This week, Microsoft, Advantec, and Hitachi struck a deal with a company called Behr Technologies to bring a new form of low-power networking technology to industrial manufacturing. The standard was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute and is called MIOTY. Behr Technologies is the exclusive licensee of wireless technology.
But does the industrial internet need a new wireless network? Albert Behr, CEO of Behr Technologies, says yes. He believes MIOTY offers better scalability and scalability than LoRa networks and lower cost and performance than low power cellular networks. Behr declined to share the names of any customers testing the technology, but pointed out that Microsoft and Hitachi have tested MIOTY and found it interesting enough to build a solution around it.
The MIOTY network is actually software based and built on basic hardware. Behr likes radios from Silicon Labs for wireless radios, but says radios from other vendors, such as Bosch or TI, also work. The software runs on gateway boxes from various vendors, with a smaller version that can run on sensors. MIOTY technology has been chosen as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standard for low speed networks (LTN).
And it is a very low speed network. While MIOTY can transmit up to 1.5 million messages per day within a five to 15 kilometer radius, it can only transmit 407 bits per second. This less than one kilobit per second data rate really limits the amount of data the device can send. However, the standard offers excellent energy efficiency. According to CEO Behr, sensors using the technology can last up to 20 years in the field.
Behr Technologies has built a business around commercializing the MIOTY standard, but the use cases appear to be limited. And while Hitachi and Microsoft’s backing means the technology works, it’s unclear whether companies will rush to embrace it over other low-power options, including several proprietary standards designed specifically. for industrial use cases, such as Wireless HART.
If Behr starts advertising clients, then I guess we’ll find out.