Developing for the industrial IoT? It’s easy! With open development environments (ODE) like the STM32 ODE you can build powerful applications by combining various building blocks. Ultra-low power MCUs like the STM32L4 offer the possibility of running applications on battery and implementing them in moving parts like warehouse robots and service trucks or into applications of small size.
However while these innovations simplify the development of industrial applications there is still one question which could give you headaches: How to connect them?
For consumer devices like wearables, smart home applications and tablets Bluetooth, Zigbee or WiFi are often a good fit. For industrial, M2M, smart city and smart metering it’s different. In many cases you need to bridge a big distance or send a signal through walls and buildings.
That’s where low power wide area networks like LoRa® come in. The wireless technology has been developed in order to enable low data rate communications to be made over long distances by sensors and actuators.
Key features of the LoRa® technology read like the dream of an industrial IoT engineer and perfect fit for low power applications powered by the STM32L4: long range (2km in dense urban, more than 15 km in suburban areas), low power and small form factor. Using a MAC protocol named LoRaWAN the LoRa® technology is a global solution offering secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localisation services.
STM32 Nucleo Board with LoRa® expansion pack
The standard provides seamless interoperability among smart things without the need of complex local installations. The implementation of additional end devices is kept simple as LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which a gateway is a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server in the backend. Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways. All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast enabling software upgrade over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on air communication time.
Lately STMicroelectronics announced that the company will join the LoRa® Alliance and will release reference designs for LoRa® technology based on its STM32 family of microcontrollers. ST plans to develop microcontrollers with on-chip LoRa technology that supports the LoRaWAN™ standardized protocol. The solutions will be based on LoRa® long-range wireless RF technology.
This new formed partnership will help designers to develop applications for industrial IoT, smart cities and smart metering which can run on battery for a long time and can be placed in underground locations as well as rural and remote areas.
Got hooked and want to learn more? We prepared an interactive webinar which will be hosted by EBVuniversity on 16 February, 2016 10am CET. We will explain STM32 portfolio key selling points, STM32 L4 industrial features, LoRa features and how to get started with LoRa in STM32.
Not going to make it? No worries, just stop by at our booth at embedded world 2016 (Hall 5, Booth 278) and get all the information directly from our team of experts. See you at the show!