UnaMKR, the Sigfox Monarch experience

Unabiz has recently released the first Sigfox Monarch certified devkit. It is based on a LiteOn WSG309S module. The LiteOn module contains a St-Microelectronics based solution including a BlueNRG / S2LP in it.

In addition, the module board also have different sensors: temperature, humidity, pressure, air quality, accelerometer, magnetometer, light sensor, magnetic switch (reed switch).

You are able to use the module board as a standalone circuit. You directly program the LiteOn module. Or you can use the standard AT interface of the module and connect an Arduino MKR Zero board to use it.

In this post, we are going to see how to use the kit to test Sigfox Monarch solution.

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Sigfox monarch

Sigfox Monarch service is a free global service allowing to determine the zone where a device is located.

By zone location I mean RC (Radio Configuration zone). It basically defines the European Zone (RC1) or the North American Zone (RC2)…

Thank to this technology a world-wide device, having no GPS to get its location, is able to determine its radio configuration and the associated frequencies to use for transmissions.

This service is covering most of the airports and ports around the world to support the existing customer use-cases like Louis-Vuiton tracker and Safecube container tracking.

It would be great if this service could, in the future, be also used to broadcast/multicast information to devices. It could be used to get time from the network and later be also used to transport custom data to the group of devices. But currently it does not transport any data.

In this post I propose to detail the Monarch technology and then, in a second post to see how to use it with the first released devkit from Unabiz supporting Sigfox Monarch.

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MeteoHelix, Sigfox weather station made by Barani Design Tech.

BARANI Design Technology has contacted me to test their weather station product MeteoHelix IoT pro. This is a Sigfox weather station but they also have LoRaWan versions. It is also the first personal weather station class product to meet the World Meteorological Organizations (WMO) measurement accuracy guidelines. So it can be used by scientific and professionals according to its designer. Thanks to LPWAn technologies, it can be deployed anywhere. No power / communication constraints.

I like this kind of product because they are really interesting use cases for LPWAn technologies and useful for agricultural environment. I see a part of my family working in the agricultural domain taking some manual notes about rain daily taken at one point. In 2019 it’s so easy to get graph from a cloud platform and have multiple device for the multiple fields you work on. Sounds like a revolution but it have a price 600€ including communication !

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LPWAN is not red ocean market

LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Networks. These technologies are the heart of the innovative IoT technologies. They are allowing sensors / devices to work and communicate for years with really small power requirements. They are enabling long range communication, allowing low costs networks. The first coming on the market was Sigfox with a commercial offer in 2013. After that, a first country-wide LoRaWan public network was deployed in 2016. 3GPP technologies, LTE-M and NB-IoT are completing the panel of solutions with large deployments starting in years 2017-2018.

All along the technology emergence journey, the most frequent question was to find the one going to eat the others. Regarding the market size and the involved money, the communication strategy for the telecoms industry was to consider it and make it a red ocean. The consequences on adoption were not without delaying the customer projects and the IoT market growth.

Blue Ocean strategy is coming from a book written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. Basically it’s about the way you build your business. In red ocean (fishes are fighting each others and blood makes the color) you design your product for targeting the exact same use-cases and clients than competition. You have a frontal competition. In a blue ocean (peaceful) you design your product’s strength based on competition weakness. You create a complementary product on the market. You make different customers satisfied.

Six years from now the first networks was opened. Now that all the technological solutions are proven, I can clearly confirm a blue ocean for all these LPWAN technologies. Actors should switch to blue ocean strategy to accelerate #IoT business and accelerate profit acquisition.

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The Things Indoor Gateway (TTIG)

The Things Indoor Gateway (TTIG) has been announced and distributed during the TheThings conference 2019. Since it was impossible to get some, victim of its success (and the little initial stock). From mid-august it is now possible to get some and I’ve bought one as soon as possible.

The Things Indoor Gateway is a low cost (70€ – 90€), 8 channels (EU868 full gateway), LoRaWan gateway running on TheThingsNetwork. You can’t expect a large coverage with a such solution to be used for city wide network but it will be perfect for covering a large house or a small building where you want to deploy LoRaWan sensors.

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IoT Decoded Podcast EP#1

First episode of my IoT podcast. This month is about IoT maket study and how numbers can be bullshit when comes from certain analyst. We also talk about the LoRaWan world distance record.

This first episode is a test, a poor and a bit dirty (or too long) episode for testing podcast concept on my blog. It is going to be a monthly rendez-vous on IoT and especially LPWAn news.

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How to transfer pictures over Sigfox network ?

Yesterday in a communication around Securitas Direct deal a small phrase has waked up all the Sigfox community:

Announcing in a certain way the arrival of 600Bps support for Europe (this is already the North American standard speed) to support the picture transfer over the LPWAn network. That said, even at 600Bps it’s a bit complex to transfer a picture… let’s see what we can do with this:

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LoRaWan in US915 zone

I’m living in RCZ1 (EU868) area and our zone have some specific rules for using the free radio frequencies like duty-cycle to comply regulation I already shared in the linked post. I was little experienced with the US zone regulations. Thanks to a project made for a North American customer I started working on it and I’ve surprised of the differences and how it impacts the LoRaWan developments.

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