Startup IoTOz is planning to roll out low powered wide area networks for IoT in Australia, New Zealand and about 20 countries in Asia Pacific, based on the Random Phase Multiple Access (RPM) technology developed by US-based Ingenu, formerly On-Ramp Wireless.
IoT Australia reported Ingenu on 8 March saying it was working with strategic licensing partners to provide connectivity in 25 countries on six continents, including Australia, China, New Zealand, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Africa, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
Ingenu has since told us that the Asian regional partner is Australia-based IoTOz. The company’s founder and CEO, Rich Somerton, told IoTAustralia that the company already had a trial base station operating in New Zealand and expected to be installing base stations in Australia later this year.
“We are in discussions with some customers at the moment and we expect to be putting access points in in June or July,” he said. “Locations will be determined in discussions with customers. “Within two years we expect to have 80 – 90 percent of the populations of Australia and New Zealand covered.”
He said that IoTOz had licences for the technology in about 20 countries in Asia and would roll out networks itself in Australia and New Zealand but was looking to work with partners in other countries. “We already have a partner in China that is getting ready for rollout. … We expect this to happen within three years.”
He said that the backers of IoTOz were investment bankers who had worked on a lot of infrastructure projects in Asia, in Australia and New Zealand. “We have had involvement in a number of telecom projects and that led us to look for other opportunities. We saw there was an opportunity for a very good machine-to-machine network and that led us to Ingenu.”
Somerton said the company had looked at both LoRaWAN and Sigfox, but had decided that Ingenu’s RPMA technology was superior. “Two way communications is a real limitation for both those technologies and they don’t have the same range as Ingenu,” he said. “Another problem with Sigfox is that they send a message and hope it arrives. That’s OK for some applications, but for many you need an acknowledgement that the message has been received.”
Both Sigfox and LoRaWAN operate in the 900MHz band. Ingenu’s RPMA uses the 2.4GHz WiFi band. This can be highly congested, but Somerton claimed that RPMA was able to handle this interference.
“We expect there will be some interference but we have 38 networks operating around the world, some in very high interference areas in Japan and Korea but we are able to deal with that. … Half of the American oil and gas industry relies on RPMA, The technology has been in place for eight years.” (The IoTOz web site has several white papers explaining the RPMA technology and how it handles interference.)
Somerton said the company was casting its net widely in terms of applications and intended to be a last mile communication provider rather than serving specific applications. “The low hanging fruit is smart cities, LED road lighting. … There are about 80 different applications that have been used for the last eight years and Ingenu has been inundated with new applications. They can’t keep up.”