Machina Research: 'At least one' major LPWA technology to fall by wayside in 2016

Machina Research said it expects to see "quite a shaking out" of the low power wide area (LPWA) space in 2016, with at least one of the major LPWA technologies today effectively "rendered redundant" in 2016.

The research company, which specialises in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT), said it would expect to see no more than two mainstream nationwide deployments of non-3GPP LPWA networks per country, "which will limit opportunities".

"But that doesn't mean that there will be fewer options," the company added. "If anything there will more fragmentation rather than less, with more technology options. However, it will become clearer which technology options best match different application types in different territories. At least half a dozen dedicated non-3GPP LPWA network technologies will be deployed in multiple countries."

So-called LPWA networks are expected to play an important role in connecting a range of devices that need to be low mobility, low power and low cost.

Machina Research groups emerging technologies such as LoRa, Sigfox, Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M under LPWA and has previously said it expects 2016 to be a critical year for defining LPWA networks and IoT connectivity. NB-IoT and LTE-M are also classified as "cellular-based" LPWA and are the subject of standardisation work at 3GPP.

Other predictions from the company for IoT in 2016 include the expectation that Vodafone will buy a systems integrator and a systems integrator will buy a major platform player.

Machina Research said having the capacity for "SI-style customisation" will become critical for any company serious about delivering IoT services directly to enterprise customers, and said some will be looking to acquire this expertise.

"Vodafone is an obvious potential example here as it has some funds, has no fear of acquisition to bolster its enterprise offering (which is its strategic growth centre), and currently has no SI capability. We've seen a bit of M&A activity by Vodafone in the IoT space to date but it's generally been modest in ambition. We expect a lot more. And our expectation as a target: Tech Mahindra or Wipro would be decent bets," the research company said.

For more:
- see the Machina Research IoT predictions for 2016

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