In The News

Mar 04, 2019

How Does an Icebox Pay for a Data Plan?

– By Junko Yoshida, EE Times


Every chip company selling modem ICs into cellular IoT devices must worry how their customers — device manufacturers — expect to make money on IoT.

It’s all about ‘provisioning’
Fortunately, more tech companies were talking about IoT monetization at the Mobile World Congress last week.

Altair Semiconductor, a Sony company, is one. Altair last fall announced its collaboration with Giesecke-Devrient Mobile Security (G+D) to integrate a Subscriber Identify Modules (SIM) card into Alter’s modem chip set.

With the announcement, Altair promised to integrate G+D’s SIM solution with Altair’s ALT1250 chipset and AT&T’s nationwide U.S. LTE-M network. The goal is to make commercially available integrated SIM by the first half of 2019.

When we caught up with Altair CEO Oded Melamed at the show last week, we asked why this is so important. He explained that IoT growth depends on a secure and scalable digital subscriber model for cellular-connected devices. If IoT devices can be provisioned much like mobile devices, monetizing them is straightforward for operators. “It’s all about provisioning,” he said.

Altair is optimistic about the cellular IoT market.

Melamed told us, “The coverage is finally here. When it comes to CAT-M, we already have a 100 percent coverage both in Japan and the United States.” With a broader coverage and better cost of solution (for hardware and services), which is “getting more affordable,” he said, the only remaining issue is ease of use. “With integrated SIM in the cellular modem, we are solving that problem, too.”

Among several devices — with Altair’s cellular IoT modem designed in — demonstrated at the show, Truphone unveiled what the company calls “the world’s first fully GSMA-compliant embedded SIM (eSIM) functionality on an IoT module.”


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Mar 01, 2019

MWC Roundup: LPWAN

– By Alex Davies, Rethink Research



Altair – the drive to make cellular simpler than WiFi

The past year has been a crazy one, according to Altair’s Dima Feldman, Head of Product Management. The Sony subsidiary’s VP Business Development and Marketing, Ilan Reingold, added that tons of new use cases were emerging, for its L-LPWAN designs.

Altair has been working on simplifying cellular IoT for its customers, looking to reduce development times. To this end, Feldman believes that its chipset is probably the most integrated product on the market, thanks to the amount of components included in the design – with the GNSS silicon being perhaps the best example of this. If most, if not all, of your components come from one vendor, you should have an easier

The goal is to sell a system that is simpler than WiFi, where a device does not need to be configured once it has been deployed – that it simply boots up and connects, and doesn’t need to be manually connected to a network. Apparently, 100% of Altair’s customers are asking for eSIM, but despite it being able to simplify de-signs, eSIM is still a complex process. Altair believes it can be much more price competitive than legacy SIMs, but like Gemalto, is aware of the TCO consideration.

Reingold said that there is plenty to go around among LPWAN rivals, but that eventually there will be segmentation between the vertical markets. For large public networks, Altair firmly believes that L-LPWAN will emerge as dominant, but private networks and rural deployments are open for U-LPWAN.

We asked about the ratio of LTE Cat-1, Cat-M, and Cat-NB in Altair’s sales. Around 60% to 70% are Cat-M, with around 20% Cat-1, and the remainder being Cat-NB. China is a major global custom-er for Cat-NB, but it is an insular and allocated market that is heavily subsidized by its government. In time, it might cut funding, as well as release licenses for Cat-M, but for now, Altair is not pursuing the region.

Altair also stressed that dual-mode capabilities are going to be necessary for devices, where they are able to switch from Cat-NB to Cat-M in order to more power efficiently download software up-dates. On pure Cat-NB, even using delta images of firmware to cut bandwidth requirements, Altair says that retaining battery life while performing such OTA updates is impossible. Altair stresses that it is prudent to have such an updating mechanism, in case the transition to 5G networks is not flawless.


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Feb 19, 2019

Altair Semiconductor to present mobile IoT products at MWC

– Telecom Paper


Altair said it will present Altair-powered IoT modules and devices with partners at MWC in Barcelona, including, Sierra Wireless, Sercomm, Deutsche Telekom and Truphone. Among the showcased products is a new Altair-enabled “smart ring with Panic Button” from Nimb. The mobile IoT (LTE-M/NB-IoT) connected ring features a highly discreet built-in panic button that can be easily triggered in case of emergency. The ring is powered by Sierra’s AirPrime HL7800 LPWA module, which includes Altair’s ALT1250 Cat-M1/NB-IoT chipset. It also benefits from the highly integrated GNSS positioning capabilities of that same chip.

Sercomm will showcase a number of new tracker devices, targeted for consumer and asset tracking scenarios. These devices are based on Sercomm’s TPM540 module, which incorporates Altair’s ALT1250 Cat-M1/NB-IoT chipset. They will feature a range of additional functionalities, including GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and optional sensors.

Truphone will demonstrate the world’s first fully GSMA-compliant embedded SIM (eSIM) functionality on an IoT module.

Truphone’s bootstrap connectivity technology enables the module to connect out-of-the-box to Low-Power Wide-Area networks in multiple countries. This, along with its GSMA-accredited M2M remote SIM provisioning system, allows the device to fetch a SIM profile from mobile operators for ongoing local connectivity.

The demo will be performed with STMicroelectronics’ Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WLCSP) eSIM on Murata’s 1SE Cat-M1/NB-IoT module, incorporating the STM32L4 ultra-low powered MCU.

Deutsche Telekom will launch its IoT Solution Optimizer, what it calls the world’s most advanced IoT products shelf designed to reduce the associated costs and risks of introducing new IoT products.

Altair will also participate in the GSMA’s eSIM Seminar MWC19: From Specification to Live Products, exploring the challenges in deploying eSIM and bringing devices to market.


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Feb 07, 2019

Altair Expects Its All-in-One Cellular IoT Solution to Drive Explosive Growth in 2019

– Everything RF


Altair Semiconductor’s Cellular IoT chipset, the ALT1250 has now been integrated into more than 10 modules. Moreover, the company sees significant growth in its IoT chipset shipment volume, expecting to ship millions of units throughout 2019.

In 2018, Altair signed new partnerships focused on simplifying the commercialization of cellular IoT devices. The company expects this to serve as a catalyst for significant market growth in 2019 and beyond.

  • Altair integrated a SIM within its chipsets – a key feature for IoT applications – with Giesecke+Devrient (G+D).
  • With Ethertronics, the company integrated a small antenna, which enables key applications, such as wearables, smart meters and trackers.
  • A new tracking and positioning capability embedded in the chipset was implemented with HERE Technologies.

These partnerships, provide a level of integration that make the ALT1250 a complete IoT solution. The company also added significant security capabilities into the chipset, and further extended its industry-low power consumption.

The highly integrated ALT1250 makes device designers’ lives much easier, in terms of effort expended, time-to-market, expertise needed and overall cost of offering IoT solutions today. In addition, the ALT1250’s OneSKU technology means the chipset is available globally on all frequency bands, including in advanced markets such as Japan, Korea, Australia and the United States.


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Jan 15, 2019

CES 2019 Recap: Exclusive Interviews With 5 IoT Leaders

By Eric Conn – IoT for All


IoT For All held exclusive interviews with major IoT players including AT&T, Amazon Web Services, Vodafone, Comcast, and Sony to learn more about what they envision for 2019 and beyond.


We had a conversation with Brendan Schaffer, Director of Business Development for Cellular & LPWA Technologies at Sony, to discuss Sony’s vision for their IoT Division as the market grows. According to Schaffer, Sony’s value proposition lies in low power devices. They have multiple deployments nationwide that feature the lowest powered devices on the market. Because the devices are low-power, they have a better performance on cellular carriers and are more reliable than similar devices that use WiFi. As the cost curve for cellular connectivity declines, Schaffer believes the market will see an uptick in cellular devices.

Schaffer believes that in the long term cheap cellular connectivity will open new doors for connected appliances. Users will have remote access to near-real-time data, diagnostics, and predictive maintenance while their hardware receives firmware updates via cellular connectivity.

According to Shaffer, cellular connectivity also offers better security because it’s a managed service. As the world moves toward 5G, Sony is preparing for the shift in which connected cellular devices will be deployed in the field for years. They believe their technology is a step ahead of the competition.


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