Canadian centric IIoT partnership to bring LPWAN software to “Mass-market”
Devin JonesGeneral Quality IIOT Microsoft
Toronto-based Behr Technologies is looking to bring MIOTY to market with the help of Microsoft, Advantech and Hitachi Solutions America.
Behr Technologies recently announced its partnership with Microsoft, Advantech and Hitachi Solutions America. The alliance marks an IIoT-centric shift towards what they believe will be “the first mass-market, end-to-end wireless gateway solution to ensure connectivity with sensors for production-level industrial and commercial applications”.
At the heart of the partnership is the MIOTY software that the Toronto-based Behr has held access to as the single global licensee of the product since early July. Developed and patented by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, MIOTY acts a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN).
Until recently, LPWAN systems were considered a vital but niche part of the IIoT ecosystem aimed at companies connecting devices in remote areas over long distances. The idea behind the partnership is to make MIOTY more front-facing, optimized and scaleable.
“The combination of world-class German engineering with BTI’s broad commercialization abilities will usher in a new era of production-scale Industrial/Commercial IoT deployments for many of the world’s leading companies,” said Behr CEO Albert Behr.
LPWAN systems aren’t new, but the process and standardization behind MIOTY is. According to Behr, it’s the first technology of its kind to comply with recently-released ETSI telegram splitting ultra-narrow (TS-UNB) technical specifications. Telegram splitting essentially breaks down a message into multiple subpackets, transmitting them at random time and frequency patterns. Theoretically, this allows for the transfer of up to 1.5 million messages a day over a distance of 15 kilometers. The low power concept stems from the fact that LPWAN infrastructure only transmits the bare minimum of information needed for a machines to communicate and carry out tasks.
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Up until now, LPWAN infrastructure wasn’t conducive to busy, high-density areas due to severe interference and the inability to effectively penetrate infrastructures such as large buildings or tunnels. With the help of the three partners, Behr believes this notion is quickly changing, using a college campus as an example.
“With deep indoor penetration and versatile campus wide connectivity, MIOTY delivers a reliable plug-and-play solution that can be easily retrofitted in various smart buildings and campus styles,” Behr said.
He went on to state that short-range nature of WI-FI technologies “are no longer optimal solutions due to limited coverage and high-power consumption,” and believes shopping malls, hospitals and geographically dispersed campuses are prime locations for MIOTY software. Additionally, when it comes to IioT, everything from simple temperature monitoring to advanced metrics on workers safety would benefit from MIOTY, according to Behr.
Workplace safety is the area of MIOTY’s first practical application. Using a wearable device to monitor the heart of workers in industrial high-risk environments, data on the health of hundreds of workers is transmitted over unlicensed, sub-gigahertz frequencies via MIOTY to a single Advantech base station. From there, it’s communicated to the Microsoft’s cloud-based platform Azure where Hitachi Solutions’ IoT Service Hub provides actionable insight on workers’ health and sends alerts when workers are in danger.
“We are ushering in a new era of IoT communication that will enable organisations around the world to realise the promise of industrial automation in ways that were not previously possible,” said Rashmi Misra, general manager of IoT Solutions at Microsoft.