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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RAK Wisgate Egde Light review

RAK is one of the most famous LoRaWan gateway manufacturer in the hacker space as they have made HAT for raspberry Pi since a while.

I’m not a big fan of RPI based gateways as I do not want to manage RaspiOS and Rpi hardware and really prefer to have an all in one product well integrated when deploying Gateways. So the Wisgate solution is a better choice in my point of view and it has taken time before I decided to buy one of them.

I’ve bought this one for my next project of LoRaWan solar gateway as I want this one to be fully autonomous, including a 4G connectivity. I have multiple candidate gateways for this like the Kerlink iFemToCell evolution and this Wisgate Edge. The Wisgate price is lower at $249 compared to 325€ for the Kerlink. For this reason, and the fact I already tested the iFemToCell some years ago, my first choice has been on the RAK gateway.

So let’s review this Rak Wisgate gateway !

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RAK WisBlock – a kind of industrial Arduino

RAK is a company specialized in IoT hardware, particularly in the LoRaWan domain. They are well known for their LoRaWan concentrators working with raspberryPi.

Since a couple of month they have launched a new family of device, the Wisblock. This is a kind of Arduino solution with a MCU part (running a NRF chip with a LoRa transceiver) and different sensors you can connect to it to make an IoT device. That’s a really simplified way to see the solution as in fact the architecture is really different.

At first, the solution is based on a motherboard where you can plug different type of modules. You can have multiple additional sensors both side of the motherboard. We are also going to see that the way all of this is connected is industrial and can be use for prototypes, medium scale field deployment and finished product. That’s the main difference with a classical Arduino board.

The unit price of a solution with a GPS, MCU, Accelerometer is about $50, nothing really expensive for prototyping, a bit too high for a field experimentation, really high for an end product but apparently you can negotiate that price when you have a certain volume.

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IoT overview 2020 update

Traditional update of my teaching support on IoT. This year I’ve addressed my speak to larger and different audiences. As a consequence I publish a totally renewed slide-deck with 203 slides. I’ve improved the IoT business model description, use-cases and technology area. I also detailed the platform side of the IoT solutions.

Feel free to reuse this content for your own conference and speak. I’m available for conference, talk … let me know.

The full PDF is available on the following link.

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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LORIX One LoRaWan gateway review

Yes, I’ve got one of these LoRaWan light saber I was looking for, since a while! For this I really thank you Wifx who helped me to get one. I know this is really unusual for them to work with blogger, so thank you for your trust. So honestly, even if I’ve been sponsored to get the device, I’m really happy to make that gateway test. As I said this gateway is one of my favorite since a while. The reason are a really compact outdoor design. It makes the difference 😉

I did not made a test previously because this have a cost, about 500€, (549CHF) this not much expensive but a bit high regrading my non-profit activity on TheThingsNetwork local deployment.

Now, I’m done telling you my life, we can see what this gateway is proposing !

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LoRaWan solar gateway monitoring

In a previous post, I’ve been introduce my home made LoRaWan solar powered outdoor gateway. I’ve been investigating on the minimal hardware to make it running and reach some interesting result in my garden ;). Now it’s time to deploy the gateway on the field (basically on a roof top) and this means I’ll not be able to continue to learn what how it evolves over time.

For this reason, I’ve made a small project to monitor the main elements I want to track about this gateway:

  • Battery Voltage
  • Battery in & out power
  • 5V powering availability
  • Temperature

For this I’ve selected a simple and LoRaWan all-included Arduino platform I already detailed in a previous post: the LoRa Radio Node. Let’s detail this project now available on github.

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