SoftBank Corp. announced Monday that the company will offer IoT solutions that utilize a Low Power Wide Area (LWPA) network, which enables low power consumption and long distance connectivity for IoT devices. In the first phase, SoftBank will provide ‘LoRaWAN’, one type of LPWA network, in the current 2016 fiscal year and offer end-to-end IoT solutions, ranging from device and application support to consulting.
Low cost and low power LPWA networks are essential to IoT services, which are expected to see explosive growth.
Apart from meeting the low cost and energy efficiency requirements for IoT, LoRaWAN possesses characteristics that realize wide-range communications. By connecting various types of equipment and devices that previously were not capable of wireless communications, connectivity is made possible via an LPWA network. In addition to carrier-level quality mobile network operations, by utilizing its comprehensive network lineup that includes 3G/LTE, WiFi and fixed-line, SoftBank will be able to offer IoT solutions that meet differing customer preferences, utilizing an optimized and high value LoRaWAN network.
LoRaWAN is an LPWA networking standard that uses the unlicensed 920MHz band in Japan. In addition to meeting the low cost and energy efficiency requirements for IoT, LoRaWAN possesses characteristics that realize wide area connectivity. Its features
include battery life of up to ten years or more; communication range of multiple kilometers; connectivity for many devices; and low-cost communication modules.
SoftBank will work to realize an IoT environment for industry sectors that require low cost and low power network construction: equipment monitoring/control at commercial facilities, buildings, warehouses and other facilities, automated gas and water meter reading, senior citizens and child monitoring, infrastructure monitoring such as roads, tunnels and rail tracks, and logistics and fleet management including cars, trucks and buses.
SoftBank, in partnership with LPWA network vendor Actility, Hon Hai Precision Industry, an electronics manufacturing services provider, and Semtech, developer of LoRa technology and founder of the LoRa Alliance, will aim to build a LoRaWAN ecosystem.
In anticipation of the coming full-fledged IoT era, SoftBank will deploy LoRaWAN first and actively work to construct an IoT network, and will aim to deploy the full set of LPWA networks, including Cat-M1 and NB-IoT, to ensure that it can comply with differing environments.