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Sigfox demonstrates IoT interoperability with compression technology

Steve Rogerson
April 11, 2017
Sigfox has demonstrated IoT interoperability with internet compression technology, enabling LPWAN applications to run transparently over different IoT radio technologies.
At last month’s IETF 98 Bits-n-Bites event in Chicago, Sigfox publicly demonstrated over its live network that, using this compression technology, internet applications can communicate with LPWAN devices.
IoT interoperability remains one of the greatest challenges for the IoT industry and it is holding back the technology industry from achieving the true potential of mass IoT deployments. By achieving true interoperability between applications, sensors and the network, the technology open-ups the possibility for the development of new applications and value creation.
The development of this specification puts the industry one step closer to developing future LPWAN enabled IoT applications that are radio technology agnostic.
To achieve the milestone and enable internet protocol applications to communicate over its network, Sigfox and Acklio implemented static context header compression (SCHC), a compression scheme which is being standardised by the IETF LPWAN working group.
“We are thrilled with this latest milestone in our quest to support and promote interoperability in the IoT,” said Juan-Carlos Zúñiga, senior standardisation expert at Sigfox and co-chair of the IETF IntArea working group. “It is critical that the industry rallies together to adopt open internet standards to unlock the true potential of the IoT.”
SCHC reduces CoAP and IPv6 headers to just a few bytes, which can then be transported over LPWAN networks for low-power, low-cost IoT services. The software behind the compression was developed with Sigfox’s partner Acklio both device side and in the cloud.
“Acklio is very proud of sharing this experience with Sigfox,” said Laurent Toutain, CSO of Acklio. “IP on LPWAN devices unifies IoT technologies and opens the door to creating new services and to accelerating the development of new applications.”
The demonstration platform was based on an Acklio compression protocol stack running on Sigfox-enabled devices and cloud-based applications. Two scenarios were shown: one with a CoAP application communicating with legacy non-IP LPWAN devices; and another where CoAP interoperability was shown over the live Sigfox US and cellular networks in Chicago with IP-enabled devices.
“This is a nice demonstration of a low-end sensor and a Raspberry Pi talking to an IPv6 application in the cloud, which shows the feasibility to rely on IETF standards to connect things to the internet,” said Stéphane Bortzmeyer, long-time IETF participant and author of several internet specifications.
The announcement builds on Sigfox’s commitment to supporting the development of IoT interoperability as an active member of standards development organisations including the IETF, Etsi and IEEE. It also follows Sigfox’s recent global deal with mobile operator Telefonica to complement cellular technologies including 4G and NB-IoT.