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.
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.
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.
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.
After presenting the UnaMKR Arduino devkit, Unabiz has made a new version of its maker kit supporting Sigfox Monarch and based on LiteOn module.
The UnaMKR mini is a breakboard solution for the LiteOn module and nothing more. You can easily make your own prototype system based on this board. The price sounds to be $25 to $30.
During Sigfox Connect 2019 we had different announcement like ultra-low power devices and ultra-low-cost IoT devices with a BOM under a single $. There are the main announcement in my point of view but we have also had much more coming with updates on previously seen technologies.
At first Sigfox announced the ability to deploy a private network, we are going to see what it could means as the details have not yet been given. Next I’ve got update on satellites connectivity and bubble service announced last year.
Sigfox Connect yearly event is the opportunity for the company to present its vision on IoT technology evolution. As part of the 2019 edition, the company has introduced Ultra-Low-Power Sigfox communication. In this domain, we are talking about micro-watt to send a radio message over the air the Sigfox network will be able to capture on the fly. You can find a lot of different use-cases for a such communication system. Industrial environment sounds to be the primary market but it can also be included in final products. The main interest of ultra-low-power is to not needing battery but harvesting its energy from many sources, up to the existing WiFi network energy captured from the air.
As a gift to the participants of 2019 Connect forum, Sigfox has offered a connected button. This button is the first official device based on the ultra-low cost technology detailed in my previous post about $1 Iot. This device is based on a single SoC, a CMT2189C chip from CMOSTEK. This chip usually made for garage door remote controller is offering a low-cost solution ($0,25) with a MCU+Radio solution, compatible with Sigfox.
In this post I’ll detail what are the components of this solution and the real price you can achieve for a such device to verify the low cost promise.
Sigfox published the reference design for this type of IoT devices, including the button elements. Where writing this post, I did not add a chance yet to read the final version of the document and the estimate is based on reverse engineering of a prototype I’ve got a month ago. The reference design can be obtained from build.sigfox.com.