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KPN activates Class B to level up its LoRaWAN network with groundbreaking capabilities

Press Release – Paris, France – 20 January 2022

KPN, a leading telecommunications, IT provider and market leader in the Netherlands, operating a public LoRaWAN® network. This nationwide IoT network, powered by Actility’s ThingPark® IoT platform, has activated LoRaWAN® Class B leveraging its low latency commands functionality, allowing to control and easily upgrade millions of IoT devices for a  variety of applications such as asset tracking, smart grid balancing control, air quality sensing, remote patient monitoring or public emergency systems, making life smarter for Dutch citizens.  

LoRaWAN as the backbone of low-power IoT

The world of Internet of Things (IoT) is very innovative. New applications and ideas follow each other in rapid succession. As an operator, it is important to keep up with IoT developments in the market. Actility’s customer KPN has always been at the forefront of LoRaWAN-based IoT innovations.

Actility and KPN have been pioneering together the world-leading development of the European Internet of Things since 2014. Within a year of the start of the rollout in 2015, KPN was the first to deploy and operate a nationwide Low-Power Wide-Area LoRaWAN-network in the world. KPN remained the frontrunner on a global level with new developments, introducing services such as roaming, ultra-low-power network-based location services, and end-to-end security based on hardware. The latter is now a standard within KPN.

KPN’s network already addresses a wide variety of markets with very different requirements, but sharing the common need to connect sensors cost-effectively, over long distances and in both built-up areas and wide-open countryside’s. KPN is leveraging its ThingPark® Wireless solution to connect a wide range of objects in markets as diverse as agriculture, smart building, transport infrastructure and healthcare applications. For example, tens of thousands of Clickey Smart Building IoT Sensors have already been deployed in the Netherlands using LoRa.  t

KPN Netherland map
KPN’s public LoRaWAN network coverage in the Netherlands

Why does Class B matter for LoRaWAN-powered IoT use cases?

With the recent activation of LoRaWAN Class B (for Beaconing), KPN is ready to support the ‘next generation’ of LoRa devices and use cases. Where previously it was mainly about receiving uplink information from sensors, Class B makes it possible to keep devices precisely synchronized, enabling low latency control applications and multicast transmissions toward the devices. With this innovation, KPN is the first operator in the world to implement the Beaconing functionality in their national production network. 

In legacy “Class A”, no control command can be sent to a device unless it has previously sent an uplink message. This is perfect for sensing applications but requires periodic uplink transmissions when the use case also requires commands, and this overhead increases with the frequency of such uplinks. By contrast Class B enables low latency control applications, without requiring frequent uplinks from the device, and therefore conserving power. Several device manufactures and solution providers are already planning to leverage the new feature. 

A typical application would be to change the configuration of a device with immediate effect, for example switch a tracker to high frequency positioning for a lost asset. Perhaps the most striking and innovative application of Class B is to multicast control signals or data transmission:

  • Advanced smart grid balancing, for example, will require near-real time commands to potentially millions of endpoints (e.g. EV car chargers, HVACs) to slightly adjust their power consumption in real-time.
  • Public emergency systems are another extremelly useful application. Sensing earthquake warning signals to shut down millions of meters and valves within minutes. The traditional cellular M2M networks provide only multi-unicast, which cannot be used for such massive use cases.

Class B can also be leveraged to multicast firmware upgrades. For example, a smart-building application can upgrade thousands of air-quality sensors at once. KPN has worked not only on such massive file transfer applications, but also on optimized differential firmware compression schemes, which further optimize transmission delays and energy consumption.

Class B as viewed by leading Dutch IoT Solution Provider CLICKEY:

Pedro de Smit, CEO of CLICKEY solutions

“As a long-time KPN Partner, Clickey has been working together with KPN to test Class B features in the past years. In 2021, we ramped up the tests, on beaconing features with static devices first, then on moving devices, and the results started to look very good!
We are confident that this feature will have significant importance for any nationwide LoRaWAN network by enabling new business opportunities. More specifically, Class B will generate lots of tracking and monitoring applications, as it enables near-real-time reaction on information or location requests, which was not before based on extreme low-power consumption.
We hope to sell the first commercial Class B units in the second quarter of 2022 already. The Netherlands will have the first nationwide LoRaWAN network with Class B enabled by KPN, and Clickey will be the first IoT company to provide Class B devices to end users.” 

said Pedro de Smit, CEO of CLICKEY solutions.

With the recently introduced nationwide Class B functionality, KPN made another significant step in the world of IoT and provides the foundation for a new breed of applications requiring low latency commands to millions of devices such as smart grid balancing control. The ability to perform mass firmware upgrades is an important step towards increased security and opens the door to the deployment of large numbers of sensors for smart buildings, e.g. for air quality sensing,”

said Olivier Hersent, CEO at Actility.

Photo of Olivier Hersent
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About Clickey  

CLICKEY solutions already existed since 2012, it originally started under the name Invenit BV. We are proud to say that CLICKEY solutions is one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the new standards for IoT networks. Everything based on the idea that connecting things to the internet needs to happen without expensive (data) subscriptions, big battery packages and traditional SIM-based communication components. In addition to being a manufacturer of various standard IoT solutions, CLICKEY solutions is also a product development company where customized solutions are made. CLICKEY solutions is based in Raamsdonksveer, the place where our smart and creative ideas for new IoT solutions are developed.



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 providespatented 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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