Senet Raises US$16m To Expand LoRaWAN, Signs Deal To Network Road-weather Sensors


By James Blackman

US LoRaWAN provider Senet has secured a US$16 million funding round to accelerate the deployment and densification of its LoRaWAN network in the US to support utility and municipal network builds. The round was led by venture capital firm Fisk Ventures.

It comes on the back of a “significant increase” in demand for LoRaWAN solutions from the energy and utility sectors, said Senet. The funds will also go to expand global business development and co-marketing activities with network operators, tower companies, and radio access network (RAN) providers.

Senet is launching incentive-based partner programmes to facilitate engagement between network infrastructure companies and IoT solution providers. Initiatives include the coordination of ecosystem engagements for regional and national solution deployment, collaborative promotions in support of public network readiness, and network branding opportunities.

Senet launched in 2014 to create a low-power wide-area (LPWA) networking infrastructure using unlicensed spectrum to connect “ultimately billions” of low-cost sensors. The company has its own cloud-based operating system and network management services. It claims its operational model and network offering “stand in stark contrast to others competing in the LPWA market.

Chief executive at Senet, Bruce Chatterley said: “Over the past six years we’ve seen a wide range of businesses embrace IoT and have learned that creating a bridge between the physical and digital worlds is far more complex than most people realize. Building on our experience and with the support of our investors, we will continue to strive toward delivering ubiquitous low-cost network connectivity, zero-touch device configuration, and device monitoring and management at massive scale in support of our customers’ needs.”

He added: “With a multi-year head start over competing LPWA networking technologies and a strong partner ecosystem, we are in a great position to execute the next steps of our long-term strategic vision of helping organizations transform business outcomes, markets, and economies.”

Senet last month announced a deal with Frost Control Systems, a US based manufacturer and service provider of road weather information systems (RWIS). Frost Control Systems has integrated LoRaWAN network connectivity with its non-invasive, non-contact RWIS service to deliver remote monitoring of atmospheric and surface temperatures on roads.

Frost Control Systems’ RWIS includes hardware, software, installation, maintenance, and network design. LoRaWAN connectivity provides coverage for low-power, long-range environmental sensors, including for monitoring road temperature, air temperature, humidity, dew point, and other roadway data. The system is geared towards helping monitor road conditions to stop winter weather-related vehicle crashes.

Timely and actionable hyper-local data enables public works agencies to prioritise high-risk areas such as key intersections, along bridges, roadways leading to schools and hospitals, and in areas with unique climate conditions.

About 1.2 million per year crashes in the US each year are blamed on winter weather conditions. Over $3 billion is spent annually in the US on de-icing materials annually, including on 48 billion pounds of salt. Automating the collection of road weather data for real-time decision helps with roadway safety and reduces the cost of deploying municipal resources, the pair said.

Even small municipal customers have reported cost savings of US$10,000-US$15,000 per winter weather incident, realized through operational efficiencies, reduced material costs, and reduced overtime, the duo said.

Chief executive at Frost Control Systems, Brad Tener commented: “Supporting LoRaWAN and partnering with Senet for network connectivity is a strategic commitment that provides public works departments with the opportunity to improve operations and save costs by modernizing their roadway monitoring and management systems… It provides cities and counties with a reliable, long-term connectivity solution for other infrastructure modernization projects.”

As well, Senet has recently signed with IoT distributor Symmetry Electronics in a bid to “simplify access to a robust combination of components and developer tools, reducing the number of steps to prototype, test, and launch commercial-grade LoRaWAN solutions”.

In addition to several new LoRa modules, gateways and sensors that have been added to Symmetry Electronics’ line card, the distributor is providing OEMs and design engineers access to Senet’s LoRaWAN network directly from its website. Customers can create an account to access the Senet network to onboard and test LoRaWAN end device sensors and gateways throughout the design cycle and into production.

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