Over the next decade the Internet of Things (IoT) is predicted to transform entire industries. An estimated 30 billion connected devices are expected to be deployed by 20251 for a range of applications including utility meters, vending machines, automotive (fleet management, smart traffic systems, real time traffic information to the vehicle, security monitoring and reporting), medical metering and alerting.
Matter is pioneering the use of IoT technologies to democratise the energy market, with ‘Solar for Rentals’, a low-cost meter-to-cash service that enables property investors to sell solar power to their tenants.
To keep service costs down, onsite meter data has been backhauled to Matter’s cloud via the tenant’s Internet connection, limiting the market to properties that have Internet and requiring Matter to manage intermittent network availability.
The integration of LTE into Matter’s IoT Gateway broadens the market and positions the company to extend its service offerings to other IoT and Internet of Energy applications.
“I am pleased to announce that we are releasing a new IoT gateway that provides our landlords and tenants with connectivity to a mobile network, just like your phone” says Chris Mrakas, Matter CEO & Co-Founder.
“This new capability will increase the grade of service, reduce reliance on tenant Internet connectivity and improve quality of service when remote support is needed.”
Matter’s IoT Gateway
Matter’s meter-to-cash service encompasses the monitoring of solar and grid energy usage at rental properties, generation of a bill for the tenant and remittance of payments to landlords.
This requires installing real-time monitoring technology at a property and the transportation of data back to the cloud. Matter’s IoT gateway is the workhorse that provides connectivity to onsite meters and sensors, data buffering and compression, and connectivity back to its cloud-based billing applications.
The IoT Gateway showcases the power of cutting edge technologies including Wi‑Fi, ZigBee and Bluetooth in an IoT architecture. The addition of 4G LTE Cat-1 provides a low-cost, secure and scalable alternative backhaul communications mechanism in addition to a property’s Internet connection.
“This development provides our landlords with a cost effective, ‘always-on,’ IoT service over mobile networks,” Mrakas says. “By not relying on a site’s internet connection, Matter can now deploy its service to any property.”
“Our customers have been asking us for mobile connectivity for a while,” says Mrakas “but the high cost of ‘regular’ 4G made this commercially unviable.”
A number of developments have made an LTE enabled IoT Gateway possible:
- Telstra’s deployment of LTE Cat 1 in Australia – Following Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile in the USA, and NTT DoCoMo in Japan, Telstra’s new 4G LTE Cat-1 Network (Long Term Evolution Category 1) network is capable of delivering data rates to support real IoT use cases. With throughput speed capped at 10 Mbps it is significantly less complex and less power hungry than 4G, making it perfect for IoT applications like Solar for Rentals that need moderate amounts of throughput, nothing like video on demand.
- More affordable data plan pricing – Telstra’s new 4G LTE Cat-1 data network is also considerably cheaper than 4G and these cost savings mean it is now feasible for Matter to bundle data in its monthly subscription cost.
- A new IoT Operating System – Matter over-hauled their connectivity backbone to exploit Cat-1. Developing a more advanced operating system for the gateway has significantly reduced data usage whilst maintaining quality and accuracy.
Using IoT to improve energy security
An important application for IoT is to help transform the energy market with ‘behind the meter’ services including household battery storage, energy management and local energy trading. IoT provides a critical layer of real-time data, control and communications.
With real-time control and predictive analytics capabilities, Matter’s technology platform has been architected to automatically optimise usage of solar, battery and grid electricity without affecting the consumers at a property.
“With 4G LTE Cat 1 we can easily extend the number of IoT devices we manage in a property, providing new and exciting services over our gateway and using our own communication network. This is a very positive development on our product road-map.”
“This intelligence when deployed to Australia’s 2.6 million rental properties has the potential to create significant value for property investors and renters, as well as assist in securing the nations energy security,” says Chris Mrakas.
The full press release can be read here.
1 Source: Machina Research, May 2015