Concept: Japan’s communication-based electronic manufacturer ‘Toppan Printing’ (Toppan) has added over-the-air (OTA) upgrades to its TZM902 communication module for the ZETA IoT low power wide area (LPWA) networking protocol. The ZETA protocol is developed by telecommunications company ZiFiSense in Cambridge and Shanghai, which integrates distributed access and a bidirectional Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) link with a self-healing mesh architecture. The mesh network offers stable wireless communication in areas where other LPWAN might face difficulty connecting to office buildings with underground amenities and factories with complicated layouts.

Nature of Disruption: The TZM902 is almost 25% smaller than the previous TZM901 model due to a redesign, which includes a system on a chip (SoC) to minimize the number of components, removal of the antenna connector, and use of smaller components. It leverages standard functions for encryption-based data protection, communication inhibition between distinct groups through device whitelists, and spoofing prevention to provide enhanced security. It supports Firmware Over The Air (FOTA), which allows for wireless firmware rewriting, eliminating the need to recover terminals and enhancing the efficiency of device maintenance operations, especially in remote or difficult-to-access areas. The module is also utilized as an add-on board for Sony’s SPRESENSE single-board computer (SBC), which incorporates a GPS receiver and high-resolution audio codecs.

Outlook: In today’s world, business entities across several industries are incorporating IoT into their existing systems to simplify, automate and control different processes. As IoT is gradually moving towards full-scale implementation, Toppan’s ZETA protocol is gaining traction as a type of communication infrastructure for low-data-volume sensors such as those used for sensing temperature, humidity, and voltage. Toppan intends to provide a module that would enable firmware updates via wireless networks, benefitting companies that develop new edge devices and ZETA-related products. It would also help the company enhance the ZETA protocol adoption and make global IoT implementation a reality.

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