Actility partners with Australia’s NNNCo to deliver demand management trial solution for Ergon Energy using world’s first group multicast LoRaWAN™ deployment over Australia’s Narrowband Network

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo

The Actility Newsroom

Actility partners with Australia’s NNNCo to deliver demand management trial solution for Ergon Energy using world’s first group multicast LoRaWAN™ deployment over Australia’s Narrowband Network

Actility, the industry leader in low power wide area networking, and the National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo), Australia’s LoRaWAN network operator are pleased to announce their partnership to deliver a trial to test a scalable demand management solution for Ergon Energy. 

Following a successful proof of concept, the trial solution being tested in Townsville, Queensland uses NNNCo’s innovative group multicast technology coupled with Actility’s ThingPark IoT platform to control hot water usage at a fine granular level.

“Historically when faced with network constraints energy utilities upgraded their networks. However that increases infrastructure costs and places upward pressure on electricity prices. Our approach is to think outside the square,” explains Ergon Energy’s Sanjeewa Athuraliya, Telecommunications Architect and winner of the company’s 2015 Innovation Challenge. “With the trial of this IoT solution,” he adds, “the company gets the capability to control the load using accurate and timely information at a granular level. For example, it may change the time that a household’s hot water is heated up so that it occurs when network load is low. This could allow Ergon Energy to run its network more effectively, increase the longevity of the network, and save customers money over the long-term.“

“The successful implementation of end-to-end Multicast functionality results in a truly cost effective, robust and scalable two-way network service that can support remote over-the-air configuration and software upgrades in addition to group control of endpoint devices.” says NNNCo Founder & CEO Rob Zagarella. “This opens up additional use cases that require non real-time monitoring and control capability such as public lighting, agricultural irrigation, water, Infrastructure and building automation. Demonstrating this capability in one of the most challenging environments puts us in pole position for growth across these segments both in Australia and globally via partnerships with the other LoRa Alliance™ member operators around the world.”

Ergon Energy has one of the lowest customer densities of any utility company, resulting in very long distribution lines, making load variation and management a key issue for the company. The company’s trial solution, developed with NNNCo and Actility, will enable it to connect beyond substations to individual household power consumers such as hot water. Later this month, the company is beginning a 6-month trial with a small number of households in Townsville, Queensland, where sensors are being installed on hot water circuits. The LPWA IoT solution will give Ergon Energy granular control to switch individual loads on and off so that they can be reduced where needed and in times of peak power demand without impacting customers.

“NNNCo is working in close partnership with Actility to leverage their Network Server and IoT Platform which has been successfully deployed by operators around the world,” adds NNNCo’s Rob Zagarella. “This is enabling NNNCo to provide a carrier-grade nationwide service to our enterprise customers. Actility’s global footprint, experience and leadership position within the LoRa Alliance coupled with local support has positioned us well for growth in the Australian market.”

“We’re proud to be working with NNNCo and Ergon Energy to deliver this world-leading trial which tests the use of the IoT to improve energy efficiency,” says Actility CTO and Founder Olivier Hersent. “We founded Actility because we were convinced that IoT technology could improve efficiency and make our economy more sustainable. Equally, NNNCo’s implementation of end-to-end multi-cast technology will also enable many new uses cases for LPWA networks, and demonstrates the power of open standards and a large ecosystem to drive innovation.”

Actility and NNNCo are both members of the LoRa Alliance™, a non-profit organization and one of the largest and fastest growing alliances in the technology sector. Its members are closely collaborating and sharing their experience to promote the LoRaWAN™ protocol as the leading open global standard for secure, carrier-grade IoT LPWA connectivity.

ThingPark 4.0 premieres network-based geolocation and delivers enhanced data transmission, advanced network management, and a new partner portal featuring key tools for LPWA developers.

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The Actility Newsroom

ThingPark 4.0 premieres network-based geolocation and delivers enhanced data transmission, advanced network management, and a new partner portal featuring key tools for LPWA developers.

Actility, the industry leader in low power wide area networking, today announces the release of version 4.0, a major upgrade to its market leading ThingPark LPWA network platform. The enhanced software brings network-based geolocation, enabling tracking and geofencing; advanced radio optimization technology to maximize device battery life and network capacity; tools to streamline onboarding of devices for suppliers and network operators, and an improved suite of tools for monitoring and visualizing message flows in the LPWA network.

“ThingPark 4.0 represents a significant step forward for our carrier-grade IoT platform,” says Actility Founder and CTO Olivier Hersent. “The new network-based geolocation capability is obviously the headline feature: we are reaching record-breaking power and cost performance, which will enable a wide variety of new use cases for any customer who wants to locate or track assets, animals or people. The increasing maturity of the platform is clearly demonstrated by the release of tools designed to make it simpler and easier for our customers to manage and optimise large scale commercial deployments of ThingPark-enabled LPWA networks,” Hersent adds.

Location based services

Actility and top analysts expect that location-based services will become the leading applications for LPWANs in the next 5 years. Network geolocation is ideally suited, for example, to use cases where a customer wants to know if an asset with a tracker attached is moving or stationary, is in one store or depot rather than another, or to receive a warning if it strays out of a defined area. The network-based geolocation feature relies on the fact that in LoRaWAN networks, the signal from a distant sensor is received by multiple gateways (macro-diversity). 

By measuring the differences in propagation time from a specific sensor to several LPWAN base stations (which are synchronized to the GPS time reference with 30ns accuracy) as well as strength of the received signal, it is possible for the network to calculate the location of the sensor. The geolocation information is then added to the metadata sent by the ThingPark LPWA network to the customer’s application. Compared to GPS, network-based geolocation typically requires up to 50 times less energy per fix, and enables lower cost and compact designs. “We expect that network-based geolocation, and hybrid techniques combining network-based and other geolocation methods, will revolutionize the world of tracking,” comments Herrsent.

Optimized radio performance

LoRaWAN is a bidirectional communication technology and defines commands which allow the network to control the sensors’ transmit power, uplink repeat rate and data rate (spreading factor). While most implementations control only the data rate (Adaptive Data Rate, or ADR), ThingPark 4.0 introduces a new and more sophisticated algorithm that simultaneouslyy optimizes data rate, transmit power and repeat factor. This improved algorithm reduces the chance of strong signals from nearby sensors “drowning out” weaker signals from more distant ones , increases the quality of reception for hard to reach devices, increases cell capacity and minimizes airtime. This results in improved performance and lower energy consumption for ThingPark 4.0 based LoRaWAN networks, and also allows operators to introduce connectivity price tiers based on quality of service.

Supporting ecosystem partners

Fast industrialization of high quality LoRaWAN devices is critical to the success of LPWANs: the new and improved ThingPark Partner Programme now provides self-testing tools which allow developers to implement continuous testing of their LoRaWAN implementation, with comprehensive library of test scenarios as well as real-time MAC layer analysis. All is needed is a low cost LPWANs picocell in the lab, then the ThingPark partner program provides the full featured network-in-a-sandbox and test tools.

ThingPark 4.0 also introduces improved features for device and application developers, with a common framework allowing the integration of multiple application layer protocols over the LoRaWAN stack, integrated into the ecosystem through easy to use XML REST drivers and interfaces. LPWAN operators also need tools to streamline onboarding and activation of massive numbers of devices. ThingPark 4.0 provides automated onboarding tools, including LPWAN address pool allocation and management application and a fully automated, end to end onboarding process.

Olivier Hersent concludes: “2017 will mark the transition of LPWANs from early adopter phase to a full scale industry. ThingPark 4.0 provides a solid foundation for our operator partners and OEM customers to scale up their end-to-end LPWAN operations and fully automate management of what is going to become the largest technology ecosystem ever.”

ThingPark Market is open for business, while ThingPark Partner Program accelerates support for Developer Community

The Actility Newsroom

ThingPark Market is open for business, while ThingPark Partner Program accelerates support for Developer Community

Actility, the industry leader in low power wide area networking, and the innovator behind the ThingPark LPWA IoT platform, today announces opening of ThingPark Market, a web based e-commerce platform through which partners in the ThingPark ecosystem can promote and sell their ThingPark Approved products to registered buyers seeking to build LPWA IoT solutions. The marketplace is open to register sellers worldwide today, and will be available to buyers in Europe in November. Global buyers will be enabled during 2017.

“This is a unique opportunity for ThingPark partners to market and sell their products“ says Actility Senior Vice President for Marketing & Digital, Christophe Francois. “The goal of ThingPark Market is to accelerate global market adoption of LoRaWAN and LPWA devices and make it straightforward to put together complete IoT solutions backed by the ThingPark Approved label. ThingPark Market provides global exposure for sellers and immediate availability for buyers.”

ThingPark Market meets a clear business need in the IoT ecosystem. Sellers of devices and applications will be able to shorten their sales cycle, promote and manage their products and services, and have easy access to new sales channels. For buyers, the advantages include simplifying their procurement process through the e-commerce engine, and easy discovery of trusted products and applications thanks to the ThingPark Approved program.

Demonstrating the growing maturity and traction of the ThingPark ecosystem, the Partner program now offers new benefits to developers and device makers. ThingPark Explorers can trial the ThingPark development platform free of charge, connecting a gateway and up to five devices to the ThingPark platform. Developers can also access DX (Developer experience) APIs in an easy to use and customizable Swagger interface to use in their IoT application code. Users are able to self provision and monitor their connected devices in an interactive dashboard.

The Partner program is also launching a number of activities aimed at Developers, including a dedicated online community and developer events such as hackathons and boot-camps. On 31st October, ThingPark will co-animate Low Power Network Boot-Camp for Swisscom in Zurich, Switzerland. ThingPark has also partnered with several start-up incubators in Paris such as l’Usine IO, Le Village By CA, Numa, Ecole 42… to provide an open LoRa network in demo corners called ThingPark Hubs as well as organising meet-ups for testing prototype apps and services. Find out more at: partners.thingpark.com

“With ThingPark Market offering a global ecommerce route to market, and the on-ramp for developers to trial ThingPark and become partners now so easy and so accessible, ThingPark’s position as a business enabler at the heart of the LoRaWAN ecosystem has never been stronger,” concludes Olivier Hersent, founder and CTO of Actility.