One of the longest-running companies in the connectivity business, MultiTech has stepped up their IoT leadership. Specifically, in the world of LPWA. At MWC Americas the company demoed NB-IoT with T-Mobile. Company spokesperson Sarah Brown told me in an in-person interview that this is the first demo of its kind in the US.
She went on to tell us about the company’s new Cat M1 and NB-IoT cellular modems and devices -the 3GPP low-power wide area (LPWA) standard. These modems allow IoT devices to work on licensed spectrum as opposed to those which run on the unlicensed ISM spectrum. Sara said, “The idea that licensed and unlicensed LPWA are winner takes all or competing is wrong. They are complementary.” She continued, “Together they provide the exact right connectivity for the exact right price for your application. LoRa, CAT M and NB-IoT solutions are needed by different people and applications.”
An example, she stated of an IoT application which would be better suited to licensed bands might be medical alerting which requires real-time availability while running a farm could likely run on unlicensed spectrum as you can afford to miss some packets.
Sara also explained the company has brought some of its latest technology designed for a European carrier stateside. The MultiTech Conduit Access Point for Indoor, High-Density LoRaWAN. The Conduit AP supports eight uplink and one downlink LoRa channel capable of supporting thousands of LoRaWAN end points, including the MultiTech MultiConnect mDot and xDot LoRaWAN certified modules, connected to remote sensors or appliances.
Brown explained that the device looks like an WiFi access point and isn’t industrial-grade. She stated emphatically, ““Its available today, call us and order some.” I asked what sort of organization would benefit from this solution and she stated convention centers who need to monitor lots of devices, companies with multiple manufacturing capabilities or campuses in general.
Finally, the company is getting serious about helping to solve the security issue in IoT – speaking of which millions of bluetooth devices (primarily Android) were reported to be vulnerable to attacks today. She mentioned that typically at IoT Conferences like the one here at MWC Americas put on in conjunction with IoT Evolution which takes place later this week, that a security panel features a bunch of vendors who can only secure their own segment. MultiTech has partnered with Device Authority and Asavie to help broaden the reach of IoT security.
In other exciting news – the company, a leader in the analog modem market since the 1980s is pushing its customers or at least assisting them as they move from POTs to something else. As more copper disintegrates and becomes unusable, customers with high-value products need another way to connect them to data centers or the cloud. Their new converter product will allow devices like copiers to think they are making a POTS connection but in reality, they will be connecting to a cellular network or over Ethernet.
In all, the company certainly has its engineering mojo back – one of the few organizations that had been able to take a leadership position not only in the eighties and nineties but in 2017… More or less, still connecting machines to machines. And they seem to be just getting started. We can expect five more announcements by October.
To learn more, be sure to attend the Enterprise IoT Event, IoT Evolution Jan 22-25, 2018 and see IBM, Ingenu, Cradlepoint, TellientARM, McAfee & other major companies. Special focus on Smart Cities, Security, IIoT and case studies.