networks for the past five years. The technology has enabled POS payments on café terraces and wireless connectivity in cars, for example. Other low-data applications require only brief connectivity. When transferring data via LoRa, the battery can run for up to 10 years on a single AA battery, according to KPN.
The LoRa Alliance, which held an introductory event at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, will officially launch in March. Prospective initial alliance members include IoT solution providers Actility, Cisco, Eolane, IBM, Kerlink, IMST, MultiTech, Sagemcom, Semtech and Microchip Technology, as well as telecom operators Bouygues Telecom, SingTel, Proximus, Swisscom and FastNet (part of Telkom South Africa).
At the Electronica 2014 trade show in November, Camarillo, Calif.-based Semtech partnered with IBM Research, Microchip and their distribution partners to demonstrate LPWAN in the Munich area. Semtech says LoRa technology has a range greater than cellular at a fraction of the power requirements, with the capacity to connect millions of nodes into a network deployment.
The IoT standards arena is a crowded space these days. More than a half-dozen initiatives have been launched to create market standards for IoT and to put the Internet of Things on par with the "Internet of Humans" in terms of wide-scale availability, ease of connection and compatibility across platforms in different industry sectors, according to IC Insights.
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