SoftBank says it has partnered with LPWA network infrastructure and service platform provider Actility to roll out a complete low power wide area (LPWA) network solution with the aim of accelerating IoT growth in Japan this year.
SoftBank is working with Actility to deliver a LoRaWAN network that will enable a wide range of applications in Japan, ranging from tracking elderly family members to monitoring the condition of tunnels or automated water metering.
LoRaWAN is an LPWA networking standard developed by the LoRa Alliance, which provides wide area bidirectional connectivity to IoT devices with unprecedentedly low cost and energy efficiency. Over 390 companies have already joined the LoRa Alliance as of September 2nd, 2016. LoRaWAN in Japan uses the 920-MHz band.
“SoftBank has been impressed with Actility’s deep knowledge of the LPWA market and their efforts in pioneering LoRaWAN. We look forward to building a vibrant LPWA business in Japan through close technology and market collaboration with Actility and their ecosystem partners,” said Hironobu Tamba, Vice President, Service Platform Strategy & Development Division of SoftBank.
LPWA networks can connect remote sensors and devices over ranges of up to 15km in heavily built-up urban areas, and with a battery life of up to ten years thanks to extremely efficient power consumption. This capability, coupled with low cost sensors and devices, is expected to drive explosive growth in IoT by transforming the affordability and commercial viability of applications across industry, infrastructure and even at home.
SoftBank will provide complete IoT solutions using LoRaWAN, including devices, base stations, IoT network platform, and all the services required to implement these solutions including consulting.
SoftBank also envisages future applications such as commercial facilities management; smart buildings; equipment monitoring and remote control and tracking in warehouses, for example; automated meter reading of gas and water meters; keeping watch over the elderly and children; road, tunnel and infrastructure monitoring; and transport fleet management.
The simplicity and low cost of LoRaWAN network deployment enable a rapid rollout for IoT driven specifically by the low power consumption capability. SoftBank also expects to enable optimized IoT solutions that take advantage of the capabilities of cellular LTE networks alongside the LPWA network.
Other tech partners in the SoftBank/Actility deployment include Foxconn Technology Group and LoRaWAN technology vendor Semtech.