Tag Archives: IoT

Make your own $1 Sigfox IoT device

Previously in my blog post “I held the first $1 Sigfox device“, I’ve explained how the Sigfox network will soon accept some really low cost Radio MCU chip on its network. One of them is the cmostek CMT2189C MCU. It has a cost around $0.25 and has it own integrated radio compatible to Sigfox. This device has initially been made to support garage door remote and it has a lot of limitation. However, you can imagine many application. This post details the first steps to get a development environment ready. And this should save some of your time by going directly to the right way.

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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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Measure power consumption with Otii tool

A usual question you have when designing a device is the autonomy of your battery and the power consumption of your device. By the past I’ve tried different tools for this usage. Starting with USB sticks power consumption, only working for high consuming devices. They are low precision. Going to multimeter tools with USB connectivity precise but sampling at 3-5Hz only. During a certain time I’ve plan to make a solution on my own and finally I’ve found the OTII tool from QOITECH on the recommendation of friends from Sigfox community.

Here is my experience with that tool.

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No ! Sigfox is not removing duplicates

From 9-12 months ago, all the backend Sigfox user have this notice printed in the callback page:

Since, I hear many people saying the duplicates and signal related metadata will be removed from Sigfox.

This a WRONG ! Let see exactly why and what is replacing this feature ; how it impacts the way you build you integration with Sigfox backend.

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Battery selection for IoT design

When making an IoT project the battery choice is something really important. Batteries stands for autonomy, sizing, price and usage conditions.

There is no universal solution to power your device, the right battery really depends on your requirements. To find the right powering solution you need to consider a certain number of parameters. We will try in this post to list most of them. This post is not exhaustive: I’m not a battery expert. This post is based on my own experience and you may consider it as a starting point, not a solution.

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Battery technologies usually used for IoT compared

As it is a recurrent question to find the right battery for an IoT design, I decided to write a post about this topic. I’m not claiming to be an expert of this and I’ll not give insight on this. The purpose is to list the different technology existing with the main characteristics to be able to use the best fitting technologies quickly.

This post is presenting a table of the different battery’s technologies available with the main characteristics. These characteristics are global one regarding the technology. Each of the battery vendor can have specific specifications a bit different. You will need to take a look on datasheets details.

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