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

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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.

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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.

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

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.

New LoRaWAN specs straight from the LoRa Alliance’s oven to your plate

Passive roaming bakery metaphor small

The Actility Blog

Actility’s IoT geolocation helps to protect workers and assets

Passive roaming bakery metaphor

There’s excellent news coming from the LoRa Alliance: the core LoRaWAN specifications enabling passive roaming are coming out of the oven! As a co-chair of the LoRa Alliance Technical Committee, it’s my pleasure to present you our latest treats on roaming, security, Class B, and standalone Join Server.

The Technical Committee has been working on these specs for over a year now… We knew that they were highly anticipated by the whole LoRaWAN ecosystem. As a matter of fact, Actility customers have been able to preview the passive roaming feature since last summer.

Handover roaming

First delivery from the LoRa Alliance is a new version of the LoRaWAN spec LoRaWAN 1.1 offering:

  • Support for handover roaming, which allows transferring control of the end-device from one LoRaWAN network to another. Earlier versions of this specification can already be used for passive roaming, which is transparent to the end-device.
  • Enhancements on bidirectional end-devices with scheduled receive slots (so-called Class B, an enabler of energy-efficient actuators) which is now officially supported. Remember, in the earlier spec it was marked as “experimental.”
  • Enhancements for additional security hardening.

In order to support heterogeneous deployments and not force a globally-coordinated upgrade, both LoRaWAN 1.1 end-devices and networks will support backward compatibility to interoperate with their LoRaWAN 1.0.x legacy peers.

Separation of backend servers

The second delivery is the brand new LoRaWAN Backend Interfaces 1.0 Specification allowing to:

  • Split the core network into interoperable servers: Network Server (NS), Join Server (JS) and Application Server (AS)
  • Roaming for both LoRaWAN 1.0.x (passive roaming only) and LoRaWAN 1.1 networks (both passive and handover roaming)
  • A standalone server that stores end-device credentials (including root keys) as JS. It can be separated and administered by an entity independent from the networks that the end-device may be using. This allows networks to offload the authentication procedure to a dedicated system, which can also be operated by a third party. This third-party JS also enables an end-device to be manufactured without having to be personalized for the networks it may eventually be connecting to.

Regional Parameters

And final delivery in the package is the LoRaWAN 1.1 Regional Parameters rev. A, which describes a region-specific radio parameter for LoRaWAN 1.1 end-devices — a companion document for the LoRaWAN 1.1 spec.

In the spirit of fostering open standards, these spec delicacies are shared with you to build and deploy amazing products and services… Enjoy! Bon Appetit!

LoRa Alliance Security White Paper

LoRa fire alarm

The Actility Blog

LoRa Alliance Security White Paper

LoRa fire alarm

The main objective of LoRaWAN, being an LPWAN technology, is obviously to provide IoT connectivity… BUT – because there is always a “but” – we are now all aware that unless IoT connectivity is fully secured, it can create more problems than it solves… Who would want to connect their smoke alarm to the Internet when hackers could easily mess with it?

If your neighbor’s kid can wake you up to a deafening alarm sound at 4am, you are sure to regret you ever connected that thing to the Internet.That is why security has been a top priority of the LoRa Alliance members and part of the specification for LoRaWAN from the very beginning. 

Even though wireless security standards and implementations have gone a long way through the industry experience built around WiFi and 3G development, LPWAN presents a very fresh and unique set of requirements.

Constraints on the frame size, amount of traffic, as well as uplink and downlink asymmetry due to ISM regulations and battery preservation are so unprecedented, none of the state-of-art wireless security solutions work out-of-the-box on LPWAN technologies.

And that is why a lot of technology design cycles go into security aspects. 

Also noteworthy is that a typical LPWAN design has a tradeoff between two dimensions: security and efficiency. Efficiency is essential for LPWAN by definition,so it is not something that can be easily given up.

Some design decisions can be easily tracked back to this tradeoff;and some not, for which we owe the community a rationale whitepaper (promise :-))

So, it is not surprising that at Actility, we do care a lot about security. We have been part of the original LoRaWAN specification design, currently chairing the Security WG in the LoRa Alliance, and proudly presenting a full LoRaWAN security product portfolio including Join Server, Secure Elements, and HSM through our in-house development and partners.

For more about LoRaWAN security, please read the LoRa Alliance white paper and the FAQ on this subject that we have co-authored with our fellow members in the Alliance.