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Monday, September 10, 2018

New security for LoRa IoT networks

By Nick Flaherty

Engineering firm Occam Technology Group has joined Syniverse’s recently launched Innovation Lab, which provides companies with a secure environment to test new technologies and business models for the internet of things (IoT), 5G, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

As part of this, Occam has created a new smart parking lot at Syniverse’s headquarters in Florida to demonstrate and test secure non-cellular IoT connectivity across a LoRa narrowband network. Sensors in the car park identify empty parking spaces and communicate the status of each space back to the Innovation Lab across a secure connection to the Syniverse Secure Global Access network.

“LoRa connectivity is often used in devices that are stationary in nature and rely on lower amounts of battery usage over an extended time span. Traditionally, while these connections have used minimal power, they have been vulnerable from a security perspective, so we are solving that challenge via our work with Occam,” said Michael O’Brien, Syniverse Group Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy. “As the world’s most connected company, Syniverse offers an Innovation Lab that serves as a collaboration centre for service providers, cloud enablers and other businesses to develop IoT strategies and business models that are backed by secure connectivity.”

Occam designs and develops IoT solutions using multiple communication protocols with special expertise in non-cellular IoT LoRa connectivity for low-power, wide-area networks. The company incorporates radio transceivers into IoT devices and adds its gateway software to connect those devices into Syniverse’s Innovation lab across a secure connection to Syniverse Secure Global Access that mitigates the risks of cyberattacks by operating independently from the public internet.

LoRa technology enables wide signal coverage with low power usage that results in sensor batteries that only need to be maintained every five to 10 years, on average. This flexibility is proving increasingly important in scenarios with large volumes of fixed sensors, like monitoring agricultural crop production or for sensors located deep inside a building to monitor electricity or parking usage. In these cases, the sensors are not easily accessible and need to span larger geographic areas, so they must have long battery life with minimal required maintenance. At the same time, they cannot afford to risk exposure to cyberattack.

“IoT devices that connect via non-cellular LoRa networks are missing a security layer of protection, representing significant potential risk,” said Raymond Carr, Occam Technology Group’s Chief Technology Officer and founder. “Our collaboration with Syniverse is critical in providing the missing security component, so we can help businesses grow and maintain a hardened IoT infrastructure at scale.”

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