mioty wireless transmission system wins award
The networking of objects in the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming increasingly important — but until now, no suitable and reliable method of communication has been available for transferring many thousands of data packages at the same time. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS have overcome this challenge with the mioty wireless low-power wide-area transmission system — and have been awarded the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize for their efforts.
Based on market analyses, between 20 and 40 billion connected IoT devices will be needed by the year 2025. The most important elements in this context are simple, energy-efficient and battery-operated sensor nodes consisting of a sensor and a wireless system, which communicate with a base station over a distance of several kilometres. The amount of data involved is very small, and only needs to be transferred occasionally or sporadically; examples include water meters that are read wirelessly. However, existing technologies have proven very susceptible to interference.
The Fraunhofer Institute’s mioty technology offers a solution that overcomes existing problems. It transfers data from between several thousand and a hundred thousand sensor nodes per square kilometre — in other words, up to 1.5 million data packages a day — to one single collection point without any transmission loss, even in coexistence with other wireless systems or in areas with no mobile phone coverage, at a bandwidth of just 200 kHz. The end devices are so energy efficient that the batteries last up to 20 years. Mobile operation of the sensor nodes in vehicles is also possible, even when driving on the highway at speeds of more than 120 km/h.
Professor Michael Schlicht, Josef Bernhard and Dr Gerd Kilian were awarded the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize on behalf of the team. Explaining its award decision, the jury highlighted factors including the “consistent introduction of the new technology for connecting sensor networks with a large number of simple, battery-operated sensor nodes”.
“The key feature is that rather than sending the sensor data all at once, we break it down into lots of small chunks,” Dr Kilian explained. This division of the signal has a positive impact on the energy that the sensor node consumes, while also making transmission more robust: even if some data snippets are damaged on their way to the collection point, the message can still be found and completely restored thanks to the error correction. mioty can thus be used in a diverse range of areas: from capturing environmental data in agriculture, checking pipelines for corrosion and leaks, and controlling air-conditioning systems through to remote maintenance and monitoring of refineries.
The researchers not only developed the technology but also standardised it under the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), which establishes global standards for information and communication technology. Development and marketing of mioty-based solutions are already underway, with the international mioty alliance offering an open, standardised and interoperable ecosystem for developers, hardware manufacturers, system integrators, service providers and end customers.
“With mioty, we are offering the first standardised, low-power wide-area communication solution to be based on our telegram-splitting technology,” Bernhard said.
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