Tag Archives: IoT Network

Riots is a plug-and-play wireless network of sensors and controllers

The Riots family is a low-cost, minimalistic and Arduino-compatible solution for remote sensing, monitoring and controlling your environment.

It all began when propellerhead Samuli Stenudd fearlessly went to battle against the jumble of wires. He could not fathom how cumbersome and laborious it was to create a useful device out of a kit or components, nor why he had to always physically connect a wire to it in order to program updates. As any engineer would, he decided to roll up his sleeves and tackle these problems head-on. Stenudd set out to devise a new way to easily monitor his environment and smart gadgets in an inexpensive, effective and minimalistic manner. And so, Riots was born.


The Riots family consists of a “Mama” and several “Babies.” An individual Mama is the gateway to the Internet and can manage hundreds of uniquely tasked Babies, which are interconnected within a mesh network. These nodes can also communicate with one another without any external control.

Thus far, fully-functional prototypes include sensors for temperature, pressure, light and motion, capacitive touch buttons, DC control and USB connectors.


To get started, simply attach the Babies wherever desired. Connect the Mama to the Internet and add each node to your account. From there, you can remotely link, manage, monitor and even reprogram new tasks for all family members.

For example, say you wanted to keep tabs on the humidity level inside your bathroom. Place a Riots Air on the wall and another inside the vent, and hook the Mama up to the web. These Babies could then collect and visualize real-time information on your smartphone. Other applications include recording energy consumption, tracking belongings, ensuring doors are locked, and even being informed when a loved one arrives home, among many other things right from your Internet-enabled device.


At the heart of every unit lies a Riots Core, which is equipped with an ATmega328P, an RGB LED and an nRF24L01+ radio module. The real magic doesn’t happen, however, until it is joined with a Riots Base to make it an actual Riots Product. The mesh network itself is completely expandable, and the Riots family is entirely open source and Arduino-compatible.

Programming and data are globally accessible via the Riots Cloud or locally through private wireless networks. The Riots Cloud stores data from all the deployed Riots Products, provides management features and a basic user interface. Beyond that, remote development, over the air updates and debugging of individual Riots Products can be done through the cloud as well.


Looking for an easy, affordable and open source IoT solution? Head over to its page on Kickstarter, where Stenudd and the Riots Instruments team are currently seeking $30,000. Delivery is expected to get underway in May 2016.


Thanks to SIGFOX, San Francisco now has its own IoT network

SIGFOX has completed its rollout across San Francisco, with 10 other U.S. cities planned by the first quarter of 2016.

The Golden Gate Bridge. Cable cars. Rice-A-Roni. The Giants. These are just some of the things that San Francisco is known for. Next on that list: its own IoT network.


As part of an ongoing project to implement a wireless network throughout the Bay Area, SIGFOX has officially completed its citywide rollout of San Francisco. What’s more, the French startup plans to do the same across 10 U.S. metropolitan areas by the first quarter of next year, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas and San Jose.

Whereas employing a conventional cell modem to connect everyday objects to the physical Internet would consume a tremendous amount of energy, SIGFOX enables millions of low-power devices with minimal data streams to communicate with one another in a slower but more efficient way. The company’s LPWAN (low-power wide-area network) only transmits a minute amount of information at a mere 100 bits per second, but can support millions of connections.

The use of UNB (Ultra Narrow Band) based radio technology is key to providing a scalable, high-capacity network, with very low energy consumption, while maintaining a simple and easy star-based cell infrastructure. Not only is building out SIGFOX’s infrastructure much less expensive than an entire phone network, it runs on the unlicensed wireless band of 900MHz in the U.S.

For its flagship rollout in the Bay Area, SIGFOX has partnered with the city’s Department of Technology, the Mayor’s Office of Innovation and critical leadership to place 20 of its briefcase-sized base stations on the top of libraries and city buildings, each covering a radius of 12 to 18 miles. Instead of the smartphones and tablets we use to stream video, this particular network is catered towards all the other “things” you might want to link to the Internet that only need to send a few packets of data periodically, such as parking meters, fire hydrants, utility panels, traffic sensors and even wearables.


In order to achieve scalability, the startup partners with existing cell tower owners and uses off-the-shelf hardware. With an annual subscription of approximately $1 per year per device, SIGFOX’s connection price will still be much lower than those of other mobile operators. Meanwhile, device makers will have to integrate an inexpensive SIGFOX-Ready radio chip like the Atmel ATA8520 SoC.

SIGFOX tells Forbes that a geographical region the size of the entire state of California only calls for around 1,500 microcells, in comparison to a 20,000-somwhat for a conventional cellular network. Take Spain for instance, which took just one year to be entirely covered.

“If the last 10 years of technology development were about making it easier for companies and people to exchange information with one another—Google, Skype, Dropbox, and so on—the next 10 years will be about making it possible, cost effective and easy for the unconnected physical world to transmit data to the Internet,” explains Allen Proithis, president of SIGFOX North America.

In November, SIGFOX and the city of San Francisco will jointly sponsor a hackathon, in order to allow developers and Makers to use the technology and generate new ideas for how the network can be utilized to create innovative smart city solutions. Intrigued? Head over to SIGFOX’s page to learn more.

Building a crowdsourced, decentralized IoT network around the world

The Things Network is a low-barrier way to get started with smart city projects. 

When it comes to which kind of wireless network will be the go-to choice for the Internet of Things, the jury is still out: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G LTE, 5G, 802.15.4, the possibilities go on and on. And pending experiments underway in Amsterdam go as planned, don’t be surprised to find LoRaWAN as a frontrunner on that growing list. For those uninitiated with the technology, LoRaWAN is a wide area network that boasts low battery, low bandwidth and long-range wireless communication. It enables things to talk to the Internet without the need for 3G, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth — meaning, no codes, heavy battery consumption or monthly subscriptions necessary.


This long-range WAN is a practical suitor for smart city and M2M applications, as seen throughout the Dutch capital. In this particular case, Amsterdam has tapped the open IoT data network, The Things Network. Due to its seven-mile reach and affordability, the non-profit organization has been able to cover the entire city with only 10 gateways. And unlike other similar municipality projects, this one was entirely crowdsourced and implemented in a matter of six weeks with help from third parties, such as the Port of Amsterdam, The Next Web, KPMG, Deloitte, Peerby and Trakkies. 

There is, however, one minor speed bump on the road to a distributed, citizen-owned service: each of the currently available LoRaWAN gateways cost around $1,200, which isn’t so great for global scalability. Cognizant of this, The Things Network decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign offering a consumer-friendly base station with a price tag that’s only one-fifth of other products currently on the market.


“The Internet was created by people that connected their networks and allowed traffic from, to and over their servers and cables to pass for free. As a result, there was abundant data communication and exponential innovation. The Things Network is doing the same for the Internet of Things by creating abundant data connectivity. So applications and businesses can flourish,” the team explains.

The community-led initiative is hoping to make it easier for those looking to set up their own networks thanks to three new pieces of hardware: The Things Gateway, The Things Uno and The Things Node. The Things Gateway is at the core of it all. This small, simple-to-install gadget acts as the router between the things and the Internet. Not only does it link to your Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection, it runs open hardware, uses GPS to determine its location and the node’s whereabouts later, and serves up to 10,000 nodes.


Meanwhile, The Thing Uno is like an Arduino Uno but with LoRaWAN capabilities. This lets you upgrade your existing Arduino projects by making wireless with a several mile radius. Compatible with existing shields and the Arduino IDE, the board includes connections for an optional external antenna on the breakout circuit to better optimize the range. What’s more, The Things Network is collaborating with 3D Hubs to make a customizable 3D-printable enclosure for your Uno.

But that’s not all. The Thing Node is a keyring remote equipped with sensors (movement, light and temperature), an RGB LED, a button and three AAA batteries, all housed inside a waterproof shell. This “matchbox of sensors” can be integrated with your IFTTT account, as well as employed to devise your own low-cost prototypes applications for a Things Network in your town. Example use cases span from bike finders and pet trackers to smart doorbells and security systems, and so far, teams in Boston, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Kochi, Sydney and Manchester have all begun actively pursuing projects.


Interested? Head over to The Thing Network’s Kickstarter campaign, where the foundation is currently seeking $170,036. Delivery is slated for July 2016.

​Sigfox shows off partner solutions for its growing network

The French IoT startup is launching 902 MHz network nationwide in United States.

While a vast majority of the mobile carriers are focused on super fast networks for their smartphone subscribers, our friends at Sigfox are tapping into an entirely different trend, a slow network. While that concept may seem like a bit of an oxymoron in today’s constantly-connected world, the French startup has found a significant customer base and some pretty big partners along that way, given its advantages like low cost and low power consumption.


Sigfox utilizes UNB (Ultra Narrow Band) radio technology to connect devices to its global network. The use of UNB is key to providing a scalable, high-capacity network, with very low energy consumption, while maintaining a simple and easy to rollout star-based cell infrastructure. The company’s Atmel based connectivity solution uses license-free frequency bands (runs in the unlicensed 902 MHz band in the U.S. and the 868 MHz band in Europe), and don’t go more than a few hundred bits per second, but cost as little as $1 per connection per year.

The result is a simple, low-power network that can be deployed at a fraction of the cost of a traditional cellular network – without any risk of collisions or capacity problems. Due to power-emission regulations in the unlicensed band, Sigfox customers can only receive 140 messages per day from their devices, however. What’s more, those messages can only contain around 100 character and customers can send only four messages per day.

(Source: CNET)

(Source: CNET)

As CNET reports, the company showed off a number of these partnerships during Mobile World Congress, including a device from Securitas that detects if a car has been stolen and another from Traqueur to track it afterward, a monitor from Seur that ensures the “cold chain” is intact for refrigerated shipping, a solution from Air Liquide that helps analyze the condition of the gas tanks it sells, as well as a parking space tracker that sends alarts when a spot is empty or occupied. (You can find pictures of each of the new partner solutions here.)

“The mainstream mobile industry caters to mobile phone users watching video and posting selfies, pumping as much data as possible over today’s 4G network and racing to pump even more data with tomorrow’s 5G. Sigfox, though, limits network message length to just 12 bytes,” CNET’s Stephen Shankland writes.

At the moment, the startup is in the process of rolling out its slow-speed IoT network in San Francisco with greater aspirations of covering 90% of the U.S. population within the next three years. Want to continue reading? Head over to the company’s official page here. Meanwhile, don’t forget to explore Atmel’s ATA8520 device, which recently achieved the Sigfox-ready certification, making it the first Sigfox Ready-certified system-on-chip (SoC) solution. You can learn more about that here.