News from LoRaWAN Live Munich

This week saw the Munich edition of LoRaWAN Live, the event for the LoRaWAN community organized by the LoRa Alliance. This event rotates locations with each iteration, and this edition marked the return of the event to Europe.

As usual, the event was a professional gathering for alliance members who use these events to advance the evolution of the LoRaWAN standard. Participants included gateway manufacturers, device makers, and electronic component producers. Unfortunately, this focus, often comes at the expense, of non-member users and smaller players, who are less present compared to events like The Things Conference or larger, more general conferences, like IoT Solutions.

The main downside of this conference, in my opinion, was the low attendance of end users and newcomers. This is likely due to the high cost of attending the conference, not to mention the hotel prices during the Euro 2024 period.

Despite this, the conference featured a series of high-quality presentations on the development of use cases, market growth, and opportunities for in-depth discussions with technology experts. As always, it was a chance to meet new people and have engaging conversations.

So, what’s the state of the LoRaWAN ecosystem in 2024?

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Evolution of Usage on the Helium IoT Network

In an article written in 2022, following an unwarranted and poorly executed attack that reduced the value of the Helium network to the nascent consumption of data, erroneously overvalued at $6600, I began monitoring the usage of the network over the months.

To give some context, Helium is a DAO governing the operation of several networks: LoRaWan (IoT), CBRS (4/5G), and WiFi. A DAO is a distributed organization using blockchain to govern its operational processes. This project is one of the pioneers of what we now call DePIN (Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks), which bridge the virtual world of blockchain with the physical world around us and generally translate into service offerings consumable in the traditional economic circuit, competing with equivalent services in the traditional economy.

Helium is the largest deployed LoRaWan network in the world. It is used for roaming by numerous telecom operator networks and natively by many companies deploying fleets of connected objects. For my part, since 2021, I have been the first to provide commercial and open access to individuals and businesses to this network to connect their objects, through the service Helium IoT Console delivered by IngeniousThings. For this reason, I pay particular attention to monitoring usage on the IoT network.

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SenseCAP T1000-A tracker

SenseCAP (Seeedstudio) has launched a Kickstarter campaign for launching it new LoRaWan product, a tracker based on LR1110 Semtech transceiver. This Kickstarter is a bit unusual as the product is already designed and operational. It’s more a way to have a minimum of order to initiate a production batch with a guaranteed volume.

This tracker exists in different version with different capabilities and sensors. The version I received for testing it is a T1000-A, able to get outdoor position with GNSS, indoor position with WiFi, temperature, light and accelerometer data.

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Industrial IoT (IIoT) vs IoT for industry (IoT4i)

You heard these terms, increasingly used, that are IoT (Internet of Things) and IIoT (Industrial IoT). Terms that seem so close that we tend to think that they are intimately linked, or even that they address the same thing but in a different context, which for the second would be that of industry. But the technicians, or marketers, are teasing or, because they surf the trends, it tends to generate misleading shortcuts.

You understand, behind my words, that there is no more than a fairly distant cousinship between IoT and IIoT. I will try to explain why and what are the consequences of these differences on the technologies used in each of these areas.

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Repair broken Nebra indoor with eMMC failure

The first versions of Nebra indoor miner came with CM3 (Raspberry Pi Compute Module) embedding eMMC memory. As you may know, Helium has been really I/O intensive, particularly this summer when the blockchain was filling really fast the small amount of storage the CM3 has. As a consequence, all my Nebra indoor miner dead around the same week. Diagnostic seemed to be a storage failure.

Here is the story about making them live again

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The Things Conference 2022

TheThingsConference 2022

This week saw the return of face-to-face of The Things Conference after long years of virtual events. The Things Conference is the major LoRaWAN ecosystem event. Not as commercial as LoRa Alliance event (even if the conference is a source of revenue for TheThingsIndustry), thanks to the presence of most of the guy’s who are doing the IoT.

This edition has interesting weak signals like the presence of a team from Unabiz (previously Sigfox), some Helium bashing at some time, even if most of the attendees have been participating on The People Network.

It’s a conference I can place on the maturity rising, many talk about use-cases, less about technologies. Lots of workshops where we have been able to implement / test advanced technologies like Lacuna Space communications or Semtech low power tracker.

Here are my through from the really great edition of TheThingsConference2022

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What is the IIoT transformation ?

The digital transformation of companies officially started in 2012, the year of birth of this term which reflects more the awareness by the company of its delay in its technological adaptation than a real awareness of its difficulties in modernizing its processes. .

Apart from this digital transformation, in society started 20 years earlier when Internet technologies were born and giants were already being built, Google, Amazon, Paypal… There is no need to detail the competitive advantages that the native use of these technologies in the construction of the processes of these current giants have brought, the financial results are before our eyes.

This is what it is all about, increased productive performance, accelerated development, domination of the markets despite a past so recent that the leaders of the large companies in our historic economy have, only rarely, managed to adapt. The most far-sighted will have succeeded in adapting as suppliers, integrating a digital relationship with these giants into their process. Industries have become customers of these essential technology providers, at exorbitant prices and on a recurring basis, so that today any product contains its share of cost for the digital giants.

It is not a question here of making a trial of these companies which have only the merit of having been visionaries, precursors and better than all to invent our digital world, taking considerable risks at their start. On the other hand, it is a question of learning lessons and looking to the future and the opportunities that are available to us.

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What positions for 5G and other wireless technologies in the industrial world?

The industry is changing, digitalizing, let’s call it the industry of the future or industry 4.0, it is increasingly integrating data into decision-making. If data has been driving the industry for a long time, we are now talking about another scale, that of massive data, on which it is possible to make faster, more efficient, more relevant decisions with impactful effects.

The quality and performance of the decision is directly related to the diversity and quantity of data processed for decision making. The industry already produces large volumes of data from production processes which already allow a strong creation of value using industry 4.0 solutions. The capture of industrial data then develops in its diversity component to pass a new stage, bringing a look upstream and ahead of the production chain.

This data collection is made possible through new communication technologies such as 5G, but not only. After having experienced the media campaigns on the impact of 5G in the industry, and elsewhere, at the beginning of 2021, I will try to present where to position this technology by its singularities.

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