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In S2, Episode Two we catch up with Teppo Hemiä – CEO, Wirepas to discover how the new global 5G non-cellular standard in IoT (Wirepas Private 5G) will change the connectivity for devices at scale! 🌎

Sit back, relax and be the first to discover…

  •  Teppo’s background ⭐️
  • How Wirepas has developed the new global non-cellular 5G standard ⭐️
  • What the new global 5G standard will enable for IoT ⭐️
  • How Wirepas Massive (Mesh) is scaling connectivity ⭐️
  • The different verticals Wirepas technologies can cover ⭐️
  • And much more!

ABOUT THE GUEST

Teppo Hemiä is the CEO at Wirepas. Wirepas is a wireless connectivity company that delivers a de-centralised radio communication protocol for IoT devices. They have also developed the first non-cellular global 5G standard.

Follow Teppo on LinkedIn and Twitter

To find out more about Wirepas click here

Episode Transcript

Tom White
Welcome to The IoT Podcast Show Season Two. We are so pleased today to be joined by Teppo Hemiä. Teppo is the CEO of Wirepas, a wireless connectivity company based out of Finland. They have created the first non cellular 5g standard and working decentralised radio technology, some really interesting tech here in various industries, logistics, healthcare, and so on. We’re going to dig into that a little bit more in this episode. Welcome to the IoT podcast show.

Teppo Hemiä
Thank you, so great to be here.

Tom White
It’s great to have you here. If we can just kick off and just explain a little bit about what it is you do within Wirepas. That would be great.

Teppo Hemiä
Yeah, sure. Yeah, I have been, by now about 25 years in mobile, wireless and connectivity market. First, it was more of a technical technology side while I was working for Nokia, as a co chief architect. Then few years, I was at St. microelectronics, later St. Ericsson running mobile platform business unit for Symbian, Android Windows platforms where we build quite nice half a billion business. So that was in the mobile space. But you know, we can think of mobile phones, one sort of early IoT devices. IoT cases today, that’s awesome, more purpose built that needs to be a lot a lot more affordable. But that that kind of led me then to join wire pass. And I have been here as a CEO since 2014.

Tom White
Fantastic. Thank you so much for the introduction, Wirepas are doing you know, amazing things. Really, really interesting, great growth, great vision. We touched on this backstage, but the marketing and the way that you’re positioning, the company is really unique in the IoT world, and fantastic to see. Can we dig into a little bit more about developing this new global 5g standard in IoT? And and and what this would enable and how wire pass is developing that?

Teppo Hemiä
Yeah, sure. Well, as we as we all are very well educated with the giant marketing budgets of telcos 5g is bringing more speed, lower latencies and also accelerating the trend of private networks for the Enterprise’s all good so far. But it has failed in in one quiet place badly, which is the price and you know, 5g cost any I mean, more than any of the previous generations, while many of the applications, especially in enterprise side, require more affordable solutions. So it’s, it’s simply far too expensive to connect sensors and to have you know, positive return for those use cases. Now, this new non cellular 5g standard that goes with the name Dec 2020, in our in in standardisation in MC that addresses that problem. So with that standard, 5g is taken to a minimum possible cost level that you don’t need expensive infrastructure and no operators to run it as the devices for the network or the know mostly by themselves. And where, you know, every node is an access point. So that’s really, really the focus of this standard to print affordability.

Tom White
The I mean, that that’s, that’s truly something different than something special, right? And unheard of, really, in the past, a lot of people talk about this from an operator point of view. So but then forming their own access points and their own ecosystem within their own right is is is quite bleeding edge actually. What are the key benefits of this? You know, what are the real world examples that this technology will enable for the average person on the street?

Teppo Hemiä
Yeah, so Well, I’m repeating myself But really, the affordability is the number one care about and that that really enables you to scale and still have your CFO, not lose it. And the second thing is that anyone can install these things as it is completely autonomous, and you can do with anywhere in the world, you know, not needing to care about frequency planning or leasing frequency. And as it is, as it is having this new standard, this dedicated 1.9 gigahertz frequency.

Teppo Hemiä
So, if you need a tech teams on site, your return is already gone quite often. So, we are seeing use cases where, for example, cleaning personnel have installed the system, putting the sensors in the right places and not needing, you know, special, special special people at site. Third thing is that you can choose where you store your data locally or in the cloud. And, you know, we are also much on that trend of private networks, it’s very important to hear about, and you know, as this doesn’t require any central network management system, you know, in the back end, you have that flexibility and freedom to use this almost anywhere.

Teppo Hemiä
And finally, this provides very high availability of the service. And that comes from the fact that, you know, mesh networks don’t have single point of failure, especially in the way that we have built it in the standard which is completely decentralised operation. And, you know, if there is lack of density or something, and the user can fix it easily if needed. So those are those are some of the immediate benefits of this non cellular 5g approach.

Tom White
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s fantastic. And thank you for the overview. And I think those benefits are going to give rise to a lot more opportunities, creating this standard in the future for various industries and lots of people to take part in this, can you? Can you can you talk about the potential opportunities that could arise from from this, obviously, we’ve spoken about the benefits of affordability, but where where could this go in the future, essentially.

Teppo Hemiä
So to give you kind of a simple example, let’s take smart factory, what you have seen is that, you know, people are digitising as far as they can, and what they’re doing up to now is that they kind of you know, choose the most valuable assets and connect them to be able to follow them and your abilities condition monitoring and prevent the maintenance type of applications. But you what you have ended up is is that, you know, typically with wiring or or expensive wireless solutions, you end up to connect maybe 5% of them. But then when you really push the affordability to the right level, it comes to a point where you just you know, it’s no brainer to connect all of them.

Teppo Hemiä
So all the motors, all the bumps, all the valves, conveyor belts, you know, and you’ll get a lot more visibility to your processes and better ability to prevent downtimes and, and improve safety and so on. And thinking that example, actually you can, you know, do the same thing in many other applications. You can, for example, you know, in office environments, connect each desk, chair to understand the details utilisation of rooms, and so on. So now, good, reliable network doesn’t need to mean high cost, you can really kind of go with the approach of not be limited to conduct as much as possible to improve your AI and ml, you know, on top of those platforms.

Tom White
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s given rise to so many different opportunities and a wonderful creation. One of the things that I’m keen to understand more about here is Wirepas massive. Yeah. So the mesh technology that you touched upon just there, it’s enabling connectivity, variety of different solutions. Can you can you touch a little bit more on on mesh in terms of for our listeners that may not understand what mesh technology is, and a little bit more about the the product and the service that is why it is massive?

Teppo Hemiä
Yeah, so maybe I first clarify that we do have two connectivity products as soon as you as you said so. So we have this bypass massive, which has been under development already for a few years. And it’s already you know, deploying in millions. And on that product, we use low cost, chips, the same chips as Bluetooth is using under our software and that enables in our offering the lowest cost option and it’s very good, especially for Use Cases like asset tracking applications or for example Smart Lighting, where you really don’t need to push for the range and you know, the cost is very important care about then we have another product which which we call Wirepas private 5g and in fact, it’s the same product from the software standpoint and we are software company, but it has different radio underneath and that’s then you know, in this in this 5g standardisation process that one then uses of OFDM modulation and harc type of features.

Teppo Hemiä
So, in English it means that it’s using the same most modern highest robust and you know physical layer implementation as in the cellular and here the main difference then is that indeed it gives higher robustness the radio link level and longer range up to kilometres that product will come available next year and we do have already lead customers committed especially in smart metering and smart city type of applications. So, so, those are the two products and the main differences is you know, the range and and, and a little bit higher robustness of the of the of the physical layer, then go into the mess itself a mess really means that you know, why when cellular architectures try to solve the density scale power problem by densifying base stations and you know, making smaller and smaller of them, we have solved that already to the extreme you can do because by software, every end device, no matter how small, whether, you know, temperature sensor or, or small assets that it is, it is actually a kind of a mini base station, it’s an access point. And still It can be as low power that it can run yours with, with with the commodity batteries, and that’s the game changer.

Teppo Hemiä
So we can we can talk about kind of a sub 10 Bog, the sub $10 cost of access point which is you know, quite different compared to whether, you know, look for Wi Fi or cellular type of architectures. And when the mesh is able, you know, the dude that they they do do it in the way that they locally collaborate those devices with with the closest neighbours, and they do it in a fashion and way where the spectrum efficiency is order of magnitude better than, you know, in a star topology way of doing like cellular and that is proven now in the early or not early parties, independent evaluation reports in the standardisation. And that’s really key because this market will be facing millions and millions and billions of different things to be connected and the spectrum efficiency becomes a very important care about so now the combination of free to use global 1.9 gigahertz frequency band with decentralised meshing, which is very spectrum efficient. That combination gives you virtually unlimited resources to connect these small things.

Tom White
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a tremendous ecosystem, and something that you’ve been working towards, you know, we previously had people on, on the podcast talking about energy harvesting, which I think is an important aspect, again, to this. So we were talking about devices needing low power, batteries, not needing to be chained for a while, you know, it’s, that’s another aspect that can further advance what we’re looking to do here and the whole ecosystem, and one of the big examples and, and probably for people outside of the IoT industry is the is the air tag, right? This is just come out by Apple, lovely piece of kit, you know, and, you know, robust, useful, etc. but but I’d be curious to know, you know, you said that you had a couple of customers signed up, and we’re interested in that, you know, congratulations, you know, that’s fantastic. What, what is it that your customers are driving what is the demand? What do you tend to see as the main things that they’re looking for and, and solutions that you’ve been managed to create for them?

Teppo Hemiä
Yeah, so like I said, we have this Wirepas massive that we have had, you know, around us already for good time. And we are in different verticals in smart tracking, smart buildings, smart manufacturing and smart metering. There we already have a couple 100 customers and you can go and check our website for partners. Also hundreds of products already powered by wire pairs that you can find for different needs and purposes.

Tom White
Are you able to touch upon some of the things that you’ve managed to overcome at wire pass in order to have these solutions out there and some of these great things that you’ve, that you’ve just spoken about.

Teppo Hemiä
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, as you may know, radio technologies, telecom protocols, systems that involves, you know, so many these different disciplines is not that easy to build. And, and we are, we obviously seeing the pain also around us, you know, partners and customers, sometimes when they bring, you know, new solutions, first time to the market, IoT, still, in the very beginning, what comes to the, you know, volumes and so on, and how they will compare to where they are going to be, because it’s difficult to, it’s very difficult to, you know, think where the wireless connectivity will not be used, when it comes, you know, more and more affordable.

Teppo Hemiä
And, for us, it was really a big effort to, to find the solutions for, you know, limitless scale densities where you can put more than 1000 radios in a cube metre without any collisions and, and things like that. But we are very pragmatic, we were customer driven, we will use case driven we, we got challenges from our customers, for example, that can you detect 5000, or, you know, objects in a pallet in one minute. And we were like, Well, nobody has done that ever before. But you know, we have clever people from different backgrounds, and they put their heads together. And yeah, we were able to create that type of a feature to our product. And now it’s becoming very important in logistics, and kind of inventory management and so on.

Teppo Hemiä
So, yeah, we are working, you know, with use cases ranging from connecting livestock to servers, and data centres and all possible between, but we wouldn’t be able to do that without good partner network, and they are also solving these important problems. And it’s energy harvesting is a good example, as you mentioned, we obviously all look forward that, you know, those technologies, which ever can make, you know, higher efficiency, more sustainability, you know, become more mainstream. So, yeah, it’s super exciting times.

Tom White
Yeah, yeah, it really is. And I think, what, what’s really nice to see, is the ecosystem really working well together. And everyone’s striving for this, you know, this mutual end goal? You know, it’s a really good feeling amongst the community, can we can we touch on security, I’m interested to know your thoughts on security. Because a lot a lot of people in general sometimes see security as a bit of an afterthought, right. And we and we’ve spoken about this in the past about principles of secure by design, and building it really from the ground up, this is obviously a major consideration for some of your customers, I would imagine.

Teppo Hemiä
Absolutely and, and you kind of gave a hint already, that, you know, it cannot be done afterward. These are secondary, these are things that you need to design for it. And it needs to be something that you need to be ready to be able to update it. Because if the guy who first tells that his product is completely secure, prove and then the guy doesn’t necessarily know what he’s talking about so so like over the updates, and that sort of things need to also be part of those platforms. We take security very seriously. Many people say that these are so tiny objects, what does it matter if temperature sensor is you know, breached, but you know, it’s in the end of the day, always a journal to or pad to other systems and, and you know, you need to rely on the data because you are making important AI on top of it and, you know, decisions in the end of the day. So if the alarm is real or not, it’s pretty good to know.

Teppo Hemiä
So it is important care about, again, that’s also being where we provide very solid, security back Foundation, sometimes customers are putting even more on top of it. So it is also something that ild need to kind of face that what’s the right level of affordability of security for different type of applications, it cannot be the exactly the same as in desktop kind of environment where you can have limitless power and limitless kind of almost limitless bandwidth, but it’s needed simply to be super solid. And that’s really the engineering challenge is how you make well, working security for very hardware constrained devices.

Tom White
Yeah, yeah. 100% You know, it’s, it’s the principles of secure by design. You know, as you mentioned, the use of memory constrained devices as well. How much can you do? How much do you really put on there, but also you We touched upon the important element of it being the weakest link in the network right example but perhaps the most vulnerable to an attack and if they can get into that you can get into everything else but but it’s nice to see that you you know that you you have this sort of de facto standard and then customers can go play on top today

Teppo Hemiä
is a cost question in some use cases obviously but we keep the options and we are flexible and we of course most of the most of the cases are very happy with our foundation Yeah, yeah

Tom White
Fantastic. So two major products and services that you’re out there at the moment obviously businesses growing businesses doing well you know, what what do you see for the future? What does what does it look like for why a person and what does it look like for IoT in a short summary massive question but in a short summary what’s what’s what’s your view on it?

Teppo Hemiä
Well I can say that you know, I know the market in the beginning and a few years ago was was not an easy market at all and you needed to learn a lot and fast and and you needed to find the right recipe to help also your you know, ecosystem partners to move faster but I think we have now together find the right recipes and and what’s going quite crazy now is that this pandemic although it’s now acutely now limiting some some businesses here and there because of the supply problems that industry is facing but otherwise it’s just accelerating the you know, the obvious and more and more remote understanding of processes and and assets and so when required so we see a super bright future and you know, we are so pleased to have the great partners we are having who shared the vision

Tom White
fantastic really appreciate your time today you know I hope you know this you know gets gets the viewers and the listeners that it deserves to do because you know what you are doing is truly fantastic Tebow where can people find out more about why a pass social media websites etc?

Teppo Hemiä
Absolutely, those are obviously the standard channels and media So the good news is that we are quite well covered around the world so so when you go on our website and looks over sales, you know, coverage, you can find a local person to help you. And we can also we are doing as much matchmaking as we are doing direct business develop with direct sales that you know when when you have a need for IoT we may help with so probably somebody’s already done what you are looking for and we can we can help you to get that then we are you know, more and more coming up with you know, different use cases white papers, podcasts Even so, so stay tuned. Stay tuned, and I’m sure you will be hearing more.

Tom White
Excellent. As usual, guys, get involved to the comments, follow the IoT podcast on our various social media sites, and we hope to see you on the next episode very soon.

The IoT Podcast Team

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