Debunk an LPWAN / IoT comparison

The LPWAN comparison artwork

Recently, on Linkedin, I reacted on a publication that is looking like this one. I’m used to react on LPWAN publication when they are comparing technologies as this one. Comparing apples with eggs and usually meaningless. This one was particularly interesting me because, most of the content is non-sense and scientifically subject to discussion. I’ll detail it in this blog post.

It’s really interesting the way it has been made and also the way the author publish it, react on it on Linkedin and what objectif is serves : capture people in a world where the truth is adapted to make you think only one of the technologies serves all the possible use-cases and all the others are the worst existing. The purpose is to sell you some books and services. This is really looking like the way flat hearth believers, radio waves danger believers and other groups do to find adepts and to sell goods to them. It’s really funny to see and discuss.

As the Author of the original document above considers his slide as “art” you can’t use, copy, cut (even if he published it online on social network) I have made my own one and simplify it to not entering in the expecting promotion this guy is looking for and to troll on the social networks. The curve you see are the exact copy of the original one. These data seems to come from a university work and are needed to be debunked. I just not mention the highlighted technologies other than Sigfox and LoRaWan because they are the one the slide tries to discredit and we will see how that’s wrong.

I do not identify the original author of that “artistic work” because I consider the scientific aspect of that “work” so bad that it discredit too much this person, its student and the associated university, that I don’t want to discredit these people directly. As I did on Linked-in but the author has immediately identify itself to start its promotion.

As I did not had access to the full study, sources of these graph, I can’t tell if the initial work quality that as been done is bad or if the context of the experience is explained. May be the original document explains different conclusions, so I’ll try to not judge too much the original work that has been done. I’ll judge what the author of the slide gave to us, as a single slide with pseudo-scientific information and a fake conclusion. Apparently, if you are ready to pay for the book / register… , you can get more details, thing I do not want to do to feed the troll.

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Astrocast, another route to the space IoT

In some of my previous post, I did talk on Kineis IoT satellite solution. The competition is that area is large and one of the other player is Astrocast. I really thanks them for getting me in the program to explore this technology (and I apology to have been a bit long to start using it).

Astrocast is a Swiss company launching nanosatellites to currently provide Europe, Asia, Africa coverage for IoT. It uses L-Band (1-2 GHz) radio. The transmission period will be 15 minutes once the constellation will be fully deployed. The current constellation is 10 satellites for a target of 100 satellites by 2025.

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Deploying Helium-ETL instance with API

Helium blockchain ETL is basically a copy of the Helium Blockchain into a database. That way you can query the helium blockchain history to build apps like monitoring, tax management…

The Helium blockchain API project is connected to the Helium ETL to get an easy access to these data.

I’m currently building a tool to monitor and alarm a fleet of hotspots (stay tuned) and it currently uses the Helium API (api.helium.io). But helium APIs are a bit overloaded and not made to support high rate querying from each of the application any member of the community is developing. So I’ve been decided to make my own instance of ETL and API for my own purpose. This is the experience I’ll describe in this blog post:

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First IoT frame sent to space with Kineis devkit

The Kineis IoT solution is an IoT network based on satellite’s communications. Thank to it, a device can communicate from any point of Earth with a single technology. Kineis is using an existing fleet of Argos satellites launched during the last 40 years and is already commercially available. This fleet will grow fast in the next two years to offer a communication window up to 4 times per hour.

In this blog post, I’m going to detail my first experience with Kineis for sending frames through the satellites of the fleet. I’ve been using a KIM Arduino Devkit. The on-boarding is quite fast, let’s see this!

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Satellite’s IoT is now ready for use with Kineis

Kineis nano-sat Photo credit Kinéis et Héméria

Even if you think it is the first time you heard about Kineis, you are basically wrong in some ways ! This company is a recent “Startup”, existing since June 2019 but for real, they are managing an IoT offer based on top the famous and quite experienced Argos system, started in 1978 and now operating more the 22.000 devices running application like animal tracking, ocean safety and many scientific programs.
The service is running over the 8 satellites currently in orbit, making Kineis the most advanced satellite IoT solution commercially available as of today.

Thanks to the polar orbit of the satellites, the whole earth is covered, no white zone, no blind spots from pole to pole, ocean to desert, device are communicating from everywhere, autonomously.

This blog post is the first of a series made with the help of Kineis to introduce you the technology and my experience with it. As usual, there is no sponsoring for these blog posts but a close work with Kineis as the offer is only open to business companies currently.

Companies like Exotic Systems, Arribada or Advanced Tracking, have already started to make products using Kineis network for asset tracking applications mainly.

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Nebra Helium miner review

Nebra indoor miner customer box

After reviewing the Rak Wireless miner in a previous blog post, after receiving my own Nebra miner, I’ll give a review of it.

The Nebra miner is one of the different Helium miner machine. It is at first a LongFi (LoRaWan) gateway. It includes a software to run it over a blockchain to create a global IoT network. you can get more details on what is helium in the linked blog post.

This review is on a Nebra batch #1, it is possible that some of the given information will not be valid in a couple of weeks when the batch #2, #3 … will be delivered. No need to precise it but this is an end-user review. I’ve ordered and paid my miner. I’ve no link with Nebra.

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IoT actors ecosystem framework

The IoT actors ecosystem framework

IoT ecosystem is rich of many different actors providing solutions and services in different areas.

I’ve tried to create a framework to position these actors. Many of the existing actors can be in multiple blocks but each of these is a standalone viable business where you can fin existing actors.

In the following pdf file, you will get the details of the different blocks to understand their role, the type of service provided and sometime some exemple of companies acting in this domain.

First steps with Helium IoT network

Helium is a crowdsourced-crypto-blockchain-Iot network working with LoRaWan. With all these trendy name, for sure they had the key elements to raise a large amount of money. That’s great for the development of this technology.

I’ve decided to write about this IoT network after an interesting talk given at the Zurich IoT meetup today (thank you CoVID-19 for making us the opportunity to reach such event, today online, bad things can get positive sometime).

Helium is a crowdsourced network. It means, like for TheThingsNetwork or Amazon Sidewalk, the infrastructure, at least the gateways part (antennas) are provided by anybody, basically you and me. That way the network deployment costs are really limited and the network have no boundaries.

Compared to TTN, Helium network is “crypto-blockchained” basically, the gateway owner are mining different challenges like registering some network change, proving the location of a gateway, cryptocurrency transactions… For this work, for maintaining the network architecture and relaying the messages, the gateway’s owner are earning HNT (Helium Network Tokens) ($2.24 each today).

Compared to TTN where you make it running for free, just because you are convinced about the sharing economy, Helium base its business model on a promise of getting some money back from your investment the gateways (+energy, communications…).

Helium is an IoT network, a LPWAN for being more precise. It relies on LoRaWan standard protocol & gateways. You need to add an Helium miner software on a backend system to make it running.

So they are looking to Uber-ize the telecom domain, at least this is what they are expecting.

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