NWave joins Weightless SIG to drive IoT specification

An Internet of Things (IoT) standards organization just got a jolt with the involvement of a new member, NWave Technologies, which is contributing its years of expertise to the Weightless SIG for the advancement of the Weightless-N standard.

Besides becoming a member of the Weightless SIG, NWave, whose solutions are designed to operate at 868 MHz in Europe and 915 MHz in the U.S., is contributing its proprietary technology to the effort.   

The Weightless SIG earlier had intended to launch in the TV white spaces with the Weightless-W standard, but that spectrum did not open up around the world fast enough to make it happen. Now it's targeting Weightless-N in the Industrial, Science and Medical (ISM) band, where the standard is expected to be complete by early next year.

By having NWave contribute its technology to the standard, the Weightless SIG will be able to achieve the final Weightless-N standard much faster than otherwise, SIG CEO William Webb told GigaOm. It will take lessons from NWave's deployment over the years and apply them to the development of the standard.

NWave has been developing its technology for several years and also makes hardware--everything from devices to transmitters and base station receivers.

What makes NWave's technology such a great proposition are three elements: low cost, low power and long range, according to CEO Jonathan Wiggin in a promotional video. Typically a Weightless module will cost less than $2 to build, and base stations currently run about $3,000 per unit. Another advantage: A device could potentially operate for five or 10 years off a single AA battery, he said.

While other solutions are being pursued for the IoT, the Weightless solution is an open standard, and that's key to its success, Webb said, pointing to standards like Bluetooth, ZigBee and Wi-Fi. The open standards model is incredibly important for businesses and government from a procurement standpoint so they don't have to rely on a single vendor of a closely guarded proprietary solution, Wiggin said.

Of course, numerous efforts are under way to establish IoT standards. ETSI is working on a similar concept using low throughput networks (LTN), but Webb says that's in the early stage and in his estimation will take at least another two years before it becomes a sufficient spec for developers to build interoperable equipment; "we need solutions in the next six months to a year," he said.

Version 1.0 of the Weightless-N specification is anticipated by the end of the first quarter of 2015. Commercial deployments of Weightless-N compliant technology are expected shortly after that.

Jonathan Wiggin and others speak with Incisor.TV about Weightless N and NWave. (Source: Incisor.TV / Vimeo)

For more:
- see this GigaOm article
- see this EE Times story
- see this press release
- and this video

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