How to Connect Your LoRaWAN Devices to AWS IoT Core Using Actility ThingPark

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How to Connect Your LoRaWAN Devices to AWS IoT Core Using Actility ThingPark

By Gaurav Gupta, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – IoT at AWSPedro Mendoza, Sr. EMEA IoT Specialist SA at AWS  and Olivier Hersent, CEO and CTO at Actility 
The demand to connect low power wide area (LPWA) Internet of Things (IoT) devices to the cloud is ever growing. According to a 2019 IHS connectivity reportLoRa/LoRaWAN connections will account for 730 million connected devices by 2024. 

AWS IoT Core offers a managed cloud service to support trillions of messages from billions of devices, and route messages easily and securely to devices and other AWS services. 

This post provides an overview of how to add LoRaWAN devices to your IoT network using Actility ThingPark EnterpriseWe’ll show you how to use a combination of an AWS Marketplace solution and AWS CloudFormation template to manage LoRaWAN devices from inside your AWS IoT Core account. 

Actility is an AWS Select Technology Partner whose mission is to simplify LoRaWAN deployment and integrate with cloud applications. 

Background on LoRaWAN 

Private LPWA deployments, made possible through the use of unlicensed spectrum, are a perfect use case for LoRaWAN as the networks can be easily deployed and managed from cloud infrastructure. 
Standardized by LoRa Alliance, LoRaWAN defines the low-level commands supported by all compliant devices. LoRaWAN technology provides robust indoor and outdoor coverage for IoT applications. 
Unlike other unlicensed radio frequency (RF) technologies such as mesh networks, LoRaWAN can reliably connect mobile assets and the workers themselves. 
LoRaWAN RF gateways often incorporate cellular, WiFi, or Ethernet capabilities for reliable low-touch data backhaul. LoRaWAN is also deployed by leading mobile operators across regions to complement cellular IoT technologies and serve all segments of IoT connectivity. 

Why Actility ThingPark? 

Actility published ThingPark Enterprise LoRa Network Server (LNS) as a software-as-a-solution (SaaS) solution on AWS Marketplace to address the complex challenge of setting up LoRaWAN networks and make it easy for customers to find and purchase their solution. 
ThingPark Enterprise is a LoRaWAN IoT connectivity management platform that helps customers build network infrastructure by managing LoRaWAN gateways, add new LoRaWAN devices, monitor network operations, and control the flow of data to application servers. 
The focus of this post is the integration of registered devices with AWS IoT Core once you have configured devices and gateways on the Actility ThingPark platform. With this integration, you can develop the bi-directional connector between devices in the Actility ThingPark account to the corresponding AWS IoT Core account. 
This connection uses Actility’s dataflow management service (ThingPark X) that is bundled in the Enterprise edition and adapts to AWS IoT Core interfaces and drivers for LoRaWAN devices. The drivers convert the binary payload to properties and data types easily manageable on AWS IoT Core. AWS users can also build commands that get converted to binary payload as required by the target device. 
Next, we’ll outline the AWS IoT Core integration using an AWS CloudFormation template. Once the AWS connector is set up with the CloudFormation stack, MQTT over TLS v1.2 connection is the transport protocol used between ThingPark X and AWS IoT Core. 

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Walkthrough 

To get started, go to the AWS Marketplace listing for Actility: 

  • Subscribe to redirect to Actility ThingPark console (the exact URL may depend on your country, so use the link provided in your account confirmation email). 
  • To experiment with procedures in this post, you can use ThingPark Enterprise free discovery tiers, or use a production-grade subscription. 
Steps involved to establish the AWS IoT connector
Figure 2 – Steps involved to establish the AWS IoT connector.

To implement this architecture, a CloudFormation template is provided and performs the following steps: 

  • Creates Action Lambda and policy in AWS IoT Core. 
  • Action Lambda creates X.509 certificate, attaches the policy, and fetches the IoT endpoint. 
  • Action Lambda then returns X.509 certificate to ThingPark X IoT Flow to establish the connector. 
  • ThingPark X IoT Flow sets up the MQTT connection using the X.509 certificate and IoT endpoint. The creation of a connection via AWS CloudFormation establishes a bi-directional messaging transport link between ThingPark X IoT Flow and your AWS IoT Core account. Events and commands from multiple LoRaWAN devices are multiplexed over this messaging transport link. 

Next, after ordering a “discovery” or “production” instance on AWS Marketplace, you’ll receive a welcome email with a link to set up your password on the ThingPark SaaS platform. You can now access your ThingPark Enterprise console. 

Choose a password for your administrator account to the new ThingPark Enterprise SaaS instance. After login, you are redirected to the main ThingPark Enterprise dashboard; learn more about setting up the LoRaWAN network. 

In this example, you see an Abeeway Micro Tracker device. From the console, it’s possible to manually set up your AWS connection using Applications Create. 

Actility ThingPark Enterprise dashboard
Figure 3 – Actility ThingPark Enterprise dashboard – List devices.

Alternatively, you can leverage the CloudFormation template, which may be downloaded and launched from the AWS connector setup page in ThingPark Enterprise console. 

Now, select your Region of choice to create a new CloudFormation stack. 

Fill the CloudFormation template parameters with the information you received in your ThingPark welcome email: 

  • ClientID: The email you used to subscribe to ThingPark Enterprise. 
  • ClientSecret: The password you defined to activate your account. 
AWS CloudFormation console with Actility ThingPark Enterprise stack
Figure 4 – AWS CloudFormation console with Actility ThingPark Enterprise stack.

Click Next until you reach the final step in the CloudFormation stack creation. Select the “I acknowledge” box to acknowledge that resources for the integration may be created in your AWS account. 

Select Create to initiate the creation of the stack. It returns a cross-account Role ARN and AWS IoT Core certificate from the customer AWS account to the ThingPark Enterprise. The IoT policy for the certificate is also created and attached. 

Testing Integration 

The connector publishes uplink messages to AWS IoT Core on MQTT topics and subscribes to MQTT topics for downlink messages. The following sections describe how to test uplink and downlink message flows. 

Uplink Messages 

Before developing applications on AWS IoT Core, you want to test whether the connector is publishing data. Check first if your device is sending data as seen from the LoRaWAN network server. 

To do this, go to your ThingPark Enterprise console, and select Device List <your device>. The monitoring page for the device includes a widget showing the last 10 LoRaWAN packets. 

If the device has a supported driver, you’ll be able to visualize the decoded payload details. If you need the full details or to troubleshoot your network, you can also open the dedicated “wireless logger” console. 

Actility ThingPark Enterprise dashboard – Device uplink activity
Figure 5 – Actility ThingPark Enterprise dashboard – Device uplink activity.

After checking at the LoRaWAN level, you can now check the live data on AWS IoT Core by subscribing to an MQTT topic. 

  • In Services under Internet of Things, go to AWS IoT Core. 
  • In the menu on the left, go to Test. 
  • For Subscriptiontopic, enter the uplink topic: aws/things/+/uplink 
  • Click Subscribe to topic. 
  • Uplink messages are shown as they arrive: 
Uplink messages are shown as they arrive:

Downlink Messages 

Before developing applications on AWS IoT, you want to test whether you can send downlink data to your devices. You can use AWS IoT Core Test view to publish downlink messages to ThingPark X IoT Flow: 

  • In Services under Internet of Things, go to AWS IoT Core. 
  • In the menu on the left, go to Test. 
  • Under Publish, enter the downlink topic: aws/things/<devEUI>/downlink 
  • Enter the downlink payload according to the downlink message format:
How to Connect Your LoRaWAN Devices to AWS IoT Core Using Actility ThingPark
  • ClickPublish to topic. 

The downlink is scheduled for transmission by the LoRaWAN network server as soon as the device is ready to receive downlink messages. You will receive a transmission report in the uplink topic. 

Here’s an example of a successful transmission report. Messages may be rejected for various causes, so please refer to ThingPark Enterprise reference guide for delivery failure cause codes. 

Dev UI 2

ThingPark Enterprise is not a message queue; although it can buffer several messages, it’s recommended to send downlinks one at a time by waiting for successful DevEUI_downlink_Sent indication before scheduling the next downlink. 

Finally, when the packet is effectively sent over LoRaWAN air interface, it will appear on ThingPark Enterprise wireless logger console. Downlink packets are marked with a red arrow as in the following screenshot, illustrating a downlink command to the Abeeway tracker. 

ThingPark Enterprise dashboard – Device downlink
Figure 6 – Actility ThingPark Enterprise dashboard – Device downlink activity triggered from AWS IoT Core.

Uplink Data Storage 

Since the data is now received in AWS IoT Core via the AWS IoT connector, you create an AWS IoT Rule to store the data in an Amazon DynamoDB table. 

  • Log in to the AWS console. 
  • Go to AWS IoT Core by selecting Internet of Things under Services. 
  • In the menu on the left, go to Act. 
  • Click Create rule. 
  • Enter a name for the rule, such as actility_datastore 
  • Add a Description. For example: send uplink data from ThingPark X IoT Flow to DynamoDB. 
  • To send the entire uplink message from ThingPark X IoT Flow to Amazon DynamoDB, enter the following in the Rule query statement: SELECT DevEUI_uplink.* FROM ‘aws/things/+/uplink 
AWS IoT Core – Create rule
Figure 7 – AWS IoT Core – Create rule.
  • Next, add an action, and select “Split messages into multiple columns of a database table (DynamoDBv2)”. 
  • Under Table name, click Create a new resource and a new browser tab opens: 
  • Click Create table. 
  • Enter any Table name. For example: my-thingpark-data 
  • As Partition key, enter DevEUI 
  • Optionally, check Add sort key and enter Time to sort by time. You can then click Create and leave this tab open. 
Amazon DynamoDB console – Create table
Figure 8 – Amazon DynamoDB console – Create table.
  • Go back to the AWS IoT tab, and click refresh next to Table name. 
  • Select your newly created table. 
  • Click Create new role and enter aws-iot-dynamodb, or update an existing role to grant access from AWS IoT Core to the DynamoDB table. 
  • Click Add action, and then Create rule. 
  • Go back to the DynamoDB table tab, and go to Items. 
  • Wait for few minutes to see the stored data. A typical LoRaWAN device sends data once every few minutes. 
Amazon DynamoDB console – Table entry showing device payload
Figure 9 – Amazon DynamoDB console – Table entry showing device payload.

Finally, click on one of the listed DevEUI to view the uplink upload in the DynamoDB view. 

Amazon DynamoDB console – Table entry showing detailed device fields
Figure 10 – Amazon DynamoDB console – Table entry showing detailed device fields.

Using this example flow, you can now create other AWS IoT Rules that route the data to other AWS services. You could perform archiving in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), analytics using AWS IoT Analytics, machine learning using Amazon SageMaker, monitoring via Amazon CloudWatch, and other functions. 

You can also chain multiple rules, using the output topic of a rule as the input topic for the next. To learn more about this option, visit the AWS IoT Core page. 

Customer Reference 

Watch this video to see how Charlie Isaacs, VP and CTO for Customer Connection at Salesforce, uses ThingPark with the AWS IoT connector to integrate with Salesforce Lightning Flow directly through REST API from AWS Lambda. 

Through this integration, LoRaWAN devices connected via Actility ThingPark can trigger alarms in Salesforce, for instance, if the battery level is low and log the data in Salesforce for further analysis. 

Conclusion 

In this post, we covered how to use an AWS CloudFormation template to build the Actility ThingPark X connector to AWS IoT as the first step to connect LoRaWAN-enabled endpoints to AWS IoT Core, and to make use of other cloud services available on AWS. 

Actility will continue to iterate this functionality to develop new features and build end-to-end AWS solutions. Please refer to the ThingPark Enterprise and AWS IoT connector documentation for details on additional features. 

Actility – AWS Partner Spotlight 

Actilityis an AWS Select Technology Partner whose mission is to simplify LoRaWAN deployment and integrate with cloud applications. 

Contact Actility | Partner Overview | AWS Marketplace 

*Already worked with Actility?Rate the Partner 

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selection of interoperable IoT gateways, devices and applications to simplify and accelerate deployment of use cases.   

Contact us here: https://www.actility.com/contact

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Integration and Collaboration for Massive IoT

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Integration and Collaboration for Massive IoT

As anyone who has been involved with our industry knows by now, one of the biggest challenges of IoT is the end-to-end integration. Having to integrate numerous architectural components, mostly coming from different vendors, whether complying with a standard or not (when there is one!) is a time and resource consuming activity. If you are wondering what happened to the billions and billions of devices that you were promised 3 years ago, some part of the answer is behind this challenge 🙂 

It’s a challenge that we in our LoRa Alliance  ecosystem take happily as we believe in the power of IoT and our technology. 

Overcoming this challenge requires collaboration. This is exactly what we did (again) recently.  Semtech, TagoIO  and  Actility  jointly developed an  evaluation kit  for trackers based on Semtech’s LR1110 transceiver.  

Building this EVK required integrating the  LR1110-based tracker from Semtech, ThingPark Enterprise-based Community Platform (the network server),  ThingPark Exchange  (peering hub), Semtech LoRa Cloud including Join Server, and  TagoIO   application server. 

Semtech tracker interaction infographics

Semtech LR1110-based tracker is by-default provisioned to use the Semtech Join Server. The EVK we built includes a LoRaWAN gateway that is pre-staged to be used with the ThingPark Community Platform. This is a network server platform that is made available to the community free-of-charge for any non-commercial use. In order to let that platform peer with the Semtech Join Server, ThingPark Exchange is used in between the two. Semtech JS being connected to the ThingPark Exchange makes it ready to peer with any other network server on the same peering platform.   

As for getting the tracker app data processed, the ThingPark Community Platform is integrated with the TagoIO’s application server. Well, thanks to that integration, now any ThingPark customer can use the TagoIO servers.  

And behind their server, TagoIO has also integrated with the Semtech’s LoRa Cloud in order to enable TagoIO-hosted LR1110-based devices to be managed by that Semtech service. 

The integration we performed not only enabled this EVK (available on ThingPark Market), but also any other application in need of using a combination of platforms/services from SemtechTagoIO, and Actility. 

This was a good mix of standards, collaboration, determination and hard work bringing us one step closer to unlocking the Massive IoT.  

About the writer: 

Alper Yegin 
Vice-Chair of LoRa Alliance, Director of Advanced Technology Development in Actility 

Alper Yegin is a technology architect involved in research, design, and standardization of IoT and mobile technologies. He is currently serving as the Sr. Director of Standards and Advanced Technology Development at Actility, the leading system vendor in the IoT LPWAN field, and Vice Chairman of BoD and Chairman of the Technical Committee at the LoRa Alliance. Prior to his current post, he has worked for Samsung Electronics Research Center where he led the 5G IP mobility, 4G WiMAX security, and ETSI M2M security design projects. He has made essential contributions to the design and standardization of networking technologies including Mobile IP, IPv6, Zigbee IP, and PANA during his tenure at Samsung, DoCoMo USA Labs, and Sun Microsystems. He has been actively involved in international standards organizations such as IETF, 3GPP, ETSI, LoRa Alliance, Zigbee Alliance, and WiMAX Forum at contributor and committee chair capacities. He is a past member of IETF Wireless and IPv6 Forum Technical Directorates, author of numerous telecom-related standards and papers with 16 granted and several pending patents. 

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WiFi & LoRaWAN combination to achieve greatness: explained by the latest LoRa Alliance white paper

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WiFi & LoRaWAN® combination to achieve greatness: explained by the latest LoRa Alliance white paper

Paris, 8 December 2020 

During the past month of November, the LoRa Alliance brought out a new White Paper on Wi-Fi & LoRaWAN® Trials, summing up use cases across regions which combine these two technologies, to shed light on the great amount of disruptive use cases both Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN® connectivity have allowed to develop during the past years, giving new ideas to existing market players who have deployed these technologies, and also to inspire Network Operators, Enterprises or Communities, who have deployed either Wi-Fi or LoRaWAN® networks, to consider extending their offerings by deploying other complementary technology.

Until not long ago, the options for radio connectivity where scarce and focused mainly on cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi, or customized networks. It hasn’t been until recently that companies have been able to take advantage of licensed and license-exempt spectrums to include cellular IoT, private LTE, private 5G, Wi-fi and Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) IoT networks such as LoRaWAN®, being Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN® the most used technologies in these fields.  

Getting to choose the correct multi-radio strategy is becoming more important each time to succeed in a connected world and selecting the wrong coverage can have fatal effects on the company’s strategy, as it can increase costs and deteriorate security. Luckily, both Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN® are growing at a fast pace and are enabling innovative business models which support a vast array of use cases in the fields of Smart CitiesSmart VenuesSmart Transportation and Smart Homes, such as metering, predictive solutions, asset tracking and monitoring, among others. This gives the development of the Wi-Fi & LoRaWAN® Trials white paper an even more impactful meaning, as the combined work of 11 different global companiesfrom both Alliances and from all regions, these being Boingo Wireless, Charter Communications, Cisco, Kerlink, Lacuna Space, NestenSimplycity, Skyhook, Semtech Actility and Abeewaygives an even more vast intake on these technologies and offers meaningful and insightful content for readers to really get to understand the power these technologies can have when applied to growing companies. 

Actility has taken part in the sharing of these use cases by explaining indepth The Indoor & Outdoor Asset Tracking for Automotive Industry. This solution was created in collaboration with VolvoHERE Technologies and Abeeway to help track valuable assets at the Volvo Trucks factory in France. At this plant, hundreds of racks are used to carry engines along the production chain, which are spread over 25.000 sq. meters. These racks can easily get lost, generating blocks in the entire production chain, creating the need for a connected tracking solution. 

This problem was solved by covering this wide space through the combination of Wi-Fi fingerprinting technology and an industrial grade LoRaWAN network. The solution worked by allowing Abeeway’s low power consumption Industrial Trackers to collect Wi-Fi AP information – after covering the 25.000 sq of the plant with 60 Wi-Fi Aps – and relaying the measurements over LoRaWAN® technology, due to Actility’s ThingPark, for accurate positioning determined by HERE. ThingPark optimized LoRaWAN® controller, leverages macro-diversity to provide reliable communication through-out the factory with few gateways and BLE beacons on the Abeeway trackers complement the location infrastructure at strategichard togetto areas and even through the hardest conditions, like when the racks go through the painting process at more than 70°C. 

The solution managed to optimize the rapid roll throughout the production process, while giving accurate indoor location in a 35,000 sq. m. facility and standing the harsh conditions created at some of the production line points. 

This is only one of the many use cases addressed on this white paper, and just one more example of why Wi-Fi & LoRaWAN® are two of the most adopted license-exempt technologies. Together they address a large proportion of IoT use cases with their approach for disrupting private-public business models and enabling participation in 5G success.

About Actility 

Actility is a world leader in Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) industrial-grade connectivity solutions for the Internet of Things. Actility provides its ThingPark™ platform and network technology to deploy, operate and maintain public and private wireless IoT networks within a unified, scalable and versatile network infrastructure. The vast majority of nationwide LoRaWAN® network service providers (over 50) and hundreds of companies trust ThingPark™ all over the world. Through its subsidiary Abeeway, Actility also provides patented ultra-low power tracking solutions.ThingPark Market offers the largest selection of interoperable IoT gateways, devices and applications to simplify and accelerate deployment of use cases.   

Contact us here: https://www.actility.com/contact 

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About Abeeway 

Abeeway is the market leader in low-power indoor & outdoor fused geolocation and a provider of disruptive IoT tracking solutions worldwide. Abeeway offers the most energy-efficient, reliable and flexible geolocation solutions using unique tracking devices and a smart Multi-technology location system optimized for long-range and low-power-consumption leveraging LoRaWAN™ connectivity. Abeeway devices are available on ThingPark Market Abeeway is a member of the LoRa Alliance™ 

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Don’t miss our Japanese partner, Macnica’s events

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Join Macnica, our Japanese Channel Partner, at their events to learn about LoRaWAN IoT solutions

If you are interested in LoRaWAN and IoT solutions and also you speak Japanes, don’t miss these great virtual and physical events where our Japanese Channel Partner Macnica will be presenting their solutions for smart cities, smart buildings and smart industry, powered by Actility 

Macnica will be participating in three different events in Japan, the country with the most advanced and cutting-edge technology solutions in the worlduring the end of 2020to cover all the verticals related to IoT solutions and get to know all the IoT related latest advances. 

From the 26th of October to the 25th of December you will be able to attend Macnica’s Technology & Solution eventThis is a comprehensive exhibition for Macnica’s semiconductor solutions, where 30 seminars and 70 online demos in 10 technology fields have been created for you to join and where LoRaWAN has been featured as part of Macnica’s wireless solutions. 

During the end of the year, you will also be able to enjoy Macnica’s Exponential Technology event, which will be held from the 18th of November to the 11th of December. This is a virtual private event where the idea of combining cutting-edge exponential technologies such as AI, IoT and Bio Science with intelligence is the base. This event seeks to transform business models and enrich society and lifestyle by, for example including LoRaWAN as part of a COVID-19 solution. Macnica will be holding this event in a virtual exhibition space where you can walk around and attend exhibition booths and sessions that will give you hints on cutting-edge technology and its utilization. 

Finally from the 2nd to the 4th of December Macnica will also be attending the virtual Japan Smart Building Expo, which unites all the necessary technologies for next generation building, design, construction and management such as ZEB, IoT for buildings and i construction.

Don’t miss the opportunity to join our partner and get to know all the latest innovation in Smart Solutions. 

Actility on BFM

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Watch Olivier Hersent, our CEO, on BFM

The past 13th of November, our CEO, Olivier Hersent, gave an interview on BFM, the first continuous economic and financial information television channel in France, where he talked about Actility’sexponential rise and future prospects. 

During the interview we where able to understand how Actility started with the clear objective of connecting millions of objects through LoRaWAN connectivity and how now, our thousands of clients rely on us to connect their industrial gadgets and to solve their everyday problems through ourintegrated solutions. These solutions rely on a connectivity which consumes up to 20 times less than 3,4 or 5 G, though private connections with a much wider range than any other connectivity, helping solve Smart City, Smart Building and Smart Industry problems, among others, even helping to solve problems related to COVID-19, like enforced temporary business shutdowns, though ProximityDetection and Contact Tracing among workers. 

Olivier also commented on the company’s future by saying that Actility is already working with the most important operators in the world, which we believe will be doubling the number of existingconnected objects in the near future, making Actility grow a 100% per year and opening the door for the size of networks we are involved with to grow at least a 50% per year. 

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Olivier Hersent, CEO at Actility
Recognized telecom and technology expert, who founded NetCentrex, a leading provider of VoIP infrastructure for service providers, then became CTO of Comverse after the acquisition of NetCentrex in 2006. Olivier is a recognized thought leader in Telecoms and Energy markets and is the author of several books on networking technology, VoIP, M2M, Internet of Things(IoT) and the Smart Grid. Olivier graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and has later on, in 2010, founded Actiliy, IoT solution provider. Via its ThingPark Wireless platform, Actility uses the LoRaWAN technology to enable LPWA IoT networks for countless applications.

Actility becomes finalist at SEIPF

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We are proud to have become one of the 10 finalists at the Singapore x Europe Innovation Partnership Forum

Actility is happy to be among the 10 Startup finalists at the Smart City and Sustainability Session of the Singapore x Europe Innovation Partnership Forum 

The Singapore x Europe Innovation Partnership Forum (SEIPF) is a pitch competition conducted 100% online, free for startups, proposed by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the lead government agency in charge of industry development in Singapore and co-developed with Actavia, Co-Creation Lab and Pufferfish Partners 

The SEIPFwhich will be taking place ofrom the 9 – 13th of November and will count with keynote sessions given by speakers like Singapore’s prime Minister and Salesforce CEO and Co/Founderconsists of 5 days online pitch sessions, where 50 innovative European tech startup finalists get to present their solutions to close to 20 leading Asian corporates represented by innovation and investment decision makers in Singapore. Unlike other startup programs, this is a demand-led innovation program where the Asian companies’ votes determine the top 50 startup finalists, and not the program organizers. 

The Asian corporate event partners have now voted for the finalists of the Smart City and Sustainability session, choosing Actility as one of the 10 finalists. These votes have been based on relevance of the stratup’s solutions for the corporate needs in Asia. 

We would like to thank the Singapore x Europe Innovation Partnership Forum for highlighting our effort through the nomination to this award.

Actility becomes finalist at SEIPF

About Actility  

Actility is a world leader in Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) industrial-grade connectivity solutions for the Internet of Things. Actility provides its ThingPark™ platform and network technology to deploy, operate and maintain public and private wireless IoT networks within a unified, scalable and versatile network infrastructure. The vast majority of nationwide LoRaWAN® network service providers (over 50) and hundreds of companies trust ThingPark™ all over the world. Through its subsidiary Abeeway, Actility also provides patented ultra-low power tracking solutions. ThingPark Market offers the largest selection of interoperable IoT gateways, devices and applications to simplify and accelerate deployment of use cases.  

Contact us here: https://www.actility.com/contact 

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Actility wins the Enterprise Technologies category in KPMG’s Top Tech Tomorrow

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Actility is honored to be one of the winners of KPMG’s Top Tech Tomorrow awards!

We very happy to announce that Actility has been selected as one of the winners of KPMG Top Tech Tomorrow award in the category of Enterprise Technologies. 

Top Tech Tomorrow is an annual barometer which discovers technological companies which are leaders in their fiels and which have promising features. 

This award has been given to us based on 5 criteria’s which englobe the following: our innovative solutions, products and offers, our transformation agility which allows us to quickly adapt to changes in the markets, our ability to grow internationally, our capacity to attract new customers and finance even during economic crisis times, our good management andour contribution to social and environmental development. 

Actility wins the Enterprise Technologies category in KPMG’s Top Tech Tomorrow

Thank you, KPMG, for noticing our efforts in all of these areas and for highlighting our development potential through this award. 

About KPMG 

TKPMG helps other organizations mitigate risks and grasp opportunities, driving positive, sustainable change for clients, people and society at large. 

KPMG member firms operate in 147 countries, collectively employing more than 219,000 people, serving the needs of business, governments, public-sector agencies, not-for-profits and through member firms’ audit and assurance practices, the capital markets. KPMG is committed to quality and service excellence in all that they do, bringing their best to clients and earning the public’s trust through actions and behaviours both professionally and personally. 

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About Actility  

Actility is a world leader in Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) industrial-grade connectivity solutions for the Internet of Things. Actility provides its ThingPark™ platform and network technology to deploy, operate and maintain public and private wireless IoT networks within a unified, scalable and versatile network infrastructure. The vast majority of nationwide LoRaWAN® network service providers (over 50) and hundreds of companies trust ThingPark™ all over the world. Through its subsidiary Abeeway, Actility also provides patented ultra-low power tracking solutions. ThingPark Market offers the largest selection of interoperable IoT gateways, devices and applications to simplify and accelerate deployment of use cases.  

Contact us here: https://www.actility.com/contact 

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How LoRaWAN® enables back-tracing and helps businesses protect their workers from COVID-19 threats

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How LoRaWAN® enables back-tracing and helps businesses protect their workers from COVID-19 threats

During the current times and as the second wave of Covid-19 is ramping-up, we must take severe protection measures to care for ourselves and the people around us. This not only applies to our family members and friends, but also to those who we work with.  Workers are an organization’s most valuable asset; therefore, proximity policies must be enforced in enterprises in order to help prevent Coronavirus from spreading and comply with mandatory safety measures. This is crucial to keep a healthy work environment and to avoid costly temporary shutdowns. This issue is what led Actility to put its IoT expertise in geolocation and network management to work to create a digital Proximity Detection & Contact Tracing Solution. 

How proximity detection is used to control virus propagation

Covid-19 sanitary policies focus on two main goals: enforcement of distancing policies, and rapid and immediate identification of contamination clusters in case of confirmed infection. 

Wearable devices, conveniently packaged as ID Badge holders have been designed to help ensure compliance with social stance guidelines while on a job site or at a workplace, where essential work might need to continue despite the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, but where it can also be tricky to maintain a proper distance between workers without a reminder system. 

Image of Abeeway's Smart badge tracker around neck of construction worker

When the Smart Badge records two or more people exceeding the safety limit, the badge will warn the worker by two levels of audible feedback (warning and immediate danger) or through a visual alarm. 

The badges are connected via LPWAN network to a back-end sanitary policy management application which generates statistics that help identify areas where close contacts occur – e.g. corridors – and help in the continuous improvement of office or factory floor optimization. The badges implement edge processing considering both distance and time, so workers will be warned, and contact registered even if they stay within 5 or 6 feet, but for too long. 

This compliance solution protects workers by ensuring secure social distancing, but it is also protecting the continuity of corporate operations and – by avoiding costly full shutdowns- provides instant RoI. Temporary business shutdowns are necessary when companies are not able to trace contacts, so for precaution operations need to stop until each worker has been tested and provided with negative results, which tends to extend to a full week for each case and causes significant losses as well as unpredictable delivery delays.

Digital contact tracing is achieved by connected badges that report every contact to a central sanitary policy management system, where they are saved for 2 weeks. When a Coronavirus infection is detected, instant back-tracing allows to identify only those workers who have been in close contact with the infected person and limit testing to this cluster only, which minimizes disruption to operations. In addition, several studies have shown that rapid identification of a cluster is essential to prevent propagation, as anyone in the cluster may also start to propagate the virus. With instant back-tracing, propagation gets under control even with a 60% to 70% success rate in effectively isolating the subject contacts.

Quarantine graphics
Figure 1: From Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing, Ferretti & al.

In order to limit the number of potential contacts, the solution also supports zoning policies. This may be organized as distinct work zones, helping workers remain within their assigned area by audio notification, or by organizing shifts. The system can optionally inform management if workers repeatedly violate such zoning policies. 

Compliance & enforcement of maximum density policies can also be implemented through this solution by audio warning when the maximum density of workers is reached in a specific shared area. The solution is also capable of optimizing sanitation of shared assets by analyzing usage in real-time and ensuring compliance while triggering cleaning only when needed. 

Figure 2: Indoor & outdoor coverage of mobile assets with LoRaWAN macrodiversity
Figure 2: Indoor & outdoor coverage of mobile assets with LoRaWAN macrodiversity

How does LoRaWAN® technology make it possible 

LoRaWAN® is the Low-Power Wide Area Network (LP-WAN) technology enabling this digital sanitary policy enforcement and traceability solution. 

LoRaWAN® is a global communication standard developed by the LoRa Alliance. It allows long-range wireless communication at a low data rate, reducing power and cost for transmission, and targeting key IoT requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility, and localization services. 

In the context of this use case, the key features of LoRaWAN® are its support for macro-diversity, i.e. within a building all antennas, indoor and outdoor, collaborate to create seamless coverage even for mobile assets. Unlike mesh networks that need to self-optimize for a given asset location and therefore cannot connect mobile devices, the LoRaWAN® Badges work indoors and outdoors, anywhere in the facilities. The Actility ThingPark network server leverages the link quality information received from all gateways to dynamically select the antennas used and optimize indoor & outdoor radio quality. 

If additional antennas need to be installed to ensure full coverage of underground and other hard to reach areas, no configuration or radio planning is needed, the ThingPark platform automatically reorganizes the network to leverage all available antennas and increase coverage and capacity. This makes LoRaWAN® the ideal technology for proximity and contacts back-tracing solutions, as it is easy to install and configure, requires few gateways due to long-range and excellent indoor penetration of the sub-GHz spectrum scales easily, and works indoor & outdoor for fixed and mobile devices.

While Covid-19 is the immediate priority and likely to remain so during H1 2021, companies are also mindful that any investment needs to be preserved after COVID. LoRaWAN® is an open technology that thousands of devices already available in the ecosystem and the same LPWAN network can be leveraged for sub-metering, predictive maintenance, and hundreds of other use cases. Likewise, the Smart Badge offers future-proof features that cover worker safety (evacuation monitoring, man-down, lone worker SoS), security (visitor tracking, geofencing of danger zones), and can be complemented with other LoRaWAN trackers with form factors optimized for asset & tool tracking.

What about privacy?  

Many have proposed technology-based solutions for contact tracing, including leveraging existing data gathered by smartphones and consumer applications to chart transmission. But those efforts also have considerable privacy implications and require the use of a smartphone — which isn’t viable for accurate workplace tracking in high-traffic environments.

For the purposes of privacy protection, Abeeway devices retain a log to provide internal contact tracing capabilities in case of positive coronavirus case diagnoses. It doesn’t include location tracking and it’s not tied to any specific personal identity information for any respective employee who wears them in terms of sharing info.

By creating a dedicated wearable device, Actility and Abeeway help employers avoid doing something invasive with their workforce, since it’s instead tied to a fit-for-purpose device with data shared only with their employers, and it’s in a form factor they can remove and have control over. Mobile devices also can’t do nearly as fine-grained tracking with indoor environments as dedicated hardware can manage.

Is this solution what my company needs? 

The Proximity detection & Contact Tracing Solution can be tried out on a smaller scale with the new Proximity Detection & Contact Tracing Starter Kit, a demo package which combines the Abeeway low-power multi-technology trackers powered by ThingPark, the Actility’s IoT network management platform, allowing to live the full experience of how  LoRaWAN®  can help to enforce proximity policies and keep employees safe.

Get to understand the solution in detail

Watch Actility’s Webinar on Proximity Detection and Contact Tracing for COVID-19. Presented by Olivier Hersent, CEO at Actility , with Rohit Gupta, Product Manager at Actility , and Bert Vanaken, Founder at WMW. Find all the details about the Proximity Detection & Contact Tracing Solution here.

Orange Business Services implements a cutting-edge COVID safety solution in Singapore with Actility & Abeeway

Image showing different assets of OBS social distancing with Abeeway trackers

Orange Business Services implements a cutting-edge COVID safety solution in Singapore with Actility & Abeeway

AUGUST 7, 2020 | written by actility

Orange Business Services Singapore has implemented their COVID Safety Distancing Solution. An extremely easy to set-up turnkey system for enterprises, which helps to keep employees safe from COVID-19 threats by using our Abeeway Micro Trackers, connected through LoRaWAN and with a dedicated app, also combined with Thermal & Mask Scanning techniques. 

Image showing different assets of OBS social distancing with Abeeway trackers
Image showing different assets of OBS social distancing with Abeeway trackers

Orange Business Services Singapore has implemented their COVID Safety Distancing Solution. An extremely easy to set-up turnkey system for enterprises, which helps to keep employees safe from COVID-19 threats by using our Abeeway Micro Trackers, connected through LoRaWAN and with a dedicated app, also combined with Thermal & Mask Scanning techniques. 

The system, based on Actility’s Proximity Detection & Contact Tracing Solution, alerts employees who don’t comply with the COVID-19 measures dictated by the company, allowing to detect people with atypical temperature measurement trying to enter the workspace facilities, employees not respecting social distancing between each other, or crowds exceeding the number of people allowed in each area of the workspace. 

The set-up of this system is exceptionally easy and just requires a temperature recognition system before entering the workspace and the creation of an employee list including full names, employer IDs and a recent photo (to ensure facial recognition). If an employee registers a higher than normal temperature reading, an alert containing the details of the employee will be sent to the system manager and the facility manager allowing them to take immediate actions. 

Due to the difficulty of keeping full time social distance, the system also includes a safety social distancing solution which consists on alerting employees via audio and visual cues if they were to unconsciously get too close to their coworkers. This solution works through Smart Badges assigned to each worker. These devices, linked to the individual’s profile have been designed by Abeeway, Actility’s subsidiary specialized in low-power geolocation, and work through portable multi-mode trackers with embedded sensors which combine multiple geolocation technologies to offer accurate and continuous outdoor and indoor geolocation and alert workers when they are not complying with the established social distance guidelines. The administrator will also be able to configure the alert notification system, including who and how to alert. The solution will also log these incidents into the system, to keep a record of date, time and location of when the encounter happened.  

Guests can easily be invited to the office, it is simply required to send them a link via email before the meeting date, allowing them to pre-register. Once they arrive to the office, their temperature will be taken and they will be assigned a Smart Badge linked to their profile while they are within the premises, being able to reprogram the badge when the guest has left the office. 

This safety distancing solution also has a unique feature which allows facility managers to set crowd density for enclosed specific areas. Once that maximum number of people is reached the Smart Badges will automatically trigger alerts to everyone within that specific facility. A very useful feature for office canteens, meeting rooms, demo spaces and showrooms where crowds can gather very quickly. 

Orange Business Services Singapore’s COVID Safety Distancing Solution has improved enormously the safety in their offices due to this solution and now offers contact tracers and managers a comprehensive 360-degree view to help them make more informed decisions on the necessary actions to take for different employees based on their actual interaction and exposure risks.  

Contact us today to find out the best solutions for your industry.

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AWS and Actility have the best way to start an IoT project

Infographics of solution use cases AWS

THE ACTILITY BLOG

AWS and Actility have the best way to start an IoT project

AUGUST 7, 2020 | written by actility

Thinking about deploying an IoT use case? Don’t start from scratch, AWS just announced the availability of 29 IoT solutions from AWS and its partner network (APN) to address common use cases in automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, and connected home. Two of these solutions use LoRaWAN® expertise from  Actility, offering our Actility ThingPark Enterprise Solution and ThingPark Location Low-Power Asset Tracking Solution.

AWS and Actility have the best way to start an IoT project

All aspects of an enterprise can be data-driven, meaning that they can store huge amounts of insights which can work to improve customer experience, increase workers efficiency and leverage innovation, accelerating time to value. AWS has a broad and deep IoT knowledge, which allows to build an enormously varied end-to-end devices portfolio, designed for virtually any purpose and which now includes Actility’s solutions. 

Read our PR: “Your dedicated IoT network just one click away: LoRaWAN® now available in AWS Marketplace with AWS IoT Core, from a market leader.

So… how can I apply this to my own company ?

By getting an end-to-end solution you are allowing yourself to address common IoT use cases in manufacturing, tracking, healthcare, or any other industry by using LoRaWAN connectivity.

Actility has become one of the main AWS IoT partners by joining the AWS IoT Solution Repository, and by offering Actility’s ThingPark Location Low-Power Asset Tracking Solution . This solution provides AWS’s Catalog with a complete low-power geolocation solution for the Internet of Things that surpasses simple GPS by offering a switchable location technology which enables outdoor and indoor asset tracking, working through low-power consumption trackers connected to LoRaWAN, with a modular location engine powered by Abeeway.

Moreover, Actility ThingPark Enterprise Solution – A LoRaWAN private networking solution efficiently connects an organization’s most valuable assets. It provides a scalable multi-gateway LoRaWAN connectivity infrastructure as well as dashboards for key operational insight and alarm management.

This large range of products can be found in the AWS Partner Device Catalog , where you can search and filter solutions by industry, solution type, use cases and AWS services, to help you quickly find the right solution for you. Our ThingPark Location Low-Power Asset Tracking Solution and many more can also be found in AWS IoT Solution Repository or can be bought directly from the AWS Marketplace. 

Contact us today to find out the best solutions for your industry.

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Covid-19: how the Internet of Things can save People

Image illustrating Covid Press Release Banner
Covid Press release banner

Covid-19: how the IoT can save people. Solutions from WMW, Abeeway and Actility

Press Release, Hasselt / Paris, 07.04.2020 

WMW, a Belgian “framework” for IoT, Abeewaya location intelligence solution provider for IoT, and Actility, the leading provider of Low-Power WAN networking solutions, are launching several solutions to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic at different stages, using various geolocation technologies and low-power IoT networks.  

The three companies have integrated their solutions: WMW is an adaptive registration dashboard with micro-modules, allowing to visualize data from IoT devices and get valuable insights. The WMW solutions takes inputs from Abeeway devices processed by ThingPark Location Enginethe fused location provider platform of Actility.  

There are 3 solutions that are offered: 

1) Private Proximity Registration. Companies that want to return to work demand solutions to protect their employees. This kit provides a private network and personal trackers to maintain a dynamic virtual geofence around an employee at site level. Since we will have to be careful for several more months to come and our employees are our most important assets, this solution helps to prevent and warn against proximity. 

Private proximity Registration infographics second image
Myspace monitoring infographics

2) MySpace Monitoring. Elderly people, that we would want to follow up a little closer, can be in closer contact with their caregivers or family. Panic buttons, sensors that monitor movement, energy, and even doors, can be used in hospitals and rest homes, but also for people who still live at home. This allows direct, but also indirect, anomalies to be reported and timely action can be taken. 

3) Quarantine Monitoring. People who should live in (self) quarantine do not always follow the rules and sometimes dare to go outside their zone, posing a high risk of spreading the virus. This solution registers the breach and informs about it.

Quarantine monitoring image

Deploying technology against Covid spreading 

The world of IoT is usually aimed at the visualization and big data of the things that our society uses to help an organisation or industry to operate. Examples cover a very wide range such as Smart Waste, Smart Parking, and even Building Management. WMW is not just an IoT Platform, but more specifically a technology (framework) to build platforms. Thus, WMW have taken a step back to create greater flexibility and to allow them to build tailored applications fully focused on the “use case”. This flexibility is extended very far. For example, the WMW platform is device-agnostic, network-agnostic, database-agnostic, and is being used worldwide through partners. 

Over the past few weeks, we’ve focused primarily on applications, derivatives of the 97 apps we’ve already built, that can handle various impacts and observations around Covid-19. Our resellers worldwide are close to their governments and this allows us to draw global conclusions that are not valid only in Belgium. Of course, it helps that we know a lot of device makers and that we can help inspire their strategy. After all, we report the questions from the market back to them,” according to Bert Vanaken, CEO of WMW. 

Image number 3 of the interface
Image number 4 of the interface

Abeeway offers a complete low-power indoor&outdoor fused geolocation solution for the Internet of Things that surpasses simple GPS. Through location intelligence, we enable efficient management of your mobile and fixed assets, protecting people and monitoring animals. We give organizations, industries, logistics companies, and the entire supply chain transparency and more effective processes.  

Abeeway decided to contribute its extensive expertise in the field of low-power geolocation in order to help people, companies and hospitals in the fight against COVID-19. With the Abeeway tracking system, including miniature trackers and badge trackers, you can set automated alarms and geofence boundary alerts to register breaches, help people to remain  alert and allow proximity back-tracing, according to Olivier HersentActility & Abeeway’s CEO.

Picture of the Abeeway micro tracker in hand

Worldwide availability 

These innovative solutions can be deployed everywhere on available LoRaWAN public networks or also using dedicated private networks.  

Actility  ThingPark Enterprise platform provides SaaS as well as on-site private IoT LoRaWAN network managementThingPark is the market leading LPWAN platform, deployed by over 50 service providers worldwide, and adapted to the needs of Enterprise use cases. It focuses on security, simplicity and rapid deployment on campuses of any scale, providing seamless connectivity without dead zones to for people safety or any other IoT use case.

Abeeway logo

About Abeeway, an Actility Group company  

Abeeway is the market leader in low-power indoor & outdoor fused geolocation and a provider of disruptive IoT tracking solutions worldwide. Abeeway offers the most energy-efficient, reliable and flexible geolocation solutions using unique tracking devices and a smart Multi-technology location system optimized for long-range and low-power-consumption leveraging LoRaWAN™ connectivity.  

Abeeway is a member of LoRa Alliance™ and is an Actility group company. 

www.abeeway.com

Actility logo

Actility is a world leader in Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) industrial-grade connectivity solutions for the Internet of Things. Actility provides its ThingPark platform and network technology to deploy, operate and maintain public and private wireless IoT networks within a unified, scalable and versatile network infrastructure. The vast majority of nationwide LoRaWAN® network service providers (over 50) and hundreds of companies trust ThingPark™ all over the world. Through its subsidiary AbeewayActility also provides patented ultra-low power tracking solutions. ThingPark Market offers the largest selection of interoperable IoT gateways, devices and applications to simplify and accelerate deployment of use cases.   

Website: www.actility.com

WMW full logo

About WMW  

WMW is a product of ClearDigital NV, a Belgian player in the IoT spaceWMW is not an IoT platform, but a technology to build platformsThe library approach is unique in its kind and allows the development of applications, with maximum flexibility and tailoring towards customised use cases, in extremely short time. It has produced over 100 applications already and is being sold worldwide by resellers and partners in the Telco world (such as Orange, NNNco, LRTC, …), and in the System Integrator world (such as SCSK – subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp ,Capita, …) . 

wmw-hub.com 
ClearDigital NV – WMW 
Bert Vanaken – CEO 
+32 498 520 479

Sharing economy meets home networks

Sharing economy meets home networks

THE ACTILITY BLOG

Sharing economy meets home networks

AUGUST 14, 2019 | written by OLIVIER HERSENT, CEO & CTO ACTILITY

The recent Amazon Sidewalk announcement has implications far beyond a new sexy feature on a smart speaker, it represents a fundamental paradigm evolution of home networks and a key enabler for smart-communities. Interestingly, it is likely to impact not just the richest economies: in fact the paradigm change is even more fundamental for countries with low per-capita income implying low budgets for any kind of smart-home/community initiative.

Sharing economy meets home networks

So… what is this ? Some of us will remember the initiative of FON, back in 2006, which attempted to turn the WiFi technology into a pervasive collaborative network. Martín Varsavsky thought that using the millions of home WiFi access points just for home networks was an incredible waste of resources. A perfect city network was at hand at virtually no incremental cost : just share ! Unfortunately WiFi collaborative networks didn’t take off to the anticipated scale : the WiFi technology wasn’t really designed for sharing, and the limited range, about 20 to 40m in urban areas, required mass adoption to cover full cities.

But recent LPWAN technologies, such as LoRaWAN, do not have these issues. They are designed for long range : experiments have shown that an average radius of 400 to 500m for an indoor picocell is realistic in big cities. They are designed for sharing : unlike traditional mesh networks or WiFi, all LoRaWAN antennas collaborate and form a seamless network. If 10 antennas are in range of a sensor, all 10 antennas will be used to decode each frame from the sensor, dramatically improving Quality of Service, and reducing Packet Error Rate. Even better, the collaboration technology is completely dynamic and will automatically “adopt” and leverage any new picocell, and even works across collaborative networks by leveraging a standardized peering protocol (LoRa Alliance Back-End interface 1.x).

The end result is that full coverage of a city may be obtained by deploying a surprisingly low number of picocells. Many companies can deploy such picocells at a ridiculously low incremental cost : internet providers (though new LPWAN add-on board to triple play modems) and smart speaker companies are the most obvious ones. Telcos and cable operators will probably not like to see big portals building a strategic over-the-top community network on top of their fixed broadband infrastructure without reaction, so you can expect smart speakers to shoot the new collaborative LPWAN feature first, followed by Telcos and cable operators.

In rich economies, you will soon be able to track your pets, connect alarm systems, get a better parcel delivery tracking system, so this is good news. For the emerging economies, this is a game changer.

Take the example of Ho-Chi-Min city, 2090km2.

With a traditional smart home model, say with a Zigbee transceiver in each home, costs are linear, so there are no economies of scale, and it is hard to provide the feature for less than about 5-10USD per home. Also the use cases remain scoped to home only, limiting revenue opportunities.

 

Sharing economy meets home networks

By contrast, assuming an easy macrocell LoRaWAN network on few high points already covers 1/3rd of the area, the rest of city coverage can be achieved with about 1000 picocells. Statistically, only the first 1000 homes need incremental investment. The marginal cost of the smart community goes asymptotically to… zero. And many use cases are now made possible : connected smoke detectors, bus, bike and scooter tracking, gas and water metering, gas bottle refill optimization… all things that are really useful for the city and community development.

Of course, this needs a mental switch to accept some randomness in the network operation and deployment, not knowing upfront exactly which numbers of picocells will be used, etc… but relying on randomness does not mean giving up QoS. LoRaWAN picocell networks have a very high degree of macrodiversity, i.e. many antennas receive the signal in parallel. If one disappears, there is no impact on service. In fact such redundancy means much more reliable networks, which is somewhat counter intuitive. These picocell networks also use relatively high datarates at very low power : this means short transmit times and ultra-low, unbeatable battery costs (50 to 100x below cellular networks). This opens the door for many use cases that require both low device and low connectivity costs.

I find it somewhat ironic that the aggressive search of economic optimum in our capitalist economies finally concludes that… sharing is our best option 🙂

More details and hindsight in this webinar recording.

Credits : Nicolas Jordan, Actility for the comparative TCO model, individual or LPWAn collaborative

Contact us today to find out the best solutions for your industry.

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The Top Five Best-Selling LoRaWAN Sensors to Sharpen Your Industry’s ‘Senses’

featured image for best selling sensors

THE ACTILITY BLOG

The Top Five Best-Selling LoRaWAN Sensors to Sharpen Your Industry’s ‘Senses’

AUGUST 14, 2019 | written by ALAYKKA FOWLER

Integrating IoT (Internet of Things), especially through using sensors, in business operations has increased drastically over the past years.

best sensors lorawan actility

In fact, statistics say that by this year, there is an expectation that 92% of industrial organizations will implement some form of IoT in their business. Specifically, at present, 68% of business heads utilize IoT for maintenance and monitoring, while 54% use it for remote processes and operations.

Speaking of sensors, there are currently a lot out there that serve various needs in the industrial sense. From temperature monitoring to water leakage detection, they can help boost operational efficiency and enable informed decisions for the betterment of organizations. However, not all sensors are created equal. This is why we created a list of the top five best-selling LoRaWAN-connected sensors from the ThingPark Marketplace.

Read on to discover these connected devices and what makes them stand out.

Leaks and water damage are the last things that you probably want to deal with in your industrial infrastructure. Initially, little spots on different surfaces may be negligible but as time passes, this can cause damage, especially to equipment. Moreover, server rooms and data centers are of no exception when it comes to possible water damage. This is because they highly utilize water in their cooling systems and once a problem arises, it could cause flooding.

For these reasons, it is ultimately essential to utilize sensors that will alert you at the first sign of water leakage. And the Senlab DTM Outdoor Water Detection Sensor does this well.

Its water cable detection enables the discovery of water presence on the floor. Additionally, this smart wireless module runs on the LoRaWAN connectivity protocol and sends out a notification once it detects water leakages. What makes it truly competitive are its best-in-class features which include long battery life (20 years), rich data content (through datalogging), radio performances, and its advanced set of functionalities. Finally, it covers a wide area of up to 15km, perfect for even outdoor use, and is both local and public network compliant.

Imagine a time when you can easily find lost keys or track your lost pets. How about quickly knowing where your injured workers are in case of emergency? Well, let this escape from your thoughts because the Abeeway Micro Tracker can make this happen for you. Despite its miniscule size, this tracker has widely flexible functionalities both fit for either personal or business use. 

Running on not just one, but multiple modes of connectivity, the Abeeway Micro Tracker is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, even in deep enclosure or extreme weather conditions. It combines LoRa, GPS, low power GPS, WiFi sniffing and BLE to ensure continuous connectivity at optimized energy usage for a multitude of use cases. Additionally, this ability to adjust connectivity modes according to use case strikes a balance between battery usage and device performance optimization. All these powerful features are combined with a highly durable casing, exhibiting an IP64 waterproof characteristic and the ability to withstand changing temperature and humidity levels.

Best of all, this connected device is light-weight and pocket-friendly giving you the peace of mind you need whatever and wherever your valuables, loved ones, or workers (in the case of industrial usage for emergencies) are. 

If there’s anything more important for a business or any other establishment aside from profits, it’s customer satisfaction. These days, there are countless ways to determine this, including surveys and reviews. However, the challenge that any organization faces when it comes to gathering feedback is motivating end-users to accomplish the forms or rating tools that they send out. Let’s face it – people’s patience is so short these days that they would not probably be willing to answer even just a three-item questionnaire. 

Smilio solves this by offering a solution that takes essential feedback in real-time at a simple push of a button. All target users have to do is choose from multiple buttons their rating of a particular service or the type of feedback they want to give for a certain kind of equipment or service. 

Businesses can obtain this information through wireless LoRa connectivity, which eliminates the need for WiFi or 3G. Data is then transmitted to a third-party application providing the management access to customer satisfaction levels or equipment/facility status. In addition to this, this waterproof (IP64) device has “Proof of Presence” technology, which is an integrated sensor for timestamping staff interventions. To top this off, the Smilio Action Multi-Services Connected Buttons is completely customizable (appearance-wise) and comes with treatments against bacteria, UV, and scratches. 

There is no denying that healthy crops are vital for a farm’s success. This is why it is highly essential for farmers and owners to have a 360-degree view and monitoring of their farms health. With properly timed and applied irrigation, farmers can keep crop distress at bay. In order to do this, thershould be adequate and efficient soil moisture and temperature monitoring for plantations. 

A great way to ensure sufficient soil monitoring is through using a connected device that communicates environmental data to the end user – and the Skysens SkyAGR1 is one of the best sensors that can do this. Powered by LoRaWAN connectivity, it is ideal for large-scale agricultural use as its battery lasts up to 10 years and can measure soil temperature of up to 90cm in depth which is where most plant roots are at. 

More than this, what’s really great about this soil moisture and temperature sensor is that farmers can either choose between a percentage or moisture level reading. Skysens recommends the latter because this tool has 5 levels of measurement, i.e. Dry+, Dry, Normal, Wet, and Wet+, whose output is a percentage display with 5%-10% accuracy. Use this waterproof device for both indoor and outdoor spaces, like agricultural fields, greenhouses, or home gardens. Most of all, it works in multiple regions across the world! 

In the business of perishable goods, especially those that are sensitive towards fluctuating temperatures, the great challenge lies in monitoring. It is tricky to properly maintain temperature levels, however, doing so preserves the optimal quality of goods, especially in transport. Improper temperature monitoring and maintenance can lead to good spoilage or damages which can then impact the profitability and efficiency of cold chain-engaged businesses. 

To avoid this, it is vital to have the right temperature sensor in place and the JRI LoRa SPY T2 Freezer Temperature Sensor is exactly that. This wireless LoRaWAN-connected sensor is part of JRI’s MySIRIUS monitoring solution that enables effective cold chain monitoring and maintenance through high precision data loggers.

This connected device sends gathered data to the JRI Cloud. In case of surpassing set thresholds, it notifies businesses in real-time through e-mail, SMS, or voice messages. Meanwhile, this handy device can be easily mounted outside cooling equipment such as climatic and thermostatic chambers and freezers. Once it is set up, end-users can then conveniently view information on the sensor’s large LCD screen. 

Making well-informed choices with the best LoRaWAN-connected sensors

Sensors can take your industry to a whole new level by equipping you with added vision to variables that can incredibly impact your operations.

In fact, these are important components when you want your organization to undergo optimal digital transformation. For this reason, it is only fitting to choose which sensors would be the best to use based on the nature of your field and your requirements.

Aside from this, the kind of connectivity the devices use plays a vital role in helping you achieve the functionalities that you need. In the case of large-scale organizations and industries, LoRaWAN is ideal. Its long-range, low-power nature enables sensors to gather information effectively minus the overly costly investment and regular maintenance.

Sharpen your organization’s senses by using quality sensors with the right connectivity. Through this, you can better make data-driven decisions and optimize your operations leading to lower costs and higher profitability. Indeed, the more informed you are, the more ideal actions you can make.

Get state-of-the-art connected devices on ThingPark Market.

Contact us today to find out the best solutions for your industry.

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Cattle Tracking Challenge Accepted: Connecting New Mexico Cows and Desert Ranches with Abeeway

featured image for cattle tracking

THE ACTILITY BLOG

Cattle Tracking Challenge Accepted: Connecting New Mexico Cows and Desert Ranches with Abeeway

July 23, 2019 | written by ALAYKKA FOWLER

Globally, there is a widening gap between the supply and demand for livestock products as consumption increases (particularly in developing regions) while productivity levels are dwindling. In order to address this disparity, ranchers all over the world have chosen to integrate cattle tracking and management systems into their operations.

cattle tracking with abeeway

These do not only guide them in ensuring that they are able to tackle the growing global demand but also guarantee livestock productivity and security as herd sizes increase. IoT is one of the main players in enhancing ranch efficiency and productivity through reducing manual work and providing devices and platforms for better farm management.

In New Mexico, the dairy and beef industry make up the highest food-related cash receipts. But livestock businesses can face a lot of risks especially when it comes to tracking the overall state of cattle. For this reason, ranch owners recognize the need to implement effective monitoring of their herd and protect them from unanticipated events, such as theft, sickness, and malnutrition.

The explosion of innovation across tech industries presents endless opportunities for sectors, like the cattle industry, to address their problems.  One solution that people in this field turn to is using connected devices. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how New Mexico State University (NMSU) and USDA ARS Jornada Experimental Range (USDA ARS JER) are helping ranchers solve and prevent problems in cattle tracking using Abeeway’s IoT tracking devices  and Actility’s LoRaWAN connectivity.

‘The struggle is real’

Ensuring close cattle tracking is a challenge for most ranchers as a sizeable amount of cows roam in vast areas, especially when the feeding style is free range.

In Southwestern America, ranches house up to 7,000 cows and span for about 10,000 to 20,000 hectares. Some of them even cover up to 90,000 hectares of land. For this reason, it is quite difficult to not only pinpoint the location of their cattle, but also knowing the state of their health and water supply.

The distance is so wide that sometimes cars cannot access them which is why ranchers resort to riding horses to check on the cattle. At the same time, they must spend a lot of time doing so because it can take them half a day searching for the herd in wide areas. Additionally, they need to regularly check the drinking water levels in the dedicated water tanks for the cows since a huge part of Southwestern ranches are deserts.

This prevents them from dehydration leading to health complications. Moreover, they also have to monitor rainfall levels in order to monitor grass growth in ranch areas.

cattle tracking abeeway screenshot
cattle tracking and monitoring screenshot

Initial Steps

With these challenges in mind, New Mexico State University and USDA ARS Jornada Experimental Range decided to create a Smart Ranch System to address the issues. Specifically, they are searching for a complete off-the-shelf solution especially built for ranchers, which includes LoRaWAN-based cattle tracking, water level sensors with automated water stations, temperature sensors, gateways and network management, a dashboard, and beta-test funding. On top of this, they intend to implement data analytics for them to analyze cattle behaviour and ranch space usage. They will also use the data they will gather for their research in understanding animal behaviour and the usage of ranch land.

Case in point, they want to provide ranchers the accessibility to a complete-packaged solution to manage their ranches and reap the benefits.

NMSU and USDA ARS JER primarily piloted a research and development project for cattle monitoring on a ranch that they own. They have been using classic GPS devices to monitor the herd for 15 years for research purposes. The problem that they faced was their inability to see the location of the animals in real-time caused by a lack of cellular range. Nevertheless, these trackers stored movement data which they manually checked after some time.

Since they were not satisfied with this solution, especially with the work-around that they had to do, they experimented with different devices and packages. They needed a tool that exhibited a battery life of at least 6 or 7 months, ideally a year, and offered excellent location precision at 1 to 5 meters. This system that they are trying to put in place now is not just for research but for ranch management purposes as well.

The LoRaWAN Cattle Tracking Solution

From what started as a research and development project for cattle tracking and monitoring, NMSU and USDA ARS JER decided to test the Abeeway Low Power Location Trial Package on a ranch that belongs to them. Just recently, they eventually received a government grant that will enable them to implement the system in commercial ranches in the next 5 years. Due to its long-range, wide area nature, LoRaWAN was the obvious connectivity choice for this project.

NMSU and USDA ARS JER determined Abeeway as the most suitable solution out of the devices and packages that they have tried because it did not just provide trackers and the capabilities that they were looking for. It also supplied the LoRaWAN coverage that they needed. 

cattle tracking device abeeway
lorawan gateway

Also, because the coasts are where most LoRa public capabilities are in the US, there was a need for private network deployments in the mid-west ranches. Among all the solutions that they tried, Abeeway, coupled with Actility’s gateway and ThingPark platform, offered the most competitive price.

Using the Abeeway Geo-location Solution with Actility LoRaWAN connectivity delivered several benefits for New Mexico State University and USDA ARS Jornada Experimental Range.

First, they can now perform real-time cattle tracking, which means time saved from having to manually track and monitor the animals. There is also high GPS location precision, which allowed them to better support and facilitate remote ranch operations. Additionally, ranchers can better protect the overall wellbeing of their cattle with effective water level monitoring. Abeeway’s geofencing feature will also help reduce the risk of theft or losing the animals as it shows them when cows are going in or out a specific area. 

Finally, the solution’s ability to store and transmit information, such as temperature and accelerometer data, provides them with valuable resources that they need for their research.

‘Hope is not lost in the desert’

Operating desert ranches can be quite challenging given the climate and the wide distance that it covers. This is why it is essential for cattle ranchers to take advantage of available technologies to help them in their operations (and avoid missed steaks).

One of the best ways to do it is through integrating IoT devices and platforms in their work and that is exactly what New Mexico State University and USDA ARS Jornada Experimental Range did. Their move to adopt LoRaWAN cattle tracking in large-scale livestock farming will not only improve efficiencies in day-to-day tasks. But, they will also be able to secure the welfare of their animals, reducing health risks and avoiding cattle loss and theft.

Using sensors, combined with LoRaWAN technology, can open a wide range of possibilities not only for ranches but also for other agricultural sectors. Through connected cows and ranches, challenges are not as difficult to surpass – even in the scorching desert heat. 

Level up your ranch with ThingPark and Abeeway.

Contact us today to discover our intelligent solutions for your farm.

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LoRaWAN: The Key to Cost-Efficient Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

digital transformation in manufacturing featured image

THE ACTILITY BLOG

LoRaWAN: The Key to Cost-Efficient Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

July 18, 2019 | written by ALAYKKA FOWLER

Digital transformation is more than just buzzwords these days. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) taking over, different industries have been either preparing for it or are already implementing it throughout organizations. One of these industries is manufacturing. Digital transformation in manufacturing is essential in optimizing processes, providing safer workspaces, and gaining higher consistency.

digital-transformation-in-manufacturing

Technology has always been constant in the world of manufacturing where peak efficiency and productivity are essential. As industry demands become more complex and sophisticated, it requires greater levels of interconnectedness and data analysis. IoT devices such as sensors and trackers combined with secure and reliable large-scale connectivity are ideal tools to achieve these.

Large manufacturing firms, particularly, have been using these in their operations and this usage will continue to grow. In fact, according to IDC research, 75% of big manufacturing companies will integrate IoT and business intelligence in their operations and business models this year.

As massive device deployments happen, it is crucial to have dependable devices and network connectivity in place. However, implementing this is easier said than done.

Challenges in IoT Connectivity

Using legacy systems, wired connections, and ageing machines within their operations is the common practice of manufacturing firms. Because of this, they can face the high costs and complications of conducting modifications to accommodate IoT devices and connectivity on machinery and equipment and updating systems. Specifically, the challenges that these firms usually face are the following:

  • Modifying machinery and equipment voids manufacturing warranties
  • Replacing machines requires huge capital investments
  • Implementing wireless connectivity may lead to security issues
  • Skills shortage in the ability to develop, implement, and maintain IoT deployment
  • Reconciling widely fragmented actors in the IoT industry in general to partner with the right hardware and software vendors
digital transformation in manufacturing 2

Stages in IoT Data Usage

When adapting IoT-based digital transformation in manufacturing, companies undergo different stages in data usage. Successfully going through these stages will enable companies to overcome these challenges.

stages in iot data usage digital transformation

The first stage is simply going about the day-to-day operations without necessarily collecting data. This goes for smaller firms that have the capacity to do manual checks and monitoring of their plant and equipment. As they further scale, they then recognize the need to collect data, integrate these in their local system and MES (Manufacturing Execution System), known as operational technology (OT), and implement basic actions through automation. This is the stage where they utilize connected devices, like sensors, to gather information from machines and equipment and determine points where there are irregularities.

However, OT devices only run on programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and exclusive proprietary protocols. On the other hand, information technology (IT) at this point focuses on processing information, communications technologies, and enterprise applications, not necessarily linking with OT because organizations consider them having completely separate functions. Meanwhile, through time, the company grows to a larger level resulting to more accumulated data that becomes more valuable to central operations.

With IoT, it is now possible to collect data from the plant, equipment, and machinery, and transfer this information into the central system. This is what we call IT/OT convergence – the last stage in IoT data usage. However, with the nature of large-scale manufacturing firms covering vast, remote areas and being made of dense structures, connectivity should be reliable and secure.

This is where LoRaWAN comes in. It has a large ecosystem of industrial-grade sensors or bridges from legacy tech-to-LoRaWAN, such as Modbus, making the upgrade of existing sensor infrastructure easy and cost-effective. Its ability to centralize data – migrating data from individual plants (OT systems) to central systems, like ERP – combined with its long-range, low-cost, secure, and penetrative characteristics makes it the ideal means to facilitate easy and efficient digital transformation.

How LoRaWAN efficiently carries out digital transformation in manufacturing and other industries

LoRaWAN-equipped smart sensors and low-energy connectivity increase operational efficiencies of manufacturing industries through enabling automation, asset management, analytics, quality management, and predictive maintenance. Due to this, various industries in manufacturing, such as factories, airports, railways, automotive, oil, gas, and mining, and construction have applied these intelligent sensors and connectivity across their organizations.

Here are some examples of how LoRaWAN has facilitated digital transformation in manufacturing and will be optimizing its industries with easy, low-cost deployment:

  1. Reduction of energy consumption in a cement factory

The cement sector is one of the most energy-intensive industries globally. In fact, it is responsible for approximately 5% of world carbon emissions. For this reason, cement manufacturing companies these days are either searching for or shifting to solutions that would enable them to lessen energy usage.

For example, Salonit Ahnovo, the largest cement manufacturing factory in Slovenia, possesses a strong environmental regulation compliance strategy which is why they committed to optimizing and reducing energy consumption. With this, the company opted to implement a LoRaWAN-based energy management system due to its wireless, long-range features. 

digital-transformation-in-manufacturing-factory

As a result, they were able to automatically collect energy data through Gemalogic EMS and now has a better view and monitoring of its energy efficiency performance, which is a first step in their goal to reduce energy consumption.

2. Reliable data collection and analysis on fuel consumption

Monitoring and managing oil consumption in manufacturing industries can be a big challenge especially when it comes to cost-efficiency. Usually due to inadequate fuel demand management, these companies can face a whopping 70% spike in oil expenses. This ineffectively anticipated and managed demand may lead to negative environmental impacts as well as impractical expenditures.

digital-transformation-in-manufacturing-fuel-tanks

To address this, FULLUP, a Belgian company that produces sensors for fuel tanks, developed a device which allows users to gather essential data from their fuel tanks. Because some tanks are situated underground or in basements, the company used LoRaWAN connectivity to ensure continuity of data collection

Its range of up to 15km, coupled with 10+ years of battery life, makes it suitable for the non-powered majority of fuel tanks. With this, it becomes more possible for large manufacturing companies to effectively collect data on their oil consumption and in turn, use these to better manage it and cut fuel costs in the long term.

Digital transformation in manufacturing does not mean having to replace equipment and systems with more expensive, sophisticated ones. Finding the right devices, paired with the suited connectivity and platform, is a significant first step in digitizing and optimizing operations at low costs. LoRaWAN connectivity platforms, such as Actility’s ThingPark products, provides fitting solutions to digital transformation needs of this industry.

Optimize your costs and operations with ThingPark.

Contact us today to discover how you can digitally transform your manufacturing company.

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How LoRaWAN powers up smart cities of tomorrow today

featured image caldas da rainha

THE ACTILITY BLOG

How LoRaWAN powers up smart cities of tomorrow today

July 4, 2019 | written by ALAYKKA FOWLER

Gone were the days when “smart cities” only existed in films and stories.

smart cities with lorawan connectivity

Today, cities all over the world feel the immense pressure to transform into the cities of tomorrow and for sound reasons. City planning and construction affect the way everything around it operates, including their citizens’ way and quality of life. As resources become scarcer and facilities outdated, governments globally are taking different measures to address these issues and adjust to evolving demands.

Now, cities are leaning more towards a data-centric approach to solve various issues. Moreover, this is also to improve services and living environment for their citizens. For this reason, more of them are installing connected devices where data is crucial, e.g. parking spaces, trash bins, and utility systems. However, the challenge lies within having the right type of connectivity for optimum data gathering and service delivery as one type varies from another.

 

LoRaWAN for smart cities

When it comes to digitally transforming cities, the usual LTE or WiFi connectivity alone is not enough. In fact, there is a rising problem in the limited data spectrum that the world has today as urban areas become densely populated. This increasing strain on networks and network signals’ difficulty in penetrating enclosed structures and underground areas is a major obstacle in developing connected cities.

Additionally, for massively deployed sensors to work, the network they should be running on has to be dependable, secure, and sustainable in the long run. Unfortunately, this can mean having to face extremely high costs. However, where there are problems, there will always be solutions.

Thanks to LoRaWAN connectivity, cities can now address these challenges.

When the smart devices of cities operate on LoRaWAN, connectivity is reliable and requires low investment costs. This type of connectivity is ideal for facilities that do not involve large packets of data, like water and electricity meters and public transportation. 

actility smart cities

What’s even more interesting is its ability to penetrate densely enclosed places, such as concrete buildings and underground areas. This is something that most mobile data connections cannot do alone (and if they can, it can be really costly).

LoRaWAN is ideal for cities because it is a horizontal, open standard-based platform that does not require individually implementing multiple proprietary technologies. This means that it can accommodate all kinds of vertical use cases, whether it’s water, energy, or street lighting, without needing to deploy numerous infrastructures that are specific for each one. As a result, cities do not have to invest in different silo-based infrastructures achieving significant cost savings and efficient service delivery at the same time.

As the years go by, more cities are turning to LoRaWAN-based solutions either as an initial layer to their digital transformation projects or to complement their already existing internet connectivity.

Caldas da Rainha: Making Queen Leonor Proud

From what started off as Queen Leonor’s thermal town in the 15th century, the city of Caldas da Rainha in Portugal has understood what it means to be a city of the future.

With its recent deployment of Cisco’s LoRa technology solutions powered by Actility’s ThingPark Enterprise, the city now has a better view of their water, waste management, parking, and traffic flow systems. Because of this, Caldas da Rainha can manage their different public infrastructures and facilities better. Consequently, this allows them to monitor the health and performance of these facilities and perform appropriate actions to resolve any issues that they find making them a truly intelligent city.

Installing sensors in the different areas of the city allows Caldas da Rainha to generate and gather real-time data which they transmit over the Actility and Cisco LoRaWAN infrastructure. Afterwards, the command and supervision center will receive these pieces of information on the various applications that they use. For example, through their water facility sensors, they were able to detect leaks in the system which they promptly addressed. On the other hand, the connected devices enabled them to manage the parking and traffic flow of their bus system and run garbage collection more effectively.

By equipping themselves with the right technology and enabling themselves to carry out informed actions, Caldas da Rainha can better protect its investments for its people. At the same time, they can also maximize the benefits that they will get out of these. These will ultimately allow them to serve and take care of their citizens better.

LoRaWAN is of the essence

In this connected world, having the right type of connectivity is crucial to ensure high quality data collection and service rendering. For smart cities, connections need to be complementary. As high-speed mobile connections address the needs of individual consumers, macro-level stakeholders, such as industrial companies and the government should take advantage of LoRaWAN in their operations and services.

Leveraging on LoRaWAN connectivity is an essential layer to developing smart cities. As a low-cost, long-range, highly pervasive, and sustainable solution, LoRaWAN is definitely one of the keys to unlock the potentials of intelligent cities.

Make your city smarter with ThingPark.

Contact us today to discover our intelligent solutions for your city.

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LoRa Alliance All Members Meeting 2019: Celebrating Milestones and Showcasing LoRaWAN Roaming

LoRa Alliance AMM Actility banner

THE ACTILITY BLOG

LoRa Alliance All Members Meeting 2019: Celebrating Milestones and Showcasing LoRaWAN Roaming

July 3, 2019 | written by GABOR POP

On June 11 to 14, the LoRa Alliance held its most important annual All Members Meeting event in Berlin. As always, it was a great opportunity to meet, discuss, and network with one of the largest tech ecosystems in the world. 

LoRa Alliance AMM Actility banner

This year, the Alliance achieved some incredible milestones that strongly contributed to position the LoRaWAN technology as one of de facto technologies of the IoT Market:

(1) Surpassing 100 LoRaWAN operators across more than 140 countries

Discover the latest deployments in this publication.

(2) Finalization of the LoRaWAN pre-testing tool which allows fast-tracking of certification processes

Per usual, the event took place following two parts. It dedicated the first two days to committee works: technical, marketing, and certification. The technical committee focused on finalizing the 1.0.4 version of the LoRaWAN standard. Meanwhile, the marketing committee developed a new marketing strategy based on a vertical approach of the IoT market. It was great to see the interest, involvement, and hard work from committee members. 

Moreover, the event  highlighted the live open house event on the third and last day. This was where LoRa Alliance members and participants were able to showcase their products and solutions and meet visitors. 

Finally, the Open House welcomed 500+ people and featured a mix of business and technical tracks. Additionally, more than 30 members of the LoRaWAN ecosystem also showcased their latest products and solutions during the event.

Talks from the experts and LoRa Alliance recognition

Actility and its partners presented an impressive line-up of speakers in both tracks.

Raphael Apfeldorfer talks about Actility-Idemia partnership for large scale device activation at the LoRa Alliance AMM 2019
Alper Yegin talks about Actility's ThingPark Exchange roaming hub at the LoRa Alliance AMM 2019

Raphael Apfeldorfer (left), Advanced Technology Director at Actility, gave a presentation about the Actility-Idemia partnership for large-scale device activation. Meanwhile, Alper Yegin (right), Director of Standards and Advanced Technology Development, gave a talk about how Actility is enabling roaming through the ThingPark Exchange peering hub. On the other hand, Birdz Veolia explained how they are deploying 3 million LoRaWAN water meters in France, based on an Actility-supplied network. Schneider Electric also presented their brand new connected electric panel that they are selling in multiple countries using the ThingPark Exchange roaming platform. 

LoRa Alliance awards Alper Yegin Lifetime Achievement Award

On another note, the LoRa Alliance presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Alper Yegin at the at the event. This was to recognize his valuable contributions to the LoRaWAN standard and the LoRa Alliance’s growth and activities over the past years. In relation to this, LoRa Alliance CEO and Chairperson, Donna Moore, said that 2019 is the strongest year on record due to the rapid growth of mass deployments with LoRaWAN networks having been established in over 140 countries worldwide. 

 

In the spotlight: LoRaWAN roaming and a neutral hub

Although the event addressed many different topics, the key highlight was roaming. With network providers implementing the LoRaWAN Backend Interface, more and more operators are establishing roaming agreements, whether it’s point-to-point or through a roaming hub.

The Actility ThingPark Exchange roaming hub, specifically, has achieved a critical volume of operators, with more than seven large European operators already onboarded. Currently, they are serving solution providers who will deploy LoRaWAN products in a multi-country environment.

Because the Actility roaming hub supports the latest Back End interface standard, it is automatically compatible with any LoRaWAN network server (even if they are not powered by Actility) and operator, making it the first truly neutral and live LoRaWAN roaming hub on the market.

“The first truly neutral and live LoRaWAN roaming hub on the market, already serving multi-country clients.”

With this in mind, Actility had the pleasure to host two exceptional partners in its booth – Schneider Electric and Idemia.

LoRa Alliance AMM Actility Booth

Schneider Electric demonstrated its brand-new Electric Panel of the Future, which they are selling in several countries leveraging the roaming hub. On the other hand, Idemia exhibited its full integration with the Actility ThingPark Activation service, which provides secure service activation and over-the-air personalization of LoRaWAN sensors.

Meanwhile, another Actility strategic partner, ST Microelectronics, showcased its implementation of firmware-over-the-air update using Actility ThingPark FUOTA. In the coming months, any device based on STM32 will be able to benefit from this feature. This solution leverages difference-based update for 10x compression.

For Actility, it was definitely an incredible event that highlighted the significant growth of the ecosystem and provided a good avenue to meet with existing clients and future partners. Looking at this, LoRaWAN is clearly scaling voluminously with its business rising in all regions, as the recent announcement from Clickey also proved. 

The next  LoRa Alliance All Members Meeting will take place in New Delhi, India mid-October 2020. We hope to see you there!

Expand your business horizons with ThingPark Exchange.

Contact us today to discover our IoT roaming solutions for your

global business.

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Adrien Doré launches BPI France Energy conference

Actility Energy speech with Adrien Doré speaker

The Actility Blog

Adrien Doré launches BPI France Energy conference

Adrien Doré, France Manager at Actility Energy, was pleased to introduce the 20th TOTEM event organized by the Hub BPI France and the French Electricity Union (UFE) with an opening speech on « The Digital: game changer of the energy transition? »

In his speech, Adrien spoke about the role of new technologies and especially of digital in the energy sector, explaining the concept of the « Digital Twin » as a key element in the energy transition. Many changes such as emerging renewables energies and new electric uses in our consumption result in a more complex energy sector. It is necessary to modelize the many data changes involved in a digital twin to quickly determine the optimal flexibility solutions.

Actility, an innovative leader thanks to its forward-looking DNA, develops « Digital Twins » of the French electric network to foster flexibility solutions while ensuring the security of energy supply.

You can find Adrien’s full speech (in French) by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_Gyc4UB0D0

Adrien Doré lance le 20ème TOTEM

Adrien Doré, directeur France d’Actility Energy, a eu le plaisir de lancer le 20ème TOTEM organisé par le Hub BPI France et L’union Française de l’Electricité avec un discours d’ouverture sur « le Digital : game changer de la transition énergétique ? ».

Lors de son intervention, Adrien Doré a pu particulièrement introduire le rôle des nouvelles technologies et du digital en particulier dans le secteur de l’énergie en expliquant le concept de « Digital Twin » et de son rôle déterminant dans la transition énergétique. Les changements induits par l’émergence des énergies renouvelables et de nouveaux usages dans notre consommation d’électricité complexifient le secteur de l’énergie. Or il est nécessaire de modéliser ces multiples données du monde réel dans un jumeau virtuel pour déterminer rapidement de nouvelles solutions de flexibilité optimales.

Actility, leader de l’innovation grâce à son ADN prospectif, développe des « Digital Twin » du réseau électrique français pour favoriser les solutions de flexibilité tout en assurant la sécurité d’approvisionnement.

Vous pouvez retrouver l’intégralité de la présentation d’Adrien Doré à cet événement en cliquant sur le lien suivant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_Gyc4UB0D0

What challenges will the energy sector face in 2019? Here’s our CEO Olivier Hersent’s vision

2019 Actility Energy greeting cards

The Actility Blog

What challenges will the energy sector face in 2019? Here’s our CEO Olivier Hersent’s vision

2019 Actility Energy greeting cards

2018 has been, for Actility and the world of energy, a pivotal year. It is now clear for everyone that the question is not whether our energy mix evolves towards 100% renewables, but how fast. The question is no longer whether automobiles will be 100% electric, but whether hydrogen will have a small share of it one day. Oil Majors publicly announce that their investments are shifted toward electricity, and banks state that they will no longer finance oil prospecting. The very notion of a “ceiling” for the share of renewables in the energy mix is a thing of the past.

In the context of such a positive paradigm shift of our economy, we can be proud of our contribution in Europe, pitch after pitch to the most doubtful interlocutors demonstrating that digital would allow to aggregate and control hidden flexibility of consumers, and over the long term solve the fundamental issues of balancing and securing our grid. Beyond theories, we have, project after project and with each regulation change, landed these ideas in the real world in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and now Italy.

…Until today, when “brick and mortar” players like Auchan or Orange clearly articulate that the future of their energy optimization will rely on real-time control of the load curve of their sites. They have chosen Actility, as well as many other partners – generator or thermostat manufacturers, energy maintenance companies – who think of Actility as their partner to evolve their energy management towards full digital.

In this context, our priority and main challenge is to focus our efforts towards industrialization and management of an increasing number of projects: our information system needs to become exhaustive, eliminating random files on hard disks, our supervision system must become pro-active and raise alarms before any issue actually impacts operations, our customer relations must increasingly rely on digital online tools.

We have made great progress through 2018, we need to be fully ready in 2019.

Happy new year to all.
Olivier

2019, quels challenges pour le secteur de l’énergie ? La vision du président Olivier Hersent

2018 aura été, pour Actility et pour le monde de l’énergie, une année pivot. Il est désormais clair pour tous les acteurs que la question n’est plus de savoir si nous évoluons vers un monde électrique 100% renouvelable, mais à quelle vitesse. Il n’est plus question de savoir si l’automobile de demain sera 100% électrique, mais seulement si l’hydrogène aura une petite part un jour. Les acteurs du pétrole annoncent publiquement réorienter tout leur développement vers l’électrique, et les banques qu’elles ne financent plus les prospections pétrolières. La notion du “plafond” supposé de la part du renouvelable dans le mix énergétique est maintenant un concept du passé.

Dans cette évolution très positive de notre environnement économique, nous pouvons je crois être fiers d’avoir joué un petit rôle en Europe en démontrant inlassablement aux interlocuteurs les plus dubitatifs que le numérique, en permettant d’exprimer et mettre à disposition les flexibilités latentes des consommateurs, pouvait résoudre le problème fondamental d’équilibrage et de sécurisation des réseaux sur le long terme. Au delà des démonstrations théoriques, nous avons aussi, projet après projet, évolution réglementaire après évolution réglementaire, fait atterrir dans la réalité ces idées en France, en Belgique, en Hollande et maintenant en Italie.

…Jusqu’à aujourd’hui, où il est clair pour des acteurs aussi “brick and mortar” que Auchan ou Orange que l’avenir de leur optimisation énergétique passe par le contrôle temps réel de la consommation de leurs installations. Ils ont choisi Actility, de même que de nombreux partenaires, fabricants de générateurs, de thermostats, gestionnaires d’installations, qui viennent désormais nous voir pour devenir leur partenaire dans cette évolution vers le pilotage digital des consommations.

Dans ce contexte, la priorité et le principal challenge, pour nous, est d’orienter nos efforts vers l’industrialisation et l’augmentation du nombre des projets: le système d’information doit viser à l’exhaustivité et l’élimination des fichiers qui traînent ça et là dans nos disques durs, la supervision de nos installations doit devenir pro-active et nous indiquer les pannes avant qu’elles n’aient un impact, notre relation client doit devenir elle aussi de plus en plus “digitale”.

Nous avons fait de grands progrès en 2018, nous devons être totalement prêts en 2019.

Très bonne année à tous.
Olivier

Cedric presents at the French Electricity Union (UFE) annual conference

UFE logo

The Actility Blog

Cedric presents at the French Electricity Union (UFE) annual conference

UFE logo

Thursday, November 29th, at the annual conference of the French Electricity Union (UFE), Cedric de Jonghe, Europe Manager, was honored to be invited to introduce Actility Energy during a round table on the topic of transformation and cooperation in the energy sector.

Actility, a flexibility aggregator for 8 years, has developed suitable flexibility solutions to enable its partners to participate in all services keeping the electric network balance. Thanks to these collaborations, custom technical and operational innovations are being brought, like Actility’s joint effort with the operator Orange: Actility has invested into the telecommunication network’s security batteries, which were until now only expensive assets, to turn them into flexibility and profitable assets, maintaining their original use and function.

Cedric mentioned the importance of cross innovation. As an innovative scale up, Actility Energy partners with companies in the water industry like Veolia to apply Data analytics and valuation expertise. Also, in the domain of Blockchain, Cedric emphasized the cutting edge project with the Belgian grid operator Elia.

Cedric présente au colloque annuel de l’UFE

Jeudi 29 novembre, au colloque annuel de L’Union Française de l’Electricité, Cedric De Jonghe, directeur Europe, a eu l’honneur d’être invité à présenter Actility Energy lors d’une table ronde organisée sur la thématique des transformations et de la coopération dans le secteur de l’énergie.

Actility, agrégateur de flexibilité depuis 8 ans, développe des solutions de flexibilité adaptées pour permettre à ses partenaires de participer à l’ensemble des services d’équilibre du réseau électrique. De ces collaborations naissent des innovations technologiques et opérationnelles réalisées sur-mesure, tel le partenariat avec l’opérateur Orange : Actility a su investir dans les batteries de sécurité du réseau de télécommunication, qui étaient jusqu’alors des actifs coûteux, pour les transformer en actifs de flexibilité rémunérateurs tout en maintenant leur utilité et fonction originelle.

Cedric a également souligné l’importance des innovations transverses. En tant qu’impulseur d’innovations de grande envergure, Actility Energy a entrepris de collaborer avec des compagnies du secteur de l’eau telle Veolia en lui proposant son expertise en analyse et évaluation de données. De même, dans le domaine de la blockchain, Cedric a évoqué les projets d’avant-garde entrepris avec le gestionnaire de réseaux belge Elia.

VPK monetizes energy flexibility thanks to Demand Response services

VPK monetizes energy flexibility thanks to Demand Response services
VPK monetizes energy flexibility thanks to Demand Response services

VPK monetizes energy flexibility thanks to Demand Response services

​Since 2019, Actility Energy has become Flexcity, part of the Veolia group.

Through a transparent partnership with Actility, VPK Paper can further improve the economical efficiency of the investment in its gas turbine

Johan Dhaese, Group Energy & Environment Manager

VPK monetizes energy flexibility thanks to Demand Response services
1935
packaging group

VPK monetizes energy flexibility thanks to Demand Response services
Dendermonde
VKP Paper mill in Belgium

VPK monetizes energy flexibility thanks to Demand Response services
890,000 tons
paper production

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

Reduce the energy bill for heavy industry processes

VPK Packaging Group is a pioneering Western European packaging company. Since 1935, it has been producing protective cardboard packaging for logistics. Its two paper mills in Belgium and France produce 900,000 tons of paper each year, exclusively made from 100% recycled paper.

Since 2015, Actility and VPK Paper, the Belgian packaging paper mill, have partnered to add flexibility to the energy management strategy of VPK. Paper production is an energy-intensive industry. Indeed, producing paper involves heavy electrical machinery and large amounts of steam and heat… which result in substantial electricity bills!

As a heavy industrial in Europe, VPK Group has to comply with stringent energy management constraints on Demand Response services. In-depth process optimization, use of efficient, state-of-the-art technologies, renewable energy and cogeneration of power and heat are key elements of this strategy. Using Actility’s Demand Response (DR) services, VPK Paper has been valorizing its power on reserve markets for two years now and is now looking for new processes to monetize.

SOLUTION

Implementing Demand Response in the cogeneration process

Leveraging its expertise in industrial process monetization on Demand Response services, Actility studied VPK Paper’s machinery as well as the Belgian mill’s technical constraints to secure the paper production. It became clear that cogeneration of power and heat using a combined heat and power plant (CHP) was the best process to monetize. 

‘Elementary’… As Mr. Holmes would have said! The CHPs on-site act as the beating heart of the site, running continuously at full load day and night, while providing both electricity and heat for the various processes on the production site.  

In addition to producing energy, the gas turbine CHP can be used to support the electrical grid by reacting to frequency deviations within a few seconds, major power plant outages or unexpected consumption peaks.  Furthermore, some paper machines can be stopped to reduce the stress on the electricity grid when planned in advance.

“Together with VPK Paper, we identified two revenue streams, with frequency containment reserves (Primary Reserve or R1) as an ideal method to generate additional revenues with the CHP and Capacity management reserves for the less reactive paper machines”, comments Arnout Aertgeerts, Energy Portfolio Manager at Actility.

The Belgian utility Elia requires the R1 DR service to control and contain the frequency of the European electricity grid. Using Actility’s advanced DR services, the CHP is equipped with a smart control device, the Actility box.

Actility worked closely with VPK Paper as well as the supplier of the CHP to securely connect the generator to the box. Based on frequency measurement, this device modulates the CHP’s power output only when necessary, severely limiting the impact on the CHP as well as on the paper production. This Actility box runs a local algorithm to deliver the R1 service in a continuous, automatic and decentralized way since the service requires an immediate response to frequency deviations.

BENEFITS

Leveraging the flexibility of a CHP on primary reserve

“Thanks to our partnership with Actility and our CHP supplier, we deliver the R1 service fully automated without any need for intervention from our site operators. ”–

Johan Dhaese, Group Energy & Environment Manager VPK Packaging Group

The benefits of implementing this new DR service with Actility are:

  • Easy, secured and seamless set-up of the Actility box on-site.And no upfront investment needed! The box automatically builds a secure VPN access towards Actility with two majors benefits for VPK’s IT teams: no need for their intervention and no unnecessary network risk due to Ethernet points opening.
  • Generate revenues on some of the most gainful DR services in Europe
  • Contribute to electricity grid balancing security supply and security of the electricity grid, which results in a cut in Co2 emissions.

“VPK Paper has been able to deliver R1 perfectly, providing a top-notch service to Actility and Elia.” Johan Dhaese, Group Energy & Environment Manager VPK Packaging Group.

Discover how you could monetize your energy flexibility with Demand Response services!

RESOURCES

Watch how you can harness the power of smart grids to optimize your energy management here

Actility’s night at the museum

Actility Operator Forum

The Actility Blog

Actility’s night at the museum

Actility Operator Forum

The first Actility Operator Forum in Paris on the 29th and 30th of November 2018 saw over 50 global network operators and 100 customers or partners join Actility, at the invitation of CEO and Founder Olivier Hersent, to celebrate the growth of the ThingPark LoRaWAN® ecosystem and to share success stories, feedback, and best practice.

As a global leader in LoRaWAN solutions and a founding member of the LoRa Alliance(&#x2122;), the Actility team and our partners have a lot to celebrate as LPWA technology is adopted globally at an ever-increasing rate. 

After a day hearing about the best in IoT technology, the maturity of LoRaWAN, and operators’ readiness for multi-country roaming, we wanted to share with our guests the very best our home city of Paris had to offer, and where better than with a very special private after-hours tour of the Louvre?

With almost 7000 square meters of gallery space displaying tens of thousands of history’s greatest artworks and antiquities, the Louvre is the largest museum in the world, and with over eight million visitors per year, it’s also one of the most popular. Want to avoid having to rub shoulders with thousands of people while you’re enjoying this global treasure-house? You should have come to Actility sooner!

Our tour guide explained that the Louvre is home to more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments. For our tour, she selected the most captivating rooms and most notable works of art like the Mona Lisa, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, the Coronation of Napoleon, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo.

With no one else around, we had the time and space to thoroughly admire the stunning building and interiors with their echoing hallways, multicolored marble floors, elaborate plaster moldings, sweeping staircases, and above our heads, the spectacularly painted ceilings.

The Louvre is vast, and every square meter above, around and underfoot is beautiful! There are entire wings dedicated to decorative arts, French paintings, Italian masterpieces, and more, and we had the pleasure of touring a “greatest hits” selection thanks to Actility and the inaugural Actility Operator Forum.

The tour was followed by a reception in The Café Richelieu in the Mollien Pavilion, close to Napoleon’s former apartments. From the first-floor terrace, guests could take in the views of the Eiffel Tower, Le Cour Napoleon, and the Louvre pyramids while sipping champagne and feasting on Chef’s finest canapés.

The evening, and the entire Actility Operator Forum, were a huge success, with nothing but enthusiastic responses from our guests! The only problem is how on earth do we provide an even more memorable experience for our customers and partners next year? The bar has truly been set high. 

Actility’s IoT geolocation helps to protect workers and assets

lorawan for IoT connectivity network in underground train tunnels

The Actility Blog

Actility’s IoT geolocation helps to protect workers and assets

lorawan for IoT connectivity network in underground train tunnels

An IoT connectivity network has been installed in the tunnels of a commuter transit line in France to help monitor and protect the safety of workers and to track tools and assets below ground. Our client selected a LoRaWAN network powered by Actility’s ThingPark Enterprise connectivity platform to provide the underground IoT geolocation connectivity required. This, in turn, allowed the operation to run smoothly and to the required timeline.

An evaluation of a low-power consumption LoRaWAN communication network for connected objects was set up during several tunnel maintenance and upgrade projects. The positive results of these tests led to the decision to deploy a complete industrial and scalable solution in the underground tunnels between two stations on the line.

This deployment allowed the clients’ engineers to explore the applications of IoT in a transit environment. At the time, the train lines were closed to normal traffic between several stations to renew all the ballasts which support the rail tracks. The intensive project required approximately 400 people working non-stop on 12km of tracks for several weeks.

To ensure the security of workers located in dangerous zones, working in or near machinery and to be certain that no-one remained in dangerous zones during prohibited times, almost 250 LoRaWAN tags were deployed to map and secure hazardous areas, and a hundred tracking sensors were placed on objects or people for real-time geolocation.

LoRaWAN provides low power connectivity to devices in underground or remote indoor locations where access to regular 3G or 4G networks and electricity is extremely limited or even impossible, especially along the stretches of train tracks. To take LoRaWAN underground through the stations and along the tracks, multiple gateways and antennae are positioned to enable the penetration of the network, and the tracking sensors and tags then communicate through them.

Following the success of the underground IoT geolocation trial, which clearly demonstrated the value of the IoT in managing a large-scale underground project efficiently and safely, the client opted to deploy LoRaWAN technology more widely, selecting an industrial solution powered by Actility’s ThingPark Enterprise network connectivity management platform.

Actility’s ThingPark platform is already deployed in around 40 global, national or largescale LPWAN projects around the world. The ThingPark platform supports the major IoT connectivity standards: LoRaWAN, LTE-M and NBIoT.

LoRa Alliance Members Meeting in Tokyo

LoRa Alliance Members Meeting in Tokyo by Alper Yegin

The Actility Blog

LoRa Alliance Members Meeting in Tokyo

LoRa Alliance Members Meeting in Tokyo by Alper Yegin

Here are a few highlights from our recent LoRa Alliance Members Meeting that was held in Tokyo…

Our 2-day Technical Committee meeting was packed with people (nearly 60!) and an overflowing agenda.

Basic building blocks of FUOTA (Firmware Update Over-The-Air) feature, namely multicast setup, fragmentation, and application-layer clock synchronization specifications, are now published. These specs can be freely downloaded from Resource Hub. Collection of these specs enable efficient, reliable, and secure distribution of large (kilobytes of) files to a group of end-devices over LoRaWAN networks.

Another noteworthy development was the initiation of DLMS and Wireless M-Bus application stack adaptation work. Much like what we did for Zigbee Cluster Library, profiling and compressing these popular app-stacks to be used over LoRaWAN brings the benefit of both the app and connectivity ecosystems together. The next app-stack we are eyeing is the OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol) which connects EV (Electric Vehicle) chargers to the cloud.

One of the challenges of IoT is the device lifecycle management, with its most basic need: introducing a new device to the provisioning system by its identifiers and attributes. Performing that operation in a reliable, secure, and scalable way is more challenging than it appears. In order to streamline that process, the Technical Committee is embarking on defining a QR code format that any device manufacturer can safely use against any provisioning system.

Regional Parameters TG continued expanding its coverage by introducing new countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Also a change in leadership: Nicolas Sornin, who has been co-chairing the Technical Committee since its inception has stepped down, and is now replaced by Thorsten Kramp. The Technical Committee is grateful to the valuable contributions and leadership of Nicolas, and now welcomes Thorsten, another co-author of the original LoRaWAN specification, to his new role.

It was a pleasure delivering an introductory talk on LoRaWAN security, addressing how we use strong cryptography to protect LoRaWAN networks against unauthorized use, spoofing, alterations of in-flight frames, and snooping.

As always, we in Actility were very active across the board contributing to all aspects of the Alliance, including sponsoring the event and hosting a fun night playing bowling.

Our booth was packed with several demos, including ThingPark Enterprise, ThingPark Exchange, ThingPark Location, and Abeeway Trackers. We showcased public and private LoRaWAN networks, collaborating with each other through a peering hub, and enabling tracking apps.

It was a very productive meeting, thanks to our hosts and participants from Japan and the region. The next stop for a LoRa Alliance Members Meeting will be right across the Pacific, in San Diego, during the first week of February. I am looking forward to meeting our ever-expanding LoRaWAN family in sunny California.

by Alper YEGIN, Actility’s director of standards and advanced technology development and also vice chairman of the LoRa Alliance.

Business France and the IE-Club recognize Actility as French Tech leader

Business France and the IE-Club recognize Actility as French Tech leader

The Actility Blog

Business France and the IE-Club recognize Actility as French Tech leader

Business France and the IE-Club recognize Actility as French Tech leader

Business France and the IE-Club recently organized the 16th presentation of the Trophées de l’International du Numérique (International Digital Awards) – as part of the International Meeting of French Tech – on the 24th of October at the Business France HQ in Paris.

As part of this distinguished event, our COO and co-founder Nicolas Jordan was presented with the main award and gratefully accepted on behalf of Actility. The award recognizes Actility as a French tech company which is leading the way in connecting people and objects internationally.

Speaking about the win, Nicolas said: “This award is a recognition of the rapid expansion of our global customer footprint. We serve customers on all continents from Europe to Japan through Russia, India, China, South East Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas, which is a much larger spread than the majority of our competitors.”

Interview Olivier Hersent: What will the consequences of electric vehicles (EV) be on the aggregation market?

Interview Olivier Hersent: What will the consequences of electric vehicles (EV) be on the aggregation market?

The Actility Blog

Interview Olivier Hersent: What will the consequences of electric vehicles (EV) be on the aggregation market?

Interview Olivier Hersent: What will the consequences of electric vehicles (EV) be on the aggregation market?

Electric vehicles will soon have a fundamental impact on flex markets.

It is astonishing to realize that as soon as 2020, Paris and London will brim with electric buses and that the charge power of these would total the equivalent of a nuclear reactor output!

We can say today that electric vehicles will have three fundamental impacts on the aggregation market:

1. As they charge, EVs present an instant flex power between 3 to 20kWs, sometimes more. Like any other vehicle, they spend most of the time parked, so the average availability of a pool of EVs is very high. Control is standardized via Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), and the potentially complex problem, on the one hand, is to take into account the constraints of the distribution grid, and on the other is to be able to pool large numbers of charging stations. Actility is working to solve both issues:

The Smart-EV product, now nearing the end of our New Product Introduction cycle, acts as an OCPP proxy and is able to model in real time the distribution grid.

Our large-scale demand response control algorithm, « DaaS », which we have continued to improve since 2012, can now manage large pools of largely random loads.

2. After being removed from the market, EV batteries present a large residual capacity, at virtually zero cost as they are fully amortized. Old EV cars, like the very first Renault ZOE, have already begun to return to manufacturers and large pools of batteries stack up, ready to participate in flex markets.

3. The automotive industry is known to be the ultimate cost killer. With its gigantic purchasing power and volumes, this industry forces any technology to follow an accelerated curve to extreme commoditization. Batteries will follow that trend, although a fundamental shortage of rare metals will ultimately be the limit. Already 2019 EVs will double the capacity of 2013 EVs, for the same retail price. This means that base battery packs, also used in large container systems designed for grid stabilization and flex markets, will see their costs decreasing too. This should soon cause these systems to get mainstream.

Actility is expecting these trends to corroborate and should be well prepared, thanks to our prospective R&D. We are looking forward to benefitting from new opportunities that arise from EVs! Sure enough, Actility is ready to embrace the increasing use of Electric Vehicles and take part in this burgeoning aggregation market!

Actility honored at the Élysée Palace

Remise du Pass French Tech à l'élysée par Mounir Mahjoubi

The Actility Blog

Actility honored at the Élysée Palace in recognition of hyper-growth status

Remise du Pass French Tech à l'élysée par Mounir Mahjoubi

On Monday 24th September, Actility CEO Olivier Hersent received an award on behalf of the company at a prestigious event at the Élysée Palace in Paris. Presented by Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Mounir Mahjoubi, the award acknowledges and celebrates the hyper-growth of Actility.

The “Pass French Tech” for the 2017-2018 class brings together 107 companies from three sectors including digital, industry and health. The government-based program was launched in 2014 to provide networking, administrative and other professional support to hyper-growth companies like Actility.

Speaking about the award, Mr. Hersent said: “To be recognized by the French government in this way is a huge honor. We have worked very hard in these eight short years, so to be recognized as a hyper-growth company and receive the significant support of French Tech has been vital to our global success. We look forward to continuing this important relationship.”

Sweden raises the bar for LoRaWAN

ThingPark Baltic Sea User Forum

The Actility Blog

Sweden raises the bar for LoRaWAN

ThingPark Baltic Sea User Forum

Our client Blink Services recently took the opportunity to combine hosting the second ThingPark Baltic Sea User Forum with their own customer event. It was held the 19th and 20th of September in Gothenburg, Sweden and welcomed new participants from Russia and Norway who have joined Actility’s operator community in the Baltic Sea region.

Actility CEO Olivier Hersent attended to present his views on the market, where Actility has been successful since the start of 2018, what we have learned and our product strategy for the future. Each operator got the opportunity to share their experiences over the last six months. The progress with the expansion of coverage and range of use cases on offer is inspirational. Deploying national and regional LoRaWAN networks is by no means a simple exercise, but the close collaboration between the operators and Actility has made it possible.

Blink Services’ customer event had over 150 participants and brought together many partners from the Nordics and Baltics. They have set the bar high for the next forum in Spring 2019, which Digita has offered to host. The User Forum’s members are Actility, Blink Services (Sweden), Digita (Finland), ER-Telecom (Russia), Lattelecom (Latvia), Levikom (Estonia), Lyse (Norway) and SEAS-NVE (Denmark).

IoT geolocation enables asset tracking for logistics

IoT asset tracking

The Actility Blog

IoT geolocation enables asset tracking for logistics

IoT asset tracking

Railway cars, truck trailers, containers: tracking valuable assets on the move is a pain point for most large distributed organizations involved in logistics and supply chain, typically relying on partners such as distributors to correctly register check-in and check-out events. This registration process at specific checkpoints is usually manual, intermittent and subject to human errors. To tackle this issue, an IoT low power asset tracking system using LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) trackers brings a “timeless” checkpoint solution. Specifically, LoRaWAN™-based trackers, because of their low power, low cost and lightweight infrastructure, provide a first truly reliable tracking solution allowing to reduce downtime during transportation. 

The challenges involved

In the logistics sector, many business cases involve additional costs due to inefficient utilization of assets. Transport companies need to invest in freight railway cars, car logistics companies need to invest in truck trailers, and of course there are the standard containers and pallets.

“The profitability of these business cases directly depends on the minimization of asset downtime: every day or hour lost in a warehouse, parking or rail station reduces the number of times the moving asset will generate profit in a year.”

However, measuring this downtime is also a challenge. Traditional solutions involved cellular or satellite trackers, which require significant CAPEX, but perhaps more importantly also ongoing OPEX due to battery replacements and connectivity costs. In some cases, trackers are located in hard to reach areas especially when mounted on railroad cars, or in oil and gas rigs, which makes it very costly to replace batteries especially if there are several hundreds of thousands of trackers deployed in the field. The battery replacement is done by humans and is one of the dominating OPEX factors in overall Total Cost of Ownership ( TCO) of the whole solution. These replacement costs actually made it difficult to justify the mass adoption of conventional geolocation solutions in the logistics sector.

LPWAN trackers: a game changer 

LoRaWAN  is a very recent development leveraged by Actility, the industry leader in LPWAN connectivity, to create disruption in both the technology and business models. On the technology front, the main impact is on drastic reduction of power consumption, which reduces battery usage and ultimately also OPEX related to ongoing maintenance. It also creates new opportunities for more dynamic tracking, as communication events are less costly. On the business model side, logistics companies can now trade off between CAPEX and OPEX: most LPWAN systems operate on an unlicensed band, for example the leading LoRaWAN™  technology operates in the 915MHz band in the US, the 868MHz band in Europe and equivalent ISM bands in other parts of the world. This means that logistics companies can invest in their own wireless networks to reduce or eliminate variable connectivity costs.

“The cost of LPWAN radio network gateways has decreased due to higher production volumes and are now affordable even to very small logistic centers, such as a car distributor. “

Next generation LPWAN trackers

The potential of LPWAN-enabled tracking requires a new generation of hardware. The lower radio frequency power consumption is only a part of a massive effort to decrease overall power consumption of the whole system. And rather than focusing on geolocation technology, Abeeway, Actility’s subsidiary,  took the path of developing a smart multi-technology geolocation system fully optimized for LoRaWAN™. Ultra-low power technologies such as TDoA LoRaWAN network triangulation, WiFi sniffing, or BLE beacons, will be used whenever possible, along with the classic GPS optimized through techniques such as Low power GPS and D-AGPS (learn more about our Low power GPS technology here). Trackers from Abeeway were the first to reach sufficient maturity to be deployed in a use case requiring tens of thousands of units, with relatively low-cost assets (such as scooters), which means that reliability, low cost and low power were an absolute must. In the case of asset tracking, dedicated modes such as Start/Stop reporting have been developed: logistic application developers, can trigger the reporting events only when motion stops or starts, but also periodically to increase resiliency.

LoRaWAN and LP-GPS (AGPS/GPS) significantly increases battery lifetime

IoT geolocation enables asset tracking for logistics
LPWAN LoRa low power geolocation

Merging an IoT network solution such as LoRaWAN with  multi-mode geolocation technologies for outdoor and indoor positioning increase by at least a factor of 10 the battery lifetime compared to the standard cellular solution using GSM/AGPS. Source: Actility

Designing LPWAN-based asset tracking: a system view

  1. The first step in designing a mobile asset monitoring system is to list all potential stop points for the asset, e.g. for railway cars, these would be freight railway stations and triage/transit centers, or in the case of car distribution companies these would be the distributors.
  2. The second step is to deploy a wide area wireless data collection system: each stop point will be equipped with one, and rarely two or three, radio base stations connected to the internet, usually leveraging existing on-site connectivity or cellular modems. All base stations are coordinated by a central network server, hosted by a service company or owned by the logistics company.
  3. The last step is to equip all moving assets with a LPWAN tracker, typically with a long-lasting primary battery, like the ones offered by Abeeway. These trackers will report stop and start events, so that downtime may be measured, but may also periodically report at rest or in transit to maintain continuous tracking.
  4. In some countries, roaming agreements with public LPWAN networks also allow precise monitoring during transit. Any large or small businesses can deploy a hybrid LoRaWAN™ private/public model using Actility’s ThingPark platform.  And even more, in order to enable new multi-country use cases, Actility partners with network operators worldwide to launch ThingPark Exchange, the first LoRaWAN™ international roaming hub for instant packet roaming between their networks (click here to learn how it works).

If you are interested in experiencing low power tracking devices for your use cases, you can test Abeeway trackers using one of our Low Power Location Trial Packages here. 

IoT geolocation enables asset tracking for logistics

Ms Moore: The LoRa Alliance’s New CEO Shares Her Vision

Ms Moore: The LoRa Alliance’s New CEO Shares Her Vision

The Actility Blog

Ms Moore: The LoRa Alliance’s New CEO Shares Her Vision

Ms Moore: The LoRa Alliance’s New CEO Shares Her Vision
Donna Moore is CEO and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance since March 2018.

Actility: As you’re joining the Alliance, where does it stand? How do you see its achievements so far?

Donna Moore: Let’s start with a warm thank you: Actility has been a very strong presence within the Alliance!

To answer your question, I’m so excited to take this role and be in a position to work with the board and members. If you look at the lifecycle of alliances, the LoRa Alliance is far ahead: it has reached 500 members within only three years and has so many real-world use cases and implementations! Now, we’re at a point where end users are achieving ROI, cost savings, and operational efficiencies. It’s phenomenal to see all of this happening so quickly. A lot of this has to do with the diverse ecosystem within the Alliance and its size.  

“If you look at the history of IoT, it’s very complex to implement true Internet of Things where all devices are connecting and sharing data and ability to create meaningful change.”

Each member brings something very specific to the ecosystem, and implementations are taking place all over the world. That’s really unheard of!

Actility: How do you assess the LoRaWAN footprint today? Are cultural differences impacting adoption and implementation?

Donna Moore: We are a global alliance that focuses on understanding regional differences.

“What differs from one region to another, for example, are government agencies and implementations.”

As a matter of fact, I get emails every day from members all around the world telling me about their new implementations and new verticals. We do have regional vice presidents that report to the board and deal with regional government agencies to oversee implementations. As we move forward, our priority is both to support LoRa Alliance members as a whole on a global basis, but also regionally. We’re seeing a lot of regional requests for support from the LoRa Alliance for regional engagement, but it’s everywhere: Asia, Europe, North America, and most recently South Africa, Oman in the Middle-East… it’s really worldwide!

Actility: What is your strategic direction for the Alliance?

Donna Moore: I want to continue building on this exceptional momentum! We want to stay open to other verticals as well as to the needs of the market. The board is working on a strategic roadmap for the Alliance as well as a technical roadmap. As an Alliance, our top three areas of focus are:

Prioritization: there’s so much going on at the moment in the Alliance, so the board is very keen to prioritize and execute;

Strategic alliances: no single organization can capture the IoT market, it really is about partnerships and ecosystem development. For IoT to succeed, these partnerships are needed to create, develop and expand the market.

Certification: Based on my strong certification background with the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), I know that it is key to ensuring interoperability, particularly as devices scale to the billions. As LoRa Alliance members see their devices enter the market, we need to have a strong certification program to ensure devices are manufactured to the LoRaWAN specification.

“What I love about IoT is that it works globally and truly does require collaboration with many partners. That’s one of the key reasons why the LoRa Alliance has been so successful so quickly.” 

Actility: Talking about the DLNA, what are the key takeaways you bring from the DLNA Alliance on the lifecycle and challenges of alliances?

Donna Moore: DLNA was the first IoT group to achieve success. It started in 2003 and has now over 4 billion devices in the market. The alliance achieved its goals in terms of developing the specification, and even today its certification program is still running through a third-party.

“I bring to the LoRa Alliance the experience of successfully leading an alliance through its full lifecycle and achieving worldwide market adoption in the IoT, backed by a solid certification program.”

Actility: What do you think of the multiple certification layers (LoRa Alliance, MNO, technology provider…) today available for the LoRaWAN technology?

Donna Moore: Well, there are a lot of layers of certifications and it can be confusing for device and sensor developers. My personal experience is that when you have several layers to go through, it can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming. My goal is to look for a way to make the LoRa Alliance the single body that meets all the needs of this ecosystem.

“Because LoRaWAN sensors are inexpensive and developers are often startups or mid-market companies, they struggle to pay for extensive certification. We are currently evaluating our certification program to find the right balance of testing, pricing, and outcome.”

Actility: You’re the first female leader of the Alliance, how you see diversity and female representation in tech evolving?

Donna Moore: First of all, it’s an honor to be the first CEO and chairwoman! Fundamentally, my nomination means that the Alliance understands the importance of diversity, which encompasses experience, education, leadership, problem-solving… Because of my background, I bring another viewpoint in IoT to the LoRa Alliance.  

“I’m able to put myself in the shoes of the end-user and think about the alliance and technology from a business perspective, which helps to understand what it means when it’s implemented in the real world.”

To take a concrete example, in the DLNA everything was technically complex. DLNA was primarily for home networks. In its early stage, you had to be a technical person to understand this technology. The role of diversity, in this case, was to help make things easier for consumers at home who were not necessarily early adopters. Now the good thing about LoRaWAN is that it is so easy to understand, this is a big part of why this technology is being adopted so quickly! An end user doesn’t have to be an expert to understand how to get all of the devices to work together and communicate, they’re able to simply experience the value.

Actility: It’s great to see how positive you are about LoRaWAN and the Alliance! What do you say to people who argue that IoT market is not taking up as fast as it should? How do you reassure the Alliance members about business expectations? Why do so many users start to pilots?

Donna Moore: Everything you just mentioned is right. If we look at the IoT when it first came on the radar, everyone was very excited, there was a lot of hype, but after a few years, the industry started to wonder about the ROI, the ecosystem wonders why adoption isn’t picking up as fast as they expected…. It’s absolutely normal at this stage of its development. The reality is that within the LoRa Alliance, there are a lot of implementations taking place, with a lot of activity taking place outside of the limelight.  

“This is how you get to the next stage, which is the hockey stick: large companies start rolling out and you begin to see massive adoption.”

Take Comcast’s Machine Q announcing a major roll-out in 30 cities in the US. What you have to remember is that our current phase is all part of the technology life cycle. The LoRa Alliance is in a strong position and our members will soon reap the benefits of broad market adoption and scale far beyond the uses cases that have been demonstrated to date.

How to control energy processes at home with LoRaWAN

Smart energy for the smart home

The Actility Blog

How to control energy processes at home with LoRaWAN

Smart energy for the smart home

Fulfill domestic energy needs

Welcome to Oud-Heverlee in the Flemish Brabant region, home of 10 000 people. This Demo 1 shows how storage can change the way to fulfill domestic energy needs. In a first phase, Actility was able to take control of the heating of the house by applying a dynamic pricing model based on the Belgian energy market (belpex) prices.

“For more than a month, we managed to cut the total energy cost for the heat pump while taking the control boundaries such as comfort temperature into account.” 

A high-tech heat pump

A high-tech Danfoss heat pump (soil grid/water) was installed in a house as a central heating unit and for providing domestic hot water. The heat pump provides heat for floor heating circuits that use the heat capacity of the concrete of the building. The Danfoss heat pump can be controlled and monitored via a standard ModBus interface.Our Belgian IoT integration partner Smartlog helped us a great deal by providing a ModBus to LoRaWan converter.

“Building on our experience in connecting industrial assets with LoRaWAN, we were happy to provide Actility with a ModBus – LoRaWAN device as well as a cloud platform to control the heat pump.”  Lise Vandeborne, SmartLog

heat pump
The heat pump is connected via a Modbus LoRaWAN converter and becomes a smart grid device

ModBus LoRaWAN converter

The ModBus integration of the heat pump shows the potential of connecting a device after it is built. The heat pump is connected via a ModBus LoRaWAN converter and instantly transforms the heat pump in a smart-grid connected device. The manufacturing cost of this device is largely covered by the gains of additional services of the heat pump after connecting to the cloud.

Self-consumption model

Building on this first success, we decided to extend this dynamic pricing and self-consumption (limiting the energy exchanged with the grid of a house or the complete neighborhood) models to a whole neighborhood ie 12 houses. This is the goal of the Demo 2 in Oud-Heverlee in the coming months.

This concrete example shows how beneficial it is to optimize residential electricity consumption today in a single house. We are now integrating the whole neighborhood into our optimization what will likely lead to even better results!