LoRa® Stakes Claim in Consumer IoT with Amazon Sidewalk
21 September 2020 / by Alistair Fulton
Semtech has taken great strides to help solution developers realize the potential for LoRa® devices in the smart home space. With the launch of its LoRa Smart Home™ transceiver earlier this year, Semtech is making it easier for developers to leverage the benefits of long range, low power and low cost end devices based on LoRa for the consumer market.
Adding to the building momentum for using LoRa devices in the smart home industry, Semtech announced it has teamed with Amazon to collaborate on its network, Amazon Sidewalk. Amazon first announced Sidewalk in late 2019, among announcements for new Ring smart home devices and development plans for a new geofencing pet tracker. Leveraging the long range features of LoRa, Amazon Sidewalk will enable device connectivity from the home to the garden, and into the neighborhood to benefit entire communities.
Smart Communities Based on LoRa
Semtech’s LoRa devices have grown rapidly as the platform of choice for Industrial and Enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) applications, however, its potential in the consumer space has only recently begun to be realized. Most of the smart home devices on the market today rely on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to connect devices to the Internet. With short range, high bandwidth protocols come limitations on reach and excessive battery drain. On the other hand, Cellular networks, such as existing and future 5G networks, are ill-suited for low power IoT devices that simply need low cost, low power and low bandwidth connectivity.
A home is more than just what lies within its walls – a home extends throughout an entire property, into the garden, to detached structures, perimeters, and even to mobile assets. While applications vary, customers’ demand for dependable connectivity that works “out of the box” doesn’t change with range. Today homeowners can install IoT-connected sensors throughout all areas of their property, but the owners’ experience is often impacted by “dead zones” that are out of reach of Wi-Fi routers, or too far away for short range communication platforms like Bluetooth. With LoRa, customers are able to maintain dependable connectivity even when devices become mobile and significantly increase their range, enabling customers to keep track of valuable “assets” like pets or bicycles.
New Possibilities for Smart Home Devices
When smart home devices extend into the community, the long range capabilities of LoRa devices enable new possibilities for asset tracking and geofencing applications. By utilizing Amazon Sidewalk, many devices can extend their range by up to a half mile, in comparison to a few hundred feet with other technologies.
LoRa devices are also well-suited for many common smart home applications on the market today, such as smart lighting, door and window sensors, motion sensors, smart locks, smart irrigation, and more. The lower power consumption of LoRa devices offers a compelling alternative to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-based battery-operated IoT devices. Frequently recharging or changing batteries on sensors can be inconvenient, particularly when sensors are placed in hard to reach areas. Worse, home security devices that drain battery power quickly can pose a risk, failing at the very moment when they are needed. LoRa solves these shortcomings by enabling devices which leverage its extremely low power communication capabilities to run for years on a single battery or charge.
Opportunity for the LoRa Ecosystem of Developers
The benefits of LoRa devices in the smart home space are clear, and with Amazon Sidewalk, it won’t be long before many more consumers are experiencing LoRa in their daily lives. While Amazon prepares to announce the official launch date of its Sidewalk network, we will do our part at Semtech to ready our vast ecosystem of developers to take advantage of this coming opportunity. As we have previously shared, the team at Semtech is committed to simplifying the development of solutions based on LoRa to help developers accelerate solutions to market, and have delivered on those commitments with tools like LoRa Basics™ and LoRa Cloud™ Services. The LoRa Developer Portal is our “one stop shop” for all things developer oriented, and today offers a robust library of tools, guides and forums to connect developers to Semtech’s experts, something we will continue to evolve to support developers with a range of hardware and software tools as they build the new and innovative smart home and smart community solutions based on LoRa that Amazon Sidewalk will enable.
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