Actility has released a major upgrade to its ThingPark low power, wide area (LPWA) network platform for LoRa based Internet of Things applications. The enhanced ThingPark 4.0 release brings network-based geolocation, enabling tracking and geofencing and advanced radio optimisation technology to maximize device battery life and network capacity.
It also provides solutions to streamline on-boarding of devices for suppliers and network operators, and an improved suite of tools for monitoring and visualising message flows in the LPWA network.
“ThingPark 4.0 represents a significant step forward for our carrier-grade IoT platform,” said Actility founder and CTO Olivier Hersent. “The new network-based geolocation capability is the headline feature: we are reaching record-breaking power and cost performance, which will enable a wide variety of new use cases for any customer who wants to locate or track assets, animals or people.
“The increasing maturity of the platform is clearly demonstrated by the release of tools designed to make it simpler and easier for our customers to manage and optimise large scale commercial deployments of ThingPark-enabled LPWA networks,” added Hersent.
Alongside the latest ThingPark platform capabilities, Actility has also launched ThingPark Market, a web based e-commerce platform through which partners in the ThingPark ecosystem can promote and sell their ThingPark Approved products to registered buyers seeking to build LPWA IoT solutions.
The marketplace is open to registered sellers worldwide now (13 October 2016), and will be available to buyers in Europe in November. Global buyers will be enabled during 2017. ThingPark Market will also enable the procurement of trusted products and applications thanks to the ThingPark Approved programme.
“This is a unique opportunity for ThingPark partners to market and sell their products” said Actility senior vice president for Marketing & Digital, Christophe Francois. “The goal of ThingPark Market is to accelerate global market adoption of LoRaWAN and LPWA devices and make it straightforward to put together complete IoT solutions backed by the ThingPark Approved label. ThingPark Market provides global exposure for sellers and immediate availability for buyers.”
The Partner programme offers new benefits to developers and device makers. ThingPark Explorers can trial the ThingPark development platform free of charge. The programme is also launching several activities aimed at developers, including a dedicated online community and developer events. On 31 October 2016, ThingPark will co-animate Swisscom’s Low Power Network Boot-Camp in Zurich, Switzerland.
ThingPark has also partnered with several start-up incubators in Paris such as l’Usine IO, Le Village By CA, Numa, Ecole 42… to provide Demo Hubs as well as organizing meet-ups.
LoRa is one of a number of proprietary IoT technologies designed to serve applications requiring low power and a wide area network transmitting relatively small amounts of data.
LoRaWAN architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology with gateways providing a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server in the backend.
Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways. All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast enabling software upgrade over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on air communication time.
LoRaWAN has several different classes of end-point devices to address the different needs reflected in the wide range of applications:
• Bi-directional end-devices (Class A): End-devices of Class A allow for bi-directional communications whereby each end-device's uplink transmission is followed by two short downlink receive windows.
• Bi-directional end-devices with scheduled receive slots (Class B): Class B devices open extra receive windows at scheduled times co-ordinated by synchronized Beacon from the gateway. This allows the server to know when the end-device is listening.
• Bi-directional end-devices with maximal receive slots (Class C): End-devices of Class C have nearly continuously open receive windows, only closed when transmitting.