This post was originally published on Engineering@TelenorDigital.

Click the image above to start playing the video

During the Telenor Technology Fair last month, I (Jan Jongboom) gave a talk about connectivity and IoT, a subject which I’m dealing with in my day-to-day job. We’ll go over the current issues with connecting smart devices, promising new technologies, and our experiences making the Telenor office in Fornebu (Oslo) smart. It’s also a tale of how telco’s need to transform if they want to be part of the IoT movement.

If you don’t like video, the slides and outline are listed below.



  • Jan Jongboom, part of CTO Office, focusing on Internet of Things
  • IoT in Digital is spread out
    • Four different teams working on variety of aspects.
  • Interesting part: all aligned goals, all ended up at the same problem.
  • When connecting devices, two choices: long range, or long battery life. Pick one.
  • Long range: traditional cellular tech. 2G. Battery life of a week.
  • Short range: variety of choices, bluetooth, zigbee, etc. Range at most 100 meters.
  • If we want to do this ‘IoT’ thing, connecting sensors, we need to do better. Bandwidth doesn’t matter for the first time.
  • Can we do better? Yes!
  • Variety of new tech is coming out. All same principle:
    • Sub-GHz spectrum (868 MHz in Norway, free spectrum)
    • No gateway pinning
    • Big antenna picking out the signals
  • Results: penetrates buildings, walls, etc. Range of 2 kilometers in downtown Oslo (from Olav’s balcony to the library), 10-15 kilometers in open field
  • Only draws power when emitting data, perfect for sensors. (e.g. send temperature measurement every 15 minutes)
  • Variety of vendors: LoRa, Sigfox, Siglo, Weightless-N


  • Can enable completely new business models: better be part of it…
  • Our choice: LoRa.
    • Available today for relative low cost. Gateways 1200, end-device chips 6, complete PIR sensor we bought is 30.
  • First project: Telenor Eiendom
    • Making Fornebu smart with 400 sensors
      • It’s a pilot with internal customer. Let’s build some own sensors.
      • 100 of these developed internally. 300 bought from external party.
      • Build up hardware competency in Digital.
    • Flex-desk availability rates, monitoring temperature, counting toilet usage, push button to indicate problems
    • Using LoRa we only need 2 gateways on the top of building, nothing else. Just buy the sensors and deploy
    • Integration with facility management system MCS to auto-dispatch coffee repairmen / women
  • Lot of initial work
    • Gateways are available, but they are dumb
    • Just scan spectrum for messages, forward the data, but to where?
      • Traditional model, buy service from Huawei or something
      • This is the new decade, The Things Network can solve this efficiently w/o waiting for telcos
    • Instead of buying it, let’s build it ourselves

Technology stack

  • Multiple basestations will receive the data (no gateway-pinning)
  • Forward to network. All logic in here: de-duplicating, adjusting data-rate, join’ing, verifying, etc.
  • Also encryption, as all messages are end-to-end encrypted, gateway cannot do MITM.
  • Took the demo-implementation from Semtech (company behind LoRa), and went building on top of it.
  • Now:
    • Comes into network
    • Routing the messages through AWS IoT
    • Store data into DynamoDB
    • Subscribe to live-feed f.e. to create calls in facility management system, or use historic data to analyse when desk was used.
  • Our problem is not unique. Private site, private network. No telco required. But it’s a lot of work on the tech site.

Lora Network Server

  • Take our learnings and enable anyone to take advantage of them.
  • Network Infrastructure as a service. You bring gateways and devices, we handle everything from device onboarding to historic data APIs.
  • Telenor LPWA (working title): create private network with the push of a button.
  • Telenor Eiendom’s network is already running on it. Can open this up to anyone. E.g. Telenor Norway, but also DNB HQ f.e.
  • Live at
  • Additional benefit: we can route messages for other networks through any gateway that’s part of LPWA (regardless of branding): building a big Digital network around the world.

Next steps

  • The Fornebu network is open through Telenor LPWA
  • Read f.e., get a device and register, it’s pretty simple.
    • Trondheim team happy to help out when you want to take it further.
  • Get your data out of the system and start hacking something cool!
  • Thank you