Semtech deploys its LoRaWAN-based network in Japan for field testing of Internet of Things applications

Semtech Corp. announced Tuesday that its LoRa wireless RF technology will be featured in a new low power, wide area network (LPWAN) deployed by regional telecom carrier Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West (NTT West) in the Kansai area of Japan to field test a range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as smart metering and agriculture, system monitoring of networks and equipment, asset and people tracking, and environmental warning systems.

The NTT field trial period began at the end of lats month and will continue through February 2017. It covers the Kansai area of western Japan.

The purpose of the field trial is to test the commercial feasibility of various IoT use cases on NTT West’s LoRaWAN-based LPWAN. Participants selected for inclusion in the field trial will be able to deploy and test their applications on the NTT West network.

Semtech LoRa technology is a key component in the field trial as participants will use sensors and data aggregation services from members of the LoRa Alliance to ensure they are LoRaWAN-compliant. Another goal of the trial program is to solicit feedback from participating companies through information sharing sessions, meetings and surveys.

LoRa is a wireless technology developed to create the low-power, wide-area networks (LPWANs) required for machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The technology offers a mix of long range, low power consumption and secure data transmission and is gaining traction in IoT networks being deployed by wireless network operators.

A network based on LoRa wireless technology can provide coverage that is greater in range compared to that of existing cellular networks. In fact, many mobile network operators have chosen to complement their existing cellular/wireless networks with a LPWAN based on LoRa technology because it is easy to plug into their existing infrastructure and also allows them to offer their customers a solution to serve more IoT battery-operated applications.

LoRa technology was originally developed by Semtech, but is now coordinated by the 300+ member LoRa Alliance, a non-profit organization focused on standardizing LoRa for IoT/M2M and creating an ecosystem to scale the technology. To date, the alliance has developed a global LPWAN specification, known as LoRaWAN, to help standardize LPWANs and foster the adoption of these networks to enable IoT, M2M, smart city and industrial applications.

“We are excited to launch our new LPWAN for field testing so that we can validate various use cases for our network and collect valuable information we can use to enhance our IoT offerings,” said Shigenori HORI, Senior Manager of NTT West’s Business Design Department. “After careful research, we chose a LoRaWAN-based network platform because it offered a large ecosystem of open standards-based solutions through the LoRa Alliance, while also providing the long range and low power requirements our customers need at a low cost. Now that we have launched the field trials, we are looking forward to seeing and sharing the results.”

“It’s great to see a carrier like NTT West play a leadership role in deploying and testing a LPWAN for IoT applications in Japan,” said Marc Pegulu, Vice President and General Manager of Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Product Group. “We are looking forward to seeing the various IoT use cases that will be enabled by this network. We are also pleased that after reviewing several solutions, they chose a network based on the LoRaWAN specification, which, through the LoRa Alliance, is quickly becoming a global standard for IoT applications requiring long range, low power and low cost.”

Last month, the LoRa Alliance announced its second global IoT challenge focused on creating a safer and smarter sustainable world with four solution submission categories: food, water, health and safety.

The challenge is currently open for submissions until Nov. 1. Challenge entrants must submit a description of their LoRaWAN solution from one of the four focus categories and include the benefits, how it will be deployed or utilized, and a prototype of the sensor or sensing solution. Finalists will receive transportation and lodging to Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona where the winner of the challenge will be named.

The winner will be selected by representatives from the Red Cross in Kenya, and the LoRa Alliance Board of Directors will test the winning solution in Kenya with the Red Cross.

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