The Journey Behind Making IoT Easy for Developers with Blues
Every story has its beginning, and this one starts in the tech corridors of Europe. It was late 2022, transitioning into the early days of 2023. As I traveled across the continent, engaging with RAKwireless customers, distributors, and developers, I could feel the palpable wave of change on the horizon.
During my meetings, a common sentiment echoed: the rising popularity of NB-IoT in Europe. Many carriers were starting to advocate for this application. Developers, particularly those in the agriculture sector, were keen on utilizing cellular, and there was a growing demand for a seamless combination of cellular and LoRaWAN®. However, it wasn't as easy as flipping a switch. They voiced three distinct challenges:
- Desire for a Universal Cellular IoT Module: Developers expected a single module to support global bands.
- Diverse Connectivity Modes: Whether it's LTE-M, NB-IoT, or GSM, developers need a cellular module that could transition across these modes effortlessly. Even in regions like Africa, where NB-IoT was yet to gain traction, there was a demand for devices compatible with GSM.
- User-Friendly Modules: Larger module companies, in their drive to reduce costs and maintain large volume supplies, often overlooked the user experience. Developers grappled with complex AT command sequences and multiple configurations tailored to individual cellular providers.
In a serendipitous turn of events, I met Brandon from Blues at the IoT Stars Panel during the 2023 Embedded World event in Nuremberg, Germany. Our conversation led to the revelation that Blues was exactly what we needed. Blues specialized in creating easy-to-use cellular modules encompassing the features that were sought after in the ideal IoT cellular module. The match felt almost destined.
I told Brandon about the WisBlock system, a commercial-style modular IoT ecosystem that ranges from sensors and computing to enclosures. This easy-to-code modular IoT system combined with Blues' advanced cellular module, could truly make our shared vision a reality.
While WisBlock was revolutionizing the modular IoT space, Blues was taking strides of their own. They weren’t just building sophisticated modules; they were actively fueling the developer community's dreams. With their newly launched Accelerator program, Blues aims to be the wind beneath the wings of budding innovators. The program provided fully documented reference applications, ensuring that developers had a clear pathway from ideation to creation. They were given the blueprints to assemble Notecard- and Notehub-powered solutions seamlessly.
Integrating WisBlock with Accelerator Applications
By merging the strengths of both our ecosystems, developers not only had a roadmap but a superhighway! WisBlock’s versatility meant that these reference applications could be implemented with a cleaner setup, lesser complexity, and even greater efficiency. The combined offering meant developers didn’t just have tools; they had a complete toolbox. We saw a future where developers would be handed the toolbox to transform their innovative ideas into scalable and commercial products.
Moreover, the increasing interest in combining LoRaWAN and cellular has opened a new realm of possibilities. I've mentioned the potential of hybrid connectivity in my previous blogs, and its ability to foster innovation is evident. Consider these use-cases:
- Use Case 1: Establishing LoRaWAN as the primary connectivity mode and Cellular NB-IoT as secondary or vice versa offers unparalleled flexibility in device communication.
- Use Case 2: Using Cellular as a backhaul and leveraging LoRa for peer-to-peer wake-up calls for devices can redefine IoT communication dynamics.
- Use Case 3: In scenarios where equipping every device with a cellular modem becomes prohibitively expensive, multiple sensors can share a single cellular modem by transmitting data using LoRa P2P.
RAKwireless’ partnership with Blues is not just a business collaboration; it's a step forward to redefine the landscape of IoT development. Together, we are poised to make cellular IoT straightforward, efficient, and easily accessible for developers around the globe.
So, if you're a developer looking to transform your innovative ideas into scalable and commercial products, the future is here, and it's exciting!
Stay tuned for more updates, and always remember – innovation is just a module away.