By David Baughman
Widespread remote work initiatives could be here to stay, even after the pandemic has receded enough for workplaces to open up. In a number of industries engineers are getting more involved with IoT by conducting their own “hobbyist” projects at home as they anticipate the day their boss asks, how to adopt and integrate IoT technology into their products?
Fortunately, the development space is ripe with affordable evaluation kits and low-cost gateways to enable the connectivity needed to show a complete platform. Also, those catalog off-the-shelf devices, made available from global suppliers, are starting to show up as critical data generators supporting machine learning and AI in vertical use cases such as: smart spaces, asset monitoring and tracking, cold chain, and air quality.
How to Leverage loT to Power the “New Normal” Post-Crisis
To support these loT proof of concepts and evaluations, Sigfox offers retail connectivity infrastructure available through channel partners like Digi-key. In 2019, the Sigfox Access Station Micro (ASM) entered the US and Canada market allowing users to set up their own backyard Sigfox network in a matter of minutes at an affordable cost.
The ASM or “Micro” (as we refer to it around the office) has the same radio capability of the larger more industrial Sigfox base stations (referred to as the Macro and Mini) for a fraction of the price. Micros offer a much smaller form factor, and consume a fraction of the power, but deliver exceptionally good capacity given the trade-off of its size and power.
Powered via POE, ethernet is another option for serving as backhaul. Optionally a Micro can be attached to a solar panel and cellular dongle to create a complete remote, stand-alone system. Setting up and commissioning the Micro for your project should not take any special effort or permissions. It will “phone home” to the Sigfox backend and start collecting your Sigfox device messages and relay them to the Sigfox backend where you can forward them via Callbacks to Azure IoT, AWS, IBM, and Google Cloud among others.
The Micro range is correlated with installation height and line of sight rules that govern sub-GHz RF. A Micro mounted at height of 20’, can supply coverage up to a 2-mile radius.
Planning ahead, experimenters that want to explore Sigfox connectivity can get started with Arduino kits from Sigfox partner Thinxtra Within minutes of unboxing the Arduino XKIT, anyone can be up and running with data sent via callback or to their email account using the Sigfox backend.
It’s really quite easy and for many IoT applications, simple and easy is all that is required, which is the beauty of Sigfox!
Visit the Sigfox US device library to see other products.