The Actility Blog

In North America, LoRaWAN Technology Is A Major Sign Of ‘Smart Things’ To Come

Daytona car race picture

As global service providers increasingly lay the foundation for the Internet of Things (IoT), the spotlight is beginning to turn on the US and Canada. Companies like Comcast and Cisco are now accelerating the North American front by leveraging LoRaWAN technology. For businesses large and small who want in on the action, the race is on.

In June, representatives of over 500 companies gathered in Philadelphia, PA for the 8th LoRa Alliance All-Members Meeting. The event was hosted by Comcast, who recently joined the Alliance as a Sponsor member and also sits on the Board of Directors.

“Smart City” of Brotherly Love

Since October 2016, Comcast’s IoT service machineQ has launched Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) in 15 cities across the US for Smart City applications.

“We’ve seen excitement about a Comcast solution that is opening a whole new world of use cases that were previously not commercially viable due to the cost of connectivity and end devices, limited battery life, and inability to get coverage.”Alex Khorram, General Manager of machineQ

In a recent press release, Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable said: “Technologies such as LoRa are setting the stage for the era of connected devices, and we think our network potentially has a role to play in connecting the millions of internet-enabled devices deployed within enterprises.”

Such bold claims are not theoretical— large-scale rollouts of LoRaWAN networks have already occurred across dozens of countries in five continents with even more to come in EMEA and APAC regions. The sensors and connected devices built upon this technology enable businesses to create solutions for metering, monitoring, alerting, fault detection, and tracking to name a few.

Much lower TCO

In grasping the complete benefits of LoRaWAN, it’s important to see how it stacks up against IoT cellular networks. Essentially, Things are connected to license-free wireless spectrum offering:

  • Long distance coverage (many miles depending on the height of the gateway)
  • Low power consumption, which leads to longer lasting batteries (can be multiple years, even a decade or more in some instances)
  • Deep indoor/underground signal penetration
  • Easy implementation and operability in any environment

All of the LoRaWAN benefits result in a much lower total cost of ownership for an ever growing number of use cases.

As a LoRaWAN pioneer and founding member of the LoRa Alliance, Actility is working with customers and partners across the globe such as Orange, NTT and Inmarsat, developing compelling use cases and creating new business models.

Follow the ‘smart’ footprints

In Europe, national mobile operators were among the very first to invest and innovate with the LoRaWAN technology. Public and private smart city stakeholders are leveraging the technology for various use cases:

  • smart lighting on bike lanes (allowing for substantial energy savings for cities)
  • smart parking to reduce traffic congestion (improving retail activity)
  • smart waste management from collection to treatment and recycling (increasing efficiency and cost savings)
  • tracking (expected to be one of the killer applications for IoT)

Building on the LoRa Alliance momentum last June, Actility and Comcast co-sponsored the machineQ SmartCity Hackathon in Philadelphia.

Another highlight for IoT in North America this month was Cisco Live Las Vegas where our strategic partner and investor, Cisco, continues to drive the next phase of the North American IoT revolution. After all, if LoRaWAN boosts businesses in agriculture, transportation, waste management, connected building, parking, and other compelling use cases around the world, why not in the US and Canada?

The short answer is: it already is, and if you want to get a jump-start on upcoming opportunities, the time is now!

As Actility’s Head of Sales for this region, I’d be happy to answer any question, and fill you in on LPWAN technologies and Actility. 

Contact Mark Ewen