5 min reading

26 September 2023

26 September 2023

KONA PHOTON: Customer Value and Differentiation

KONA PHOTON: Customer Value and Differentiation
KONA PHOTON: Customer Value and Differentiation


Over the years, IoT gateway deployment has faced various challenges in both urban and rural environments. The first is limited or no access to networking infrastructure, i.e., towers. On the one hand, it might result from deployment location, as there have been no towers available to ensure required connectivity.

However, it has been more commonly a matter of budget. The reason is that tower lease fees could be expensive and have a significant impact on the overall ROI of the solution.

The second challenge pertains to power accessibility. If there is no power available at the intended deployment site for the gateway, the customer faces a choice between two options:

  • Investing time and money to bring power to the site.
  • Choosing a less optimal deployment location.

Next, we need to address the complexity of deployment. Many operators in the ecosystem, including our customers, attempt to mitigate these challenges by assembling a custom solar deployment solution. They procure their own panels and batteries and design an autonomous power solution.

While this might be a feasible decision, it introduces complexity to deployment, being more involved than simply mounting a gateway and connecting to power. It also demands additional cost and time as well as entails some technical risk that needs to be evaluated, especially for large-scale deployments.

Site accessibility has proven to be another persistent issue, particularly for large-scale or industrial networks. Gaining access to the deployment site can be both costly and challenging. This truck roll is expensive if the equipment requires physical servicing for troubleshooting or maintenance. As a result, an unexpected site visit may negatively impact network ROI.

Key Distinctive Features of the KONA PHOTON Solution

To resolve the above problems and support our customers with IoT deployments, we have introduced the new KONA PHOTON LoRaWAN® Gateway, designed to provide reliable wireless connectivity anywhere.

Multifaceted Deployment Approach

This product constitutes a zero-footprint solution that meets the requirements of any dense urban, suburban, industrial, or remote deployment.

Comprehensive Solar-Powered Package

The fully integrated KONA PHOTON package includes the following components:

    • the solar panel;
    • batteries;
    • the LoRaWAN® gateway;
    • the LTE modem;
    • antennas.

Consequently, it is easier to deploy a solar-powered wireless gateway.

Efficiency and Scalability

The KONA PHOTON is engineered for simple deployment and is installed in under 2 hours. The mechanical design is aimed at scalability. It has been built to size and weight specs that ensure seamless mounting.

Minimized Power Consumption

The primary focus of the product design has been on minimizing power consumption. When developing this solution, we considered its efficiency from a power perspective to deliver optical network availability and uptime. Due to this, the KONA PHOTON operates at under 3W. It is less than half the power consumption of comparable outdoor gateways on the market and in our portfolio.

Cutting-Edge Battery Technology

We have achieved these power savings by cooperating with the partner to develop custom high-capacity batteries that support a wide temperature range and over 10 years of lifespan. In direct sunlight, the KONA PHOTON can be fully charged in under 2 hours, and it will operate for 50 hours with a fully charged battery pack.

Remote Management and Monitoring

Our solution has been designed with remote management and monitoring in mind. In fact, operators can remotely manage gateway battery performance and discharge capacity. They are notified through alerts and alarms in the below-listed situations:

  • The remaining power is reaching a concerning level, which is configurable.
  • The snow, dust, debris, etc., is obstructing solar panels, affecting their performance.

KONA PHOTON’s Role for Smart Cities and ESG Initiatives

From a societal perspective, the deployment flexibility of the KONA PHOTON, along with the value it brings through local LoRaWAN® network deployment, enables straightforward and mutually beneficial partnerships with local municipalities. For example, the solution can be easily installed on streetlights and traffic lights, thus supporting Smart Cities initiatives.

With the current market’s strong focus on supporting ESG (environmental, social, and governance) initiatives through IoT technology, the KONA PHOTON, a fully autonomous solar-powered solution, presents an ideal option to bolster such projects.

Solar Panel Options for Solution Deployment

The KONA PHOTON offers solar panel options of 50W or 100W, which can be chosen based on deployment conditions, such as latitude or peak sun hours.

In designing this product, we performed a comprehensive analysis of solar uptime in different deployment locations around the world. This allowed us to ensure optimal network availability.

For instance, in a sunny city like Dubai, starting in 2017, when daily sunlight data began to be recorded, the KONA PHOTON would have never experienced a complete discharge.

On the other hand, in a challenging solar environment like the ever-cloud-covered city of Stockholm, it would experience 90% higher uptime compared to a similar product lacking the power efficiency features we have implemented. To illustrate, we tested the KONA PHOTON unit by deploying it on a rooftop in Calgary for over a year without any downtime.

Cost Savings with the KONA PHOTON

To achieve cost-efficiency with the KONA PHOTON, we took the following steps:

  • leveraged our industry expertise;
  • consulted with our network operator partners;
  • deployed the KONA PHOTON alongside a standard LoRaWAN® gateway;
  • carried out a thorough analysis of the projected cost savings.

During this process, we assumed a city with approximately 2 million people and 100 outdoor LoRaWAN® gateways deployed to cover this city. While the upfront costs of the KONA PHOTON may be slightly higher, cost savings become apparent immediately.

Setting up a standard gateway typically requires considerably more time and, consequently, more money to secure a suitable site location, including planning and installation agreements. Since most, if not all, standard gateways require deployment in areas with access to power and/or cable infrastructure, this process is significantly simplified thanks to the deployment flexibility of the KONA PHOTON. This even allows for the possibility of eliminating power costs altogether.

When it comes to ongoing operation expenses, the lease costs associated with tower deployments range from $500 to $1,000 per month, but they can go as high as $3,000 depending on factors like location, accessibility, ownership, and more. These expenditures in one year can exceed the original hardware costs by more than 10 times.

With the KONA PHOTON, these costs are either eliminated or significantly reduced:

  • It offers flexibility to deploy anywhere: on a private rooftop, a fencepost, etc.
  • Traditional networking infrastructure access is not strictly necessary.
  • Operators will also save on monthly power costs required to run the gateway.

Under these conditions, during the initial year of deploying the KONA PHOTON alongside a standard LoRaWAN® gateway, operators can achieve a 62% reduction in costs, even with higher upfront hardware expenses. The incremental cost savings increase to more than 80% over the course of the first 4 years, ultimately resulting in a total operator cost reduction of 75% within the first 5 years.

Furthermore, the KONA PHOTON’s remote management and monitoring tools help cut down on truck roll and site visit expenses.

Deployment Scenarios and Use Cases

While the KONA PHOTON was originally designed for wireless, zero-footprint deployment, it is not limited to remote or hard-to-reach environments. We envision the KONA PHOTON being deployed on top of public and private buildings, in municipal parks, university and college campuses, and various other smart city and building use cases, including:

  • Metering.
  • Smart lighting.
  • Waste management.
  • Urban agriculture.
  • Fleet management and tracking.

Smart agriculture is an ideal application for the KONA PHOTON, as farmers and commercial operators can easily deploy the gateway on their rooftops or anywhere across their property without the need for power infrastructure. This setup enables the establishment of the network for various purposes, such as:

  • Soil analytics and crop metrics.
  • Livestock tracking and health monitoring.
  • Asset tracking.
  • Smart irrigation.

The KONA PHOTON undoubtedly serves a crucial role in industrial work sites such as construction sites, mines, refineries, shipping docks, and storage yards, particularly in situations where a consistent power supply may not be readily available across the entire site. Here are some common use cases:

  • Asset tracking and anti-theft.
  • Equipment utilization monitoring.
  • Predictive maintenance.
  • Worker safety.

In conclusion, the KONA PHOTON is well-suited for remote deployments in various vertical markets. If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to contact us directly at

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