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LPWAN technologies and their applications

Anyone who is concerned with the Internet of Things (IoT) has probably come across the term LPWAN. But what is it and what are its advantages? In this article you will learn everything you need to know about LPWAN and its use cases.

What is LPWAN?

LPWAN, Low Power Wide Area Network, refers to technologies and network protocols that are used to network wireless devices. The technologies enable the transmission of small amounts of data over long distances with extremely low energy consumption. They are divided into licensed and non-licensed technologies.

Advantages of LPWAN technologies

Die Hauptvorteile der Technologie sind bereits im Namen enthalten: Low Power und Wide Area. Der geringe Energiebedarf erhöht die Batterielebensdauer der Geräte erheblich, so dass diese in der Regel über mehrere Jahre wartungsfrei betrieben werden können. Die hohe Reichweite ermöglicht die Verbindung von Geräten über mehrere Kilometer hinweg, was besonders in ländlichen und abgelegenen Gebieten von Vorteil ist. Damit verbunden ist eine hohe Durchdringung von Objekten und Materialien. Im Vergleich zu höherfrequenten Funktechnologien wie zum Beispiel Wi-Fi oder Bluetooth, durchdringen LPWAN Signale Hindernisse wie Wände und Gebäude sehr gut.

In addition to the low energy requirements and the high range, licence-free networks provide additional popularity. This is because they do not incur any licensing costs.

Den Vorteilen gegenüber stehen jedoch die niedrigen Datenraten, denn diese bewegen sich meistens in einem Bereich von wenigen 100 bit/s bis hin zu einigen 100 Kbit/s. Somit eignen sich die Technologien hauptsächlich für Anwendungsfälle, welche mit einer geringen Bandbreite auskommen.

What technologies and standards are there?


LoRaWAN stands for Long Range Wide Area Network and is a licence-free radio standard of the LoRa Alliance. The radio standard uses licence-free frequency bands, which can vary from country to country. In Europe and many other countries, the technology uses the 868 MHz or 433 MHz frequency bands, while in North America it uses the 915 MHz frequency band.

The networks can be built locally or globally and provide a secure and scalable infrastructure for IoT applications. The technology is supported by various manufacturers and service providers and is an important part of the growing IoT ecosystem.


NB-IoT stands for Narrowband Internet of Things and is a radio standard for the Internet of Things (IoT). The standard uses existing mobile networks and has a very narrow bandwidth, which makes it very energy-efficient.

NB-IoT networks use existing LTE masts and antennas that are well developed. So, unlike LoRaWAN and Sigfox, using NB-IoT requires no investment in network infrastructure, regardless of where the devices are located in the world. This, in turn, allows manufacturers to develop internet-enabled devices that can connect right out of the box.

LTE-M (Cat-M2)

LTE-M (Long Term Evolution for Machines), auch als Cat-M2 bekannt, ist eine lizenzierte Variante des 4G-LTE-Netzwerks, das auch für die schnelle Übertragung von Daten und die Nutzung mobiler Breitbanddienste für Smartphones und Tablets verwendet wird. Im Vergleich zu anderen LPWAN-Technologien verfügt LTE-M über eine wesentlich bessere Datenrate. Zudem finden IoT-Geräte welche LTE-M nutzen fast überall eine gute Verbindung, da 4G das am weitesten verbreitete Mobilfunknetz ist.


Sigfox is a French company that offers an eponymous licensed LPWAN network for the Internet of Things (IoT). Like other LPWAN technologies, Sigfox is specifically designed for the transmission of small amounts of data from IoT devices. For this purpose, the network uses the radio frequencies 868 MHz in Europe and 902 MHz in the USA. Sigfox is only approved by a few network operators per country. Thus, network coverage of Sigfox varies regionally and depends on the availability of Sigfox base stations. In addition, the transmission capacity of Sigfox is very limited. Only 140 messages with up to 12 bytes each can be sent or 8 bytes received per day.

Areas of application

LPWAN technologies are used almost everywhere where a wireless connection is needed, but the data transmission rate and data volume requirements are relatively small. In the area of smart cities, LPWAN networks can be used, for example, to monitor environmental conditions such as air quality and noise levels. The technologies are also suitable for monitoring car parks or waste containers.

Another area of application is Asset Tracking, dabei geht es um die Lokalisierung und Überwachung von beweglichen Objekten wie Fahrzeuge, Geräte oder Transportbehälter. Mit den drahtlosen Technologien können diese Objekte in Echtzeit verfolgt werden wodurch eine effizientere Lieferkette ermöglicht wird.

In agriculture, LPWAN networks can be used to monitor soil moisture, temperature and other parameters. This increases crop yields and reduces water consumption.

Weitere Anwendungsfälle könnten sein:

  • Intelligent building and energy management
  • Monitoring of supply and disposal systems
  • System monitoring
  • Supply chain management
  • Intelligent traffic and transport management
  • Health and medical applications
  • Home automation and smart home solutions

Overall, LPWAN offers a cost-effective and practicable solution for networking devices and transmitting small amounts of data over longer distances. Although the data rates are limited compared to other technologies, they are sufficient for very many use cases and enable reliable and, above all, energy-saving networking.

IoT architecture: The layers of the Internet of Things

An introduction to the different layers of IoT architecture and how they work together to connect the physical world with the digital world.

The Internet of Things The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that makes it possible to connect objects in an unprecedented way. The data collected as a result enables us to make better decisions or automate processes. However, the IoT is not a single technology, but many technological layers that interact to form the Internet of Things. In this article you will learn more about the architecture of the IoT and its different layers.

The layers of the IoT architecture

The Internet of Things is multifaceted and comprises a number of components and technologies that work together to enable the networking of objects. We roughly distinguish between layers in the physical world and layers in the digital world. In between there is a connectivity layer that connects the two worlds. In the following, we will go into more detail about the levels and the associated components and technologies.

Physical world

In most cases, additional hardware is needed to network an object and thus integrate it into the Internet of Things. This hardware is attached to the object in order to network the physical world, i.e. all real objects.

Physical objects

At the beginning there is always an object to be networked. In the industrial context, this is usually vehicles, transport containers, devices and tools, production machines or conveyor belts. Networking these objects enables better monitoring and control of processes as well as optimised maintenance and servicing.

Sensors and actuators

In order to collect data from a physical object or its environment, sensors are required, which are either attached to the objects in the form of trackers, data loggers or beacons or are already in the electronics of an object. Depending on the requirements, the sensors can record various physical parameters, from temperature and humidity to movement and vibration.

Actuators are components that trigger actions, i.e. control objects, on the basis of recorded data. The actuators can take on different forms depending on requirements. For example, they can be used as a switch for activating the air conditioning at a higher temperature or as a motor that closes windows when it rains.


The connectivity layer is the layer that networks the devices with each other or connects them to the internet to transmit the data. Depending on the application, various network protocols such as WiFi, Bluetooth , NB-IoT or LoRaWAN is used. The aim of this level is to connect the physical with the digital world and to ensure reliable as well as secure data transmission. Some solutions have the option of sending data via the mobile network themselves. Other solutions use intermediate instances such as smartphones or gateways for this purpose.

Digital world

The digital world of the IoT architecture enables the processing and analysis of the collected data. This enables companies to gain useful insights and derive measures from them, which in turn optimises processes, saves costs or identifies new business areas.


Analytics or data analysis is an important part of the IoT. This is because useful insights and valuable data are extracted from the large amounts of data. These insights are then used to make decisions or predict trends.

In order to use analytics successfully, the data is first collected, stored and cleaned in a data store. Then, algorithms and methods from the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence are used to identify the maintenance needs of machines or predict failures, for example.

Digital services

The final level of digital services brings together the possibilities of the previous levels, structures them and presents them in so-called IoT platforms. The data is usually presented in clear dashboards in web applications or apps. This is where the actual customer benefit is generated. This is where the customer gets a complete overview of his networked objects. For example, the locations of vehicles are visualised here, machines are controlled remotely or data is visualised in order to recognise trends and patterns. This information can then be used to optimise the processes concerned, develop new products and services and ultimately make better decisions.

Dashboards enable a quick and clear presentation of the most important key figures and trends

The IoT architecture - complex and critical to success

The Internet of Things is an exciting field that offers many opportunities to automate processes and make decisions based on real-time data. However, the IoT architecture with its various technologies and components makes the Internet of Things a complex ecosystem. Since only a few companies have the necessary expertise, cooperation with an experienced IoT partner and careful planning and coordination are essential for a successful implementation.

What is a tracker and how does it work?

James Bond, the famous fictional British secret agent, used GPS trackers in several films. For example, in the film "A Quantum of Solace"a GPS tracker to track the whereabouts of a stolen hand grenade. It is clear that the technology shown in films usually has nothing to do with reality, but what was long considered fiction is now reality and ubiquitous. Whether in fitness, to find the pet or to track the car, the little helpers can be found in many areas of our lives. But what are trackers actually and how do they work?

A tracker is a combination of software and hardware that collects and monitors data to track movements in the real world. There are many types of trackers that can be used in different environments. For example, they are used to track objects, display real-time location information or monitor vehicles.

How does it work?

A tracker is basically a hardware combination consisting of sensors, telematics and an energy supply. The sensors record physical parameters such as temperature or acceleration. Corresponding telematics modules ensure that the data can be forwarded, while the energy supply in the form of a battery or accumulator ensures that the device can be operated wirelessly.

In most cases, the data is forwarded to a cloud platform via a receiving station. Receiving stations can be a server, a smartphone, a Gateway or any other device connected to the internet. The cloud platforms then store and analyse the data in real time and visualise the data in clear dashboards.

The type of tracking solutions varies depending on the provider and the use case. Some solutions offer basic functions such as monitoring location data or movement records; others are very powerful and offer real-time visualisation and detailed reporting functions. Choosing the right solutions thus depends on the use case - so it is important to check which function is best suited for your specific case.

Was ist ein Tracker? Eine Hand hält einen etwa 40x40 mm kleinen Tracker vor die Kamera. Im Hintergrund ist unscharf eine Baustelle zu erkennen.
The LoRa tracker for monitoring devices and goods from SenseING

What is a tracker used for?

Trackers are useful for many different purposes, including:

  • Tracking of goods and deliveries;
  • Preparation of traffic statistics;
  • Detection of accidents;
  • Locating vehicles;
  • Review of progress in achieving specific goals;
  • Documentation of temperature;
  • Precise timing for sporting competitions, etc.

Basically, it can be said that they help to increase resource efficiency and improve employee productivity - which can ultimately help to uncover cost-saving potential and boost sales figures. Therefore, they have become indispensable in many ways.

Now that you've learned more about what trackers are and how they work, you're probably curious about how you can use trackers in your business. Whether you want to document temperatures or track items, there are a variety of applications for trackers.

Contact us now to find out more about our trackers.

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Digitize equipment management - How to optimize the management of your equipment and machinery in the construction industry

In the construction industry, extensive inventories and the parallel handling of many projects are not uncommon. Maintaining an overview is a real challenge. In this article, we explain how you can simplify the administration process by digitizing your equipment management.

Construction project management and the associated logistics, i.e. getting equipment and goods to the right place at the right time, is a mammoth task. The many parallel project locations and a large number of changing players provide many sources of error in the exchange of information. It is therefore not uncommon for equipment and goods to be unused and available in excessive quantities at project sites, while they are urgently needed elsewhere. In addition, project sites often exchange equipment among themselves without having passed through a central warehouse beforehand. It is almost impossible to maintain an overview. This in turn leads to unproductive time and significantly increases search times. In the worst case, costs are even incurred for the superfluous acquisition of new equipment or new purchases due to losses.

Digitize device management through tracking

Device management in construction is a big lever for efficiency and effectiveness in construction. IoT devices operate this very lever. By equipping equipment with trackers and equipping warehouses and construction sites with gateways, construction companies obtain digital inventories. On the one hand, the software makes it possible to see which devices or goods are in the warehouses at the current time, which devices are at which construction site, or where a device is currently located. This also makes it possible to track the relocation of equipment between projects.

Geräetemanagement digitalisieren – Das Foto zeigt eine Rüttelplatte auf einem Bauhof. Am Gerät ist ein kleiner ca. Benzinfeuerzeug großer Tracker angebracht.
A vibrating plate is equipped with a small LoRa tracker and sends data to the IoT platform.
Time saving thanks to live inventory

Digitizing equipment management optimizes the logistics process in the construction industry on various levels. On the one hand, this actively reduces search times, because the location of a piece of equipment can be found out with just a few clicks. This makes time-consuming phone calls or even searches a thing of the past. On the other hand, it significantly reduces non-productive time, thanks to the faster provision of equipment.

Automated prescription on projects

The time savings are also noticeable in administration. The tracking system posts devices to the corresponding projects completely automatically. This significantly reduces the administrative effort and prevents incorrect bookings.

Reduction of the inventory according to demand

Acceleration and climate sensors installed in the trackers provide information about the utilization of equipment. In this way, historical data can be used to avoid superfluous new purchases or even to optimize the equipment fleet according to need on the basis of the data.


It has long been clear that digitization is not a trend, but a task that will take a lot of work off our hands in the future in our private and, above all, our business lives. It goes without saying that the integration of IoT systems and trackers involves investments. But those who take the step will quickly realize the enormous added value that digital helpers can deliver. Because information can be retrieved with just a few clicks, automated processes in the background and the considerable acceleration of communication ensure that device management is only a secondary matter.

Digitalization in logistics - How IoT is changing an industry

Logistics is one of the largest and most dynamic industries and therefore also one of the industries that benefits most from digitalization through IoT solutions. But in which areas are IoT solutions used and which solutions are available? Find out in this article.

Logistics, i.e. the planning, coordination and control of the flow of products, raw materials and information, is indispensable for the economy. In Germany alone, the logistics industry turned over around 279 billion euros in 2020 (source: Statista - Sales of the logistics industry in Germany), making it one of the three largest industries in Germany. Hardly any other industry holds more potential for the use of intelligent solutions, because countless process data are generated along a supply chain. In other words, there are countless opportunities to network processes and optimize operations.

But why is the digitization of logistics so important?

The logistics industry has been on a growth course for years, with Corona playing a major role in the industry's 26.5% growth in 2020. Further growth is also expected in the coming years thanks to e-commerce. The increased volume requires companies to work ever more efficiently. This in turn requires transparent processes, because efficiency depends heavily on the clarity and networking of a supply chain. There are numerous advantages that networked supply chains bring with them:

  • Cost savings: The avoidance of unnecessary transport, optimization of delivery routes and better capacity utilization ensure cost savings. In addition, inventories can be optimized and the associated costs reduced.
  • Increased speed: One of the most significant advantages of digital logistics is speed, which can be significantly increased through full networking. Digital solutions collect data, evaluate it and deliver optimized results for storage or transport.
  • Reduction of error-proneness: Digitization replaces paper and analog planning charts. This reduces sources of error and processes can be called up digitally at any time.
  • Environmental protection: Digital assistants report optimal routes as well as suggestions for improving the driver's driving style.
Eine blaue Mehrwegtransportverpackung steht auf einem Tisch. An der Verpackung hängt ein IoT-Tracker. Im Hintergrund ist unscharf das Logistik-Lager zu sehen..
A returnable transport package collects data via a tracker.
What are the options?

IoT systems can add value to logistics processes in a wide variety of places. In the area of freight, for example, goods are networked with trackers or beacons. This prevents loss or damage to the goods and provides transparency along the entire supply chain. Trackers can provide great added value, especially in the area of food logistics. The continuous recording of temperature and humidity by means of sensors fulfills fully automated documentation requirements for temperature-controlled transports. At the same time, the trackers ensure the safety of the food.

The IoT also makes everyday life easier in transport vehicles. Here, data on the status of vehicles can be used to maintain them in advance (predictive maintenance). This saves costs and, above all, time-consuming breakdowns.

Not least in the area of order picking, IoT systems speed up processes. Here, for example, pick-by-light systems ensure higher speeds by providing visual signals to indicate the correct compartment to the pickers. More comprehensive systems also indicate the correct number of items.

The possibilities are many and the ever-increasing volume of goods to be processed requires the logistics company to work ever more efficiently, because outdated technologies and processes are no longer competitive.

IoT: Environmental protection through digitalization - How IoT applications increase sustainability

IoT applications are used in almost all areas of our lives. They are designed to improve our lives, optimize processes or network machines and devices. The Internet of Things plays an important role in the climate crisis in particular

Protecting our environment and climate has never been more urgent. CO2 emissions and numerous man-made substances are polluting our environment. Last but not least, technological progress is the cause of the climate crisis. The current situation encourages us to rethink. Many companies are already endeavoring to assume social responsibility and commit themselves to a sustainable economy. In the coming years, we can expect sustainability goals to establish themselves as an essential part of our economy, because wherever resources are procured and consumed, there are also consequences for our environment. Thus, the overarching goal is to manage the procurement and consumption of resources in a more intelligent and targeted way. This in turn requires transparent processes.

IoT in the fight against climate change

Die Anzahl von IoT-Geräten wächst rasant, so sind für das Jahr 2025 bereits 19 Milliarden vernetzte IoT-Geräte weltweit prognostiziert (Quelle: Statista – IoT connected devices worldwide). In Form von intelligenten Uhren, Smartphones, Haushaltsgeräten, Herzmonitoren und vielen anderen kommen sie tagtäglich zum Einsatz. Auch im Bereich des Umweltschutzes können die smarten Geräte einen erheblichen Mehrwert leisten, denn sie sammeln Daten und ermöglichen es uns dadurch bessere und fundierte sowie kontrollierte Entscheidungen zu treffen. Echtzeit Pegelstände von Flüssen, Frühwarnsysteme für Hochwasser, IoT zur Frühwarnung bei Waldbränden oder intelligente Straßenbeleuchtung – die Möglichkeiten im Kampf gegen den Klimawandel sind weitreichend.


The modern city of tomorrow collects large amounts of data and analyzes it. The collected data improves processes in the infrastructure or in service areas. For example, waste garbage cans and glass containers are monitored with fill level sensors, which saves unnecessary service trips and thus CO2 emissions. Smart parking, i.e. directing a driver to the nearest available parking space, can also provide such added value. If you consider that 30% of all emissions caused by traffic are due to the search for a parking space, this makes a significant difference.


A smart home not only makes our everyday lives easier by allowing the sensors and devices it contains to communicate with each other via the Internet, it also saves money and thus resources. For example, intelligent heating systems regulate the temperature according to schedules or through automated presence detection. Smart blinds or shutters can be used for intelligent shading. This keeps the living space cool, even without air conditioners. There are also smart gadgets for saving water, for example, which notify us by visual signals as soon as a certain consumption level is reached during showering. In the garden, smart and sensor-controlled irrigation systems ensure that the watering is timed and tailored to the needs of the garden.


There is also enormous potential for savings in factories. Here, the use of IoT systems can save energy in the form of light and heat, similar to the smart home. In addition, predictive maintenance saves spare parts in production. There is particular potential for optimization in the supply chain of companies. This can be optimized through the use of IoT devices to such an extent that factories need less storage space, which reduces energy requirements.

The potential applications for optimizing processes are far-reaching and IoT devices are no longer dreams of the future. Therefore, it is now up to us to use the potential of the Internet of Things and create a more sustainable world with creative ideas.

Rapid prototyping - accelerate development with fast prototypes

Rapid prototyping allows ideas to be implemented quickly. Especially in research and development, there seem to be no limits. But what exactly is rapid prototyping? And why is the process particularly advantageous in product development?

In 2004, surgeons in Dallas, Texas, successfully separated two-year-old Egyptian twins who had grown together at the head. The 34-hour operation was a complete success. The complicated procedure was only possible because surgeons were able to plan the complex operation using accurate anatomical models of the twins' skulls and vascular structures of their brains. A large number of these models are made using rapid prototyping. In this process, the boys' skulls were replicated using a 3D printing process with transparent acrylic. This gave the surgeons an unprecedented insight.

The technology, which was considered a sensation at the time, is now, 18 years later, an indispensable part of everyday life in many research and development departments and continues to produce fascinating results.

What exactly is rapid prototyping?

Rapid prototyping refers to a group of manufacturing processes. The processes produce a scalable model of a workpiece or product in a short time using three-dimensional CAD data. In addition to rapid prototyping, the manufacturing processes are also referred to as 3D printing or additive manufacturing processes. Here, a workpiece or product is created by applying materials layer by layer. This is usually done by means of physical or chemical effects in the form of heat or electromagnetic waves.

3D Printing via Fused Deposition Modeling (FMD)

Probably the best-known process in the field of rapid prototyping is 3D printing using fused deposition modeling (FDM). Here, filamentary plastic, which is also known as filament, is melted by heat in a nozzle and applied layer by layer to the so-called print bed. This form of 3D printing is particularly convincing due to its low cost and speed of implementation. It is therefore well suited for use in the early stages of development.

Rapid prototyping enables developers and designers in particular to quickly make their ideas tangible. Initial designs and ideas thus not only appear in sketches and simulations, but can also be examined haptically.

Advantages of Rapid Prototyping
  • Saving money and time: With 3D printing, there are no manufacturing costs for tools. The devices can get started immediately after a very short setup time. In addition, a wide variety of geometries can be produced with one and the same device.
  • Better feedback through physical modelsThe fast prototypes can be examined in much more detail and from all sides haptically. They can also be used for presentation purposes.
  • Optimize the product at an early stage: Prototypes are produced at a very early stage of DevelopmentThis means that feedback can be taken into account right from the start of development. The use of the prototypes in tests also provides information about the function.
  • Waste reduction: Compared to subtractive manufacturing processes, such as milling or turning, in which material is removed from a raw material, rapid prototyping significantly avoids or reduces scrap material.
Rapid prototyping in product development

Especially in the area of product development, the fast and uncomplicated production of a prototype can be of great advantage. This is because 3D printing significantly reduces the time between a 3D design file and a production-ready product. Developers and product designers gain a comprehensive understanding of the product at an early stage of the project and can optimize the product virtually by gaining real-life experience of using it. Thanks to the quickly available prototypes, several development steps can also be initiated, which also has a very positive effect on the development period. Customers and project partners also gain an early impression of the product and can introduce change requests before high costs arise.

Source: Siamese twins successfully separated thanks to 3D printed model

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