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Secure IoT identities

Security is critical for a trustworthy Internet‑of‑Things. To achieve this, it is crucial we solve the main challenge of secure identities for constrained IoT devices and find efficient ways to deal with the many identity technologies in use. Different ecosystems have disparate needs and practices. Yet it is clear that automation and zero touch mass registration is necessary for scaling up to billions of devices. A secure identity – anchored in hardware – is at the center.

Ericsson, ARM, and u‑blox have joined forces to address this issue. Together, we have developed a concept that can integrate and secure IoT devices from any ecosystem – something that is necessary to enable IoT deployments to move to massive scale. A prototype using well‑proven security technology from mobile networks, implemented on a u‑blox device utilizing ARM mbed OS 5, was demonstrated at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

The importance of security in IoT

Internet of Things comprises billions of connected devices, most of which are small size, low cost, low power, constrained in terms of processing power and storage, operate unattended and can be expected to run more than ten years. Close‑to‑zero cost for roll‑out, provisioning, and operation will be necessary, calling for automated processes.

Security and privacy are among the major concerns for businesses adopting IoT. This increases with the growing significance of IoT in corporate, government, and critical infrastructure contexts. New IoT devices being deployed in new use cases brings significant security challenges.

Secure identities are key components in this context. Two important aspects are needed: an efficient identity technology that can be used also on very constrained devices, and management of these identities during the lifetime of the device.

IoT security terms and concepts

How can secure environments be provided for IoT? Different ecosystems have unique needs and practices. We believe the diversity will continue for at least the foreseeable future, and the best way is to focus on brokering of existing, successful technologies, as a needed solution bridging different ecosystems.

Some key terms and concepts – a brief overview is included at the end of the post.

  • Device identity.
  • Crypto schemes.
  • Root of trust.
  • TEE.
  • Device authentication and agreeing on keys.

Proof of concept demonstration

Ericsson, ARM, and u‑blox have joined forces to create a concept for integrating and securing IoT devices from any ecosystem. This is key to moving IoT deployments to massive scale with zero cost and for IoT to be trusted when involving actors from all concerned ecosystems.

Only a small portion of IoT devices will connect to the Internet via cellular networks. However, the well proven Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA) technology from the cellular networks can be used also when connecting over non‑cellular networks and for constrained IoT devices, where saving on power, size, and cost are crucial.

The proof‑of‑concept uses ARMv7‑M based devices running ARM mbed OS 5, which contains an mbed uVisor – a hardware‑enforced hypervisor – that allows for creating a trusted execution environment with a strong enough security level to securely store device and AKA identities in the device. Future versions targets ARMv8‑M based devices with ARM Trustzone. We leverage the AKA procedure and the EAP‑AKA approach for non‑cellular access to get an efficient low cost identity solution on the device side and securely provision the identities to the device using the Lightweight Machine‑to‑Machine (LWM2M) protocol.

To illustrate the concept, we use a smart goods delivery setup, where each parcel contains a constrained device. The solution is implemented on a u‑blox ODIN‑W2 stand‑alone IoT gateway module with Wi‑Fi & Bluetooth utilizing ARM mbed OS 5.

MWC17 Lego demo 2

Eco system engagement

“By working with leading companies in the ecosystem, we want to ensure that secure IoT solutions become available to users and developers from all different sectors”, says Jan Höller from Ericsson Research. “Interoperability is key for IoT to take off in a massive way, and secure solutions is one of the hardest nuts to crack, so we went for jointly solving that one”.

“Secure device authentication is a key challenge to deploying constrained IoT devices at scale,” according to Michael Horne, Vice President, IoT Business, ARM. “In order to tackle this, we are collaborating with Ericsson and u‑blox to architect in secure system provisioning through the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform. This will enable all enterprises to build secure IoT solutions quickly.”

“As u‑blox provides wireless and positioning modules and chips for a wealth of different IoT applications, we have created a security ‘roadmap’ with five critical

areas to our product security. This collaboration with market leaders comes as a great opportunity to implement secure IoT solutions on a larger scale,” explains Håkan Svegerud, Product Strategy, Product Center Short Range Radio, u‑blox.

Life cycle management

Across the device lifecycle, different stakeholders have different interests and responsibilities to interact with the device in a secure way. It starts at the manufacturing of the chip, then into an automated process of device OEMs, system integrators and solution providers, on to users, application service providers and network providers. Managing security and IoT device identities and the trust relations will be critical in this process and it needs to be done with minimal manual intervention.

Brokering of generic IDs and the relations is needed. In our next blog post, we will describe in more detail the part of the demo that involves identity brokering using blockchain technology.

For more reading on IoT Security, please check out Ericsson’s IoT Security topic page

IoT Security terms and concepts explained

Device identity
The device identity is normally a boot strap credential together with a device identifier. The credential is generated or set during manufacturing and used to securely download other sets of credentials used for things like authentication, connectivity, management. The device identifier does not need to be secret but (a part of) the credentials need to be.

Crypto schemes
Credentials use crypto schemes which usually are symmetric or asymmetric. Symmetric schemes are light‑weight and require a secret key shared between the communicating parties and authentication is implicitly done through this shared secret. Asymmetric schemes use a public and a private key pair. In this case, we need additional assurances to know that a public key really belongs to the intended recipient, so certificates are often used.

Root of trust
Bootstrapping a secure system or device involves a chain of steps, where each step relies on the correctness and security of the previous one, also called a chain of trust. At the end of the chain we assume or verify the correctness of the last step – this step becomes the Root of Trust (RoT). It is implemented so that is it very hard to break that trust.

TEE
Using the RoT and other parts of the device one establishes a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). The TEE often uses a hardware- separated area of the device, such as ARM Trustzone or a UICC. The latter has tough requirements on for example tamper resistance and security evaluations.

Device authentication and agreement on keys
Identities also play a key role for the functions of device authentication and agreeing on keys for communication protection. The Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA) protocol defined by the 3GPP standard is a well‑proven technology to provide these two functions. It is based on a symmetric scheme and includes mutual authentication, which for example prevents use of fake base stations.

Ben Smeets
Senior Expert in Security research area, Ericsson Research
Per Ståhl
Master Researcher in Security research area, Ericsson Research

Different technologies needed to support diversity of applications that will make the IoT market

Courtesy of www.iot-now.com

Robin Duke-Woolley, the chief executive ofBeecham Research, met Thomas Seiler, the chief executive of u-blox, a provider of wireless semiconductors and modules for consumer, automotive and industrial markets, at the CTIA show in September 2016. They discussed emerging low power wireless technologies, the direction of the industry and u-blox’s future plans.

Robin Duke-Woolley: u-blox’s cellular IoT module business has been growing rapidly over the last few years, but unlike your competitors in this market you have decided not to go up the solution stack to connectivity and IoT platform services?

Thomas Seiler: Yes. We all have our different strategies. We want to stay with our core technology. Insofar as we are different we are not only making modules; we also make chipsets so we own the core technology for whatever we do for GNSS, for Cellular, and for Short Range. We want to do that because our aim is to put the technologies into the hands of our customers who buy the modules, but we also want to supply technology that we understand and can both support and make for the long run for these customers.

If you buy chipsets from a third-party and then they decide on what is finally the functionality, you are not providing your customers with any differentiation. That is not what we want to do and we learned that very early in the life of our company. That was the key reason why we started to make the technology ourselves.

U Blox logoWe have the capability to make integrated circuits and I think that’s very viable and valuable for the market. Of course our customers depend on us and they want to be sure in the long run it’s also something that they can depend on because we make the technology right and because we make a long-term roadmap. That of course takes their wishes into account and their needs. Doing that has worked out very nicely for us and our customers over the last twenty years.

RDW: You’ve taken more of an intercept strategy for cellular modules, because you’ve not gone substantially into 2G and not that much into 3G. Is your main focus on 4G and beyond 4G?

TS: That’s correct when we look at that today. Of course, we have not been building cellular modules for twenty years – we only started doing so in about 2010 and by that time 2G and 3G were well established so that it did not make sense to invest in chipsets for technology that had already matured. To go for LTE was the right decision in 2012 for us so we can create solutions for the categories of releases that LTE is going to offer.

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RDW: You’ve recently announced an agreement with Ingenu, so does that mean you’re committed to proprietary solutions as well as to more standard solutions?

TS: First and foremost, we are a company making wireless technology. Cellular modules have their rules and regulations, in particular certification – effectively standards, that are part of the game but as things are evolving there are of course solutions that are more proprietary that do not follow these rules which are looking to become leaders in the market. We cannot know what the final landscape will look like – nobody knows that. So for sure, there are very viable solutions that are outside of the licensed spectrum and we just want to provide a set of solutions to our customers, a range of possibilities so that they can make what is best for whatever their application is. This is the reason why we also reached agreement to make RPMA products for Ingenu.

RDW: So are you just going to make products for Ingenu, or are you considering others like LoRa, or SigFox?

TS: Today we have announced Ingenu and nothing else. Whether they are the most successful or not is for the market to decide. We believe, technology-wise, that they have a lead, because the coding scheme is very robust and they have the capability of FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air) that is of course a very essential feature to maintain the system. This is not delivered by the competing solutions in the unlicensed space.

side1RDW: Then there are Cat M1 and Cat NB-1. Do you think that those will be successful in the market? Are you looking to provide for those in competition with Ingenu products?

TS: Yes – they will be successful. Most M2M solutions can be very well maintained with the capability of 2G. But now with LTE, I think that becomes even more interesting because the various categories respond better to what real applications need with regard to data throughput capacity and latency as well as power consumption. So I would say that solutions based around LTE or LTE-M have a bright future and a better one than 2G or even 3G can deliver, because LTE is made for data transmission – not for voice.

RDW: How do you see the low band, the low power, wide area market taking off? Do you think that’s going to be a very rapid development? Could it be something that will surpass the standard cellular module market?

TS: There’s a good chance that this is going to grow rapidly. I think LPWA has distinct features I’ve mentioned already – low power, very good range – and of course cost-wise it’s interesting. So you can deploy solutions that until now you were unable to deploy. For example, you can easily place fire detector sensors into the forests that live for ten years from a battery. You cannot make such a solution available with 2G or 3G. So there is a lot more that is now feasible and doable.

RDW: What do you think will happen with SIM cards when Cat M1 and Cat NB-1 are taken up in volume? Do you think that we’ll continue to have SIM cards or do you think the market will move more towards embedded SIM?

TS: Most likely it will all be embedded SIM. Of course the SIM card is a nice thing to help providers own the customer – that’s what the operators like – but in my opinion, it’s inconceivable if these go into much broader scope and much higher quantities. There is also the price point where the embedded SIM is cheaper and of course much more appropriate than a SIM card and its holder. The world will change to integrated solutions.

RDW: Can you say a bit more about where you think the sort of applications are for Cat M1 and Cat NB-1 that is different from the cellular that we’ve had so far? There’s a lot of talk about very high volumes of IoT products out there, but we’re not going to do that if we just replace the current cellular modules with cheaper ones in the same sort of products. Do you have a view about that and what sort of applications are likely to come about?

TS: There are so many things around us that are not connected. That of course feeds the hypothetical market for things that are connected to the internet and finally it’s a matter of price points that will lead to decisions about where does it make sense and where does it not make sense. Does it make sense to connect that lamp above us or does it not make sense? Does it make sense to connect this switch on the wall or not?

Of course, we have seen the technology price points always going down and the penetration increasing. In the end it’s the contribution of everybody in this industry that finally makes all these solutions and I think it’s all about the solutions for delivering all these numbers. It is that there are so many different solutions that will make the market.

RDW: What do you think is realistic as a cost target for these low cost modules? Also, do you think that we’ll have Cat M1 and Cat NB-1 in the same module or do you think that they’ll be in separate modules?

TS: Of course you can always combine them into one module but whether that makes sense for cost efficiency is debatable. An application has a certain requirement for bandwidth or for latency and that s fine and therefore there are good reasons why you need both. People say they only want one module for covering five different types of applications but that is rather unlikely. It is not a single technology. Of course it is conceivable that some technologies can be highly integrated, like Wi-Fi, and there is a need to reach these sorts of price points.

RDW: What sort of price point do you think is viable for that technology?

TS: Probably $1.00 to $2.00; in that sort of range.

RDW: When you’re in the market are you talking to end-users like auto OEMs and others about their requirements?

TS: We talk to end-users as well but mainly the OEMs to find out what their requirements are and what their future need is. We of course have roadmaps for those discussions and those are essential for long-term success. About one third of our business is in the auto space and by that we mean first of all electronics for the aftermarket. We have a very strong position in everything that is positioning in the car but more and more we have cellular and short range.

RDW: Which sectors in particular represent your main business?

TS: First of all, more than 60% of our business is in industrial sectors. Probably a third is in vehicles, primarily after-market solutions for telematics, for insurance and for asset security. We have a strong presence for everything that is on wheels, but we are equally well-positioned for infrastructure. We say that we make solutions for the things that really matter, because infrastructure is necessary for mobility and requires high quality and high functionality and this is what we are positioning for in the market.

RDW: Which are the most important markets for you, geographically?

TS: We do about half of our billings in Asia and about a quarter each in the Americas and Europe. There is a very wide mix of applications and we have a high diversity of customers. We have 5,700 customers worldwide. We are not dependent on one customer – no one is the big one. The biggest is 8% of the business.

RDW: Do you provide a lot of technical support to your customers?

TS: Absolutely. Our sales force is divided between commercial and technical people on a 1:1 ratio so we make sure our customers have very good support. We help them with design and moving them into production flawlessly because it is in our interest of course for customers to go quickly to production.

RDW: Is it fair to say that you initially established your customer base through positioning products and cellular modules that have been added to that rather than creating a customer base for them from scratch?

TS: Of course, we started with GNSS – that was our first activity. That was how the company was founded and anything we have added was a new line of products or a new technology that was nicely cross-selling into the existing customer base. So we have maintained the customer base but we have delivered more and more different solutions and products into their hands

RDW: How do you see the future?

TS: I think what has been the past I now also see as the future. By that I mean that we will continue the same as we have always been, growing on a large scale through many ways and solutions and applications. As a result, we are becoming more diversified. We are not dependent on one outcome or one hyped or killer application but rather being very well connected to many different areas where our technology applies. I think our future growth comes from the continued development of making our technology better and making it even better tuned to our customers. Also, we expect to stay very much in hardware and not move into services or software. We will not compete with our customers. We are a maker of technology – we make it in the form of chipsets and we package it into modules for easy access to our customers. This is our role.

www.iot-now.com

Cool stuff: New IoT products in May 2016

In this new series, we will present some of the most exciting IoT products launched or in development. Perhaps something here will inspire you as to how the Internet of Things can benefit your own business.

Your car will soon pay for fuel, parking and donuts by itself

Who

Visa, Honda and ParkWhiz have joined forces to launch a new in-car payment system this Spring.
When world-leaders in payment processing, car manufacturing and on-demand parking apps put their heads together, we expect a highly valuable outcome. Or as the parties announced already:

“The notion of transforming a car into a platform for payments is not as far off as some may think, and we have made a great deal of progress since first introducing the idea one year ago,”
said
Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships, Visa Inc.
“Working with Honda to test these prototypes gets us another step closer toward commercial reality, which we think provides exciting opportunities to everyone who plays a role in the payments and automotive ecosystems.”

“This project demonstrates how apps can truly transform the in-car experience while creating new opportunities for automakers,” said John Moon, developer relations lead for Honda Developer Studio.

 

“At ParkWhiz we are very focused on creating a frictionless, and of course safe, parking experience for drivers,” said Aashish Dalal, CEO, ParkWhiz.“Eliminating the need for drivers to take tickets or check out at pay boxes is a giant step toward a frictionless experience and a big win for drivers. ParkWhiz is thrilled to be partnered with Visa on this ground-breaking innovation.”

What

As announced at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, Visa is making the Visa Token Service available to automotive manufacturers, which is indeed an interesting step forward in the IoT era. In partnership with Honda and ParkWhiz, a demonstration of the in-car Visa checkout feature was performed during the event.

In order to bring greater simplicity and convenience to the everyday tasks of the end users, Honda developed and integrated the solution into their head unit. This brings new possibilities to situations that involve payment processing, such as refueling and parking.

How

Both the fuel and parking apps showcase the Visa Token Service, which feature Visa Checkout, Visa’s online payment service offering simple, one-touch payments. For the end user, the two apps work as follows:

Fuel App Concept:
Pay for fuel simply by tapping the dashboard screen, without leaving your car. Each time your car is running low on gas, the fuel app detects this and prompts you to visit a nearby service station.  As soon as you have parked next to a pump, the app will know the exact amount of fuel required and calculate its cost. You could also buy convenience store items such as coffee and donuts, even using any relevant reward programs.

Parking App Concept:
Park your car and activate the app. Once you return, tap the screen to complete the transaction and the app will automatically pay for the elapsed time.

Where

Both apps are to be tested in the USA over a three-month period this spring. The fuel app concept will be tested in North Carolina, while the the parking app concept is tested in New York City.

Why

IoT is more than a buzzword and the world is clearly moving into a more connected state. By keeping a close eye on the hard trends and staying innovative, Visa refuses to sit back and watch the train leave the station. They are fully aware that the world is headed towards more digitalized payment methods and in order to stay competitive, they want to remove as much friction as possible from the payment process.

Faster and more convenient payment methods tend to lead to increased revenue for the vendor, and higher satisfaction for the end user.

Pros

In the digital age, people value convenience and welcome the ability to pay for something without leaving their car. They might be willing to pay extra for a car that has this technology included, either for the convenience or the novelty of the feature. However, as soon as all the car manufacturers include this technology as a standard, consumers will expect these features and the margins will be slimmer.

Cons

Payments by a simple tap on the dashboard screen could result in higher spending. Science has proven that paying with cash causes a chemical reaction in the brain, which makes us feel a sense of loss. This reaction was not shown to the same degree when paying with a card.

What’s next?

We can safely assume that end users will soon be able to check their account balance using the same dashboard screen as they do for payments.

As the chips are already integrated into the cars, we can expect other features to follow. For example: Paying for amusement park entrance fees, or sporting events, while parking outside.

The ability to pay for a car wash, drinks and snacks via the dashboard already exists. This is expected to be extended to more products, loyalty programs, and road tolls. A lot of new IoT products now add support for payments and we expect to see this trend continue over the coming year.

Internet of Things: Beyond the Hype

By Pål Kastnes April 26, 2016 – http://blog.nordicsemi.com/

The amount of connected devices is projected to grow from 2 billion objects in 2006 to 200 billion by 2020. That’s the equivalent of 26 smart devices for every person on the planet! The time to sit up and take notice is now, so let’s take a look at the impact this trend will have on your business.

More than just a buzzword

Web 2.0, Big Data, Grid Computing: The media is quick to attach itself to the latest buzzwords, which can confuse readers and leave them wondering what all the fuss is about. Internet of Things (IoT) is no exception.

IoT references a range of diverse products and solutions that may at first glance seem unrelated to each other. Yet behind the hype, IoT is considered by those in the know to be an unstoppable trend that will affect all global business sectors in the very near future.

IoT in a nutshell

At its core, IoT is simply a network of physical objects (devices, cars, buildings, electronic items etc) that contain a microchip. The other key component is an internet connection via an internal or external gateway. Through sensors and software, the physical objects can monitor data, and send it to and from cloud-based databases to be monitored, analyzed and acted upon.

Think of it as a natural evolution of machine to machine (M2M) networks. Bringing that connectivity online gives you almost limitless possibilities.

IoT and the gold mine of Big Data

As each new connected device provides ever increasing amounts of highly valuable information, the industry of Big Data analytics is growing rapidly.

Pattern of Life (POL) data analytics can be used to profile users for different purposes. From a marketing perspective, it’s a goldmine.

This kind of analysis can save lives, but it also presents major privacy issues. Each country’s rules and regulations are developing and expected to change as people become more familiar with the topic. With this in mind, many companies are now collecting as much valuable information as they can before stricter laws are introduced.

Everyday life in the IoT era

According to Transparency Market Research, the global home automation market was valued at US $4.41 billion in 2014, and was expected to grow 26.3% annually from 2014 to 2020. As home automation technology evolves, your house will get smarter over time as more and more devices connect to each other. Expect more efficient use of energy and more self-learning devices that need less input from you.

Greenhouses can automatically monitor and optimize conditions to create the most productive environment. More intelligent agriculture has the potential to make a real difference to the expected food shortage problems as the world’s population grows.

Within healthcare, advanced wearables that monitor, analyze and report results for patients with chronic diseases look set to change the way doctors and patients communicate. Doctors can rely on hard facts rather than sporadic conversations with the patient.

Self-driving cars are no longer the realm of science fiction. Since 2009, Google’s self-driving car project has clocked up over 1.4 million miles. According to a Google study, their cars are involved in almost 25% less collissions than traditional cars in the United States.

How long will it take to get the world fully connected?

The backbone to connect already exists with cloud-based services in our current Internet structure. However, there are some natural limitations that will delay the adoption of a fully connected world.

  • Battery life
    The capacity and life expectancy of today’s batteries are bottlenecks for the creation of connected devices, yet the future looks promising with developments such as wireless charging.
  • One device, one IP
    We don’t have enough IP addresses available using the standard IPv4 protocol to meet the growing demand for IoT devices, which each need their own IP address to connect to the internet. Transition to the IPv6 protocol makes 340 trillion trillion trillion (yes, 3 x trillion) unique IP addresses available, more than enough to manage demand for decades to come. However, it will take time to update the world’s outdated hardware, so the transition will be gradual.
  • Costs
    The cost of connectivity has prevented an even faster digital transition, although the cost of silicon continues to fall year-on-year. It will take time, but the Internet of Things is a natural progression of technology. In time, cost will no longer be a decision factor when connecting products to the Internet.

How will IoT impact your business?

The era of IoT will force even the most successful companies in the unconnected world to face digital disruption. Despite only being in its infancy, the impact of IoT on traditional industries is undeniable.

Book stores were too busy protecting their existing product to combat Amazon’s Kindle. The taxi industry in New York was ripped apart by Uber. Kodak spent millions to protect their castle of film-based photography, which now stands in ruins.

The world is full of competent people who can create competing products with the digital features that your customers will soon expect. With low barriers of entry, all it takes is the right mix of innovators, a good understanding of market trends and willing investors, for ambitious digital-first startups to grab their share of your market pie in the blink of an eye.

If you are a profitable business with a portfolio of unconnected physical devices, your world will change.

The time for action is now.

Sources:

http://www.reuters.com/article/ny-transparency-market-idUSnBw215604a+100+BSW20150521

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore’s_law

https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv4_address_exhaustion

http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/images/iot/guide-to-iot-infographic.png

 

NB-IoT / CAT M2 standard nears completion

By Simon Glassman – Senior Principal, Strategic Partnerships
IoT is fast becoming a reality, and requirements including narrow bandwidth, low power and reliable connectivity are all issues – hear how NB-IoT is addressing these problems.

For the last couple of years, u-blox has cooperated with Vodafone and Huawei to develop and demo the new Narrowband IoT (NB‑IoT) technology. NB‑IoT is an emerging Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology that works over existing cellular infrastructure. Providing a simple means of connecting devices that send and receive small amounts of fairly infrequent data, NB‑IoT enables coverage in hard to reach places, as well as support for high numbers of low throughput, ultra-low cost devices.

As it stands, the NB‑IoT standards are nearing completion, a feat that has been achieved in record time. Only in September 2015 did 3GPP agree a common approach for NB-IoT deployment of LPWA networks using the licensed operator spectrum, and release of the standard is expected by June 2016.

Notably, a short development time doesn’t mean a half-baked standard. NB‑IoT is well defined, with a lot of work having taken place to guarantee low device power consumption and an optimized solution architecture – both key to the ultimate success of NB‑IoT. Leading lights behind the NB-IoT Forum have placed high importance on testing NB-IoT technology in real-world scenarios, such as the successful demonstration in Spain in November 2015 when the first pre-standard NB-IoT message was sent to a u-blox module installed in a test device located in water meter locations

Water meters are the perfect example of a host of monitoring devices that involve hard-to-reach locations. For example in basements, underground or behind metal covers, where no mains power is available and where typically other types of signal would be unable to reach. Other applications range from building automation, people and animal tracking, to ‘smart city’ technologies, where NB-IoT could help local government control street lighting, determine when waste bins need emptying, identify free parking spaces and survey road conditions. Battery life of 10 years and more will be expected from all these devices. u-blox labels these kinds of applications as the ‘Internet of Things that Really Matter’ i.e. business-critical applications with good business reasons for adopting this technology.

Take our Waste Management Route Optimization demo for Mobile World Congress 2016, for example. The system brings together pre-standard NB-IoT with u-blox Bluetooth low energy enabled sensors and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi IoT gateway module, supported by an ARM mbed application environment and a cloud based analytics. The system detects when bins are opened and closed, and are thus full or empty, and communicates this via NB-IoT to the cloud. The optimal route for a waste collection vehicle is then calculated, thus minimizing route distance and reducing fuel costs, carbon emissions and the duration of a waste collection.

In a bid to bring NB-IoT rapidly to commercialization, a number of mobile operators and network infrastructure providers are creating ‘NB-IoT Open Labs. Providing the right environment for the creation and support of an NB-IoT eco-system, the NB-IoT Open Labs will facilitate end-to-end development and interoperability testing for application developers, systems integrators and services providers. u-blox’s NB-IoT evaluation kits and modules are being made available to the Labs. [Interested customers can contact us today for our pre-standard NB-IoT kits and modules.]

Here at u-blox, we believe in a wireless future with secure, stable, and robust connectivity and as such, consider that NB-IoT has relevance to anyone building a connected device. With the head-start we have made with NB-IoT, we are committed to playing our part in ensuring that first commercial deployments of NB-IoT are on track for early 2017.

https://www.u-blox.com/

LoRaONE: the LoRa® IoT development board by SODAQ

View on Kickstarter here: www.kickstarter.com

About this project

Introducing: LoRaONE The one solution to connect all the things, all the time.

Small, yet versatile. LoRaONE brings IoT to life.
Small, yet versatile. LoRaONE brings IoT to life.

What is it?

LoRaONE is all you need to create your own IoT solution. An Arduino compatible board packed with features and sensors, making it the ideal solution for makers and creators that can’t wait to make the Internet of Things a reality. It is easy to program, connected to its surroundings through numerous sensors and ready to go. The board has the size of a matchbox, so it can be placed anywhere you can think of. But best of all, it is connected everywhere through LoRa® technology. When it comes to building the IoT, there’s nothing like LoraONE.

For the past months we’ve worked hard to get LoRaONE to the final stages of development. The first beta-users are already working with LoRaONE. To make the final step and start mass-production, we need your help. If you back us, not only do you help us to get LoRaONE out in the world, but you’ll also receive one yourself in July 2016. So this summer you can start building on your LoRaWAN™ connected IoT.

You’ve seen us on:

What’s inside?

This board is based on our successful Autonomo. It has a proven 32 bit Arduino compatible platform that is currently the first choice of millions of programmers around the world. Not only is it versatile, it is also extremely small, measuring only 40 x 25 millimeters. One of the characteristics of ARM Cortex M0 based boards is that they can be programmed to run extremely energy efficient, which is essential for your next IoT-project.

But maybe even more essential is the connection. We chose LoRa® as we fully believe this is where the Internet of Things will come to full bloom. LoRa® networks are easy to set up, have extremely long range and are rapidly being rolled out around the world. It works both indoors and outdoors. LoraONE connects easily and safely with your local LoRaWAN™ network, making the IoT a reality.

We’ve include a GPS-antenna in the LoRaONE, so it can track its location precisely. But this is not just any GPS. To make it ideal for the IoT, we have chosen the state-of-the art u-blox Eva GPS moduleWhy is it state-of-the-art? Because it can be made to use less power than any other GPS we looked at. After switching off, the module keeps the almanac in memory. So when switching on, it can get a fix in just a few seconds. This allows us for instance to get a GPS fix every 5 minutes at less than 1% of the power needed for constant positioning by regular GPS. We call this near-realtime tracking and it is essential for our rhino-tracking project, which you can read about below.

Included on the tiny board is also an accelerometer, opening up a wide range of possibilities. If there’s movement, the LoRaONE will know and can act accordingly. You can even let the sensors cooperate. So the GPS can safely switch off, until it the device detects movement. This minimizes energy usage even more, and will also keep you up to date about what’s going on with your LoRaONE.

Want more? LoraONE has a magnetometer, so it is able to detect magnetic fields. There’s aMicroUSB connector, so it can connect to your computer straight out of the box. There’s 14 I/O pins, to connect other sensors or devices. All can be used for digital and 12 for analog It has a button and LED, making it perfect for that wearable you always wanted to create.

Still not enough? If you opt for the Starter Kit, you’ll get some really cool extra’s. The ONEbase extension board makes this device a creators dream. Simply click the LoraONE on the base and you can directly connect all sorts of Grove modules, just like with our previous projectsAutonomo and Mbili boardsIt also comes with a 800mAh rechargeable LiPo battery. And if you really don’t want to worry about losing power, you can use the 500mW solar panel, also included in the package.

LoRaONE rewards

LoRaONE Early Bird (only 100 available): You know what they say about early birds….they save money! Get the LoRaONE for a one-time-only price of €75. There’s only 100 available, so needless to say you need to get up early to catch this offer.

LoRaONE: For the hardcore IoT fans out there. This reward will get you the LoRaONE right at home, ready to go.

LoRaONE Starter Kit: Everything you need to get started as an IoT maker or creator. This kit includes: – LoRaONE – LiPo rechargeable 800mAh battery – 500mW solar cell – ONEbase – MicroUSB cable. The battery, solar cell and cable ensure you have everything you need to get started, while the LoraONE base extends the already broad possibilities of the LoRaONE even further.

LoraTEN: Ready to take on the bigger projects? Developing for your company, organization or maybe your own smart-home? This pack features 10x the LoRaONE. Buy in bulk and get a nice discount, as this unlimited offer gets you the LoRaONE’s at the early bird-price.

LoRaTHON: The ultimate IoT hackathon-package. If you’re planning to do workshops, educational programs or simply want it all for yourself. This starters pack features ten LoRaONEs, each with its own battery, MicroUSB cable, solar cell and the ONEbase extension board. The possibilities are endless…times ten!

LoRaONE Tech specs

  • Microcontroller: ATSAMD21G18, 32-Bit ARM Cortex, M0+
  • Compatibility:  Arduino M0 Compatible
  • Size:  40 x 25 mm
  • Operating: Voltage 3.3V
  • I/O Pins:  14, All can be used for digital, 12 for analog and 8 for PWM, plus UART, SPI and TWI (I2C)
  • Analog Output Pin:  10-bit DAC
  • External Interrupts: Available on all pins
  • DC Current per I/O pin: 7 mA
  • Flash Memory: 256 KB
  • SRAM:  32KB
  • EEPROM: Up to 16KB by emulation
  • Clock Speed: 48 MHz
  • Debug: Serial Wire Interface
  • Power: 5V USB power and/or (optional) 3.7 LiPo battery
  • Charging:
  • Solar charge controller, up to 500mA charge current
  • LED: RGB LED
  • LoRa® Microchip:  RN2483 or RN2903 Module (depending on your region)
  • GPS: u-blox EVA 7M
  • Accelerometer/Magneto: LSM303D
  • USB: MicroUSB Port

Why LoRa®?

The future of the Internet of Things lies in LoRa®. That’s not something we made up, just to get you to buy the LoRaONE. It is actually the opinion of some very bright minds from all over the world. “LoRaWAN™ is to IoT as 3G/4G is to smartphones”, wrote The Verge. “[IoT] devices require a stable, reliable and cheap approach, which opens up a whole new world”, said techsite Tweakers. The different networks are currently regulated by the non-profit LoRa® Alliance, there’s more information on their website.

LoRaWAN™ is a low power network that works over long distances. One gateway can reach up to 10 kilometers around, depending on obstructions. It is cheap to set up, organizations like The Things Network are currently working on new gateways which cost as less as €200 euro’s. This makes it extremely easy and cheap to set up a city-wide network, but it can be just as easy to connect remote places to the internet. One of the great advantages is that the signal can be used indoors and outdoors.

LoRa® is also energy efficient. Connected devices, like the LoRaONE, can go on for years on a small battery. Or they need only a small solarcell to continue working forever.

Note that for the LoRaONE to communicate you need a LoRa® network. This could either be a network operated by your local Telco, like KPN in the Netherlands, Proximus in Belgium orOrange in France. Or it could be your local The Things Network. A third option would be to run your own private LoRa® network, but this would require a LoRa® gateway and LoRa® server which are available through various different sources

Where are you: pick the right band!  

Due to national regulations, LoRa® networks use different frequencies in different parts of the world. Most common are 868Mhz for Europe and South Africa, while the Americas use the 915Mhz band. Other parts of the world are undecided, unregulated or there simply is no LoRa®-network available yet. So when ordering the LoRaONE, please fill in which frequency you require, so we can make sure to send you the right hardware.

What can YOU do with LoRaONE?

So what is LoRaONE capable of? Well, the cool thing is, that is totally up to you. But we like to do some tinkering ourselves, and came up with some ideas that we tried out. This is just a tiny sample, and we can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

LoRaONE can be anything. Like a solar radiation sensor to measure at what sun intensity your plants grow the most.
LoRaONE can be anything. Like a solar radiation sensor to measure at what sun intensity your plants grow the most.
  • We’re currently working closely with the park rangers in northern Tanzania to protect endangered rhinos from poachers who try to get their hands on the valuable horn. For years, the rangers have been struggling to track the rhinos effectively through a range of sensors. Radio waves are unsafe as the poachers can track the rhinos as well. Satellite equipment is big and bulky for an animal to carry around. And cellular service is spotty at best. LoRaONE proves to be the solution. With only ten gateways, the huge park is fully covered. The LoRaONEs are small and light enough so they do not hinder the rhinos and the connection is secure, so poachers can’t eavesdrop. Thanks to small solar panels and sunny African weather, the LoRaONEs never run out of juice, giving the rangers 24/7 information about the whereabouts of these magnificent animals.
  • LoRaONE can serve as an excellent remote alarm system for anything ranging from a bicycle to an expensive painting. The accelerometer detects any movement and the LoRaONE can notify you instantly. Follow it’s location in near-real time and get back what’s yours!
  • With the built in button it works as a wearable, for instance a panic button for seniors. If anything happens, a push of the button notifies loved ones or caretakers, who can immediately read out the location. Thanks to LoRa® this is not limited to one building: it is connected everywhere, all the time.
  • We’re working with local government to attach the LoRaONE to outdoor trashcans. LoRaONE can detect and send information about whether they are full or not, saving the city cleaners tons of time (and money).
  • The Netherlands is home to a couple of huge harbors, each shipping millions of sea containers each year. One or two LoRa®-gateways can be enough to blanket the area in a network. Attach the LoRaONE to the containers with a strong magnet and they’re instantly traceable. Thanks to the magnetometer, the magnetic field of the LoRaONE detaching from the container can be sensed, so it can even notify the owner and warn that something is wrong. Nothing gets accidentally lost, ever again.

Who are we?

We are SODAQ, which is short for SOlar powered Data AcQuisition. Solving the problem of efficiently connecting things while off-grid has always been at the heart of what we do. Additionally, we will always strive to build high quality libraries to support the development of applications for our boards. You may know us from our other two successful Kickstarter campaigns, the first SODAQ development board and the SODAQ Autonomo. Our company is based in Hilversum, a town just outside Amsterdam in The Netherlands. A great place to be, as multiple parties have embraced the idea of a countrywide LoRa® network.

We currently have 12 experienced and enthusiastic geniuses working in our office. Not only do we develop hardware and software for the IoT, we also put energy in spreading the word and sharing our knowledge. For instance, we’ve partnered with IoT Academy and the RDM Makerspace. For their workshops we provide hardware and instructions. Recently Dutch IT-consultancy QNH chose us as partner to gain knowledge and insights on the different aspects of IoT. This is not our first Kickstarter campaign. We’ve launched our SODAQ board and theAutonomo on Kickstarter. Both got succesfully funded and shipped on time.

Risks and challenges

During our last two campaigns we promised to ship on time, and managed to do so. We are planning to keep our promise this time around, too. The first hundred LoRaONE boards are currently being used by beta-users. We’ve finished the development stage, the prototypes are fully functional and ready to go into mass production. The production will take place in the Netherlands.

We have existing production and delivery agreements in place with our selected component suppliers and manufacturers. From small numbers to larger volumes, our relationship with these same suppliers has given us confidence in their ability to deliver what we will need in the future.

However, past performance is not always a guarantee for the future. There’s always a small risk involved while producing hardware. In the overall scheme of things, SODAQ will probably remain a small production item for these suppliers. As much as possible, we will use our excellent relationship with them to ensure that production of the SODAQ board remains on track.

If on the other hand we have a much larger number of orders to fulfil, we will be facing additional challenges in supplying and packaging the kit. We don’t want to slip on the timeline, so if it looks like numbers might grow sufficiently during the campaign, we will be putting in place contingency arrangements with our primary PCB, assembly and packaging providers.

Handling communication with you, our wonderful backers, might prove to be another challenge while we’re all busy producing, sorting, packing and sending out the kits. Our team has some experience in large scale communication and the experience from our previous Kickstarter campaign will prove very useful. The whole team will be available in both the Kickstarter Q&A forum, and by email, to address any requests for information or limitations you might encounter when using the board and kits.

LoRa® is a registered trademark of Semtech Corporation. LoRaWAN™ is a trademark of Semtech Corporation.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

u-blox EVA-7M

Positioning technology is embedded in IoT board

Written by: Enaie Azambuja, Courtesy of: www.wireless.electronicspecifier.com

EVA-7M, a u-blox GPS/GNSS receiver module, has been embedded in the tiny IoT development board LoRaONE by SODAQ, now running a campaign on Kickstarter. The product is a 32-bit Arduino compatible board equipped with Low-Power WAN connectivity that enables development of any kind of IoT solution, anywhere. The matchbox-sized product (40×25 mm) is packed with sensors. The u-blox EVA-7M that is on the board enables a quick positioning fix.

The board is equipped with an accelerometer allowing the GPS to safely switch off until the device detects movement, in order to minimize energy usage. A magnetometer identifies magnetic fields, while 14 I/O pins are available for connection with other sensors or devices.

With these features, the development board can be used for a realm of applications ranging from wearables to M2M communications such as bike tracking. Indoor and outdoor communications from the board are supported by the LoRa LPWAN technology. In addition, SODAQ offers a range of compatible cellular WAN development boards, also using u-blox modules.

LoRa IoT Antenna Range

Taoglas Launches LPWA Antenna Range

Taoglas Launches Low Power Wide-Area (LPWA) Antenna Category for M2M and IoT Markets

New antennas support demand for low-cost, low-power devices

Enniscorthy, Ireland – Within the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) market certain lower data rate applications depend on low-cost, battery-operated, long-life sensors. To meet the antenna needs of such applications innovative antenna leader Taoglas is rolling out a new Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) antenna category. The antennas directly address the need for IoT devices that use less power, cost less to run and do not need the speeds on bandwidths offered by 4G LTE networks. Taoglas’ series of LoRa-LPWA antennas includes flagship antennas such as the external Barracuda OMB.868 (Worldwide) or OMB.915 (North America) – large high gain omni-directional outdoor antennas which are ideal for the base station side of atypical LPWA network. For the devices themselves there are new direct mount FW.95, FW.86 and FW.43 monopole whip antennas and miniature embedded ILA.02 and ILA.01 solutions.

“LPWA technologies such as LoRa and SigFox open up the possibility of connecting a huge amount of new devices and sensors that would not have been possible for a business perspective with the costs of cellular hardware and data plans” said Dermot O’Shea, Taoglas Joint CEO.”We have many customers that have designed LTE devices even though they are only sending few kilobits of data once a month. Also these devices are perfect for LPWA as the battery life is greatly extended in comparison to cellular. Many applications in Industrial IoT only need to know things like “tell me if your are open, what does your gauge read?, what is the temperature? etc”

According to analyst firm Strategy Analytics, LPWA connections are forecast to have a high growth rate as part of IoT, growing from 11 million in 2014 to just over 5 billion by 2022.* In contrast, LTE and cellular networks support markets that need higher-power systems for delivering large volumes of data but these systems require significant battery power. For products such as M2M sensor devices sending low amounts of data, LPWA networks are ideal because they are one-tenth the price to run and have one-tenth the power drain. Batteries in these scenarios last 20 to 30 years instead of the three or four years of M2M products in cellular networks.

Taoglas LPWA antennas use the unlicensed Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) bands of 433/868MHz in Europe and 915MHz in the United States, so devices don’t need costly carrier certification. These antennas can be used in all sub GHz players in the IoT LPWA market such as LoRa®, LoRaWAN™, SIGFOX™, Weightless™, Nwave™ and Telensa™.

Working in the unlicensed bands, Taoglas antennas are ideal for manufacturers in healthcare and utilities as well as for asset tracking, which is one of the fastest-growing applications along with metering and industrial/environmental monitoring. Taoglas’ LPWA flagship antennas include:

External:

The “Barracuda” 868MHz & 915MHz outdoor antennas utilize a high performance high gain collinear design to achieve long distance coverage for LoRa base stations.

The FW.95 (915MHz), FW.86 (868MHz) and FW.43 (433MHz) are flexible whip antennas with efficiencies of between 60% to 70%.

Internal:

The ILA.02 and ILA.01 are low profile, highly efficient antennas ideal for devices that have space restrictions. The ILA.02 works on the 868MHz band with the ILA.01 being used in 915MHz range.

These antennas are used in automated meter reading (AMR), radio frequency identification (RFID), remote monitoring, healthcare, sensing, parking systems, weather and pollutant monitoring or motion and vibration sensors.

A full range of Taoglas LoRa LPWA antennas are available to purchase from Taoglas, check out the category on our website for the full list of available antennas and talk to us today if there are specific requirements you would like to discuss. Source: Strategy Analytics

Resources:

OMB.915 datasheet

OMB.868 datasheet

FW.43: datasheet

FW.86: datasheet

FW.95: datasheet

ILA.02  datasheet

ILA.01 datasheet

www.taoglas.com

u-blox NINA B1

Bluetooth low energy 4.2 module brings state-of-the-art performance and power efficiency to IoT designs

Sensing and control applications can be embedded on top of the NINA‑B1 module stack

Thalwil, Switzerland – February 22, 2016 – u‑blox (SIX:UBXN), a global leader in wireless and positioning modules and chips, today announced the NINA‑B1 Bluetooth low energy (Bluetooth Smart) stand‑alone module. Compliant to the latest Bluetooth 4.2 specification and certified to global radio type approvals, the module is key to bringing Bluetooth low energy‑based Internet of Things (IoT) designs to market in the shortest possible time.

Comprising an antenna, radio transceiver, an embedded ARM Cortex® M4F microcontroller and a Bluetooth low energy stack, NINA‑B1 is ready for design‑in for many applications. It is ideal for a wide range of IoT solutions, such as IoT connected sensors, building automation, medical devices, telematics applications, as well as monitoring and control systems. Supporting ARM® mbed™, the module and its evaluation kit (EVK) are open for designers who wish to embed their own application on top of the Bluetooth low energy stack.

The latest Bluetooth 4.2 specification offers an enhanced connection security capability, IPv6 and faster throughput compared to previous versions. The module is ready to support the future Bluetooth 5.0 specification by means of a firmware upgrade. The application memory – 512 kB Flash and 64 kB RAM – allows for firmware upgrades to be performed over‑the‑air (OTA).

With the u‑blox Serial Port service pre‑loaded, NINA‑B1 enables fast integration into devices running serial protocols. AT commands, compatible with other u‑blox modules, keep configuration efforts to a minimum.

NINA‑B1 has advanced power management features to keep the power consumption down to 400 nA with wake up on an external event, 2 µA during idle state, and 5 mA (at 0 dBm) at 3.0 VDC, during transmission.

With integrated NFC (Near Field Communication) capability, the module may be used to support Touch‑and‑Pair use cases for simplified Bluetooth pairing.

“NINA‑B1 is a fully certified Bluetooth low energy module with excellent RF capabilities. The open architecture approach to software development from ARM® mbed™ speeds up the IoT application development, thus greatly reducing the time to market and the related costs,” explains Pelle Svensson, Product Marketing Short Range Radio at u‑blox.

u-blox NINA B1

The module is a complete stand‑alone Bluetooth low energy product and does not require any additional hardware. Sensors, accelerometers, LEDs along with other sensing and control devices can be connected directly to the module via GPIO, ADC, I2C, SPI and UART interfaces. It is available in two versions, NINA‑B112 (10 x 14 mm) with integrated antenna, and NINA‑B111 (10 x 10 mm) with an antenna pin designed for customer‑specific antenna solutions.

To watch the video: https://youtu.be/I1f30R42gfY

NINA‑B1 will be displayed at the u‑blox booth (Hall 5: 5‑158) of Embedded World on 23‑25 February 2016.
About u‑blox

Swiss u‑blox (SIX:UBXN) is a global leader in wireless and positioning semiconductors and modules for the automotive, industrial and consumer markets. Our solutions enable people, vehicles and machines to locate their exact position and communicate wirelessly over cellular and short range networks. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules and software solutions, u‑blox is uniquely positioned to empower OEMs to develop innovative solutions for the Internet of Things, quickly and cost‑effectively. With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, u‑blox is globally present with offices in Europe, Asia and the USA.

(www.u‑blox.com)

u-blox LILY‑W1

u-blox introduces ultra-compact Wi-Fi module for IoT applications

Thalwil, Switzerland – February 11, 2016

Oslo, Norway 2015/07/01

u‑blox (SIX:UBXN), a global leader in wireless and positioning modules and chips, today announced the LILY‑W1 single band 802.11n 2.4 GHz Wi‑Fi transceiver module. This ultra‑compact host‑based module, measuring just 10 x 14 mm is suitable for providing Wi‑Fi connectivity to an increasingly broad range of industrial and commercial products with LTE connectivity.

LILY‑W1 simplifies the integrator’s RF design efforts with an integrated antenna and enables Wi‑Fi in‑device co‑existence with LTE thanks to a bulk acoustic wave filter. Suiting today’s space constrained designs, the filter not only ensures that Wi‑Fi performance does not deteriorate in proximity of an LTE transceiver, but allows the antennas of both transceivers to be sited close together. The new module also supports Wi‑Fi direct.

LILY‑W1 connects to the host processor, either through SDIO or USB, and can operate concurrently in Client and Micro Access Point modes. Up to 8 clients can attach when functioning as a Micro Access Point. Royalty free Linux and Android drivers are provided as standard. With its extended temperature range from -40 to +85 degrees C, the module suits the growing need for industrial and commercial equipment to become connected. Typical applications can include telematics control units, drive recorders or OBD readers, as well as logistics or point of sales equipment.

About u‑blox

Swiss u‑blox (SIX:UBXN) is a global leader in wireless and positioning semiconductors and modules for the automotive, industrial and consumer markets. Our solutions enable people, vehicles and machines to locate their exact position and communicate wirelessly over cellular and short range networks. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules and software solutions, u‑blox is uniquely positioned to empower OEMs to develop innovative solutions for the Internet of Things, quickly and cost‑effectively. With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, u‑blox is globally present with offices in Europe, Asia and the USA.

www.u-blox.com