Actility’s IoT perspectives in the Middle East from oil rigs to happiness meters

People in front of Actility booth at middle east event small

The Actility Blog

Actility’s IoT perspectives in the Middle East from oil rigs to happiness meters

People in front of Actility booth at middle east event

By Ahmed Bouna: Actility is exploring new territories as much as it is pioneering with IoT technologies. As the sales lead for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), me and my team attended IoTx event in Dubai (21-23 May). Let me share some feedbacks on this event as well as my insights on LPWA technologies adoption in my region, which is an IoT sweet spot.

IoTx Dubai: the must-attend event

IoTx is the must-attend event for anyone interested in innovative IoT technologies in the MENA region, whether you are a customer or a provider. Held in Dubai World Trade Centre in the UAE, IoTx marked the first of many events to follow for Actility in the Middle East.

Altogether 180 visitors visited our booth, ranging from Operators such as Etisalat, du, STC, Ooredoo, Thuraya, Yahsat and MTN Iran, to System Integrators such as ARC, Emircom, Orange Business Services, Samtech, GBM and Skop Holding. Actility is clearly perceived a serious player in the LoRAWAN™ ecosystem. We are acknowledged for our global Tier 1 customer references, as well as for the largest IoT ecosystem (https://market.thingpark.com/) and have unmatched technical expertise on LPWA technologies. We were also very proud to display our partners’ devices on the booth.

Understanding different IoT technologies

One of the key discussions with Operators was related to the confusion created by four kinds of IoT technologies (LoRa, NB-IoT/LTE-M, sigfox, ingenu). The IoTx event enabled to give a clear status on those technologies:

  • LoRaWAN: Already deployed by major Tier 1 Operators, backed by the LoRa Alliance, composed of more than 500 members including Cisco/IBM/HP…, offering the widest IoT ecosystem.
  • NB-IoT/LTE-M is proposed by the traditional Telco vendors. It will become a reality in 2 or 3 years since Operators need to upgrade their core networks and also, they need to secure affordable ecosystem. LoRaWAN and NB–IoT/LTE-M are seen to be complementary.
  • Sigfox + ingenu: Those are 2 companies offering property technologies, small ecosystems and no private data hosting in the domestic markets.

From a media standpoint, recent press releases outlining our collaboration with Machines Talk in Saudi Arabia and GET Wireless in Tunisia were a clear signal that LPWA is real. Rolling out a LoRaWAN network with Machines Talk is a true reference since Saudi Arabia is the most complex market to conquer within the MENA region.

Overall, it was a very successful event. In my opinion, tradeshows do not only help increase visibility, they confirm a real interest from a business development perspective which builds trustworthy and long-term relationships with people and companies. In the coming months, we aim to participate in events and trade fairs in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Tunisia, and Oman, which are key countries in terms of IoT adoption.

Optimization, from oil rigs to happiness meters

As you may have guessed, one of the main drivers in my region is the oil industry, that constantly needs to increase revenues and manage their high costs. Implementing IoT is an excellent means to better monitor machines, automate processes and operations, and eventually, take better decisions to increase efficiency.

“We have been doing a lot of research into what type of technologies are out there today that can take Dubai ahead of the game. And, we have found that blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are some of the nascent technologies that have been present in the market for the past five or six years. They are still relatively new and need a mature approach, where they can be shaped to fit a citywide implementation.” Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, director general of the Smart Dubai Office*

From a very different standpoint, Dubai is a pioneer in this quest for optimization; it aims at becoming the happiest city in the world thanks to its state-of-the-art infrastructure and services. If you are in the UAE’s hub, chances are that you will run into a Happiness Meter. Smart Dubai, the Governmental entity in charge of transforming Dubai into a smart city, has invested in innovative technologies such as IoT to offer its citizens and visitors alike a seamless and efficient living experience… A first step towards happiness indeed!

* http://www.khaleejtimes.com/blockchain-iot-and-big-data-are-tools-of-the-future-experts-say

Actility partners with SoftBank to accelerate the Internet of Things in Japan

SoftBank logo

The Actility Newsroom

Actility partners with SoftBank to accelerate the Internet of Things in Japan

Actility, the global leader in LPWA network infrastructure and service platforms, is working with SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) to support the roll out of a complete low power wide area network solution which could trigger explosive growth in the IoT in Japan this year. The LoRaWAN network will enable a wide range of applications in Japan, ranging from tracking elderly family members to monitoring the condition of tunnels or automated water metering.

“SoftBank is a recognized global leader in all the important layers of the Internet economy. We are thrilled to be working together with the SoftBank team on their IoT strategy, and in particular, their commitment to LPWA and their forthcoming LoRaWAN deployment in Japan.” Mike Mulica, CEO of Actility

“SoftBank has been impressed with Actility’s deep knowledge of the LPWA market and their efforts in pioneering LoRaWAN. We look forward to building a vibrant LPWA business in Japan through close technology and market collaboration with Actility and their ecosystem partners,” explains Hironobu Tamba, Vice President, Service Platform Strategy & Development Division of SoftBank.
 

LPWA networks can connect remote sensors and devices over ranges of up to 15km, in heavily built-up urban areas, and with a battery life of up to ten years thanks to extremely efficient power consumption. This capability, coupled with low cost sensors and devices, is expected to drive explosive growth in IoT by transforming the affordability and commercial viability of applications across industry, infrastructure and even at home. SoftBank will provide complete IoT solutions using LoRaWAN, including devices, base stations, IoT network platform, and all the services required to implement these solutions including consulting.

In the future, SoftBank envisages applications in commercial facilities management; smart buildings; equipment monitoring and remote control and tracking in warehouses, for example; automated meter reading of gas and water meters; keeping watch over the elderly and children; road, tunnel and infrastructure monitoring; and transport fleet management.

The simplicity and low cost of LoRaWAN network deployment enable a rapid roll-out for IoT driven specifically by the low power consumption capability. As well, SoftBank expects to enable optimized IoT solutions which take advantage of the capabilities of cellular LTE networks alongside the LPWA network.

Partnering with SoftBank and Actility in this deployment and co-operating in the growth of a LoRaWAN ecosystem are the world’s largest OEM vendor, Foxconn Technology Group (headquartered in Taiwan) and LoRaWAN technology vendor Semtech Corporation (headquartered in the USA). 

Overview of LoRaWAN™

LoRaWAN is an LPWA networking standard developed by the LoRa Alliance, which provides wide area bidirectional connectivity to IoT devices with unprecedentedly low cost and energy efficiency. Over 390 companies have already joined the LoRa Alliance (at September 2nd, 2016), creating the largest IoT solution ecosystem for enterprises and consumers.

LoRaWAN ™ in Japan communicates using the 920MHz. The main features are as follows.

  • Battery life: 10 years or more (*1)
  • Communication range: up to 15km (*2)
  • Base station capacity: 10s of thousands of devices can connect to a single base station (*3)
  • (1) Battery lifetime in the field depends on the communication requirement.
  • (2) communication range is a published values of LoRa Alliance, not the actual range of the deployed services in Japan.
  • (3) Base station capacity depends on the time needed for communication by each connected device