Sequans teams with Orion Labs to develop LTE-enabled wearable with Monarch LTE-M Chip

LTE chipmaker Sequans Communications and communications technology company Orion Labs announced Thursday a partnership that will look to bring the power of LTE-M to wearable devices.

Orion Labs will work with Sequans to utilize their LTE-M/NB-IoT Monarch chip to power future wearable communication devices. Using Monarch, Orion Labs will be able to develop wearable devices that can provide voice communications to other devices, people and bots, without the need to tether to a cell phone.

Monarch is an optimized LTE-M (Cat M1) and NB-IoT (Cat NB1) chip. It is purpose-built for narrowband IoT applications, including sensors, wearables, and other low data, low power M2M and IoT devices. Monarch complies with the ultra-low-power and reduced complexity feature requirements of the 3GPP release 13 LTE Advanced Pro standard, defining narrowband, low data rate LTE technology for machine type communications.

Monarch provides full support for Power Saving Mode (PSM) and extended discontinuous reception (eDRX) to enable the long battery life needed by many IoT use cases, and it provides the enhanced coverage modes defined in the standard that extend coverage for deep-indoor and remote deployments.

Monarch comprises baseband, RF, power management, and RAM, all integrated into a single, tiny 6.5 x 8.5 mm package. In addition, Monarch supports advanced features such as programmable RF filtering for global band support in a single SKU, and proprietary dynamic power management technology enabling battery life of over ten years.

“It’s exciting that Orion Labs has chosen our Monarch chip to develop its next generation of wearable devices,” said Georges Karam, Sequans CEO. “The current Onyx product is already a brilliant IoT wearable, and when it is enabled with LTE by Monarch, Onyx will be even more intelligent, and deployable on a wide scale, cost-effectively.”

“Sequans’ Monarch chip is the most highly-optimized and efficient chip available in the market today,” said Greg Albrecht, CTO at Orion Labs. “With Onyx, we are pushing the technology boundaries by offering heads-up voice communication with unlimited range between people and soon with voice services like Amazon’s Alexa and other third-party bots through the Orion Labs bot framework. This partnership with Sequans will allow us to continue to push the boundaries, putting cutting-edge technology into our products to provide the best possible experience for our customers.”

This week, Sequans unveiled Monarch SX, a highly integrated system-on-chip that combines Sequans’ IoT optimized Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT platform with a low-power ARM Cortex-M4 processor, low-power sensor hub, graphics display controller, and media processing engine, all in one compact package of less than 90 square millimeters.

Monarch SX is designed to streamline the development of numerous types of IoT devices, including trackers, wearables, sensors, utility meters, and other smart home and city applications.

Based on Sequans’ Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT platform with baseband, RF, RAM and power management, and integrating, it includes ARM Cortex-M4 processor; media processing engine for audio and voice applications, including support for VoLTE on LTE-M; low-power sensor hub; GPU and display controller; IoT interfaces for USB, screen, microphone, battery, GNSS, SIM card, secure element, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, keyboard, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors; with a single chip FC-CSP package.

Sequans joined with Gemalto in October to revolutionize Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity with LTE-M technology. The companies showcased their Cat M1 IoT solution, based on Sequans’ genuine Cat M1 chip, delivering the greatest level of network efficiency and simplicity achieved to date. The solution boosts power saving capabilities to extend the lifespan of IoT devices, while boosting performance in indoor environments.

The LTE-M demonstration leverages a Gemalto wireless module that uses dedicated Cat M1 technology based on Sequans’ Monarch chip to enable a whole new level of low power, low bandwidth IoT connectivity. The module connects to Ericsson‘s RBS6000 Multi-Standard base station updated with Cat M1 software.

The solution is capable of supporting more than 10 LTE frequency bands from a single hardware device allowing for true global coverage. Dynamic power management technology enables more than 10 years of battery life for standard IoT devices.

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