LoRaWAN

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Summary of LoRaWAN

LoRaWAN is a low power and long range transmission system. LoRaWAN is designed for specific uses, such as the Internet of Things and other management interfaces. Below we will discuss LoRaWAN, its use cases, and future developments in more depth.

High-level Summary

LoRa is a low-level interface that converts information into a radio signal and transmits that signal. The system was designed by Semtech and is licensed to other manufacturers. LoRaWAN is a system that uses LoRa as a one-to-many or point-to-multipoint connection. This is a type of connection where one node has paths to multiple other endpoints such as via broadcasting.

LoRaWAN allows one node to communicate with many different endpoints or gateways. The endpoints may all receive the transmission or only some may receive it. Any endpoints that receive the transmission uploads it to a central repository (such as cloud servers). This redundancy allows data to be transmitted and received even if the signal is very weak. Any endpoints that receive the transmission may submit the data and higher level interfaces understand how to handle the redundant submissions.

LoRaWAN is an asynchronous system built on redundancy rather than checks. In other words, LoRaWAN gateways do not send acknowledgments that data was received. The entire LoRaWAN infrastructure may be configured to send acknowledgments for received data, but if a gateway is sending an acknowledgment it is not receiving data and thus may miss transmissions.

Use Cases

LoRaWAN is a system with many trade offs as well as many benefits.. The system is designed for nodes to transmit to all gateways within range. Nodes and gateways are not "smart," meaning that their configurations are handled elsewhere. Essentially, nodes and gateways are workers for central repositories that receive the information. LoRaWAN is a system where missing large chunks of the data is deemed perfectly fine. As long as some data is received, the system is functioning appropriately. Note that this not mean that LoRaWAN is designed around consistently missing a large amount of data. It only means that missing large chunks of data for a period of time is acceptable.

With this is mind, we can discuss the main use cases for LoRaWAN. LoRaWAN is useful for Internet of Things systems in large scale infrastructures, such as cities. In cities, smart devices that gather a wide range of metrics may send data back to a central hub constantly. LoRaWAN's long range and low power abilities means that data and metrics could be continuously sent and received cheaply. Waste management, smart lighting, pollution tracking, parking management, farming, and logistics, are all examples of LoRaWAN uses.

Future

LoRaWAN is currently deployed in smart cities as well as industrial settings. The future of LoRaWAN, however, is in the home. IoT is increasingly becoming popular for home applications. Smart versions of household devices such as refrigerators, pet trackers, smoke alarms, security systems, thermometers, and others are increasingly being developed and released. These devices usually use WiFi which was not designed with IoT in mind. LoRaWAN's long range, low power, and security features make it an excellent candidate for IoT for the home.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Prominent Uses of LoRaWAN

Three prominent uses of LoRaWAN are for creating smart cities, asset tracking, and animal tracking. Indications of the prominence of these uses are that several cities in the US are becoming smart cities due to the adoption of LoRaWAN technology, and majority of industries in the US require asset tracking services built on top of LoRaWAN's core network services. Also, with the rise of cattle theft in the US and globally, the technology's long-range, low-power capabilities allow ranchers to track cattle herds in real-time.

METHODOLOGY

We kicked off our search by looking for uses of LoRaWAN via industry-related sources such as Enterprise IoT Insights, Advantech, IoT Times, and Network World hoping to find any information on the prominent uses of LoRaWAN in the US since such information is best covered in tech-focused sites. Thus, we opted to look at them as prima facie. We found an article that discussed LoRaWAN technology along with its uses.

We then searched for more information on some prominent uses of LoRaWAN via the websites of IoT-based companies such as Senet, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., and Semtech Corporation. All the companies defined the applications of LoRaWAN technology in various areas along with its prominent uses. The uses were corroborated by additional sources, confirming that they are the most prominent.

PROMINENT USES OF LORAWAN

1. LORAWAN'S IOT SENSOR NODE SOLUTIONS FOR SMART CITIES

LoRaWAN is created for broad-range, low-power communications and smart city applications benefit from wireless battery operated things that secure bi-directional communication, localization service, and mobility. Semtech, the California-based semiconductor and software company, announced that Comcast's enterprise IoT network service, MachineQ, has connected operational LoRaWAN networks to ten cities in the US including San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Boston, and Washington DC. Also, in collaboration with Semtech, Cypress Semiconductor introduced a compact, two-chip LoRaWAN-based module which is well-suited for smart city applications that integrate multiple sensors and are in harsh radio environments.

WHY IT IS PROMINENT

It is prominent because LoRaWAN networks enable a large variety of vertical solutions allowing service providers to use one platform and standard to manage various use cases in smart cities. With the adoption of LoRaWAN technology, several cities in the US are becoming smart cities. Also, based on projections, between 2017 and 2026, IoT technology revenues across 12 key smart city technologies and verticals, such as metering, parking, and street lighting will grow from around $25 billion to $62 billion at an average growth rate of 11%.

2. USE OF LORAWAN FOR ASSET TRACKING

Lorawan Technology is being used for asset tracking. The GPS chips provide port authorities and transportation companies with a powerful and cost-effective tool for asset tracking and location within ports or storage facilities. For example, Senet, a US-based company, provides asset tracking services derived from the LoRaWAN's core network services. Also, Cisco, uses LoRaWAN for asset tracking which can help prevent thefts, retrieve stolen assets and ensure the efficient use of assets. LoRaWAN sensors are used to track assets like copper spools to restrict them to specific locations, as well as monitoring the where waste bins are to know when they are full, thereby increasing the efficiency of garbage collection.

WHY IT IS PROMINENT

LoRaWAN's characteristics such as long battery life, mobility, low cost, multi-function sensors, and flexible geo-location technology, makes it ideal for asset tracking. One of the primary use cases of IOT is the use of sensors, tags and other wireless technologies to track assets and goods. It is used for tracking shipping containers, pallet tracking in cold storage, inventory tracking in the industrial/manufacturing industry, inventory management, equipment tracking, as well as worker and patient safety in the hospitality industry. All these examples depict that asset tracking services built on top of LoRaWAN's core network services are required for the majority of sectors in the US. Moreover, sensors using LoRaWAN are more cost-effective as a separate GPS subsystem is not required. They consume only a fraction of the power, with batteries lasting years. As a result, sensing and asset tracking become more cost-effective with LoRaWAN.

3. USE OF LORAWAN FOR ANIMAL TRACKING

Wild animals are regularly tracked for health, scientific, or security purposes. Thus, to limit human interference, the sensors' batteries need to last for several months. LoRaWAN network allows authorities to locate animals in huge areas without resorting to GPS. It more accurately estimates the animal's position. For example, the sensors using Semtech's LoRa technology relay an animal's position to the rancher and sends alerts when the animal deviates from its typical path allowing ranchers to track their livestock better.

WHY IT IS PROMINENT

Cattle theft is on the rise in the US and globally. Semtech's LoRa Technology can track cattle herds in real-time. The technology's long-range, low-power capabilities allow customers to create use case applications that maintain optimal security for data and location.

Part
03
of three
Part
03

LoRaWAN Investments

LoRaWAN or long-range wireless network protocol has various uses and applications in several industries in the U.S. On that note several investment opportunities arise regarding the application of this technology. Importantly, LoRaWAN has broad applications in the healthcare sector, smart buildings, and even asset tracking and management data. The findings are elaborated below including the research methodology on the searches leading to information on LoRaWAN investment opportunities in the U.S.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

In finding information on what investment opportunities exist in LoRaWAN, we started by examining relevant data on business and investments databases, especially those that feature data regarding networking technology. The focus was on reputable and authoritative databases; industry publications; and trusted business-related researches, reviews, and news. As dictated by the research criteria, the scope was narrowed to focus on only investment opportunities confined within the U.S. borders. On that note, our search yielded the five investment opportunities elaborated below. For each opportunity, we have included a reason why it was selected including the organizations involved.

1. LOCATION TRACKING AND ROAMING

Senet, a leading provider of cloud-based software along with TrackNet, Inc., a renowned LoRaWAN Internet of Things (IoT) solutions vendor implemented interoperability of location tracking and roaming services using TrackNet’s Tabs consumer solution. The program system runs over Senet’s public LPWAN (low power wide area network) in Las Vegas. The inclusion of this investment opportunity on this list follows the fact that it is the first implementation based on the most recent released version of LoRaWAN and the first large-scale roaming investment using LoRaWAN. Additionally, this implementation eases the interoperability of LoRaWAN and IoT network solutions across the U.S.

2. BUSINESS’ ASSETS MONITORING, LOCATION-BASED TRACKING OF PATIENTS AND SUPPORTING WATER UTILITIES

MachineQ, Comcast’s enterprise IoT division provides LoRaWAN in over 10 U.S. cities. The technology is used primarily to help businesses and individuals to monitor business assets at airports, seaports and in cities. MachineQ uses LoRaWAN to also track dementia patients for caregivers and supports software and hardware suppliers of water utilities. MachineQ has deployed the solution in Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington, D.C. through Semtech’s LoRA tools and wireless RF capabilities. Various factors contributed to the inclusion of this investment opportunity on the list. First, it helps in deploying LoRaWAN-based access across multiple cities in the U.S. to enable businesses in different industries to bring IoT solutions to market faster. Moreover, it helps IoT solution providers and end users to deploy a low-power, wide-area connectivity option.

3. AGGREGATIONG OF SMART CITY, AGRICULTURE, INDUSTRY, HOME/OFFICE, ASSET TRACKING AND MANAGEMENT DATA

Multi-Tech Systems Inc., a developer of M2M and IoT communication solutions along with OrbiWise, a leader in the LoRaWAN network server (LNS) business announced investments in LoRaWAN gateway and LNS product offering. The technology would be deployed globally and is meant for global applications in the (IoT) industry. The investment opportunity was added to the list since it acts as the aggregating point for several sensor and actuator devices that can be deployed in smart cities, the agriculture industry, home/office, and in asset tracking and management sectors. Furthermore, the unified offering aggregates both the gateway and LNS into an integrated and thoroughly tested solution; therefore, users can install the technology and run a LoRaWAN network instantly.

4. NETWORK OPERATOR MANAGED SERVICES FOR IOT

"Managed Services for IoT (MNSi) is a cloud-based “turn-key” M2M network" solution that allows network and connectivity providers to quickly deploy LoRaWAN services on their physical assets including towers and buildings to provide low-power wide area network connectivity to customers. The investment opportunity was included on the list because the technology supports network and connectivity operators to deploy and manage the LoRaWAN radio access network via Senet’s network server and OSS/BSS functionality. The functionality helps businesses to onboard new customers, boost business engagements, minimize resource requirements and cost, and facilitate go-to-market strategies.

5. SMART CITY SOLUTIONS AND TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Silicon Valley-based Semtech joined the Smart Cities Council and participated in Smart Cities week following the growing popularity of Smart cities initiatives characterized by increasing deployment of wide area networks by government agencies and municipalities. These extended deployments seek to gather data and process and analyze it via advanced applications and cloud-based or enterprise-based systems. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of transportation invested $165 million in smart city solutions to ease traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety. On that note, LoRaWAN has an opportunity to participate in these investment opportunities because they seek to improve workability, livability, sustainability; alter how cities, governments, and citizens interact; help to implement smart city initiatives; ease traffic congestion.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Some of the cities in which LoRaWAN networks are now available include Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Miami and Washington D.C"
  • "California-based semiconductor and software company Semtech announced that Comcast’s enterprise internet of things network service MachineQ has connected operational LoRaWAN networks to 10 U.S. cities."
  • "As we continue to deploy LoRaWAN-based access to cities across the U.S., we are enabling businesses across a wide range of industries to bring IoT solutions to market faster, which is good for the ecosystem as a whole,” said Alex Khorram, general manager of Comcast’s machineQ, in a statement."
  • "In the last year, the increasing number of IoT use cases has rapidly grown and machineQ’s optimized LoRaWAN network drives even more diverse applications and IoT adoption,” said Marc Pegulu, VP and GM for Semtech’s wireless and sensing products group"
Quotes
  • "LoRaWAN is designed for wide range, low power communications, and smart city applications benefit from wireless battery operated things and secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localization service."
Quotes
  • "In collaboration with Semtech, Cypress Semiconductor has brought to market a compact, two-chip LoRaWAN-based module deployed by Onethinx."
  • "Naturally, security is a primary concern for many smart city applications. What’s good about the Onethinx module is that it utilizes the integrated Secure Element functionality in the PSoC 6 MCU to give each LoRaWAN-based device a secret identity to securely boot, on-board, and deliver data to the cloud application."
Quotes
  • "CISCO, the US based company has the ability to track the location of things like copper spools, garbage bins etc., also called ‘Asset Tracking’ is important. Tracking the location of assets can help prevent thefts, retrieve stolen assets and make sure assets are used efficiently"
  • "By installing location sensors for assets like copper spools to geo-fence them, i.e. restrict them to a certain location or site. Or by using sensors that transmit the location of waste bins which are full, to make garbage collection more efficient. This makes sensors using GPS suboptimal for usage in large scale, city wide IoT applications"
Quotes
  • "Using sensors, tags and other wireless technologies to track assets and goods is one of the fundamental use cases for the Internet of Things. It is also one of the most impactful, with trillions of dollars of economic value to be generated by asset supply and usage. LoRaWAN provides the ideal characteristics for asset tracking."
Quotes
  • "Senet’s evolution began in 2009 with low-cost fuel oil tank sensors communicating over the unlicensed airwaves to optimize delivery routes. The company now operates a general purpose LoRaWAN IoT network that covers one-fortieth of the United States"
  • "LoRaWAN is an implementation of low-power, wide-area networks designed to transmit small messages at a frequency of about one an hour. It serves about 55 percent of IoT WAN connectivity"
  • "LoRaWan seems to be following a similar model because it is pushing forward against the constraints limiting the IoT."
  • "Though network components need to meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification standards, LoRaWAN uses unlicensed radio spectrum, alleviating network operators from large investments in acquiring blocks of radio spectrum from the FCC."
Quotes
  • "Semtech Corporation announced that Chipsafer, a start-up focused on Internet of Things (IoT) services for cattle management, used Semtech’s LoRa® devices and wireless RF technology (LoRa Technology) to develop its ranching solutions platform"
  • "Chipsafer sensors use LoRaWAN-based gateways and the LoRaWAN™ protocol to relay data from livestock sensors, including body temperature, local humidity and geolocation"