Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

KDDI takes Sierra Wireless modules for LPG smart meter company

Steve Rogerson
March 14, 2018
 
Japanese teleco KDDI has selected Sierra Wireless AirPrime HL78 cellular modules for LTE-M IoT applications. KDDI will be the world’s first MNO to provide its customers with these modules operating on its LTE-M network, beginning in mid-2018 with an LP gas smart meter company in Japan.
 
KDDI expects more LTE-M IoT applications in diverse markets to follow, including logistics and wearables.
 
KDDI launched the first domestic cellular LTE-M telecommunications service in Japan. LP gas service providers using the smart meters should be able to boost their operational efficiency while offering their customers value-added services.
 
LTE-M networks deliver a class of wireless technology specifically designed for low-power IoT applications, combining lower cost, broader coverage and better battery life with globally available and secure cellular networks.
 
“Sierra Wireless’ modules provide exceptional low-power performance, allowing smart gas meters to consume so little electricity that they will be able to perform two-way telecommunication for about ten years on three 2400mA industrial batteries,” said Hiroyuki Kimura, deputy general manager at KDDI. “The extended coverage provided by our LTE-M network will allow LP gas service providers to reach more of the Japanese market.”
 
The modules, using Altair Semiconductor’s ALT1250 chipset, can extend the life of battery-operated devices by up to a claimed ten times compared with other available LTE-M and NB-IoT modules. This level of power saving modes, with improved wake-up and sleep mode responsiveness, as well as ultra-low-power sleep mode, make the modules suitable for power-constrained IoT application.
 
“Sierra Wireless’ HL78 modules give system integrators like KDDI the most scalable, lowest power module platform for LPWA designs,” said Dan Schieler, senior vice president at Canada-based Sierra Wireless. “We’re excited to be working with KDDI on this large-scale LTE-M deployment in the utility market and to support them as the first MNO in the world to complete interoperability testing with HL78. We are planning to start delivering HL78 to KDDI in July 2018.”
 
In addition to low-power performance unique to the HL78 design, the modules integrate GNSS tracking capability, security and an embedded SIM in a CF3 18 by15mm size that is pin-to-pin compatible with other HL series modules. Users have the flexibility to deploy the same device on global LTE-M and NB-IoT (Cat-NB1) networks, with support for more than 20 LTE frequency bands in addition to optional 2G fallback. Built-in security, including HTTPS, secure socket, secure boot and free unlimited firmware over-the-air updates from the AirVantage device management IoT platform, helps ensure HL78 deployments are future proof and secure.
 
“The utility meter market in Japan is very advanced and has ultra-low power consumption and stringent security requirements,” said Ilan Reingold, VP of business development for Altair. “Sierra’s HL78 modules are excellently suited to meet these needs.”
 
KDDI is the second largest telecommunication service provider in Japan, offering mobile and fixed-line communications. With its established base of more than 50 million customers, KDDI is expanding its services into the life-design business, which includes fintech, ecommerce and nationwide electric power utility services. With a 60-year history, KDDI is now focusing on creating smart infrastructure through IoT technologies and open innovation with partners and start-up companies in diverse industries.