LoRa Alliance prepares to tackle Internet of Things with LPWAN

Don't look now, but there's at least one more industry group tackling the Internet of Things (IoT).

The LoRa Alliance sent invitations to media for a Jan. 7 information session during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where members of the alliance will be available to explain their mission.

"By guaranteeing interoperability and standardization of Low Power Wide Area Networks internationally, the Alliance will consolidate the fragmented wireless space and significantly improve the ROI, which will drive large scale volumes for IoT," the invitation states.

The founding members of this group include IBM, MicroChip, Cisco, Semtech, Bouygues Telecom, Singtel, KPN, Swisscom, Fastnet and Belgacom, among others, according to the invitation.

LoRa is Semtech's technology for the IoT. Semtech has been working with regional telecom companies and ecosystem partners to form the LoRa Alliance to promote interoperability between public networks and create an ecosystem of developers to expedite IoT connectivity.

At the Electronica 2014 trade show in Munich in November, Camarillo, Calif.-based Semtech partnered with IBM Research, Microchip and their distribution partners to demonstrate LoRa Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) over a majority of the Munich area. Semtech says the LoRa technology has a range greater than cellular at a fraction of the power requirements with the capacity to connect millions of nodes into a network deployment.

Semtec graphic
According to Semtech, one of the key features of LoRaMAC and the network server is adaptive data rate, which optimizes the network capacity, battery lifetime and creates a scalable system. (Image source: Semtech)

FastNet, a machine-to-machine (M2M) operator in South Africa and part of the Telkom SA Group, is using LoRa technology to target low power connectivity for IoT applications. LoRa end-node devices are in production and development kits, including the end-node LoRaMAC source code, are available from Semtech, Microchip and IMST.

Semtech is far from alone in its desire to form alliances to expedite the expansion of the IoT industry. More than a half-dozen initiatives have been launched to create market standards for IoT and to put the Internet of Things on par with the "Internet of Humans" in terms of wide-scale availability, ease of connection and compatibility across platforms in different industry sectors, according to IC Insights.

Assuming that IoT standards are developed in the next several years, web-connected things will account for 85 percent of nearly 29.5 billion Internet connections worldwide by 2020, according to IC Insights. By 2018, the market value of IoT subsystems in equipment and Internet-connected things is projected to reach $103.6 billion worldwide, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent from $39.8 billion in 2013.

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