Semtech Builds Out LoRa Edge Platform for More Precise Tracking and Transport Analytics

October 20, 2020 by Adrian Gibbons

Semtech is turning to embedded software and a new hardware reference design to sharpen asset tracking IoT solutions.

Semtech Corporation, a company focused on mixed-signal semiconductor design, recently broke the news of two additions to its LoRa Edge platform technology: the Modem-E embedded software and the LoRa Edge Tracker reference design.

The first new feature, Modem-E, expands the LoRa Basics software suite with pre-made “building blocks” to accelerate customer designs.

The new “Modem-E” software library runs on the LoRa Edge hardware platform inside a LoRa edge physical transceiver. The embedded software offers AES-128 bit encryption, speaking to a security pain point among IoT devices, and protects sensor data as it is transmitted to LoRaWAN-compliant gateways. 


LoRa Edge LR1110 asset management platform

LoRa Edge LR1110 asset management platform. Image used courtesy of Semtech

“LoRa Basics Modem-E significantly simplifies the development of long-range, low-power IoT solutions," says Sree Durbha, Director of LoRa Product Line Management in Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group. "By abstracting complexity, [it] allows IoT solution developers to focus efforts on developing value-added solutions for their customers."

The second feature in the announcement is a reference design developed in partnership with Actility and TagoIO. The LoRa edge tracker reference design “provides a full blueprint for commercial asset tracking products and services, reducing time to market in a variety of vertical markets” explains Durbha.


Tracking in Transport and Automation

TagoIO, a recently-joined LoRa Alliance member, is one of Semtech's partners associated with the tracker design. TagoIO offers data analytics, real-time visualization, user management, and notifications using a configurable cloud-based application dashboard.


TagoIO demo dashboard

TagoIO demo dashboard indicates real-time location tracking for the truck, temperature monitoring (not part of the Semtech Tracker device), and a notification service. Image used courtesy of TagoIO


Actility, the second of Semtech's partners with the Tracker reference kit, offers carrier-grade connectivity for IoT devices over the LoRaWAN network protocol. The medium for Semtech’s newest hardware kit is Actility’s ThingPark IoT connectivity platform, which runs over public or private networks including LoRaWAN.


ThingPark Wireless

ThingPark Wireless sits between the Tracker sensor hardware, and TagoIO’s cloud-based dashboard providing the backhaul channels required for a customer's tracking application. Image used courtesy of Actility


Actility claims that its technology in geo-location reduces power use by a factor of ten over GSM+AGPS and enables low-power IoT networks. 


low-power wide-area network tracking

Actility’s solution for low-power wide-area network tracking technologies is said to offer long-lasting battery life for embedded sensors. Image used courtesy of Actility


Sensors and monitors have longer battery lives, according to the company, reducing downtime for transport operations that rely on accurate data. 


Ready-to-Deploy Embedded Solutions

As part of the announcement, Semtech has published a LoRa Edge hardware evaluation kit quick start guide for users interested in getting their hands on the tracker reference design kit. The kit includes two tracker devices, a gateway based on the LoRaWAN protocol, and associated accessories.


The Tracker Reference Design Kit

The Tracker reference design kit. Contents include basic required hardware to setup tracking features with the LoRa network via the TagoIO application and Actility service. Image used courtesy of Semtech


Asset management is big business, not only for traditional markets in which employees play a role (such as long-haul transport) but also in applications where automation is taking over.

According to TagoIO, smart tracking in the transport industry can, with appropriate sensors, monitor the “driver's behavior, engine status, [and] fuel level, and users can be alerted about vehicle malfunctions.”  

Each member of this partnership is bringing a discrete capability to the table, from hardware to network backhaul and a configurable cloud dashboard. The complex nature of high-technology platforms means that both large and small operators must partner together to provide a total turn-key solution. 

LoRa Alliance members like Semtech, TagoIO, and Actility aim to provide hardware and software tools for customers whose business is reliant on knowing where and in what condition their assets are at all times.