Using a new technology developed by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an arm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), people in remote hilly and forest areas will soon be able to access banking services.

D. Janakiram, Director IDRBT said, “We have created a new dedicated low cost financial network that can be used privately by banks to send encrypted texts to conduct financial transactions. We are the first in the world to develop this network based on LoRa (Long Range Radio) technology.”

LoRa technology is a wireless modulation technique in the physical layer, allowing long-range communication using chirp spread spectrum. LoRa technology uses dedicated radios, which are not usually present in end-user devices, limiting interferences from other devices.

The banks will be able to use this as their own dedicated private network instead of having to use a third party network, which is currently either a satellite link or a wired Internet connection (fiber) network. As it can be owned by banks privately, there will be more security from cyber attacks. In addition to being a more secure platform, LoRa networks allow for easy recovery and upgrade.

The last mile connectivity of the banking system can be expanded with the LoRa financial network. “Connectivity to can begin from where the last branch of a bank stands in a remote village or hilly region by using this. A 30 mile connectivity to ensure bank transactions can be achieved with setting up of three nodes with a cost of ₹30,000. We can go on extending this by adding more nodes at every 30 mile point,” he said.

LoRa financial networks are estimated to be 20 percent cheaper than alternative network technologies, with the additional benefit of almost no maintenance and device portability.

“The institute had successfully conducted a pilot to prove the technology by connecting two of its campuses in the city. It is now talking to some bank partners to introduce them in some villages. Our target is to have it formally rolled out by the end of this year,” Janakiram said.

Further, the company is in the process of filing a patent for a LoRa based financial network. This platform has never been used in financial networks, but it has been used in IoT applications in some countries.

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