Actility: As you’re joining the Alliance, where does it stand? How do you see its achievements so far?
Donna Moore: Let’s start with a warm thank you: Actility has been a very strong presence within the Alliance!
To answer your question, I’m so excited to take this role and be in a position to work with the board and members. If you look at the lifecycle of alliances, the LoRa Alliance is far ahead: it has reached 500 members within only three years and has so many real-world use cases and implementations! Now, we’re at a point where end users are achieving ROI, cost savings, and operational efficiencies. It’s phenomenal to see all of this happening so quickly. A lot of this has to do with the diverse ecosystem within the Alliance and its size.
“If you look at the history of IoT, it’s very complex to implement true Internet of Things where all devices are connecting and sharing data and ability to create meaningful change.”
Each member brings something very specific to the ecosystem, and implementations are taking place all over the world. That’s really unheard of!
Actility: How do you assess the LoRaWAN footprint today? Are cultural differences impacting adoption and implementation?
Donna Moore: We are a global alliance that focuses on understanding regional differences.
“What differs from one region to another, for example, are government agencies and implementations.”
As a matter of fact, I get emails every day from members all around the world telling me about their new implementations and new verticals. We do have regional vice presidents that report to the board and deal with regional government agencies to oversee implementations. As we move forward, our priority is both to support LoRa Alliance members as a whole on a global basis, but also regionally. We’re seeing a lot of regional requests for support from the LoRa Alliance for regional engagement, but it’s everywhere: Asia, Europe, North America, and most recently South Africa, Oman in the Middle-East… it’s really worldwide!
Actility: What is your strategic direction for the Alliance?
Donna Moore: I want to continue building on this exceptional momentum! We want to stay open to other verticals as well as to the needs of the market. The board is working on a strategic roadmap for the Alliance as well as a technical roadmap. As an Alliance, our top three areas of focus are:
Prioritization: there’s so much going on at the moment in the Alliance, so the board is very keen to prioritize and execute;
Strategic alliances: no single organization can capture the IoT market, it really is about partnerships and ecosystem development. For IoT to succeed, these partnerships are needed to create, develop and expand the market.
Certification: Based on my strong certification background with the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), I know that it is key to ensuring interoperability, particularly as devices scale to the billions. As LoRa Alliance members see their devices enter the market, we need to have a strong certification program to ensure devices are manufactured to the LoRaWAN specification.
“What I love about IoT is that it works globally and truly does require collaboration with many partners. That’s one of the key reasons why the LoRa Alliance has been so successful so quickly.”
Actility: Talking about the DLNA, what are the key takeaways you bring from the DLNA Alliance on the lifecycle and challenges of alliances?
Donna Moore: DLNA was the first IoT group to achieve success. It started in 2003 and has now over 4 billion devices in the market. The alliance achieved its goals in terms of developing the specification, and even today its certification program is still running through a third-party.
“I bring to the LoRa Alliance the experience of successfully leading an alliance through its full lifecycle and achieving worldwide market adoption in the IoT, backed by a solid certification program.”
Actility: What do you think of the multiple certification layers (LoRa Alliance, MNO, technology provider…) today available for the LoRaWAN technology?
Donna Moore: Well, there are a lot of layers of certifications and it can be confusing for device and sensor developers. My personal experience is that when you have several layers to go through, it can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming. My goal is to look for a way to make the LoRa Alliance the single body that meets all the needs of this ecosystem.
“Because LoRaWAN sensors are inexpensive and developers are often startups or mid-market companies, they struggle to pay for extensive certification. We are currently evaluating our certification program to find the right balance of testing, pricing, and outcome.”
Actility: You’re the first female leader of the Alliance, how you see diversity and female representation in tech evolving?
Donna Moore: First of all, it’s an honor to be the first CEO and chairwoman! Fundamentally, my nomination means that the Alliance understands the importance of diversity, which encompasses experience, education, leadership, problem-solving… Because of my background, I bring another viewpoint in IoT to the LoRa Alliance.
“I’m able to put myself in the shoes of the end-user and think about the alliance and technology from a business perspective, which helps to understand what it means when it’s implemented in the real world.”
To take a concrete example, in the DLNA everything was technically complex. DLNA was primarily for home networks. In its early stage, you had to be a technical person to understand this technology. The role of diversity, in this case, was to help make things easier for consumers at home who were not necessarily early adopters. Now the good thing about LoRaWAN is that it is so easy to understand, this is a big part of why this technology is being adopted so quickly! An end user doesn’t have to be an expert to understand how to get all of the devices to work together and communicate, they’re able to simply experience the value.
Actility: It’s great to see how positive you are about LoRaWAN and the Alliance! What do you say to people who argue that IoT market is not taking up as fast as it should? How do you reassure the Alliance members about business expectations? Why do so many users start to pilots?
Donna Moore: Everything you just mentioned is right. If we look at the IoT when it first came on the radar, everyone was very excited, there was a lot of hype, but after a few years, the industry started to wonder about the ROI, the ecosystem wonders why adoption isn’t picking up as fast as they expected…. It’s absolutely normal at this stage of its development. The reality is that within the LoRa Alliance, there are a lot of implementations taking place, with a lot of activity taking place outside of the limelight.
“This is how you get to the next stage, which is the hockey stick: large companies start rolling out and you begin to see massive adoption.”
Take Comcast’s Machine Q announcing a major roll-out in 30 cities in the US. What you have to remember is that our current phase is all part of the technology life cycle. The LoRa Alliance is in a strong position and our members will soon reap the benefits of broad market adoption and scale far beyond the uses cases that have been demonstrated to date.