The arrival of low power wide area (LPWAN) cellular options is a game-changer for IoT by enabling cost-effective options for connecting remote or non-stationary devices that do not fit the traditional high bandwidth and low latency profile of LTE devices (like your smart phone). Like all emerging IoT standards, such as voice control and machine learning, Ayla is at the forefront of the LPWAN wave providing our customers with a range of platform capabilities to speed time to market of their new cellular solutions. 

With recent product releases to both our edge agents and cloud service, we’ve built out a strong ‘cellular platform’ ideal for IoT applications such as remotely located equipment that lack Wi-Fi access, but whose types and volumes of data transmission make LTE cellular services prohibitively expensive. Before we dive into the features that compose Ayla’s cellular platform, let’s take a quick look at the LPWAN technologies that make it all happen.


LTE-M and NB-IOT

LTE offers two low-cost and complementary LPWAN services for IoT called LTE-M (or LTE Cat-M1 or eMTC) and NB-IoT (narrow band IoT or Cat NB-1). Let’s break each of these LPWAN services down to best understand them.

LTE-M is a mobile-device cellular service with low latency, moderate data throughput (up to 384 kbit/s), voice support (VoLTE), and battery life up-to 10 years and annual services costs are generally a one-third to one-fourth of LTE business data services.  

Device examples: asset trackers, pet trackers telematics, smart watches, alarm panels, fitness bands, PoS terminals, gas and water meters, and patient monitors.

NB-IoT is a fixed-device cellular service with greater latency, low data throughput, no voice support, but the batteries can last up to 15-20 years and services can be far cheaper (one tenth) than LTE.  NB-IoT does not support roaming, but devices can be in motion if they remain on the same cellular antenna.

Device examples: smoke detectors, parking controls, smart agriculture, smart cities, HVAC, lighting, electric meters, and industrial monitors.


LTE IoT Value Proposition 

If you’re going cellular with your IoT product, there’s more than one proof-point that makes LTE-based LPWAN services the best for your solution.  Here are a few generic benefits that you can expect.

  • Works Everywhere: LTE operates in licensed spectrums in virtually every country (with a few exceptions) so you can expect consistent service almost everywhere.
  • Lowers CAPEX: LTE IoT devices cost far less to manufacture than 2/3G IoT because the devices’ cellular modules only require half-duplex and narrow bandwidth.
  •  Lowers OPEX: non-discounted data plans can cost under $1.00-a-month per device, so it might be cheaper than Wi-Fi access.  In addition, because these devices required no-touch service with their incredibly long battery life of 10-to-20 years and OTA (over-the-air) service, troubleshooting and updates.
  • Scales Massively: develop, deploy, operate, and service IoT devices at-scale that’s not constrained by the limited range, availability, or performance of Wi-Fi or older 2G and 3G cellular networks.


Ayla's Cellular Platform 

Ayla has responded strongly to the rise of these LPWAN services and the value they bring to IoT by rolling out a number of new additions to two major areas of our industry leading IoT platform: edge agents and cloud platform.

Cellular Edge Agents

Ayla has extended our already robust line of edge agents, offering instant and secure networking with the cloud, with a new set of agents purpose-built for connected cellular products. Here they are.

Linux Cellular Agent

  • For systems running linux OS connected to any serial/USB attached cellular modem
  • Suitable for Cat-M1 or higher bandwidths (Cat-M1, Cat-1, LTE, 3G/4G)

Cellular Portable Agent

  • Enabling partners and module makers to develop and release Ayla-enabled cellular devices on their own
  • Suitable for Cat-M1 or higher bandwidths (Cat-M1, Cat-1, LTE, 3G/4G)

Cellular LPWAN Production Modules

  • SimCom and Quectel hardware
  • NB-IoT and Cat-M1-ready
  • Designed for sensor applications to optimize for traffic and data cost


Ayla and Qualcomm – Together Making Cellular Better at the Edge

In addition to Ayla’s own cellular agents, we have also collaborated with Qualcomm to make it easy to provide cellular IoT operations for virtually any device. We now provide an agent purpose-built to run on Qualcomm’s latest MDM9206 LPWAN chip, so companies will have a single IoT command and control platform for all cellular IoT assets, in addition to existing IoT assets regardless of manufacturer, location, or alternate IoT platform. 

With Qualcomm’s MDM9206 Global Narrowband Solution for IoT your devices will have one hardware design, software image, and RF to support the diverse deployment needs of service providers and users world-wide – so you just need one SKU per device type to operate in any mode, anywhere in the world. This design supports multi-mode (LTE-M, NB-IoT, and E-GPRS for back-up access), a flexible software image that supports all three modes, 15 LTE RF bands that supports every major carrier in the world, GNSS for GPS location, and much more including pre-certification with every major carrier.

More information on Ayla's partnership with Qualcomm is available here.


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Cloud Platform Optimized for Cellular Data

On top of the rich set of edge options, Ayla’s new set of cellular IoT capabilities also include an enhanced messaging architecture in the cloud, optimized for LPWAN networks’ data usage and frequency of sending data. In addition we’ve optimized our device management dashboard UI, OTA capabilities, and underlying services for more efficient development and deployment of cellular devices at scale.

As part of Ayla’s growing application enablement offering, we’ve also offer a web SDK to help customers and partners create new high-value business applications that leverage their devices’ cellular data. A major use-case for leveraging data through the Ayla web SDK is to build support portals and service applications that leverage anomaly detection, machine learning, or other product performance analysis tools to minimize truck rolls and general service costs. You can see an example of this in one of Ayla’s Customer Support demos.


What’s Next for Ayla’s Cellular Offering

With continued optimizations to our cloud service for handling cellular data, additions and enhancements to our dashboard UI for managing the fleets of devices, and constant evolution of our LTE-M and NB-IoT edge agents, Ayla will continue to lead the way with cellular development of IoT solutions. On top of this we will layer on advanced machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to enable customers to rapidly derive strong value from their cellular device data and win in the IoT.

For more information on Ayla’s end-to-end platform see our the Platform area of our website.