Emerging industrial internet-of-things standard Weightless just got a boost from Nwave, a company that builds networks in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands. Nwave isn’t joining the Weightless Special Interest Group as just any ordinary member, though.
Instead, Nwave is submitting its networking technology as a template for the new Weightless-N standard, which aims to use the ISM bands as a connectivity blanket for millions of low-power sensors, meters and devices that need only intermittent and low-speed access to the internet. The Weightless SIG originally tried to accomplish the same thing in white space frequencies, but it has put those plans on hold while it waits for global regulators to clear white spaces for wireless data use. The trend of connecting the world of everyday objects will be one of the big topics at Gigaom’s Structure Connect conference this week in San Francisco.
Nwave’s technology will get the SIG to a final Weightless-N standard much faster, SIG CEO Willliam Webb told me in an interview. Nwave already has commercial machine-to-machine connectivity networks powering smart meters for water utilities and parking lots. It also offers an API to developers to build their own iOT devices and apps off its technology. Assuming the other Weightless members get behind Nwave’s proposal, the SIG would be only a hop, skip and a vote away from producing a viable standard and shipping commercial products, Webb said.
The news comes during a pretty big transitional period for the standard. Neul, which developed the original Weightless white spaces tech, was just bought by Huawei, while early backer CSR was picked up by Qualcomm. Webb said he’s not sure what that means for their participation in Weightless in the future. Qualcomm and Huawei might move away from the standard, or they could lend their considerable heft to backing the fledgling standard. It’s still too early to tell, Webb said.