A couple of weeks ago, we had the Microsoft German partner conference (DPK) in Leipzig, where our IoT partners were showing their solutions. And one of the partners that presented their technology is Mioty.
So what is this? (roll video )
Mioty is a LPWAN technology that adresses shortcomings that we have seen with the existing technologies in this area. With Mioty, we have found something that works for scenarios where we need long range and lots of sensors. And for places where it will take a very long time for traditional telco infrastructure to build up coverage.
Like many other LPWAN technologies, Mioty operates in the license-free bands, depending on the geographic region it is deployed in it will use 868 or 915 Mhz. The good thing about these bands is that the penetration into buildings is much better than in the higher 2.4 Ghz bands. So we have seen examples where Mioty has been used in mines and worked in places where even conventional two-way radio would not work reliably. So that’s pretty good. It’s not intended to send around gigabytes of data, but it can process more than one million sensor messages per day over its full range of around 15km in free space and 5km in city areas.
The people behind Mioty are from the same research institute that brought you things like the digital radio standard DAB and, as a little side project thereof, “Adaptive Spectral Perceptual Entropy Coding”, an audio codec technology better known under its standardization name “MPEG-1 Audio Layer III” or the file extension used for encoded audio files. “mp3”. Mioty has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (Fraunhofer IIS).
So about one year ago, I met one of the people behind this, Albert Behr from Behr Technologies at a Fraunhofer Event here in Munich. One of the event organizers grabbed me by the arm and almost pulled me across the room, saying “I have someone you have to meet.” We met, we talked for a while and I thought “That this is a really interesting technology, but I’d like to see it working first”. Having spent my time in academia, I was well aware of the different goals people in Academia and Industry have, knowing the “Publish or perish” situation all to well and understanding that moving from paper to product is often not rewarded in academia. But Fraunhofer, being a group of applied research institutes that have a track record of moving research results into products and standards, and IIS in particular being behind this added credibility to his claim and we decided to keep talking and see where this leads us. And so he introduced me to the leads of the Fraunhofer working groups behind the technology, Günter Rohmer and Michael Schlicht as well as Wolfgang Thieme who is driving the business development. We received a test kit, played around with it and worked with the Mioty development team to hook it up to Azure IoT. We have helped them build a solution that allows Mioty to gather data from all the sensors, send the data up to the cloud and make it available to any Azure cloud service, either in the form of a near real-time data stream or stored in a database.
Albert and Wolfgang have since approached more than 20 early adopters from various application areas with this technology and have received very positive feedback. And for me, it has been great to work with the Mioty team to push the limits of LPWAN and to enable a whole new set of customers and applications to link their sensors to Azure IoT.
I can’t wait to see where the Mioty team will take this.