A new Internet of Things network called PicoWAN is to be launched in Europe from June 2016. PicoWAN is the brainchild of Henri Crohas, president of French multinational electronics company ARCHOS, which specialises in the manufacture of tablets, smartphones, portable media players and portable data storage devices.
PicoWAN’s avowed aim is to be the first LP-WAN (Low Power – Wide Area Network) RF network for connected objects, which will be collaborative, global, cross-border and available at a very low price. The aim is to create the densest network geography in Europe and the most competitive in terms of price.
“PicoWAN is a project close to my heart. I have been deeply involved in the development and have even filed three patents,” said Crohas. “The potential is huge.” PicoWAN SAS will soon be registered, it will be a subsidiary of ARCHOS and Henri Crohas will be the president of PicoWAN.
According to a PicoWAN press release, the key to the network is a unique wireless communications network protocol based on the use of pico-gateways, as opposed to rooftop concentrators and antennas, which come in the form of smart plugs connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Embedding a LoRa IC, the range of pico-gateways is potentially as long as the sophisticated antenna gears installed on rooftops by telcos. As a result of its low-cost and its easy installation inside buildings, the network can be densified at will and made fail–safe. It can also penetrate very deep indoor resulting in a much higher QoS (Quality of Service), the company claimed.
The cost of a pico-gateway is some 100 times less than the cost of a rooftop installation. Instead of investing tens of million euros in infrastructure, PicoWAN will create a highly competitive LP-WAN thanks to the viral diffusion of very low-cost pico-gateways.
To ensure the deployment of a global network throughout Europe, PicoWAN plans to distribute up to 200,000 free pico-gateways by the end of 2016.
PicoWAN will offer a subscription plan starting at £0.50 pence per year, per connected object. Those who will deploy pico-gateway networks locally will receive up to 50% of the income resulting from the connections passing through their pico-gateways.
The software embedded in connected objects will be freely available to all developers and integrators developing on vertical or consumer markets, who can then set up their own IoT networks.
This technology will facilitate the launch of multiple connected objects in all domains (health, agriculture, home automation, industry, and more), instantly supported by the PicoWAN network anywhere. All LoRaWAN objects can be made compatible with ease.
The PicoWAN network will be demonstrated at the Mobile Word Congress in Barcelona in February 2016.