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LoRa Alliance designates Mulligan as chair

Posted: 29 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LoRa Alliance? Internet of Things? WiFi? AllSeen? Thread?

The LoRa Alliance has announced that it will name Geoff Mulligan as its chair effective August 1. According to the veteran communications engineer and evangelist, he wants to expand the use of the group's 900MHz networking technology and promote interoperability broadly in the Internet of Things.

LoRa is one of a handful of emerging options for low cost, wide area IoT networks, competing with other 900MHz nets including SigFox and Weightless-N (N-Wave). It also faces competition from lower cost versions of LTE and a 900MHz variant of WiFi on the road map.

Geoff Mulligan

"It's important for us to get people to understand the LoRa technology itself because it's easy to get confused with 802.15.4 or other narrowband WANs like Sigfox," said Mulligan. "I'm chomping at the bit to get started," he said.

Mulligan becomes the first chair of LoRa from outside Semtech, the chip designer that formed the group earlier this year. The openness of the standard was a key criteria for taking the job, said Mulligan who has worked to spread a variety of Internet Protocol technologies, most recently 6LoWPAN as chair of the IPSO Alliance.

"The LoRa protocol stack will be open-standards based, I'm an IP bigot, so it's the only way I would come on board," he said.

"My goal is to interoperate with efforts such as IPSO and run MQTT or DDS [Data Distribution Service] or whatever higher layer protocols are needed for the application," said Mulligan who also previously served as a board member of the Zigbee Alliance. "If all the networks are interoperable at the IP level then packets can be exchanged," he added.

Mulligan will seek ways to leverage competing smart-home protocols such as AllSeen, Thread and IoTivity based on work in the Open Interconnect Consortium. "We'd like to figure out if we can create an interoperable set of protocols so a device could move from the home to a LoRa network and operate seamlessly," he said.

Wide area nets such as LoRa could help energise work on smart buildings where multi-hop mesh networks have proven in some cases expensive and complex, said Mulligan. "I have ideas about projects and products member companies could build to give people an idea of what could make this area take off and help launch this market," he said.

Mulligan spent a year as a presidential fellow working helping develop the Smart America Challenge that promoted work on smart cities projects. He began his career working on the ARPAnet while a member of the Air Force and later worked in networking for Digital Equipment and Sun Microsystems.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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