IoT News Roundup

Ofcom says spectrum licenses are IoT-ready; Silver Spring Networks entering Chinese smart lighting market; new long-range Bluetooth module from Cypress Semiconductor; Sigfox gains new telecom partner; Infineon launches NFC module for wearables, partners with Chinese payment-technology company; Plataine and Argosy International combine products and services.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Mar 25, 2016

Ofcom Seeks to Clarify Spectrum Use for IoT

Ofcom, the United Kingdom's communications regulator, has allocated 10 megahertz of VHF spectrum—the 55 to 68 MHz, 70.5 to 71.5 MHz and 80.5 to 81.5 MHz bands—for a new licensing product designed to enable communications for Internet of Things or machine-to-machine (M2M) devices to connect wirelessly over long distances, such as in rural settings.

Last fall, the regulator began an examination of "the suitability of these VHF bands for delivering IoT services in remote and rural areas, and to assess whether wider exploitation of these frequencies could be accommodated without affecting existing spectrum users," according to a Mar. 23 Ofcom report. It concluded that the other users of the spectrum would not be adversely impacted by such use cases. Further, the report found no evidence that Ofcom's existing business radio licensing products could not support IoT or M2M applications in the VHF spectrum. However, concerned that its stakeholders "might not recognize that," Ofcom decided it will launch a new business radio product that will replace all of its current offerings but still support all legacy use cases. "In concert with this measure we will also launch a dedicated information and application web page for those seeking spectrum access for the IoT. We believe these measures will help make it clear to stakeholders which spectrum is currently available to facilitate IoT," the report says.

According to Ofcom, the UK already hosts 40 million connected devices. This number is forecast to grow more than eight-fold by 2022, with hundreds of millions of devices carrying out more than a billion daily data transactions.

Silver Spring Networks, Rongwen Collaborate on Smart Lighting Systems

Silver Spring Networks, a provider of wireless networking systems used for advanced utility-metering and smart-city applications, is partnering with Rongwen, which sells LED street lighting systems, to sell their services into the China market. Rongwen, which has installed more than 250,000 controllable LED street lights in China, will integrate Silver Spring's IPv6-based networking platform into its offerings in order to deliver lighting products as part of smart-city initiatives, such as environmental sensing, energy savings and road-monitoring applications in China, which has the largest street lighting market in Asia. The two companies are offering their combined services under the Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) financing model, wherein cost savings from reduced energy consumption is used to repay the cost of installing energy conservation measures.

Cypress Semiconductor Offering Long-range Bluetooth Module

Cypress Semiconductor last week announced a Bluetooth Low Energy module that is says supports a read range of up to 400 meters, eight times that of current Bluetooth solutions. According to the company, in order to achieve the longer read range the new EZ-BLE programmable system on a chip (PSoC) XT/XR module integrates a power amplifier that boosts the output transmit power of the device to +9.5dBm and a low noise amplifier that improves the receive sensitivity to -95dBm. The longer range does come with higher energy consumption. While the standard Bluetooth Low Energy modules that Cypress manufactures consume 18.1 uA and 6.25 uA at 1- and 4-second connection intervals, respectively, the long-range XT/XR module consumes 27.3 uA and 9 uA at the same respective intervals. Cypress is targeting the new module toward home automation, industrial and smart city applications.

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