The ‘Weightless’ Standard Fueling the Internet of Things

Vinay Sud is UNTETHER.tv’s latest contributor, and the founder of Global LBS, a location based services trend spotter. Vinay will be dropping in from time to time to talk LBS, and what’s going on in the mobile space across the pond. This is his latest post in a series on White Space, the Internet of Things, and their potential impact on mobile.

In April, wireless pioneer Neul announced the deployment of the world’s first city-wide, fully functional wireless network in White Space, which would enable a whole host of smart city applications in Cambridge.

The initiative was in collaboration with BGlobal, and showcased the first ever smart electricity meter reading over a White Space network. It was the first step towards smart grids facilitating electricity supply to be more efficiently matched to real time demand.

Neul’s network opens up a number of fascinating possibilities like smarter transport and traffic management, city lighting and other municipal services. The city of the future is being delivered through a new wireless standard called ‘Weightless’, specifically designed to be embed in electricity and gas meters, air quality sensors, recycling points, street lighting, parking spaces and traffic lights.

What is White Space?

In my introduction post to the Internet of Things, I only briefly touched upon White Space. White Space is the unused and underused parts of the wireless spectrum originally dedicated to television networks that are now left vacant in most locations. Neul’s technology opens up these channels and will also allow underused frequencies within other UHF licensed and unlicensed bands to be used efficiently for wireless communication.

Neul’s network is built on the successful completion of the first phase of the Cambridge White Space Consortium’s network. The consortium’s phase one network used Neul’s equipment and cloud interface, together with the Weightless communications standard, proving that its White Space network co-exists perfectly with televisions and wireless microphones without causing interference or disruption. It is now anticipated that the full roll out scheduled of this technology is 2013 would make Cambridge the first smart city in the world.

Glenn Collinson, co-founder and director at Neul, has said:

In a world of smart phones and mobile broadband it is easy to imagine that wireless connectivity has now been solved.

It hasn’t. Mobile broadband is too expensive for ‘things’ in the smart city. Also mobile broadband means battery powered devices would need changing far too often. And all those sensors would load the cellular networks to such a level that there would be little network capacity left.

Mobile networks are great for people but terrible for machines. At Neul we have demonstrated that the smart city can happen now through Weightless.

Ofcom backs White Space

Ofcom (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/) has backed the technological and regulatory push for mass White Space implementation in the UK. It stated that, “what the industry requires now is a ‘kick start’ of rapid regulatory turnaround for the common good, rapid occupation of the spectrum, and deployment of machine-to-machine white space standards and technology to demonstrate use cases.”

Ofcom CEO, Ed Richards told a EU Policy debate in Brussels that White Space was now a priority for Ofcom. He stressed the importance of moving regulation to a point where companies can occupy the spectrum as a means of demonstrating the worth of dynamic spectrum access, and of propelling the industry forwards.

With this backing, Weightless is steering the machine to machine communication standard for the White Space spectrum and has the innovation that regulators are seeking to stimulate momentum in delivery of White Space solutions. Weightless expects to see white space M2M standards and network infrastructure in place by 2013, if not the end of 2012.

About the author

Vinay Sud

Vinay's experience is diverse and covers mainly customer service and corporate sales. His major strength is communication with a keen edge on consultation. So what is the connection with Location Based Services? After completing his first Masters in Business Admin (Hull University) he has worked in various telecommunications companies managing customer service and sales that include T-mobile and Sky and has a unique perspective on the “end-user”.

Vinay spoke at the recent Internet World 2012, officially Europe's largest and longest-running event for digital marketing and online business. Completed an MA Digital Media in 2011 (London Metropolitan University) and the dissertation focused on the key developments in Location Based Services with interviews from the main players in the industry.

His goal is to advocate the issues surrounding Location Based Services as this is technology that we, globally, cannot avoid. He presently runs the only UK site that gives an unbiased opinion on the latest trend, technologies and issues related to Location Based Services (global-lbs.com).

/* ]]> */