February 3, 2023
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Amazon licenses Semtech satellite navigation system

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By Jorge Mercado 

Staff Writer

Camarillo-based Semtech has reached an agreement with Amazon, bolstering its position as a primary player in the internet of things.

The semiconductor maker said Amazon Web Services has licensed Semtech’s LoRa Cloud global navigation satellite system to help build asset tracking and monitoring capabilities, including by connecting to devices other than computers, tablets and smart phones to connect to the internet, known as the internet of things, or IoT, Semtech announced in a statement Nov. 29.

“The main thing is tracking,” Karthik Ranjan, the LoRa Cloud Solutions and Partnerships Leader at Semtech, said when reached by phone. “Tracking is the popular use case across every IOT vertical from retail to shopping carts and pet tracking.” 

Semtech said this expansion of its LoRa Cloud geolocation services will make it easier for developers outside of AWS, as well, to build asset tracking and monitoring capabilities for IoT devices.

LoRa has three main parts–a physical chipset, cloud services and a low-power, wide-area networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated devices to the internet through regional, national or global networks. The LoRa platform is a very low-power and long-range way of sending small amounts of data.

The low power structure is central to the company’s business model. Tracking shopping carts requires less energy than, for instance, tracking cellular devices that can stream video. And tracking an item through a device alone could excessively drain the device’s battery. By splitting that tracking between the battery and the cloud, “you could be adding years to that batteries life,” Ranjan said.

Semtech does this through the LoRa Edge platform, which enables ultra-low-power devices that can operate for several years on a single battery.

Ranjan has been managing LoRa’s partnerships since joining Semtech two years ago. Prior to that, he worked at Amazon Web Services for two and a half years. As a result, he said, he found brokering the current deal “exhilarating.”

“I was happy to work with old colleagues and collaborate with them and pulling off this agreement,” he said.

“They were at the forefront of proving how our technology works so it was only natural for us to work with AWS on this,” Ranjan said.

The ouncement, to above $30.

Semtech recently closed its acquisition of Sierra Wireless of $1.2 billion on Oct. 12.

Sierra’s IoT cloud software platform offers device management, network management and end-to-end security to enable the digitization of industrial assets. Semtech said it sees the acquisition as fitting well with the company’s LoRa IoT platform. 

The deal will also significantly expand Semtech’s potential market and create a strong and diverse portfolio of connectivity solutions for the growing IoT market, the company said.