US utility trials LoRa enabled electric meters 21 June 2017

In the US, Northeast Nebraska Public Power District partnered with Vision Metering to deploy a smart meter pilot project.

According to a statement issued by Vision Metering, Northeast Nebraska Public Power District is the first utility to deploy the company’s electric meters equipped with the LoRa IoT communications technology.

Northeast Nebraska Public Power District provides utility services to some 8,500 consumers in Pierce, Thurston, Wayne, Dixon and Dakota Counties in Nebraska.

In a statement, Vision Metering claims that “[the] pilot is achieving excellent results and robust performance.”

According to the firm, LoRa is “one of the first to develop a true IoT network capable of 20 miles communications point to point.”

Vision Metering adopted their technology for AMI systems and now has two pilots operating in the US, both attaining 13 miles communications.

The big benefits of LoRa, says the firm, “is its very low cost and open architecture which allows multiple manufacturers to produce equipment for the LoRa platform. Utilities are no longer committed to one vendor for meters, gateways, networks or headends. The open architecture ensures product prices will continue to decline as competition increases.”

Adoption of IoT communications technology

Meanwhile, the LoRa Alliance announced its members have exceeded 500 since March 2015.

LoRa Alliance is an organisation of global companies using and or backing the association’s standard for low-power wide area IoT networks.

Geoff Mulligan, chairman of the LoRa Alliance, commented: “The LoRaWAN protocol is being adopted so quickly because it provides an open standard with 10+ years of node battery operation, a range of 10+ kilometers and an average node bill of materials of less than $10, providing a wide-area alternative to the high cost, complexity and overhead of other network implementations.”

The LoRa Alliance says the number organisations operating LoRaWAN enabled IoT networks has grown by 3.5% to reach 42 public operators with over 250 ongoing pilot and full-scale project deployments.

“We continue to build on these advantages by actively working to extend the global reach of our IoT ecosystem, and by quickly responding to market changes to increase network capabilities,” added Mulligan.

In addition, the LoRa Alliance announced updates regarding the adoption of its standards in India and upgrades to network bands in use and under deployment in Australia and Korea.

In India, the alliance says it has added support for 865MHz band IoT network deployed by Tata Communications and Hewlett Packard Enteprise to enable the communication of data from some 200,000 sensors and gateways.

Image Credit: 123rf.