How Low Power is NB-IoT?


NB-IoT is considered a licensed low power wide area networks (LPWANs) technology supported by your local telecom operator. That means each device requires a SIM card and monthly or annual payments to your operator just like your cell phone. The benefit is that you don’t need to manage the infrastructure; you do not need to install your own base stations.

The key advantage of NB-IoT is the protocol is synchronous and designed to optimize the spectral usage and throughput of the network. This optimization for spectral utilization comes at the cost of compromised battery life and recurring costs (monthly or yearly).

Unlicensed LPWANs, such as LoRaWAN® and Weightless™ are optimal for longer battery lifetime. If sensor data is small and infrequent (one or twice a day), LoRaWAN could be the optimal choice being an asynchronous protocol. If data is larger and data transmissions must be acknowledged then Weightless stands alone as the option for a synchronous protocol for private networks.

The effect of asynchronous versus synchronous protocols has significant impact on the battery lifetime of sensors.

Semtech conducted a comparison using the T-Mobile NB-IoT network available in the U.S. The NB-IoT sensor consistently took more than 20 seconds of active time to negotiate a slot to communicate an 11-byte packet. The average current consumption over this 20 second period was 40mA. In comparison, sending the same 11-byte packet over LoRaWAN required an active time of only 1.6 seconds, with an average active current consumption of 6.4mA. This translates into greater than 50 times advantage in battery lifetime for LoRaWAN.

Take an example application: wireless, battery powered, pushbutton. A LoRaWAN-enabled pushbutton and an NB-IoT pushbutton each were equipped with a 600 maH battery. The LoRaWAN device could support roughly 70,000 button presses on a single battery,  while the NB-IoT button could handle only about 2,000 button presses on a single battery. The difference is quite drastic.

When choosing a LPWAN technology, be sure to thoroughly review the application requirements. One size does not fit all.



Instrument of Things

Start-Up Watch: Instrument of Things

A cool new IoT device set to change how musicians engage with their electronic instruments.

Instrument of Things have developed Movesense Motion Sensors. Their innovative wireless controllers change pitches through motion. Check out the video below to get the full picture of what this innovative product does.  The sensors are triggering percussion in a eurorack system in the demonstration. The sensors each have a three axis per sensor, they can be used in a myriad of different intuitive, expressive and imaginative ways. Enjoy


To learn more visit:

Vodafone expands IoT range for businesses

Vodafone has launched a number of business focused Internet of Things (IoT) devices as it looks to bring more connectivity to the workplace.

The operator has unveiled two new “digital building” solutions that Vodafone says can help the likes of airports, office and shopping centres get a better, smarter insight into how their businesses function on a day-to-day basis.

The new products include remote video monitoring and an energy management platform that allows companies to become greener as well as smarter, as Vodafone predicts that the number of IoT connections in buildings is set to increase from 0.1 million in 2016 to 2.1 million by 2024.

Vodafone business IoT

The first new offering is Vodafone Building Surveillance, a video monitoring platform that works alongside existing CCTV services to monitor multiple sites remotely.

The service includes a smart analytics dashboard to set up alerts for certain incidents, such as if motion is detected in a specified area, with all footage being watermarked and stored securely in the cloud.

Also launching is Vodafone Building Energy Management, which monitors systems such as lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration and heating into a single cloud platform that can be managed remotely and on multiple devices.

This also comes with a dashboard offering insights into business KPIs and real-time performance, allowing users to tweak how individual systems operate in order to save energy, reduce costs and improve operational efficiency.

“Digital Building solutions present a significant opportunity for organisations to embrace new technologies to ensure space, resources and costs are optimised,” said Anne Sheehan, director of Vodafone UK Enterprise.

“As a global leader in IoT services (with more than 68 million IoT connections) we are well placed to work with our customers to create solutions that deliver real business benefits fast.”

China to Lead International Standardization Research Group for IoT

China will lead an international research group on the standardization of the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain technology, local news outlet Science and Technology Daily reports July 18.

The joint technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have adopted the proposal for the creation of this international research group after a month of a discussion by committee members.

Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, writes that the creation of this group means China has won “discourse power” in technology integration:

“It is of great significance for China’s related industries to lead global development and promote the integration of fiat and [the] digital economy.”

The international research group, chaired by Dr. Shen Jie, will promote fiat-digital integration by providing a large number of industrial application scenarios as well as establishing a working mechanism to promote international standardization for IoT and blockchain technologies.

The new research group will include experts from more than ten countries including the United States, the United KingdomGermany, and France.

China has recently taken steps forward in its adoption of blockchain technology.  Last month, the Digital Currency Research Lab at the People’s Bank of China (PBoCfiled a patent for a digital currency wallet that would allow users to track their transaction histories. Also in June, the PBoC had revealed a blockchain-powered system to digitize paper checks.

Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reported that the deputy director of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) had encouraged the country to “unite” forces to foster blockchain as a “core” technology for the new digital economy.

The First LPWAN to Qualify for Serious IoT Tender – Weightless

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.”

Inter-Continental Sea-freight tracking with Sigfox

Today, Michelin, Sigfox France and Argon Consulting announced the launch of a new solution for the tracking of sea-freight containers in real-time based on Sigfox’s technology . Michelin, the world-leading tire manufacturer, has actively participated in the development of this solution for the past 12 months and is an early-adopter of this solution, already in use on some of their critical inter-continental flows.

With more than 90 M of containers shipped per year, out of which 20M by European companies, stakes are high in the worldwide Supply Chain market and its potential for IoT is massive. Companies have been seeking for many years an alternative to tackle the constraints of existing solutions: high costs, short battery life, non-proprietary solutions and difficulty to transmit from the inside of the container.  Sigfox technology, which is based on cost-efficiency and low-energy consumption, is a solid solution if it can actual support a global network.

Telefonica Terminates Sigfox Service

Telefonica has begun informing customers in Spain that it’s phasing out the ‘Movistar Verisure Hogar’ smart home security service it launched three years ago, reports Movilonia. The company joined forces with IoT network company Sigfox, insurer Securitas Direct and home alarm provider Verisure back in 2015 to develop the home security service, promising 24-hour, 365-day immediate emergency response, unauthorised home access control plus remote controlled video surveillance. This action renders yet another painful blow to Sigfox (a low power, wide are network operator for IoT solutions).