Next year critical for defining the future of LPWA networks and IoT connectivity

Aapo Markkanen, principal analyst, Machina
Research

Machina Research has published a strategy report discussing the market for Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks. These networks will play a decisive role in the enablement of IoT applications, but as a technology market they are characterized by complex and possibly persistent fragmentation.Having actively tracked the evolution of LPWA networks ever since they started emerging around 5 years ago, Machina Research has now published an extensive Strategy Report on their current state and expected future scenarios. The year of 2015 has seen a growing momentum for what is known as “dedicated” LPWA, which includes the new purposely developed alternatives from players such as Ingenu, LoRa Alliance, and Sigfox.

Meanwhile, the ongoing standardisation work within 3GPP, covering the LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT initiatives, is paving the way for the arrival of “cellular-based” LPWA. The new cellular standards are scheduled to be finalized in 2016, and much about this market’s future depends on how successfully the likes of Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm will be able to co-operate on them. Following a careful assessment of the key factors, Machina Research predicts that the future scenarios characterised by increasing fragmentation are likelier than the ones involving the consolidation of technologies.

The report author, principal analyst Aapo Markkanen commented: “While it is true that today’s cellular ecosystem remains reasonably well-placed to take advantage of the benefits of incumbency, it would be unwise to collectively write the dedicated form of LPWA off as a technology fad, or a ‘new WiMAX’. After all, these are the technologies that are empowering enterprises’ IoT strategies already right now – and not in two or three years’ time.”

He also added: “Considering how profound the IoT’s impact will be across industry verticals, it is not necessarily prudent to advise an inevitably affected enterprise to wait another ‘couple of years’ because a potentially more promising technology option is just round the corner. Those couple of years might be the difference between disrupting and being disrupted.”

To manage the current level of uncertainty over network roll-outs and technologies’ real-life performance, Machina Research, for example, recommends enterprises to build their deployments on the premise of a “minimum viable lifespan”, rather than simply trying to maximize their longevity from the outset. This means that a system that would ideally be designed to run for, say, 10 years unchanged is instead planned for 6-7 years. Even if the 10-year timeframe would bring a better direct ROI, it is assumed that the gains of upgrading the system’s hardware and/or software elements after the year 6 or 7 will more than offset the costs of an early replacement. Aiming for the highest lifespan that is technically possible makes sense only if the outlook for the relevant hardware and software markets is stable – which in today’s IoT typically is not the case.

Machina Research’s new Strategy Report ‘LPWA: Disruptive new networks for IoT’ has three main sections. The first one includes an updated definition of LPWA – explaining what it actually is in the form of the defining criteria and additional characteristics. The second section of the report provides a descriptive analysis of the most significant LPWA technologies and the ecosystem that supports them. The report’s third section consists of commentary on a number of market issues that are currently subject to a level of confusion, and that in Machina Research’s view warrant clarifying commentary. Finally, the report will end with the conclusions of the analysis, and recommendations that Machina Research has for various parts of the ecosystem.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @M2MNow OR @jcm2m

RECENT ARTICLES

Ericsson, Thales launches IoT accelerator device connect with eSIMs for enterprises

Posted on: December 2, 2022

Ericsson’s Internet of Things (IoT) business, in partnership with Thales, launches IoT Accelerator Device Connect, a service offering generic eSIMs unbundled from pre-selected Service Providers. For the first time, enterprises have the flexibility to select one or more Service Providers easily and instantly at the time of device activation. This new business model dramatically accelerates

Read more

Airtel Business wins IoT solution mandate for Smart Meters from TPWODL

Posted on: December 2, 2022

Burla, Odisha, 29 November 2022 – Bharti Airtel (Airtel), India’s communications solutions provider has announced that it has won a cellular IoT solution mandate with TP Western Odisha Distribution Limited, (TPWODL), a Joint venture between Government of Odisha and Tata Power. The mandate will see Airtel power 200,000 Smart Meters with IoT solution, of which 70,000

Read more
FEATURED IoT STORIES

The IoT Adoption Boom – Everything You Need to Know

Posted on: September 28, 2022

In an age when we seem to go through technology boom after technology boom, it’s hard to imagine one sticking out. However, IoT adoption, or the Internet of Things adoption, is leading the charge to dominate the next decade’s discussion around business IT. Below, we’ll discuss the current boom, what’s driving it, where it’s going,

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more