IoT Strategies

LoRa Alliance Pushes Advantage With App Development Kit

Backers of the LoRa communications protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT) have introduced a kit that will enable IoT application developers to prototype their apps more rapidly in a LoRa system.

The development kit was created by wireless hardware and software manufacturer Libelium and network services and software provider Loriot. It was announced by Semtech Corp. (Nasdaq: SMTC), a supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors for LoRa devices and a key proponent of the LoRa ecosystem.

With so many competing IoT solutions proposed, one of the best ways for a market combatant to stand out is to make it easier for developers of IoT applications to get their applications up and running faster, ideally reducing time to market as well. Quicker prototyping can help application developers do that.

LoRa is already beginning to distinguish itself in the IoT communications market; the introduction of the development kit should help the LoRa Alliance as it attempts to establish LoRa as one of the major low power wide area network (LP-WAN) options for IoT applications. (See SK Telecom Sees LTE-M, LoRa as Its 'Two Main IoT Pillars'.)

The development kit is comprised of a LoRa base station and ten sensor devices (all featuring Semtech LoRa technology), application software and a connection to Loriot's cloud-based LoRaWAN network.

Want to know more about communications ICs? Check out our comms chips channel here on Light Reading.

The base station is the Multitech Conduit LoRa Gateway 3G Outdoors. The base station can be configured for the European (868 MHz) or North American (915 MHz) markets. Among the sensors are devices for detecting or measuring luminosity, ultrasound, soil moisture, temperature/humidity and carbon dioxide.

Semtech said the new development kit is optimized for smart city, smart security, smart environment and smart agriculture applications.

"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."

The kit is available for roughly $5,800 (€5,200).

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

jbtombes 8/13/2016 | 6:05:51 PM
Re: power up and on Sensors probably come in all shapes and sizes. Some embedded deep within other equipment. These look like instruments tethered to mini access points. 
inkstainedwretch 8/12/2016 | 6:54:56 PM
Re: power up and on Interesting observation. In some applications the number of sensors will be few and if any one of them fails will have to be replaced,

I had imagined that for some applications, however, the sensors would be so cheap that it would be cost-effective to deploy far more than you need and just let them fail one by one until the number of fails hits some critical threshold below which you can't sustain the application.

Next time I talk to someone involved with IoT, I'm going to ask that question.

Unless someone who knows the answer wants to chime in...?

--Brian Santo
jbtombes 8/12/2016 | 6:47:06 PM
power up and on Looks like their rechargeable batteries come with a 7v external solar panel. That must be getting fairly standard. Switching out components coud be a headache - especially in an IoT world with billions of sensors.
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