At the Push of a Button: LTE-M IoT Buttons, Available Now from Soracom and UnaBiz


The run-of-the-mill phrase “pressing buttons” typically refers to intentionally provoking someone by speaking or acting a certain way to upset or irritate them. But as I’ve most certainly learned while writing near-daily pieces about the vast Internet of Things, if you can think of a concept that can be also adapted for IoT?

Chances are, it already has been (or soon will be).

Take smart buttons; physical, pushable, and programmable buttons that are designed to interact with digital devices. (e.g. smartphones, tablets, smart home devices, etc.) If you need a function to be triggered remotely, a customizable smart button may just do the trick.

Enter Soracom and UnaBiz. The former (a global provider of advanced IoT connectivity) and the latter (an end-to-end customized IoT service provider and solutions integrator) have announced the joint global development and launch of an LTE-M-based IoT smart button that utilizes Soracom’s eSIM tech and its cloud-native smart connectivity platform.

So again, buttons? Meet IoT.

And now, unlike the aforementioned phrase, pressing these buttons is a very, very good thing.

The connected, configurable button (which Soracom and UnaBiz plan to brand and sell independently) is the first commercially available product that has come from the collaboration between these two companies. (They’d previously worked jointly on a number of proprietary hardware and connectivity projects.)

The selling point for this LTE-M IoT button is – as is the case with the hook of myriad IoT applications and their purposes – the simplicity. IoT technologies are usually at their tip-top best when they can practically automate and simplify an operation. So with a single click or press of this LTE-M IoT button, an “event” (as its known) is sent over the built-in LTE-M connection to Soracom’s or UnaBiz’s platform endpoints.

It's that simple.

This opens a highly appealing discussion for intelligent use cases. Users can configure a button to automatically order supplies or generate alerts, to start or stop smart home-enabled functionalities, to request assistance in a healthcare setting like a clinic or hospital, or – and this is surely another win – to trigger serverless functions on popular cloud services like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Once a device is registered, its user can simply select the desired cloud service, apply a code, and associate the connected button’s click with it to trigger any logic deployed in the cloud.

This multi-purpose LTE-M button features Soracom’s eSIM technology, a three-color LED status indicator, FOTA support, replaceable AA batteries, and a recycled casing.

“The magic of this LTE-M  button,” said Kenta Yasukawa, Soracom’s CTO, “is that it's a very simple device, but its applications are limited only by users’ imaginations. Because it includes both connectivity and cloud integration, users can incorporate it into their own IoT use cases immediately upon registration. It’s very effective for getting started in IoT, but it can also serve more sophisticated use cases, like connecting sensors and relays. Adding Soracom's powerful platform capabilities lets the LTE-M button serve advanced cloud based IoT systems using serverless cloud functions, data lakes, ML services and more.”

More LTE-M button information can be found here.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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