LoRa, NB-IoT Tussle in the LPWAN IoT Arena
Despite the advent of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), there are still many carriers around the world supporting the LoRa (long range) protocol for low-power wide-area network (LPWANs) applications like trash-level and water sensors.
The LoRa Alliance says that there were more than 100 public and private LoRa networks deployed worldwide as of January 2019. Amongst the biggest LoRa supporters are Orange in Europe and Comcast in the US.
Comcast said it is deploying LoRa in the Universal Parks and Resorts in Orlando to "quickly test and launch IoT projects designed to increase operational efficiency in the park." LoRa will be used to monitor temperature, monitor energy consumption and track assets across the parks.
"I think it's going to be clearly obvious to everybody that LoRa will become the de facto standard for LPWAN," said Mohan Maheswaran, CEO of Semtech, which supplies Comcast with its LoRa technology, on the company's Q2 earnings call on August 28.
"We are now expecting our LoRa-enabled revenues to come in between $80 million and $100 million" during Semtech's 2020 fiscal year, said Maheswaran, although he warned of "soft demand from China."
In contrast, the GSMA claims 119 commercial launches of NB-IoT and Cat-M LTE technology as of August 2019. Most of these are NB-IoT deployments, with T-Mobile and Vodafone being amongst the main players.
In the US, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have switched on NB-IoT. So far, however, only T-Mobile has started any commercial deployments on NB-IoT.
It's early days yet for LPWAN IoT network technology. NB-IoT has been expected to become a standard but LoRa -- and even Sigfox -- are still being used for low-power IoT applications.
The potential for growth, however, appears to be massive. The LPWAN market is expected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2018 to $65.5 billion in 2025, according to a March 2019 report from Global Market Insights.
- Universal Parks Taps Into MachineQ's IoT Platform
- The Long Road to 5G IoT Reality
- NB-IoT Gains Early Commercial Traction in the US
- Putting a Sigfox in Canada's IoT Henhouse
- Comcast's MachineQ Shifts Gears
- NB-IoT: Where Trash Can Become Treasure
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading