It might not come as a huge surprise, but a recent report by market research firm ON World affirms what many are observing: The industrial Internet of Things is getting a big boost by the adoption of wireless sensor network (WSN) technologies, including Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies like LoRa, Sigfox, LTE-M1 and NB1.
The research firm says short-range wireless mesh technologies such as WirelessHART and ISA100.11a as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and proprietary solutions will make up the majority of the market over the next five years but adoption of LPWAN technologies such as LoRa, Sigfox, LTE-M1 and NB1 will increase even faster.
Overall, wireless sensing, tracking and control equipment, and associated services will reach $35 billion over the next five years for industrial automation, agriculture, construction and related markets, the research firm says.
"Today's WSN and associated cloud technologies provide the key elements for the industrial IoT: multi-year battery-powered wireless nodes, IP addressability, fieldbus tunneling and cloud-based provisioning and management systems," Mareca Hatler, ON World's research director, said in a press release.
ON World's latest survey on WSN and IoT involved more than 180 industrial automation professionals and was done in collaboration with the International Society of Automation (ISA).
The survey found a strong awareness and early adoption of LPWAN solutions, which are disrupting industrial IoT markets with cloud-connected, 10-year battery-powered wireless sensors and asset trackers that can communicate up to 20 miles. Two in 5 of the survey respondents are researching or developing LPWAN solutions.
The non-cellular LPWAN companies are competing with—and sometimes seen as complementary to—standards-based technologies that wireless operators are rolling out. Both Verizon and rival AT&T have described Cat M as a game-changer for the industry, enabling sensors and devices requiring lower throughput, longer battery life and better power efficiency than current IoT solutions. Use cases include vehicle telematics, asset tracking and wearables.
Meanwhile, Comcast, the nation’s second-largest multiple system operator (MSO), announced plans last year to partner with Semtech on a trial of LoRa technology in an effort to provide IoT offerings to businesses. The trials will focus on uses such as utility metering, environmental monitoring and asset tracking.