Unidata looks at the Internet of Things with Lora™


Unidata, whose strength has always been its attention to new technologies, is preparing to face up to the so-called fourth industrial revolution, that of the “Internet of Things”, putting in place LoRa™ technology


Until today the Internet has been associated with computers, smartphones and very few other devices. In the near future very few objects will be left out of the Internet world.
We already live in a technological society, and technology will increasingly be a part of our lives. Technology has been described as “the indefinite increase in the capacity to achieve goals, or the indefinite increase in the ability to satisfy needs”. At a time like this the future can only belong to the IoT, acronym for the Internet of Things, or the Internet of objects.

We already live in a technological society, and technology will increasingly be a part of our lives. Technology has been described as “the indefinite increase in the capacity to achieve goals, or the indefinite increase in the ability to satisfy needs”. At a time like this the future can only belong to the IoT, acronym for the Internet of Things, or the Internet of objects.

The IoT represents the careful use of maximum computing capacity, with the maximum capacity to store and process data, in order to meet daily living, working and recreational needs. It is the reality of real objects connected to the Internet: robotics, home automation, the automotive industry, healthcare equipment, public administration, sensors, surveillance. These are just some of the applications and areas in which the neologism IoT will sound more and more familiar.

The IoT world is a world in which objects are “smart” and, thanks to the Internet, communicate with each other, store and use data to make our life more comfortable and our work more productive. All areas will be revolutionised: rural life, with the IoT in agriculture, and the city, which will be transformed into so-called smart cities.

The IoT phenomenon is pervasive, although it naturally moves at a faster rate in the business rather than the consumer sector. It does however, influence, and will increasingly influence, all market areas, without exception.
Gartner, a world leader in the strategic consulting sphere, estimates the number of connected devices in 2020 at 6.4 billion, while the International Data Corporation predicts a number close to 9 billion. Ericsson believes that in 2021, including smartphones, Internet-connected devices will number 28 billion. Regardless of actual numbers, the spread of the IoT, driven in a first phase by smart vehicles and latest-generation electric meters, is certain. There are those that have already called it the fourth industrial revolution. On a national level, the IoT Observatory has noted that at the end of 2015 the IoT market was worth 2 billion euros in Italy, 30% up on 2014. Each system, however, is based on a suitable environment. And an appropriate infrastructure is needed to have such an environment.
Unidata, one of the first Internet providers in Italy, is therefore particularly interested in studying and evaluating the various technologies that enable objects inserted in a specific environment to dialogue with each other, making IoT a concrete reality in those spaces in which we live and work. The technologies that make an environment suitable for IoT are varied and constantly evolving. From consolidated applications to cellular connectivity, from the Wireless M-Bus to Bluetooth Low Energy.

Unidata is an Internet Provider intent on investing immediately in the IoT sector. It has decided to create a LoRaWAN™ network, starting in the city of Rome.
The term LoRaWAN™ indicates a LPWAN based on the LoRa™ standard, a large-sized network with a low consumption of base station batteries, which create the radio infrastructure needed to make smart objects interact. LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network, transmission is therefore wireless, and the extension is wider than that usually indicated by the term Local: Wide areas may therefore be regional, national or supranational.

LoRaWAN™ is a technology, a standard, allowing two-way transmissions with a very low consumption of base station batteries – the batteries can last up to 15 years – making optimal conditions possible for the interoperability of “smart things”, without the need for complex local installations. LoRaWAN™ allows bi-directional communication as well as multicast mode for software updates over the air. Communication between terminal devices and gateways is spread over different frequency channels and different data transmission rates – between 0.3 kbps and 50 kbps – and thanks to spread spectrum technology it does not cause interference between radio communications having different speeds of data transmission, since a number of “virtual” channels are created that increase the capacity of the gateway.

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