LoRaWAN IoT app

How to start building IoT apps using LoRa

Interest for IoT 4.0 applications and LoRa technology is growing at an impressive rate. Over 50 countries operate LoRaWAN-based networks today, delivering real-world ROI, according to the LoRa Alliance.

International telecom companies, including big players such as KPN (the Netherlands), Orange (France), Digimondo (Germany), and Telstra (Australia), have started rolling out LoRaWAN networks.

And adoption is fueled by LoRa’s many use cases. LoRa is being successfully deployed in a variety of IoT vertical applications – from cattle tracking on ranches, to air pollution monitoring systems and shipment quality for various industries.

“The IIoT offers incredible opportunities for developers to digitize the world in ways we haven’t even thought about yet,” says Federico Musto, CEO of Arduino in a statement.

What do you need to get started?

Building a complete LoRaWAN-enabled ecosystem starts with these key elements:

The device

At the heart of IoT lays… hardware, namely devices embedded with sensors that capture and transmit data from their surroundings. These devices require basic processing and storage capabilities.

If you don’t want to learn Linux, circuit boards, nodes and channels, you can opt for pre-configured LoRaWAN devices. These are commercially-available micro-controller platforms, such as Arduino, single-board-computers like the Raspberry Pi, while Simfony Mobile offers easy-to-manage customised kits using its Management Platform cloud infrastructure.

The LoRa gateway

The gateway speaks to end-nodes (devices) and transmits data to the cloud infrastructure. Communication happens on different frequency channels and data rates, and end-devices may reach out to any channel available, at any time.

LoRa supports data rates ranging from 300 bps to 5 kbps for a 125 kHz bandwidth. To maximize both battery life of each device and the overall system capacity available, this type of network infrastructures relies on an Adaptive Data Rate (ADR) scheme to manage individual data rates and RF output of each connected device.

The LoRaWAN network server

The core network server controls messages and network commands between sensors and application servers. During this process, it filters redundant received packets, performs security checks during device authentication and ADR, among others. It also interferes with the app servers for provisioning, administration and reporting.

The end-user application

To program applications, developers can opt for one of the many ready-made platforms available, such as Node-RED, a Node.js-based app. Node-RED is a programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services. Simfony offers an agile API-first solution that seamlessly integrates the management of IoT products within the enterprise ERP or CRM.

Another key aspect to consider is providing easy, real-time access to IoT analytics. Simfony makes this information accessible via its web-based platform, through the API or from the Node-RED instance.

At the core of IoT is its ingenious structure of communication protocols, enabled by connectivity, with an abstract architecture that is composed from both hardware and software systems. This is how a smart environment is created, connecting and embedding smart components. Systems sensors can collect a valuable database in any field of human activity. We use the devices to enable our lives and work through Internet. IoT is their means of communication to each other and getting back to us, with essential information that can make a real difference in the decision making process. Real-time information and having control over things from a distance allows us to create the world and the business we aim for.

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