Semtech’s LoRaWAN technology now part of contest for building more sustainable IoT ecosystem

Semtech Corp. announced Tuesday that its LoRa wireless RF solution will be featured in the second global Internet of Things (IoT) challenge presented by the LoRa Alliance. The challenge is focused on creating a safer, smarter and more sustainable world and, in partnership with the Red Cross in Kenya, will accept solutions from four categories: food, water, health and safety.

Through Nov. 1, companies can submit LoRaWAN solutions from one of the four acceptable categories. Submissions should include a description of the solution, including its benefits, how it is implemented and used, as well as a prototype.

Finalists will receive travel and accommodations to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next year, where the winner will be announced.

In the last LoRa Alliance Global IoT Challenge, which received submissions from over 200 companies around the world, finalists presented LoRa-based solutions that included a connected home application, a shipping pallet tracker and a bed bug monitor for hotels.

LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways is a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server in the backend. Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways.

All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast enabling software upgrade over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on air communication time.

Communication between end-devices and gateways is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. The selection of the data rate is a trade-off between communication range and message duration. Due to the spread spectrum technology, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other and create a set of “virtual” channels increasing the capacity of the gateway. LoRaWAN data rates range from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps.

To maximize both battery life of the end-devices and overall network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server is managing the data rate and RF output for each end-device individually by means of an adaptive data rate (ADR) scheme.

Nationalwide networks targeting internet of things such as critical infrastructure, confidential personal data or critical functions for the society has a special need for secure communication. This has been solved by several layer of encryption including Unique Network key (EUI64) and ensure security on network level; Unique Application key (EUI64) ensure end to end security on application level; and device specific key (EUI128).

“Technology can play a critical role in improving the lives of the most marginalized communities in the developing world,” said Safia Verjee, program manager in Disaster Risk Management at the Kenya Red Cross. “LoRaWAN helps meet the price points and requirements to scale solutions easily.”

The LoRaWAN specification is based on Semtech’s LoRa two-way wireless solution and is standardized by the LoRa Alliance. Its purpose is to ensure interoperability of IoT solutions and networks, low power, wide area connectivity, scalability and more. Currently, the LoRa Alliance has over 300 members committed to using and standardizing the LoRaWAN specification worldwide.

“After an overwhelming turnout for the Alliance’s first global IoT challenge, we’re excited to host a second challenge, this time with a different set of categories,” said Jaap Groot, Vice President of Systems Business Development for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Product Group and LoRa Alliance Marketing Committee Member. “In addition to the commonly thought of smart home, smart appliance and other high-end consumer applications for IoT technologies, there is immense potential for LoRa and IoT to help improve the lives of communities in the developing world. The opportunity to pivot our resources and expertise toward helping underserved communities through this collaboration with the Red Cross in Kenya is a great step.”

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