IBM, Semtech Announce Wireless Solution for Internet of Things

Semtech Corp. and IBM announced Friday an advancement in wireless technology that could help boost the capabilities and utility of small, low-powered sensors. The advancement, which includes a data transmission distance up to nine miles, could become a significant factor in a world where sensors are everywhere -- the so-called Internet of Things.

Next week, the two companies will be demonstrating their jointly-developed solution at a European trade show. It includes a software development kit from IBM, called Mote Runner, for SemtechEUs low-power SX1272 radio frequency integrated circuits and gateways.

The sensor platform utilizes SemtechEUs long range, or LoRa, modulation technology that is designed to dramatically improve existing modulation techniques. IBMEUs software, which allows applications to be loaded or updated over-the-air, is already being used in sensors that monitor snow accumulation in the Sierra Mountains in California and measure air quality in various cities.

Smart Metering, Train Tracks

The IBM/Semtech solution enables data transmission distances up to nine miles in rural areas, and up to three miles in urban ones. The companies said the current maximum distance of a smart-meter transceiver is up to about 1.2 miles.

The new sensors employ a star network architecture, in which each gateway can handle millions of transactions daily. Applications could include smart metering or remote monitoring of train tracks; the system is designed in particular for battery-operated devices.

Thorsten Kramp, an IBM researcher, said in a statement that his companyEUs vision of a Smarter Planet requires improving EUthe usability of instrumented sensors and devices to securely and efficiently manage large volumes of dataEU and to handle adaptive long-range communication, which SemtechEUs long-range hardware and IBMEUs software can now accomplish.

Although there are varying definitions of the term, the Internet of Things often refers to an emerging stage of the Internet when there is an explosion of Net-based sensors...

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