LPWAN technologies have been stuck in prototyping and pilot phases for quite some time (already over 7 years since the LoRa launch). Finally, a the newest LPWAN technology Weightless has broken the barrier as the first LPWAN technology to successfully enter a serious IoT tender.
Ubiik Inc., the global leader of Weightless™ the low power, wide area network technology, has been chosen by the Taiwan Power Corporation to be an official qualified vendor for the country’s largest IoT project. The Taiwan Power Corporation (Tai-Power) is the sole electricity provider in Taiwan and has planned for 3 million smart meter units by 2024 and 12 million smart meter units in the next 10 to 15 years.
Tai-Power first announced its electricity meter Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project in early 2016. Tai-Power sought to drastically improve the efficiency of the overall power grid which sources energy for its 23 million citizens. The project has been the focus of the country’s top IoT companies which make-up a significant part of the global IoT supply chain. All mainstream wireless and wired IoT technologies (ZigBee, WiSUN, PLC etc) were submitted as solutions by top tier vendors. Tai-power’s challenging requirements (frequent uplinks, downlink for controls and updates) verified only a few reliable Industrial IoT technologies. Therefore, Sigfox and LoRaWAN were not represented by any of the 13 contenders.
Ubiik has won a qualified vendor position after a rigorous, 12-month qualification process which started with the review of technical proposals in June 2017. Field trials were conducted from October 2017 to January 2018 in Taipei City with more than 900 residential meters. A final, rigorous field test was then performed in the Tai-power Research Institute in early May.
From the 13 candidates with approved proposals, only five companies were selected, three of which used hybrid solutions combining PLC and short range RF mesh (i.e WiSUN), and another used its own proprietary wireless technology. Ubiik was the only startup company among the five qualified vendors. The other vendors are made up of Taiwan’s top telecom operators and system integrators. The meticulous review and field trials have revealed Weightless™ as the most reliable low power, wide area network (LPWAN) technology for industrial grade IoT use cases. In Ubiik’s proposed solution, the smart meters and data concentrator units use Weightless™ for bi-directional communication over long ranges to transmit meter readings, facilitate system control, and update settings.
Together with the other four qualified vendors, Ubiik will be bidding to provide the field area network communication modules (FAN Modules), the associated data concentrator units (DCU) and the Head-End System (HES).
“We are very excited to be chosen by Tai-power to be a qualified vendor through an open process that involves all leading wireless technologies suitable for smart city networks”, said Tien-haw Peng, founder and CEO of Ubiik. “The result demonstrates the major benefits of Ubiik’s leading Weightless™ solutions against other LPWAN technologies in such an important sector. We are very proud to be selected as a key player of this fundamentally important project in Taiwan and we look forward to contributing our best to make this project a huge success!”
Weightless SIG CEO William Webb added, “Ubiik, Inc. has been at the vanguard of the standard’s implementation and its application in real world solutions. We are delighted to see the contributions of the Ubiik team ever since the first Weightless SDK’s release in 2017. Today is a significant milestone in the technical validation of the Weightless™ open standard, and a reward to the pioneering developments of Ubiik. In volume, smart metering is the number one LPWAN application and together with Ubiik, Weightless™ is paving the way for differentiated solutions with the most stringent needs of the industry.”