Problem #1: There are multiple IoT and smart city connectivity technologies such as Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN, SigFox, NB-IoT, Helium and other proprietary like Fybr-Link. These are still maturing, and there is no one size fits all connectivity strategy that will work for all use cases.

Problem #2: There exists a “digital divide” within San Mateo County. Select areas, such as rural areas, unincorporated areas, and certain areas do not have connectivity, or sufficient connectivity for basic applications.

Questions to be answered: What connectivity technologies are available to support basic and smart city applications? Do we build and operate our own networks or should we use a vendor provided connectivity service? How do these different connectivity options compare? What use cases work best with which connectivity technologies?

Project Update (January 25, 2019)

Since May 2015, SMC Labs have been running pilots based on Fybr’s FybrLink LPWAN connectivity technology. FybrLink is a proprietary layer built on top of the LoRa stack. During this same time period, T-Mobile had rolled out NB-IoT connectivity and coverage for the San Mateo County area, while Machine Q has been preparing their LoRaWAN service for market. In addition, Helium has been developing the next generation gateways for a blockchain based connectivity service. These offerings are now ready to be tested at SMC Labs.

Next steps

  • SMC Labs will be setting up a Wi-Fiber long range wireless transport (millimeter wave) network to provide broadband connectivity to underserved areas by Q2-2019
  • SMC Labs will be setting up 3 Machine Q LoRaWAN gateways at select locations within San Mateo County in Q1-2019. Within the zones covered by these gateways, SMC Labs will be providing LPWAN service and testing a variety of use cases.
  • SMC Labs will be testing a variety of use cases, including Asset Tracking, that will be running on T-Mobile’s NB-IoT connectivity service in Q1. A review of T-Mobile’s coverage maps have shown that there is countywide coverage.

When available, SMC Labs will be one of the first testers of Helium’s blockchain based community connectivity network. Helium gateways will be available for deployment in Q2-2019. SMC Labs will work with Helium to identify select use cases that will run on Helium’s network.