Germany gets LoRa network to add to Sigfox, cellular options

LoRa Low Power Wide Area IoT network goes live in Germany, national launch planned.

Those keeping track of LPWA IoT network launches might like to note the pending national launch in Germany of Netzikon, a subsidiary of Telent.

The network has already been deployed in Stuttgart, with an announcement today that due to roll-out to other cities with national coverage expected to be complete by 2018

A statement from Actility, which was also announced for the first time as the technology provider to Telent, says:
The first application of the Netzikon network is already in operation. In Thuringia, sensors detect when lightning has struck the turbine blades of wind power generators. The data collected by the sensors is communicated through the LoRaWAN network and delivered to an IoT platform monitoring the wind farm, which can alert the wind farm operator, and identify potential damage more quickly, ensuring the safety and reliability of wind power plants.

The LoRa network infrastructure is provided by Actility and its ThingPark Wireless IoT.

Rival non-cellular LPWA technology provider Sigfox said in February this year that it would be launching in Germany in 2016, although it is yet to announce a network operator or service provider partner and its website lists Germany as “still in rollout”.

Vodafone Germany has been the site of some early development work in NB-IoT, the newly-minted standard that specifies low power IoT operation over LTE networks, and expects to launch in 2017.

Today’s announcement may seem to give LoRa a head start in Germany in terms of providing the LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) connectivity that many think will underpin smart city, smart metering and other long-life applications. However, a national coverage date of 2018 places it roughly in the same time frame as other competing technology options.

The pace at which operators choose to roll out networks that can provide LPWA connectivity is often allied to the commercial imperative in the market in question, and/or government requirements in terms of enabling things such as smart metering.

In Italy, for example, Telecom Italia has a target to replace half of the country’s gas meters – some 18 million – by the end of 2018. Its target technology for doing that is NB-IoT, which it sees as providing the most long-term and holistic single-platform approach.