LoRa Alliance® FAQs
The members of the LoRa Alliance® believe that the time of the Internet of Things is now and that standardization and a strong, growing ecosystem is the only way drive volume deployments for low power wide area (LPWA) networks .These LPWA networks are projected to connect 50% of the predicted IoT volumes. The LoRa Alliance® is standardizing LPWA with the LoRaWAN® specification and has created a certification and compliance program to ensure interoperability. LoRaWAN® end-devices will be able to be deployed in multiple networks and roam from one network to another irrespective of network infrastructure or operator.
The LoRa Alliance® is the fastest growing technology Alliance; we already more than 500 members and have been operational since the end of March 2015. The members include technology leaders such as IBM, Cisco, HP, Foxconn, Semtech and Sagemcom as well as the leading product companies such as Schneider, Bosch, Diehl, and Mueller and many SME’s and Startup companies all adding significant value to the fast growing LoRaWAN® ecosystem. Our members also include the largest mobile network operators who are deploying public networks using the technology.
The primary goal of the LoRa Alliance® is to standardize LPWAN and through standardization enable large scale volume IoT deployments. The LoRaWAN® ecosystem will enable product availability, the LoRaWAN® Certification Program will ensure interoperability and both are due to our members collaborating together on the LoRaWAN® standard.
Network operator agrees that they can only connect 10-15% of the predicted volume of IoT devices with classic (licensed bands) cellular technologies. WiFi and BT Smart serve some applications well, but clearly you are not going to connect moisture sensors for agriculture with WiFi. LPWA, with the inherent long range and low power characteristics will be the ‘go-to’ technology for IoT applications where remote locations, easy deployment, thousands of connections per gateway and long battery life are required.
The main IoT applications for LPWA technology need a long battery life to enable ‘fit and forget’ or disposable end devices, a low cost sensor or end-device BOM, and long range connectivity.
The applications where LPWAN’s are applicable is endless, but if you look at the main applications driving the current network deployments it is intelligent building, supply chain, Smart City and agriculture. In intelligent building the main value driver is in insurance premiums and servicing. In cold regions a broken water pipe has an approximate insurance claim of $50K so insurance companies offer a premium discount if a building management solution is utilized. Having sensors know if the building or room was used can have significant reductions in service management and related expenses. In supply chain any application that has a delivery or pick-up with associated inventory can have huge savings in inventory management and delivery route optimization. A smart trash monitoring solution reduces pick-ups by 40%. In agriculture the needs are driven by growing food demands whereas 80% percent of water usage is by agriculture and the value of crops is extremely high so there is value in having sensors to determine water usage, health of soil/crop, etc. Accurate irrigation and soil monitoring translates into significant cost savings in resource usage and improved profit with improved yields. See our guides to LoRaWAN® and LPWA <https://www.lora-alliance.org/lorawan-white-papers>
There are some technical differences between LoRaWAN® and alternative LPWA technologies which enable a much broader set of applications to be addressed from a bi-directional connectivity, adaptive data rate and end point class perspective but the key differentiator is the ecosystem, the Certification Program and standardization. If you look at successful technology adoption over the past 10 years all have followed this model. Having different business models, competition, and a diverse ecosystem with industry leaders is the only way to scale volume and deployments. An open standard is also a proven strategy to get acceptance and wide deployment versus proprietary technology, the choice of the various network components; gateways, end devices, cloud network servers along with chips, development kits and end products from many different suppliers offers a low risk strategy for potential operators or end users.
Last but not least LoRaWAN® protects data and privacy like no other LPWA, it is the most secure solution available in the market with 128AES encryption on multiple levels for all data from sensor to application server and back.
LoRaWAN® is a compliment to the LTE variations and serves different application segments. They are not competing for the same applications. Operators are deploying networks now in the unlicensed band because they have the supporting business cases now, and 3GPP standardization is still a few years away. If you look five years down the road there will be LPWA solutions in the licensed and unlicensed bands. The operators will offer services in cellular M2M, licensed band LPWA, and unlicensed band LPWA and price segment the different categories with the quality of service (QoS) to maximize revenue and licensed band usage.
KPN, Proximus, Swisscom, Orange, Bouygues, Lace, Senet, Fastnet, SKT, Telstra, Tata, and many more major have all announcement nationwide deployments of networks. Individual schedules should be confirmed with the local operators. The global footprint of LoRaWAN networks is significant. Search our coverage map to find Operators within each geographical region.
The LoRa Alliance® does not propose pricing; this should be discussed directly with the LoRa Alliance® members or the solutions providers.
There is no technical barrier to operating a LoRaWAN® private solution in a licensed band but to be included as part of the LoRa Alliance® it would need to be proposed and accepted in the Alliance Committees.
From an Alliance perspective we want to see as many radio chip suppliers as possible. Microcontroller suppliers Microchip, ST Microelectronics and Renesas have publicly announced intentions to adopt LoRa radio technology. There will also likely be other semiconductor companies offering solutions in the near future.