IoT News Roundup

Volvo turning smartphones into keys; the Open Connectivity Foundation says it will make the OIC's vision a reality; Semtech, Sigfox building out networks in Germany; Actility launches network into space with Inmarsat partnership; Vodafone, 3B Medical adding cellular connectivity to sleep apnea aid.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Semtech, Sigfox Announce German Network Expansions

Semtech, a chipmaker that, with IBM, developed LoRa, a long-range, low-power IoT radio technology for IoT modules, says it is expanding the rollout of the LoRa network across Germany. With access points currently in Hamburg and Berlin, the network will expand to Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Essen and Cologne, and is expeted to be available by midyear. Semtech is also working with German firm Digimondo to develop smart-city applications that leverage the network.

Also this week, French company Sigfox, which has been deploying its own low-power, long-range, low-power network across more than a dozen countries throughout the past two years, announced that it is expanding its network into Germany. The firm plans to complete the rollout by next year.

Inmarsat, Actility Partner to Expand Actility's Network Reach

Inmarsat, a provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has partnered with IoT platform provider Actility to enable a global end-to-end IoT solution, connecting assets over public and private networks. Through the partnership, Actility's low-power, long-range access points, which leverage the LoRa communications protocol, will be linked through a backhaul to Inmarsat's communications satellite network.

Companies that deploy Actility's technology will be able to transmit data globally, via Inmarsat satellites, using Actility's ThingPark IoT cloud-based platform. Inmarsat also recently joined the LoRa Alliance, an industry group that is seeking to standardize the LoRa protocol for low-power wide area networks (LPWAN). The Alliance was formed by IBM and Semtech (which developed the LoRa protocol), and Actility is a founding member.

Actility further announced that it is deploying a public LoRa network throughout the Barcelona area, timed with next week's Mobile World Congress, but which will be operated for only six months, in order to provide interested end users with a means of evaluating the network. In collaboration with other LoRa Alliance members, Actility will use the network to showcase use cases utilizing LoRa technologies. For example, taxies and busses will be outfitted with LoRa-based transceivers, and a network of 10 access points deployed around the city will track their locations in real time.

Vodafone to Connect Sleep Apnea Machines to the Cloud

Telecom provider Vodafone has partnered with medical device manufacturer 3B Medical to integrate Vodafone cellular connectivity into 3B's Luna CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices, used to treat sleep apnea, a disorder that disrupts one's breathing patterns during sleep. To use 3B's Luna CPAP machine, a patient wears a mask that increases air pressure to help him or her breathe more easily while sleeping.

3B offers iCodeConnect, a cloud-based service that leverages a Wi-Fi radio integrated into the Luna device to transmit usage data, showing the amount of time the machine was used and the amount of air pressure required to keep the patient breathing properly, to the patient's medical records. This helps medical personnel ensure that the machine is being regularly used, and helps them track the patient's treatment. Through the partnership, Vodafone will provide cellular SIM cards that 3B will embed into Luna devices so that patients who travel with the CPAP device, or who lack a home Wi-Fi network, will be able to send usage data to iCodeConnect.

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