As one can imagine, the media, especially our good friends at Mybroadband are all on the bandwagon about IoT (Internet of Things). Well, I take a pretty dim view at this reinvention of the wheel, but now is the time to put the career liars aka journalists in their place about this stuff.
What is all the hype about?
LOLWUT, we've had little things on the internet as far back as 2001, when cellular modem modules became easily available and GPRS was in place. Just don't educate the journalists on that one OK, they don't like their bubble to be burst. But let's move on shall we...
First we saw Zigbee in 2005, which was supposed to be something along these lines.It was also hyped to the extreme, but turned out to be not so cool after all with its proprietary and complicated stack and demands on RF design expertise (it operates in the 2.4GHz band, smack bang in the middle of the Wi-Fi bands).
SigFox? More like SigFox us yor monise and we might allow you to play... Merci beaucoup!
Fast forward to 2011, and we have these French twits, SigFox, who developed their own proprietary protocol using the ISM bands (which, as it is, are already crowded in South Africa with every man and his dog and their remote controllers for security gates and alarms) and they then relay these small packets to a cellular network. Clever idea that, to piggyback on the machine of the greedy money hungry cellular networks.
However, as it would turn out, its not that simple. I recently took on a client who had a good product idea to use this network, and guess what, we were met with a roadblock. SigFox wanted money, pretty much the same setup that the USB Implementer's Forum run, where you need to pay money for a Vendor ID- that magical hexadecimal number that allows your spot in the sun on the USB bus. So yeah, what MyBroadband won't tell you is the following facts:
It is as easy as chips to do this using off-the-shelf parts, a few good ISM band radios from TI or Silicon Labs, and a nice base station with a good modem using a private APN, as has been done for a long time by the alarm system companies.
I am in the wrong business I tell you.. I should also make money off the general stupidity of the general public.