Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Semtech geolocation service compatible with LoRaWan

Steve Rogerson
March 21, 2019

Semtech has announced LoRa Cloud Geolocation, a cloud-based geolocation service that is compatible with the LoRaWan protocol and almost any network server.
The geolocation service is the first of various cloud services products that the California-based company will be offering to support IoT application development.
“Semtech’s new cloud-based geolocation service, accessed by a cloud API call, will simplify and democratise access to geolocation for all LoRaWan-based devices,” said Richard Lansdowne, senior director at Semtech. “This is the first of a new breed of fully supported commercial LoRa cloud services from Semtech that we will be providing as part of our overall strategy to simplify the development of IoT solutions, which leverage the unique low power, long range and flexible deployment benefits of our LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology. With a free usage tier to allow anyone to trial the service rapidly and easily, LoRa Cloud Geolocation also offers a simple and cost effect consumption-based pricing model.”
Over the past year, Semtech has trialled a free cloud-based geolocation service with hundreds of users providing feedback on the ease-of-use and the performance of the service. LoRa Cloud Geolocation was in beta test this year with limited partners and, over the coming quarter, many more users are expected to integrate the service into their platforms. The service was designed from the outset to support flexibility in deployment options providing geolocation service availability to any IoT devices.
“We were impressed with the ease of integration, the response times and the accuracy of the trial service,” said Domenico Arpaia, CEO at Orbiwise. “It took us less than a day to migrate to the new service and it was great to see that Semtech had made it faster and more accurate, delivering a true enterprise-grade experience, in line with our customers’ expectation. The flexibility to deploy the service to match the security and privacy requirements of our customers in different regions will allow us to include this service as part of our standard offering.”
Wienke Giezeman, founder and CEO of The Things Industries and The Things Network Foundation, added: “Our LoRaWan-based network servers were the first to integrate Semtech’s trial geolocation service and our community of over 64,000 users have really appreciated it. We were delighted to see Semtech commercialise the service, enabling us to include it in our offering as a simple bolt-on option. Semtech’s vision in providing critical services to support the silicon is really going to meet the needs of the market and, since the service can be trialled for free, indefinitely, it is 100% aligned with our vision of open, free community services complemented by a seamless transition route to a full commercial solution.”
Semtech is onboarding early customers and general availability with sign-up via a new LoRa cloud services portal is expected in the summer. Different pricing tiers will be available for selection.
Semtech has also launched a robust platform of LoRa-based developer building blocks, cloud services and manageable hardware. It is offering a complete bundle of development accelerators that streamline and simplify the process of developing, deploying and managing LoRa-based IoT applications.
In today’s fast moving technology world, the ability to identify and respond rapidly to users’ needs for the operational, process and return on investment (RoI) improvements that IoT can deliver is critical to the success of both developers and systems integrators. Recent advances in IoT cloud platforms have done much to simplify the process of building IoT applications and advanced analytics once the data needed are in the cloud, but the process of connecting legacy and new edge devices to ingest those data securely remains challenging. In addition, IoT innovators face problems bridging the gap to a mature product with various choices for edge connectivity, complicated by fragmented ecosystems that target only the most battle-hardened hardware design teams.
Semtech says it recognises that the technological strengths of the LoRaWan protocol – low power, long range and flexible public or private deployment – combined with the fact that LoRaWan is available to implement today means that providers can already build and deploy secure, scalable and manageable LoRaWan based IoT products that deliver rapid RoI. Further simplifying the process of development based on LoRaWan should free up these innovators to develop products that meet the needs of their customers more quickly and with lower development overhead.
“IoT has the potential to change the world by delivering analytical insights which modify the ways in which we live, work and consume natural resources,” said Alistair Fulton, vice president at Semtech. “Many developers and system integrators want to grasp this opportunity, but need easy to use accelerators that help them develop IoT applications more quickly. At Semtech, we believe that we can simplify the IoT development process by providing new products and services which make LoRa the easiest way to build and manage IoT solutions, enabling our customers to deliver higher value, more rapidly to the market.”
This LoRa-based platform focuses on three areas for rapid IoT application design and deployment in support of the open LoRaWan standard from the LoRa Alliance and in collaboration with its ecosystem:

  • LoRa basics: Basic code building blocks to assist developers in quickly realising the RoI their customers want. The first of these building blocks, LoRa Basics Station LoRaWan gateway firmware was announced and simultaneously released on GitHub in January 2019. Future areas of focus include device firmware, firmware updates over the air and network performance analytics. To make accessing these tools easy, Semtech is revamping and evolving its LoRa community into an open developer ecosystem portal to provide access to a suite of developer training, technical resources and community tools.
  • LoRa cloud services: Cloud services that deliver easy to use ingredients providers can leverage to deliver value more rapidly with less development overhead. LoRa Cloud Geolocation is the first of several of these services expected to be introduced this year. This service lets developers quickly build IoT products that leverage multi-modal location capabilities including wifi, GNSS and LoRaWan-based geolocation without taking on the development complexity and repetition involved in building a product from scratch.
  • Modem-based, LoRa hardware: Hardware platforms that simplify the deployment and management of IoT products. Semtech will be launching a flexible modem-based hardware platform along with a cloud-based device provisioning and management service, which should simplify the full life cycle management of LoRa-based devices and accelerate the development and deployment of secure fully managed IoT products.
All products will be available by the end of 2019.