Senet, which makes cloud-based software and global connectivity platforms for the Internet of Things, has signed on with Arrow Electronics in a global deal designed to expand Senet’s Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network [LVN]. The relationship will see Arrow provide preconfigured Low Power Wide Area Network [LPWAN] gateways for the Senet network.
Senet started out in 2009 as EnerTrac, which built tank monitoring solutions.
“We found that we were repeatedly building network for fuel distributors who distributed propane tanks, and we also realized that we could cover a lot more applications with these networks, so we created an umbrella company, Senet, to cover more verticals,” said Bruce Chatterley, Senet’s CEO. “I was brought on board in July 2017 to take the company to the next level. When I came in we changed focus. While we had been focused on building public networks on a cellular model, we moved to what I call ‘nook and cranny connectivity’ needed to support the huge number of LPWAN devices. We continue to offer public connectivity where we have networks, but we shifted to a software and services model.”
That led to two new platforms.
Managed Network Services for IoT is a cloud-based platform that lets network operators rapidly deploy LoRaWAN [Long Range Wide Area Network] services while outsourcing network and device management to Senet.
“We got calls from operators who wanted help to get into a market without building a huge team,” Chatterley said. “This lets them do that, we manage it through the cloud on an outsourced basis. SenRa in India went from 0 to 34 markets with a LoRaWAN network this way in 18 months.”
The other new platform is LVN, which is made up of public and hybrid public/private LoRa networks.
“The hybrid networks are where we can’t justify putting up a tower, so the customer puts up a gateway to get access, and we help them manage it,” Chatterley said. “LVN connects there with the public networks through LPWAN. We sell our software to application providers, including ones in Canada, who install it on their gateway and it becomes part of Senet network through LVN. It’s effectively a way to crowdsource a global IoT network through incentives. Anyone in your area can use your gateway, and you get revenue for that.”
Senet sees LVN as the vehicle to drive them to become the global leader in LPWAN connectivity.
“The expansion of our network is taking place dramatically through LVN, which has led to a direct demand for partnerships in Canada,” Chatterley said. “We have seen three or four designs for LoRa-based meter reading for municipalities, in conjunction with a partner. That has been a really successful segment for it.”
Senet only goes to market through partners.
“They fall into two categories, one being application providers and the other being IT or systems integrators,” Chatterley said. “They are both small and large. We just did a 900 bed hospital deployment with a regional systems integrator. There are a wide variety of verticals where expertise is required to deliver the application. In pest control. For example, we work with a very large company to implement rat traps. We will be making some announcements in the next few months of very large providers in North America that are deploying our networks more broadly.”
Senet has used distribution before, but not at the scale that Arrow will bring.
“Arrow implies significant scale – and the relationship is global,” Chatterley said. “Customers around the world will order these and drop them all over the place.”
Right now, LVN is principally in North America, but Senet has ambitious plans for it.
“We have designs of being a global IoT network player,” Chatterley said. “We are the dominant one in North America. Right now, LVN is nascent elsewhere, but it just started last year.”
Arrow will do the configuration work for LPWAN gateways pre-configured to operate on the Senet network, providing application providers and end customers with the confidence that they will have hardware and network connectivity that has been pre-qualified to be interoperable out-of-the-box with the Senet network in over 80 countries.
“Arrow is one of the building blocks in our strategy, with the application providers and manufacturers being others,” Chatterley said. “We are excited about their capabilities, and the brand and customer relationships that Arrow brings.
“There are a couple of other advantages to working with Arrow,” Chatterley indicated. “They are a magnet for the developer community. Developers for LoraWAN can get a preconfigured gateway and all the elements they need to construct an end-to-end solution. In addition, for companies that require a local gateway, this is a frictionless way to deploy it. Arrow preconfigures the gateway, so that you just press a button, and it powers up, working with us.”
Because LoRA is open standards, there are many of these gateway manufacturers, including Calgary-based TekTelic, and MultiTech in Minnesota.