The United States-Mexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC), through its Microsystems program, and Semtech Corporation — supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors — presented one of the most important global proposals related to the Internet of Things (IoT) known as LoRa (Long Range), as well as an overview of business opportunities to accelerate the penetration of IoT in Mexico.
The LoRa alliance, which drives Semtech and is made up of companies such as Cisco, IBM, Microchip, among others, seeks to create the wireless communication standard with capacity for regional, national or even global coverage that enables the Internet of Things (IoT).
One of the main advantages of LoRa technology is that it works on unlicensed ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) frequency bands, which facilitates creating low power wide area networks (LPWAN) without having to pay royalties for the spectrum, as long as it complies with the country-specific regulations regarding this band.
Given the innovation and the advantages associated with adopting LoRa in Mexico, FUMEC, together with Semtech, will present an overview of this technology and the business opportunities for developers of mobile devices and applications, sensors and telemetry, M2M communication, intelligent systems, etc.
"One of the main objectives of FUMEC is to promote economic development based on innovation in Mexico. LoRa is one of the most important global proposals related to IoT, so we are looking to present this technological trend and the business opportunities around it to Mexican companies," said Guillermina Avendaño, director of the FUMEC Microsystems Program.
From FUMEC and Semtech's joint efforts with LoRa, Avendaño added, it will be possible to create the basis for a strategic IoT plan to be designed at national level. Although there are currently technologies such as GSM and WiFi that are the most commonly used for communication between devices as part of IoT, these present some challenges.
GSM, 3G and LTE networks are characterized by the need for having to sign up to a data plan to carry out the communication and having high energy consumption; WiFi and Bluetooth networks cover a few meters inside buildings and also require high energy consumption. As an alternative to the above, the LPWAN scheme that works with LoRa has been proposed. LPWAN is a wide area network oriented at devices that handle relatively small volumes of data but require long-range and low power consumption.
"Costs are reduced with LoRa as you no longer need to install, for example, 20 antennas that are traditionally used for wireless communication. There are antennas that work with LoRa today; one alone could cover up to 15 kilometers. An antenna of this type can cover almost an entire city. Semtech will demonstrate this by installing two test antennas — one in Mexico City and another in Aguascalientes," Avendaño explained.
With these types of proposals driven by FUMEC in Mexico, smart cities represent an increasingly close and real concept for the country, with infinite and accessible opportunities for entrepreneurs.