Sigfox Building 900 MHz M2M Silicon Valley Network

Sigfox, a startup based near Toulouse, France, hopes to raise more than $70 million to build a national network in the US for the Internet of Things. SigFox picked the Bay Area to demonstrate their IoT wireless network that promises to link anything to the Internet, from smoke detectors to dog collars and bicycle locks.

Sigfox will cover the San Francisco peninsula, from its urban tip to Silicon Valley, some 40 miles to the south. It will use the unlicensed 915-megahertz spectrum to provide connectivity. Sigfox hopes to close funding early next year. Sigfox technology already covers the whole of France, most of the Netherlands, and parts of Russia and Spain.

They now cover 420,000 square miles in Europe with ranges that run from a couple of kilometers for underground water meters to 500 km for connected billboards run by Clear Channel.

Four companies now make Sigfox base stations using 800-900MHz transceivers. The base stations can run for 5-20 years on batteries, but are limited to data rates of 100-600 bits/second, sending a maximum of 140, 12-byte messages a day and receiving no more than four eight-byte messages a day. Sigfox charges operators a subscription rate of $1-16 a year per node based on volume. That’s a fraction of the $1-2/day a cellular link would cost, said Castonguay of Machina Research.

It also has an unnamed partner with whom it hopes to put base stations on satellites for a future IoT network with global coverage.

Around the world cities are beginning to deploy a diversity of M2M sensors to improve the efficiency of transport, lighting, irrigation and refuse collection.

Technology competitors include Neul, recently bought by Huawei, and chip firms such as Broadcom and Qualcomm, who are also tracking the opportunities with the 900MHz version of WiFi.

The upcoming .11ah standard, using the 900 MHz band, is expected to cover many home uses at 10-20 Mbits/s. It will also help WiFi vendors extend into large building networks supporting up to 8,000 connections. Chips are expected to hit the market starting in 2015. NEC is the first company to deploy the new oneM2M service layer standard in a live smart city control center.

The Sigfox standard is proprietary. Competitors include the Z-Wave Alliance, a consortium of leading companies in the home technology space and operates in the sub-1GHz band. It supports data rates up to 100kbps, with AES125 encryption, IPV6, and multi-channel operation. Z-Wave utilizes a mesh network architecture, and can begin with a single controllable device and a controller. Additional devices can be added at any time.

Intel, Broadcom, Samsung, Dell, Atmel and others have joined forces to launch the Open Interconnect Consortium. The intention of the OIC is to create specifications for interoperability. It will encapsulate various wireless standards to enable secure device discovery and connectivity across different devices.

Apple and Google, two of the biggest players in the Internet of Things market, may go their own way.

Google acquired smart thermostat company Nest for $3.2 billion and WiFi-enabled camera company Dropcam for $555 million. Google also announced it partnered with Mercedes-Benz, Whirlpool and light bulb maker LIFX to integrate their products with Google’s Nest.

Meanwhile, Apple announced a smart home framework called HomeKit, which can be used for controlling connected devices inside of a user’s home. Apple’s connected car infotainment system is called CarPlay.

IDC expects the installed base of the Internet of Things will be approximately 212 billion “things” globally by 2020. This is expected to include 30.1 billion installed “connected (autonomous) things” in 2020.

Related Smartmeter articles on Dailywireless include; Qualcomm Buys Silicon Radio, Huawei Buys Neul, Internet of Things: Divided or United?, Wispapalooza: Jim Carlson on White Spaces, Ofcom Announces White Space Partnerships, 802.11ah: WiFi Standard for 900MHz, Facebook Promotes Internet for Next 5 Billion, Super Wi-Fi Summit, FCC Supports National White Space Networking

NYC: Free Phone and WiFi at 10,000 Payphones

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced this week that CityBridge will develop and operate up to 10,000 802.11ac access points for New York City’s LinkNYC. It promises to be the largest free municipal Wi-Fi deployment in the world.

Public pay telephones will be replaced with WiFi hotspots where residents can make free phone calls in the U.S. and get free 24/7 Internet access. Advertisng will pay for it. The plan is to make ads relevant and contextually-driven in the dense population of Manhattan.

A particular kiosk could change the ad it’s displaying based on what time of day it is, what events are happening nearby, or even potentially what sorts of people are walking by it, at least in a broad demographic sense. In order to ensure equity among all five boroughs and live up to the promise of bringing wireless access to all New York neighborhoods, these units will need to branch into areas currently not highly sought after by advertisers.

The payphone RFP began in 2012 when DoITT issued a Request for Information (RFI) about the future of the payphone.

CityBridge is the consortium of companies that will build the project and includes Qualcomm, Titan, Comark and Control Group. CityBridge’s extended team includes Transit Wireless, Antenna Design as well as a (rumored) Ruckus Wireless,. Transit Wireless would be primarily responsible for the fiber infrastructure and is providing the wireless and Wi-Fi technology for 279 underground subway stations in NYC.

A spokeswoman told FierceWirelesTech that CityBridge was unable to comment on Ruckus’ role in the project. The city’s Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications spokesman could not immediately confirm Ruckus’ participation. A spokesman for Ruckus Wireless would not comment.

Ruckus offers dual-band 802.11ac outdoor access points (AP) designed explicitly for high density public venues. Its Smart Wi-Fi equipment is Passpoint certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, is being used to power the Hotspot 2.0 service across both San Jose and San Francisco Wi-Fi networks.

“LinkNYC is an initiative that could only be made in New York – it harnesses the latest technologies and it is a true partnership of the world’s leaders in technology, telecommunications, advertising and design,” said Minerva Tantoco, Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York.

Of course lots of cities, including San Jose and others have tried free WiFi. Now, however, technology may have caught up with the vision. Utilizing Hotspot 2.0 (Passport) could allow multiple carriers and Wireless ISPs to use the service for seamless roaming, while smartphones and tablets have provided an insatiable hunger for more bandwidth. Beamforming and Multi-User MIMO will increase range and capacity. Bluetooth and WiFi tracking allow targeted advertising.

But NYC’s “free WiFi” plan could be politically naive. Ad beacons, “supercookies”, and big data could delay or possibly kill any proposal in the current climate of distrust.

Related articles on Dailywireless include; Reinvent Pay Phones, Ruckus Unwires San Jose Airport and Convention Center, Google Fiber Going Wireless?, Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks, Google Fiber Launches in Kansas City, Qualcomm Annouces Proximity Beacons, Apple’s iBeacon: Location via Bluetooth 4.0, Small Cells for Cisco, Sprint to use Light Radio for Small Cells, Street light Provides Wi-Fi, Cell Coverage, Hotspot 2.0, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud,New Outdoor & Indoor 11ac Access Points from Ruckus, Ruckus Announces 802.11ac Access Points, What’s inside Google’s Fiber Huts?, Google Fiber Expands to More Cities, Google Fiber Launches in Kansas City , FCC Authorizes High Power at 5.15 – 5.25 GHz, Ad-Sponsored WiFi Initiatives from Gowex & Facebook, Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network, FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band,

LTE Direct Gets Real

LTE Direct, a new feature being added to the LTE protocol, will make it possible to bypass cell towers, notes Technology Review. Phones using LTE Direct (Qualcomm whitepaper), will be able to “talk” directly to other mobile devices as well as connect to beacons located in shops and other businesses.

The wireless technology standard is baked into the latest LTE spec, which is slated for approval this year. It could appear in phones as soon as late 2015. Devices capable of LTE Direct can interconnect up to 500 meters — far more than either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. But issues like authorisation and authentication, currently handled by the network, would need to be extended to accommodate device to device to communication without the presence of the network.

At the LTE World Summit, Thomas Henze from Deutsche Telekom AG presented some use cases of proximity services via LTE device broadcast.

Since radio to radio communications is vital for police and fire, it has been incorporated into release 12 of the LTE-A spec, due in 2015.

At Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference in San Francisco this month, the company announced that it’s helping partners including Facebook and Yahoo experiment with the technology.

Facebook is also interested in LTE Multicast which is a Broadcast TV technology. Enhanced Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (also called E-MBMS or LTE Broadcast), uses cellular frequencies to multicast data or video to multiple users, simultaneously. This enables mobile operators to offer mobile TV without the need for additional spectrum or TV antenna and tuner.

Apple’s Wearable Faces Massive Competition

Apple’s upcoming wearable device, based on iOS, will run third-party applications and may come with an App Store, reports 9-to-5 Mac. To be revealed on Tuesday, the wrist-worn Apple wearable is not expected to be released until early next year. It will boast a fashionable appearance, but still function as a smart watch with fitness-centric features.

Rumors say the device includes a miniaturized system-on-a-chip with a multitude of sensors ranging from sweat detectors to pulse readers to motion sensors. The device is also expected to include an NFC chip to act as a conduit for Apple’s upcoming mobile payment system. One of the developers with access to the pre-release SDK is Facebook. The social network is also experimenting with ways it can leverage the new Notification Center widget APIs. Apple likely wants to demonstrate some third-party wearable apps at Tuesday’s event. The wearable device will make good use of the new Continuity, Handoff, and Widgets features for iPhone users to be able to easily transfer content from the smartphone to the wearable and vice versa.

Of course Apple will have lots of wearable competition. Here’s a rundown of the smartwatches announced at the IFA show in Berlin last week:

  • The Moto 360 went on sale last week for $250 via Motorola’s site, and it would seem the Android Wear-powered smartwatch is already backordered. On board is standard Android Wear, and that piece of software is being powered by 512MB of RAM and a TI OMAP 3 processor. All of it is displayed on a round 1.56-inch display with 320 x 290 resolution, and it should last up to a full 24 hours with its 320mAh battery. It remains to be seen whether the TI OMAP chipset can keep up with the Snapdragon 400 found in competing models.
  • The Samsung Gear S can make calls without being teathered to a phone, unlike previous versions. It features a heart rate monitor and a nanoSIM card slot, and a UV sensor which will keep an eye on radiation levels for you. Samsung Gear S specs; Tizen OS, 2-inch Super AMOLED (360x480p), 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of ROM, 300 mAh battery, IP67 rating. Text input capabilities are provided by Fleksy keyboard.
  • The LG Watch R, LG’s attempt a circular smartwatch will hit stores on October 14th, though it’s unclear which markets will see the watch first. Specs include a 1.3-inch POLED display with resolution of 320×320, 245PPI, Snapdragon 400, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage, Bluetooth 4.0, Sensors: 9-axis, PPG, Barometer, heart rate monitor.
  • Sony’s Smartwatch 3 is an Android Wear device. The interface is strongly reminiscent of Google Now for Android with its card-based approach to delivering notifications and data gathered from the device’s sensors. Sony added to the experience by connecting the watch to its Lifelog app.
  • Sony’s original SmartBand was upgraded to the new SmartBand Talk, a wearable that does many of the same physical activity tracking and life logging functions, but also handles calls and control your phone with your voice, and there’s also things like notifications and more. It has a 1.4-inch e-paper display. The display has a resolution of 288 x 128, and other specs include an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU, 2MB memory and a 70mAh battery that will give up to 3 days of battery life — at least according to Sony. There’s also Bluetooth, NFC and Sony’s now-standard IP68 waterproof tech
  • The Asus Zenwatch sticks to the “standard” rectangular design and is made primarily from stainless steel and has a slightly curved display. The display uses AMOLED technology and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with genuine stitched-leather strap and quick-release clasp by an Italian designer. It runs Android Wear, features over 100 built-in watch faces, double-tap on the watch face to find your phone, and automatic phone unlock. Other features include the ability to trigger a camera shot via the watch, and a heart rate monitor.
  • Alcatel’s Wave Smartwatch offers notifications, step counts, heart-rate monitoring, music controls, and remote camera control. Plus a variant version will soon include a translucent solar panel on the face for drip recharging. Really inexpensive; €99 ($129 / £78 / AU$137)
  • Huawei is said to be prepping another wearable they’ll launch next year — this time running Android Wear.

This list was compiled from articles on PocketNow, Android Authority, Phone Arena, Phone Scoop, Phandroid, C/Net, and Engadget

Samsung Adds Nokia Maps to Phone and Watch

Nokia’s Here Maps are coming to Samsung Android and Tizen phones, report Engadget. Nokia’s maps work offline, so no celluar connection is required once regional maps are downloaded to the device. HERE for Android will let you download entire countries and regions, much like TomTom, or OpenStreetMap-powered alternatives such as Skobbler (now owned by Telenav).

Nokia (the part that wasn’t sold to Microsoft) today announced that it will bring Here Maps to Android for the first time, giving Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners advanced access to its own Google Maps alternative. The Korean smartphone maker has an existing deal to provide Nokia’s Here Maps to their Tizen wearables, such as the 3G-enabled Gear S smartwatch, which goes on sale in October.

By tapping on your location in HERE for Android, you can send a Glympse notice to friends to let them know you’re on your way. Glympse is a free and simple way to share your location in real time with people you trust.

On the Samsung Gear S, HERE is powering an application called Navigator, which offers turn-by-turn walk navigation and public transit routing. The app provides a complete stand-alone experience, including the ability to store map data locally on the device and use it offline for navigation, directions and search.

To get the most out of Navigator on a Samsung Gear S watch, you can also pair it with a the HERE app (beta) which works with the Samsung Galaxy family of devices. With the app you can plan and calculate routes for walking and public transit on your phone and then send them to your smartwatch. The app will be made available for download from the Samsung GALAXY Apps store when the Samsung Gear S hits stores.

If you go online you can use more advanced features, like live traffic and real-time transit schedules. You can also share the places you find with family and friends and save your favorite destinations into Collections that can be synced with other devices and here.com.

Samsung also announced today a partnership with NIKE, introducing the Nike+ Running App for Samsung Gear S watch/phone. The app utilizes the new Samsung Gear S’ built-in Bluetooth and 3G connectivity. With the pre-loaded Nike+ Running App on the Samsung Gear S, users can leave their phones at home.

A Nike+ app for Android was released earlier this summer, although there is no Android Wearable support yet.

OnBeep: StarTrek Communicator?

OnBeep, a San Francisco startup, has raised a series A funding round worth $6.25 million. The money will be used to fund the creation of a new hardware device to make it easy for groups of people to communicate with one another, without having to fiddle with a smartphone.

OnBeep’s product is said to be similar to a “Star Trek” communicator, according to GeekWire. Users can wear it or clip it on, and be able to immediately get a hold of people they want to reach.

The company will combine wearables, bluetooth and smartphones to offer push-to-talk (PTT) capabilities, according to GigaOm.

OnBeep is built to help groups communicate with one another in real time, like families at an amusement park, or a team of people working on an event.

In order to communicate with the outside world, the OnBeep will pair with a user’s smartphone. The company isn’t ready to release exact details on what the device looks like or how much it will cost, but insists it will be available later this year.

OnBeep was co-founded by Jesse Robbins, Greg Albrecht, who previously served as a Senior Software Engineer at Splunk, and Roger Wood, who led product design and marketing for Nextel.

Push-to-Talk Apps can turn your Smartphone into a Walkie-Talkie, notes ReadWrite. Cellular carriers also offer PTT functionality, although these software solutions are generally not as fast as the now obsolete and mostly unavailable Nextel Network which used the iDEN infrastructure (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) for Push-To-Talk.

Vocera Communications Badge is a lightweight, voice-controlled, wearable device that enables instant two-way or one to many conversations using intuitive and simple commands.

It uses WiFi to communicate, but requires everyone be on a compatible WiFi network. It’s often used in medical facilities.

Using unlicensed 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz frequencies results in very limited range, unless multiple WiFi routers are linked. But 150 Mhz may be used for device to device communications.

GoTenna has developed a 6-inch-long antenna that connects to iPhones and Android phones via Bluetooth low energy. The antenna then transmits the data to other GoTennas as far as 9 miles away through proprietary protocols, at 151-154 MHz.

You can send text messages up to 160 characters as well as share your location on offline maps. The gadget is available for preorder at $150 for two devices, since it takes two devices to form a peer-to-peer network.

GoTenna uses the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS), an unlicensed personal radio service in the 150 MHz band. The goTenna is dependent on FCC approval and is currently undergoing FCC testing. If it doesn’t pass, money would be refunded, says the company. According to GoTenna, you can send & receive messages for free for several miles, without using a cell antenna.

The 150 MHz VHF band, used by the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS), propagates well outdoors. The 450 MHz UHF band is used by the Family Radio Service (FRS) has a maximum output of 500 mW while the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS uses the lower 7 channels of FRS, in the 462 MHz range, with a maximum of 5 watts ERP. It requires a valid GMRS license, but propagates better in buildings and urban areas.

Standalone SIM-enabled smartwatches, that don’t need pairing with a cellphone to make a call, are likely to be coming from Samsung and others this year. Currently, Bluetooth pairing with a smartphone enables cellular connectivity while pairing with something like a GoAntenna may enable direct device to device connectivity (in the 150 or 450 MHz band).

Unlicensed white spaces, between 500-700 MHz, might be another option for device to device communications. Unlicensed LTE Advanced using the 5 GHz band, may also offer direct connections without going through a cell tower. Device-to-device connections is getting baked into the latest LTE-Advanced standard, and is especially useful for first responders.

Release 12, with Device to Device communications is slated for finalization this December.

See: GoAntenna: 10 Mile Cell Communications – Without Towers and Vocera + Wayport