[VIRTUAL EVENT] Alliot Joins The Things Conference Devices

The Virtual Things Conference 2022

Join us online on Thursday 24th March to discover innovative LoRaWAN® deployments and explore the most advanced smart solutions at The Things Conference Devices virtual event.

Boost your IoT skillset, and learn how to get started with the best devices for your use cases while networking with leading global LoRaWAN® experts. This is the greatest way to learn the latest advice and techniques to accelerate your IoT projects.

Register today to learn the ins and outs of working with top-notch LoRa devices and implementing LoRaWAN® to your applications.

You don’t want to miss it!

IoT Connectivity: What are the options?

IoT Connectivity: What are the Options?

When it comes to selecting your preferred IoT connectivity there are a number of things you may want to consider. To help simplify this process, we’ve compiled a short guide to outline the options available and our top tips to think about when selecting the best option for your solutions.

There are numerous ways to connect your IoT devices, some will require a SIM card whereas others will require a gateway, or even connect to a satellite! The type of IoT connectivity you select is critical to the success of your IoT project and each option comes with its own range of benefits. The key here is to really understand what your requirements are and if your chosen connectivity will support your objectives.

What options are out there?

Here at Alliot we specialise in two key technologies: LoRaWAN® and NB-IoT/LTE-M (cellular IoT connectivity). But there are other options out there, these include:

Wired Connections

Wired connections were among the first methods of connectivity used in the early days of IoT. This tends to work well for items that will remain in a fixed position, but there’s little flexibility and there are much more efficient options now available.

WiFi

We’ve all become well accustomed to connecting our devices via WiFi and it often works well for simple home applications. WiFi however is notorious for its limitations with regards to range. Using WiFi for your IoT connectivity would require lots of access points to ensure its reach and it will also eat up a lot of battery power. Battery life is incredibly important when it comes to IoT sensors, especially if you’re installing solutions across multiple sites – replacing all those batteries would prove very time consuming!

Satellite

If you’re looking to monitor parameters in the middle of the ocean, satellite connectivity is the best option. There are geostationary satellites in orbit connecting devices around the world. It’s also reported that low earth orbit satellites are on the cards for companies such as SpaceX.

What options do Alliot Offer when it comes to IoT Connectivity?

LPWAN

Now this is our bread and butter! Low power Wide Area Networks were specifically designed for IoT use. LoRaWAN® devices offer long battery life by periodically transmitting small packets of data to a connected gateway. These gateways then connect to a LoRaWAN® network which offer a long range of up to 10km (depending on location) and don’t interfere with any existing networks or infrastructure.

Cellular Connectivity

Cellular IoT such as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M offer a great alternative to LoRaWAN®. NB-IoT is the newest kid on the block when it comes to IoT connectivity. Like LoRaWAN®, it offers an excellent coverage range and supports a long battery life.

However, unlike WiFi or LPWAN solutions using ethernet powered gateways, cellular doesn’t require an ethernet connection. Connectivity is instead supported by piggybacking on mobile networks. These devices require the use of a cellular IoT SIM card.

The main difference between NB-IoT and LTE-M is the support of mobility on the network. If you’re looking to track assets across multiple locations for example, LTE-M is likely to be the best option for you as it is better suited to faster moving assets that you need more frequent messages from as it supports handover.

Things to Consider…

There are a few things we’d recommend you take into consideration when selecting the type of IoT connectivity for your solutions.

Coverage

We’ve all experienced the loss of phone signal in remote locations. Sometimes cellular coverage can be weaker or unavailable in certain areas. Before going full steam ahead with a cellular IoT solution, it’s important to check the coverage available; we can help you with this.

In some areas, LoRaWAN® could well be the better option for you as you have the ability to create your own network therefore enabling you to ensure a relatively stable coverage across all types of locations. With LoRaWAN® you have the flexibility to create your own coverage by installing gateways, there are no licensing costs for the radio, and you can install them anywhere you want!

Cost & Scalability

Both LoRaWAN® and cellular IoT are future-proof in terms of scalability. With NB-IoT and LTE-M you have the ongoing cost of your SIM cards. The cost of SIM connectivity is low and given the size of your solution can be very cost-effective when compared to the costs involved with setting up a LoRaWAN® solution. Cellular IoT is great option where you only want a very small number of sensors per site, since you don’t need anything other than the sensor and a SIM contract which costs pence per month, per device. In these instances, installing gateways would be prohibitively expensive for a small number of sensors. Plus, you have the added benefit that the network is the responsibility of the mobile network provider!

If, however your solution is going to have thousands of connected devices, LoRaWAN® could prove to be more cost-effective for you as it operates on free (unlicensed) frequencies which you manage yourself so there are no upfront licensing costs to use the technology and you can potentially connect thousands of sensors to one gateway.

Deployment

Both NB-IoT and LoRaWAN® solutions are simple to install. We can even ship devices to you ready to plug & play! LoRaWAN® gateways offer coverage between 10km and 2km based on the installation environment. This is ideal for monitoring sensors deployed within this distance. However, if you’re looking to track assets throughout the country for example, LTE-M may offer a better alternative.

Whatever your requirements we’re here to help. Both cellular IoT and LoRaWAN® offer excellent options when it comes to connecting your IoT solutions. Get in touch today to discuss your IoT connectivity.

Our experts are on hand to help you every step of the way
Lets talk

[LIVE EVENT] Plug & Play Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

You’re invited to join our exclusive live event! Discover plug & play indoor air quality monitoring in the Alliot powered by myDevices live event with Synetica.

Air quality has become increasingly important in areas such as schools, offices, buildings and other high-risk environments. Join us on 22nd February at 4 pm GMT | 8 am PT to discover how our plug & play solutions enable you to monitor and report on the critical air quality parameters such as temperature, humidity, particulate matters and VOCs.

Throughout this interactive session we’ll be taking a look at Synetica‘s Enlink indoor and outdoor air quality sensors and how you can quickly deploy commercial solutions with Alliot powered by myDevices.

You’ll see first-hand popular use case applications across various industries and get a feel for the powerful myDevices platform through a live demo. You won’t want to miss it!

Can’t wait? Get in touch to discuss your indoor air quality monitoring requirements today.

WEBINAR: IoT for Building Management

Discover IoT for Building Management with Alliot Technologies and Wattsense in our short 30 minute webinar. Throughout the webinar, we’ll introduce you to the future of Smart Buildings and how you too can improve your building management with Wattsense.

We’re delighted to invite you to our live webcast on Tuesday 8th February at 11 am when our Sales Director, Craig Herrett and Wattsense’s Account Manager, Romain Philipon will be hosting a live demo, inveiling the key to the future of Smart Buildings.

Throughout this interactive session, Craig and Romain will be covering the various use cases of the Hub and Box devices. Along with resolving the potential pain points, differentiating between the two products and a live Q&A session.

 

Smart Buildings Webinar Agenda

  • Why Alliot & Wattsense?
  • The Wattsense Range – Differentiating between the Hub & Box
  • Live Demo
  • Q&A

Get in touch to discuss your Smart Building requirements today.

Alliot Christmas Opening & Shipping Times

As we creep closer towards the festive season, we’d like to share more details about our opening and shipping times over Christmas and the New Year. During this period, we will continue to ship orders via APC.

Opening Times

Day Opening Hours
Christmas Eve 9:00-13:00
Monday 27th December Closed
Tuesday 28th December Closed
Wednesday 29th December 10:00-16:00
Thursday 30th December 10:00-16:00
New Year’s Eve 10:00-16:00
Monday 3rd January Closed
Tuesday 4th Jan Open as Usual

Please be aware, we will be running with a reduced number of staff between Christmas and New Year which may increase wait times.

Delivery Times

Avoid delays; orders placed on 23rd December will be attempted on the 24th, but are not guaranteed unless booked on a pre 12:00 service. Any orders not delivered on the 24th December will be re-attempted on 4th January unless specified otherwise.

Orders Placed on 29th or 30th December will be attempted to be delivered the same week.

Order APC Cut off APC Delivery
23rd December 16:45 24th* December/4th January
24th December No Collection 4th January
29th December 15:30 30th December
30th December 15:30 31st December
31st December No collection 5th January
4th January 16:45 5th January

*To ensure your order arrives by Christmas Eve, we recommend selecting a pre 12:00 guaranteed service. For orders which fail to be delivered on 24th December, please specify if you would like APC to re-attempt delivery between Christmas and New Year. Orders not specified will be delivered on 4th January.

No deliveries will be made to addresses in Scotland on 1st or 4th January due to public bank holiday.

Further Information

The following services will not be available over the Christmas period:

  • APC Pre 9:00 and Pre 10:00
  • DPD Pre 10:30 and Pre 12:00
  • All Royal Mail Services

For customers wishing to book with DPD, please be aware that the last collection date before Christmas will be the 23rd December. Orders collected on this date will be delivered on the 29th December, the next available collection date after this will be 4th January.

Please note: Throughout the Christmas period, we will be operating a ‘best endeavour’ service, therefore collection and delivery times may vary. If it is important that your orders are received on a specific day we would recommend considering selecting a pre 12:00 service with APC – please contact a member of our team to discuss your requirements.

IoT & Waste Management: Discover More at the RWM Resource Revolution

Alliot & BrighterBins join IoT & Waste Management

We’re partnering with BrighterBins to demonstrate the benefits of IoT and waste management at the RWM Resource Revoloution show later this week. Taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 22nd and 23rd September, we’ve summarised what you can expect from the show.

What is the RWM Resource Revolution, and why should I attend?

The RWM Resource Revolution is the UK’s largest recycling, resource and waste management event. Featuring over 100 expert speakers and over 500 exhibitors, the show brings together experts from the waste management, resource and recycling industries.

Sustainability is a hot topic right now, and many companies and organisations are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. The RWM event provides a platform for the latest technologies, practices and innovations, making it a great place to learn more about the latest topics, trends and solutions in the industry.

BrighterBins & Alliot at the RWM

As the UK’s sole distributor for BrighterBins, we will be partnering with them on stand 5-U160 at the RWM Resource Revolution show. With their innovative waste management solution, BrighterBins join together IoT and waste management to provide a truly unique, smart solution. The simple to install device operates by a wireless LoRaWAN® network, and is designed to optimise your waste collections. Adaptable to suit a wide range of bins, the BrighterBins waste management solution can be used to:

  • Prevent overflowing bins, helping to keep towns and cities clean
  • Optimise collection routes
  • Reduce CO2 emissions
  • Reduce costs

With a battery life of up to 8 years (dependent on transmission rates) the BrighterBins smart waste solution is open-API compatible, enabling you to integrate it with any third-party platform.

IoT offers some huge benefits when it comes to optimising your operational efficiencies. To arrange a meeting with us at the show or to find out more about improving your sustainability with IoT get in touch with our expert team.

Our experts are on hand to help you every step of the way
Lets talk

Download your FREE Alliot IoT Product Catalogue!

Alliot IoT Product Catalogue

Download your FREE copy of our IoT Product Catalogue now! With easy break downs of Smart categories to find exactly what you are looking for.

To access our comprehensive list of the latest IoT sensors, gateways and dashboards simply click the link below. Categorised under the relevant use cases, our IoT product catalogue is easy to navigate, helping you to select your exact devices for your solution.

 
Having trouble building your Solution? Speak to a member of our expert technical sales team on +44 (0)1484 599544 or contact our team.

Alternatively you can view many of our products and find out more details in our product listings.

Our experts are on hand to help you every step of the way
Lets talk

Connect the dots with NB-IoT – Video Release

Want to know more about NB-IoT, CAT-M1 & LTE-M? Then you have come to the right place. Alliot now offers NB-IoT technology solutions to better fit with your needs.

As we branch out into more IoT technology, the solutions we offer grow as well. NB-Iot is no exception, with its use of SIM only sensors, linking directly to a mobile network. NB-IoT solutions cut out the need for private network set ups, making it much more accessible and flexible. What’s more, reduced costs and quick to deploy NB-IoT could be the right solution for you. Speak to one of our team today to get started with your NB-IoT journey.

 

 

 

 

Video Transcript – Alliot – Connect the dots with NB-IoT

Alliot Technologies NB-Iot & CAT-M1

The business world is fast paced and ever evolving, you need to be

  • Adaptable
  • Responsive
  • and Agile

Gathering data for your business can be difficult

NB-IoT, CAT-M1, sometimes referred to as LTE-M

Are all types of Cellular connectivity for IoT

Turn your business, building and home into a SMART one…

Where there were once barriers to building an IoT network

  • Accessibility
  • Power
  • Cost

Cellular IoT conquers them all

  • Long life, Compact batteries
  • Hassle free connectivity
  • Fast to deploy

Monitor data across multiple locations

Simply insert a SIM into your sensors and away you go

It’s time to connect the dots of your business

Get started on your Cellular IoT journey, connect with us today!

Alliot Technologies – Europe’s leading distributor of IoT solutions

contact@alliot.co.uk www.alliot.co.uk +44(0)1484599544

How To Build Your Own BMS Control System

Technology-based solutions have been used to control and monitor equipment in buildings for years. With IoT there’s so much more we can now add to create a more intelligent building management system. Learn how you can create your own BMS control system with Alliot & Wattsense.

BMS control systems provide a range of benefits for Facility Managers and companies alike. Most commonly used to monitor and control a building’s electrical and mechanical equipment such as office equipment, lighting, heating and ventilation. Building Management Systems can be used to:

  • Improve energy efficiencies
  • Make savings
  • Increase staff productivity
  • Improve overall working conditions
  • Reduce Carbon emissions

Up until now, many BMS control systems operate under a technology known as BACnet (Building Automation Control and Network). BACnet is one of the most widely used protocols for automation control – helping you to tie together systems such as security and ventilation to develop a BMS client capable of controlling and monitoring connected entities.

These systems provide a great deal of functionality to existing BMS. But what if we could take this to the next level and create even more intelligent Building Management Systems?

Meet the Wattsense Range


Wattsense’s gateways enable you to connect your existing BMS systems to other protocols to create your own BMS control system. Opening up a whole world of opportunities, with these gateways you can connect any of our LoRaWAN® sensors to your existing BACnet system with minimal disruption. The Wattsense range support the connection of a total of 13 different protocols meaning you can monitor and control devices altogether in one place.

Wattsense Box or Hub – What’s the Difference?

There are two versions of WattSense’s gateway available. Depending on how you wish to control and monitor your intelligent Building Management System will help you to select the best device for you.

The Wattsense Box is centrally managed which enables you to configure and maintain the device over the internet using Wattsense’s cloud platform. This can be particularly useful for Facility Management companies who may manage a portfolio of buildings across multiple locations.

The Wattsense Hub, on the other hand is a stand alone device that does not require an internet connection. The Hub can be managed on-site via USB. This device is better suited to those looking to create a stand alone BMS control system.

What can LoRaWAN sensors bring to my BMS?

The possibilities are endless! Maybe your existing system has highlighted an area where energy costs are higher, but you don’t have enough information to identify why. In this instance, you could use the NKE Smart Plug to monitor and control power to devices which may be left running out of hours.

Or perhaps you want to add a new element to your BMS and optimise waste collections.

Whatever you are looking to add to your Building Management Systems we can help. Contact our team today for free expert advice on integrating IoT into your BMS systems.

Keeping LoRaWAN keys safe with the Alliot Key Management System

Any LoRaWAN device needs keys in order to work. They are an integral part of the protocol and used to keep data secure and to authorise devices to be able to connect to your IoT system. LoRaWAN key management is an important consideration.

Nearly all LoRaWAN devices connect to a Network Server using an Over-The-Air-Activation process referred to as OTAA. Amongst other things, this uses an AppKey to authenticate your device and as a basis for data encryption for all communication between the device and your server.

Currently, whenever you buy a LoRaWAN device you need to be given the AppEUI (or JoinEUI as it is known in LoRaWAN 1.1) and the AppKey. It is important that this is done in a secure way. If someone is able to intercept your keys then they can compromise the security of your IoT system.

At Alliot we care so much about your security that we have built a secure service to deliver keys to our customers.

Our LoRaWAN Key Management System (KMS) is free to use for our customers, whenever you buy sensors from us (whether we have provisioned new keys or the devices are using the manufacturer’s default keys), we will load the keys into KMS for you to log in and retrieve whenever you want.

Alliot LoRaWAN Key Management System Screenshot
(Note; the data in this screenshot is fake test data!)

How is This Secure?

Our KMS system offers the following security features:

  • Hardened web server with HTTPS only communication. All access to the KMS web software is over HTTPS, we use modern certificates with only modern, secure ciphers enabled. We regularly run our servers through the Qualys SSL-Labs web server testing tool. Our server is given the highest A+ rating. (See screenshot below).
  • Password hashing and enforced long, secure passwords. We only ever store login passwords hashed with unique salt and many thousand iterations of hashing. This means that there is essentially no way of someone cracking passwords. I have to use the word “essentially” as nothing is impossible but it would take even the most powerful super-computers billions of years to do! We enforce the use of long, random passwords, this seems like an inconvenience but it is the only way of making sure people don’t compromise their own security by using easy to guess passwords. If you aren’t already then please use a password manager tool such as https://bitwarden.com/, https://www.lastpass.com/ or similar.
  • Brute force protection and “back door” access protection. We rate limit login attempts to mean brute force guessing of passwords is basically impossible (this only works when long, random passwords are used as above). We audit our servers and ensure that there are no unnecessary services running, any necessary services (such as ssh) are locked down, monitored and rate limited and administrative logins to servers for our staff are carefully managed.
  • A no login sharing policy. We insist that our customers use individual logins rather than generic per company logins. Each individual login will see the stored keys for the whole customer. The reason for this is two fold. On one hand it discourages people from keeping login passwords in publicly accessible places or emails for their staff to share. On the other hand it gives us an audit trial of who is doing what on the server if we ever need it.
  • The LoRaWAN keys themselves are stored in a database for retrieval. They are stored using modern, secure encryption methods and master keys are kept securely and not obtainable by unauthorised staff. We rotate the encryption keys periodically.
Qualys SSL Labs result for Alliot LoRaWAN Key Management Server
(Screenshot of Qualys SSL Labs results as of 24th May 2021)

This only covers part of the story. It is important that customers are handling keys securely once they have obtained them. Our LoRaWAN Key Management system means you do not even need to attempt to store keys yourself, if you need them again just login to our system at any time. However, it’s still important to make sure that when you are loading keys into whatever LoRaWAN platform you use, that it is secure itself. Feel free to speak to us for recommendations.

Lastly, it’s worth talking about the standardisation of a secure method of device provisioning and key distribution that the https://lora-alliance.org/ have worked on. This involves manufacturers (or potentially distributors such as ourselves) to operate Join Servers which handle the authentication of devices into any LoRaWAN Network Server. It decouples the authentication and encryption setup process from the Network Server and Application Servers meaning the LNS itself does not need to even know the keys anymore. This will add a whole new level of security to LoRaWAN and is a worthwhile addition to the protocol. But it relies on hardware changes to devices, widespread implementation of LoRaWAN 1.1 on devices and servers and adoption by network providers and manufacturers. So we feel that it will come but it will be some time in the future when all LoRaWAN devices and services are using it. Certainly once it is viable outside of the laboratory, we will be offering it to our customers and we lobby manufacturers to accelerate adoption of new specifications such as this.

The Alliot KMS service is available to any customers buying LoRaWAN devices from us. Please Contact Us to get started.