Interoperability and network connectivity are two major issues in IOT design. Both are giving opportunity to a new wave of products and services. AllSeen Alliance, a cross industry IOT alliance is working on the interoperability issues by launching AllJoyn Device System Bridge (DSB) to make the legacy devices and communication networks interoperable. Microsoft is said to have contributed the open source DSB code to AllJoyn.
With the AllJoyn Device System Bridge, IOT embedded software design engineers can connect existing devices that use BACnet or Z-Wave to an AllJoyn network. Basically the idea is to enable existing devices to interact with new AllJoyn devices, and also allowing cloud connectivity across all devices on the network.
To learn more about AllJoyn DSB, which is part of the Gateway Working Group, visit: https://wiki.allseenalliance.org/gateway/gateway.
Another alliance related to IOT networks, LoRa from Semtech is gaining popularity in IOT networking. Semtech supplying LoRa technology to telecom companies to use in low-power wide area networks for IOT. LoRa is said to have higher range then a cellular network and also at a lesser power requirements and also modem cost is less.
The latest LoRaWAN R1.0 specification is now available to download from the LoRa Alliance website.
LoRaWAN is a kind of star-of-stars network, where the gateways act as transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server. End/terminal devices can communicate with single or multiple IP connected gateways but in a single-hop. The communication is mostly bidirectional with also support for multicast with features such as software upgrade over-the-air, and other mass message distribution. Specification can be downloaded for free at: http://lora-alliance.org/Contact/RequestSpecificationForm.aspx.
End-devices and gateways communicate in different frequency channels and at data rates of 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps, and is dependent on communication range and message payload. LoRaWAN network server manages the data rate for each connected sensor via an Adaptive Data Rate algorithm (ADR) to cut the power consumption.
To ensure a higher level of security, the application or the network owner LoRaWAN includes:
Unique Network key (EUI64) and ensure security on network level, Unique Application key (EUI64) ensure end-to-end security on application level, Device specific key (EUI128).
Some of its users include Electronica -event, FastNet, KPN, Bouygues Telecom, Proximus/Belgacom , Swisscom and Senet. Senet has deployed low-power WAN network in U.S. based on LoRa technology for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Senet has installed 50 towers with network coverage of more than 15,000 square miles in Silicon Valley to enable application development by major corporations and start-ups in the area that plan to connect to their network.
Senet has opened its network to its customers of its EnerTrac subsidiary to optimize propane and heating fuel delivery and inventory, but now it has allowed other IoT application verticals such as agriculture, smart parking, building management, supply chain management, water metering, water leak detection, industrial asset tracking and healthcare. Senet offers low-cost connectivity in existing deployed areas and deploys/manages the networks in other areas that desire LPWAN connectivity.
LoRa Alliance members MultiTech, Semtech and Senet are hosting LPWAN hands-on workshop in Silicon Valley on Thursday, July 23, 2015 to demonstrate how to connect to Senet's North American LoRaWAN network where the participants can learn how to configure sensor devices to connect to LoRaWAN networks through the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform. More information on this workshop can be found at: www.regonline.com/loraworkshop.
LoRa Alliance has 80 members since its launch in March 2015.