LoRa-based dev kit could shorten prototyping times for IoT apps

LoRa-based dev kit could shorten prototyping times for IoT apps

Framework could speed up deployment of smart IoT applications

A new LoRa-based development kit could pave the way for developers to quickly test and deploy Internet of Things applications.

The LoRaWAN-connected dev kit was launched by LoRa alliance members Semtech, Libelium and Loriot. It comprises a gateway and ten sensor devices, featuring Semtech LoRa technology, application software, and a connection to Loriot’s cloud-based LoRaWAN network, the new development kit is optimised for smart city, smart security, smart environment and smart agriculture applications. The kit is available for both North America (915 MHz) and European (868 MHz) frequencies.

“Developing IoT applications typically involves setting up a network and testing the various hardware components and software to ensure everything operates correctly,” said Javier Martínez, Libelium’s vice president of business development and sales.

“With our kit, customers do not have to spend time configuring and testing a network, because we are able to provide them with a LoRaWAN network connection that has already been tested and set up to run seamlessly with the kit components and software.”

Related: Dutch telco KPN deploys countrywide LPWA network

LoRa Alliance working together

Mike Wong, vice president of marketing and applications for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Product Group said the collaboration between Libelium and Loriot to produce a comprehensive IoT development environment that is easy to use is “an excellent example of how companies in the LoRa Alliance are working together to deliver complete solutions to IoT customers”.

“Such collaboration also shows the value of the open LoRaWAN specification as it continues to bring hardware, software and networking companies together to drive innovative solutions for the IoT market.”

Ian Hughes, Internet of Things analyst at 451 Research, told Internet of Business that standards have powered the adoption of the web and this applies equally to IoT.

“The Web has allowed open standard adoption, with groups able to form, agree and provide standard implementations, the LoRa alliance is an example of this continuing,” he said.

“Easy access to working connected technology, with no vendor lock-in, attracts proof of concept developments from individuals and schools to companies of all sizes. Low-cost infrastructure will, over time, be replaced by supported industrial strength implementations as each standard matures. Which technology base that ends up as will depend on the large suppliers that inevitable outsourcing will occur with, just as we have seen with the growth in cloud instead of self-hosted data centers. Before that can happen these first steps needs to be easily accessible.”

Lock-in avoidance

Russell Doty, technology strategist and product manager at open source software provider, Red Hat, told Internet of Business that to avoid lock-in, we would caution against using proprietary IoT interfaces.

“Physical connectivity should be built on existing standards like Ethernet, WiFi, RS-485, and Bluetooth. Emerging standards like the IPv6-based 6LoWPAN can also be considered. Similarly, enterprise IoT developers would be wise to incorporate standard network protocols such as TCP or UDP and IPv4 or IPv6. Note that IPv6 is the foundation of the emerging 6LoWPAN mesh networks,” he said.

Jim Nolan, executive vice president, InterDigital, told Internet of Business that potential dominance of any standard for IoT will depend significantly on particular use cases and applications.

“Much has been made of LPWA service deployments (note to draft, most LPWA solutions have been non-standards, proprietary solutions to date), and these are indeed well suited to genuine ‘wide area’ scenarios, for instance, extreme/remote monitoring for mission-critical utility-like applications, e.g. remote oil & gas pipeline monitoring, energy metering, seismic monitoring etc. whose data rates are small and perhaps infrequent,” he said.

Related: Samsung rolls out IoT network in South Korea

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers IoT, mobile technology, cloud, and infrastructure. In the past, he has also worked as an analyst for both Gartner and IDC. He has made numerous television appearances discussing the technology trends and companies that shape our lives.