TheThingsConference 2021

New year, new edition of TheThingsConference, the main LPWan event now.

As this event is a big community event including industries, silicon providers, service providers, operator, integrator… It’s a big opportunity for all these people to meet altogether. 2021 due to covid-19 pandemic is online as most of the IoT events currently. Question were, how will be the quality, how will be the interaction within the community ?

TheThingsConference already had a virtual event in 2020 some month after the yearly physical conference and basically it has been a success. It also has been a good training or this 2021 event. As a consequence the event quality (platform, keynote video, talk video) have a really good quality. They basically taken benefit of the new capabilities of the recorded video like to play with a 3D device in the middle of the scene. So that really cool.

They have also taken into account the different time-shift and replaying all the conferences on different slots to allows people to follow it on normal hour. That’s great a better than the previous edition (a 24h non stop event… fun but difficult). The conference is taking place on a whole week

Interaction between the community, at least over the chat is really good and this is also a success… I’ll complete that post all along the conference but we can start seing what has been announced during the keynote.

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Did we have a Sigfox Connect in 2020 ?

Sigfox Connect is usually one of the MAIN EVENT for the LPWAN community as the technical solutions provided by Sigfox were, in the last 5 years, the one presenting disruptive innovations around low power radio communications suporting the IoT revolution. I was usually rushing on my blog to communicate and explain how these innovations could transform our markets…

This year in 2020, I’ve made 5 days before starting to write something because, I see nothing really interesting to tell about this event, at least on the technical side. I could fill many pages on the quality of the event, starting by the backgrounds, the phone ringing in background, even on recorded conferences and the number of conferences about the same topic (supply chain). Christophe Fourtet had a great talk… for Sigfox beginner… and my preferred event’s backgrounds. But what about the yellow texts scrolling ?!? WTF !

So, I could write tons of line on this topic, but let’s try to go to the only and main announcement of this year, nothing technical, something like a company business pivot. Basically, after watching Ludovic conference, I had to refer to the only one online press post to understand what it was about. The morning keynote had some of the elements related to it but honestly I give the same to my IoT students on the first 30 minutes, so for the vision I’ve been a bit disappointed. You can check my IoT slidedeck.

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Hacking a thermometer for world health

In a previous post I’ve been presented an idea for creating a kind of satellite solution for watching over pandemic progress over the world using low cost connected thermometers. You can get the details of this idea in my blog post “What IoT can propose against Pandemic“. Basically the proposal is to add an ultra low cost IoT communication feature into a thermometer and report the information when an over heat has been detected. That way we could be able to determine the level of pandemic and its geographical progression over time. So I won’t detail all the business model and financing proposal, you will find all of this in my previous post.

The second step is now to make a prototype of a such device to show how too make it possible. For making this I’ve selected the thermometer you see on the picture above and decided to hack it and connect it to Sigfox network. This thermometer comes from Amazon and cost 14€ but is really like all low cost thermometer we can find.

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Ultra Low cost IoT, a breakthrough to innovation

Ten month ago, I was starting investigating the Ultra Low Cost Iot thanks to Sigfox given access to the experimentation they made in this area. The Ultra Low Cost IoT is defined by manufactured devices under or near the cost of $1.

Such level of price are enabling scalable deployment of devices and mass data capture, more than it has ever been able to made. And basically, it is not a question of device cost, it is a question of scalable use-cases where the higher device cost where a business model killer.

This is basically reducing the price of devices by a factor of 5x to 10x. No miracle, this is also reducing the device capabilities and concerns different use-cases than the one previously designed. In another word, Low Cost IoT is not classical IoT for a lower price, it’s a new IoT area where we find new use-cases, new business model and more generally is source of innovation.

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What IoT can make against pandemics ?

Pandemic prevention and management is an interesting territory for IoT. I’ve seen different projects and solutions made in emergency to help during the Covid-19 crisis like some connected button distributed in hospitals to get assistance for going to toilets. That’s an interesting use case for IoT where you can deploy quickly a solution (20K have been produced in this example) and make it working in an existing environment (an hospital) with no integration complexity with network or other existing infrastructures.

My favorite example is the Us health Weather Map reporting the human temperature sensor information across the USA. I love this use-case because it works on prevention: detecting the rise of the pandemic, show its movement and scale. The current problem is that these data comes from high-end thermometers, using Bluetooth and the number of device is limited. The other problem are the personal information attached to these device.

This is where LPWAN and Sigfox in particular can be used to propose a innovative solution I’m going to detail a bit.

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Pi Day – Sigma Lambda Pi

Sigma Lambda Pi is the perfect thing to talk about on the 3/14 Pi day!

This crazy machine is a 16 Raspberry Pi-4 cluster in a 2U server rack, set to execute FaaS (Function as a Service) with a green-it approach. Don’t make a dream of Raspberry-Pi high performance demonstration, you will be disappointed and it’s not the purpose of this project. This is not a commercial product, the objective of the company who made it, was research, team building and team skills improvement. This has been made by friends of my, working at Be|ys, a team of 9 people, under the lead of Christophe Prugnaud. They made a demo of it during the Clermont’Tech Api Hour #46, the video will be soon accessible.

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The Things Industry is taking the lead on LoRaWAN ecosystem

Today was the first day of The Things Conference (TTC) 2020 in Amsterdam. TTC is the yearly event organized by The Things Network initiative. Years after years this event is becoming THE world LoRaWan event. The Things Network let the floor to The Things Industry, all the LoRaWan industrial ecosystem is coming to Amsterdam to discuss about the future of this LPWAn technology. The community spirit is still here, strong and awesome: I had plenty of discussions with many tech & business guy I never met before ; I’ve learned a lot of thing through the high quality conferences. Two days of conference will be too short for meeting people I’ve listed and follow the conference track.

So let’s talk a bit about the content of this first days and the direction The Things Industry is giving to LoRaWan ecosystem. Because, trust me or not, even if the LoRaWan alliance is full of big telecom companies, it really seems that, this small group of 20 awesome people from TTN are taking the lead.

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