Soon, it will be possible for people in remote hilly and forest areas without satellite signal to access banking services, thanks to a new technology developed by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an arm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

``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,’‘ D. Janakiram, Director, IDRBT told BusinessLine.

Last mile connectivity

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.

Banks can use this as their own dedicated private network instead of using a third party network which are presently based either on satellite link or wired (fibre). ``As it can be owned by banks privately, there will be more security from cyber attacks. Apart from being a more secure platform, LoRa network also allows easy recoverability and upgradation. 

Cheaper technology

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. 

The cost of the LoRa financial network is estimated to be 20 per cent cheaper than alternative network technologies with an additional advantage of almost no maintenance and portability of devices. 

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. 

It is also in the process of filing a patent for LoRa based financial network as no one has used this platform in financial networks though is used in IoT related applications in some countries.