LOS ANGELES—Whether integrating new positioning modules or designing antennas for new IoT markets, companies are trying to gain a foothold into new mobile technology markets at the recent Mobile World Congress Americas here.
Taoglas rolled out three antennas in its Extensis range of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) products. This includes what the company says is the smallest ceramic NB-IoT antenna that covers Bands 5, 8 and 20 with a single matching configuration.
“We continue to focus on [NB-IoT], but it is unclear if the ecosystem is mature enough to support devices and solutions. But it may supplant LoRaWAN,” said Ronan Quinlan, Taoglas co-CEO and founder.
The company also rolled GNSS antennas, called the Taoglas Sure series, for the L1, L2 and L5 bands. The antennas are designed for such centimeter-level applications as autonomous vehicles, public safety, drones, parking, agriculture and heavy equipment.
Centimeter-level positioning could be the next big market, Quinlan said. “There are chip guys now working on their final versions. Once those new [centimeter-level] chips come out—it’s going to be a totally different [ballgame],” he said.
What was new at MWCA for Taoglas? International interest and even scooters.
“What we are seeing a lot of Chinese module companies focusing on IoT market here. These are very successful companies in China who are making a big focus on the U.S. market,” Quinlan said. “The IoT market in China may be the biggest in the world. So it’s an emerging market for us in terms of support.”
Several companies, such as CalAmp, had partnerships with scooter companies. It is a new market where Taoglas is seeing significant growth. “Put it this way, scooters were not even an IoT business last year with little volume. It’s about 10 times the growth this year,” Quinlan said.
U-blox Rolls Out New Module…
At MWCA, there were several GNSS companies looking to attract new IoT industry customers. Thalwill, Switerzland-based u-blox rolled out a toolset that includes u-track software and a C030-R410M application board.
“This a new board development kit features a modem with GNSS access. Customers can use this to design, low-power products to track people and assets,” said Florian Bousquet, u-blox market development manager, who said the prototype board is available now and the software will come out in mid-fourth quarter of 2018.
The toolset lets product designers test and optimize the position accuracy and power consumption of wireless location tracking applications that use LTE-M and NB‑IoT cellular networks, as well as GNSS technology, the company said.
The company also said it signed a deal with LynQ, which will use the company’s CAM-M8Q GNSS receiver into its tracking products.