LoRa Alliance Annual Report Validates IoT LPWAN Market Progress with More to Come
by Ron Westfall | February 13, 2023

The News: The LoRa Alliance, the global association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN standard for the Internet of things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) issued its 2022 End-of-Year Report. The report highlights LoRa Alliance achievements as well as LoRaWAN adoption, technology, and certification advancements over the past year. Read the LoRa Alliance Press Release here.

LoRa Alliance Annual Report Validates IoT LPWAN Market Progress with More to Come

Analyst Take: The LoRa Alliance highlighted the advancements that drove LoRaWAN’s substantial growth in 2022:

  • LoRaWAN is now a mature technology.
  • It is approved by ITU as an open international standard.
  • The LoRa Alliance claims the largest and most diverse IoT ecosystem, with stakeholders from the entire value chain participating.

From my perspective the LoRa Alliance made commendable progress throughout 2022 to warrant the organization’s declaration that it is now a mature technology with the largest and most diverse IoT ecosystem worldwide, edging out LPWAN alternatives such as NB-IoT, SigFox, and Weightless. Key 2022 facts and figures that further validate the LoRa Alliance’s market progress include:

  • 93 new members
  • 19% certified product growth
  • Addition of 131 LoRaWAN certification test tool licenses
  • 66% growth in public LoRaWAN network operators over the past three years

I find that the LoRa Alliance ecosystem is enabling adopters to surmount the barriers that have hamstrung pre-LoRa IoT deployments. Today the ecosystem supporting LoRa devices is global, providing comprehensive integration from silicon to services. The LoRaWAN standard assures interoperability, which can enable solutions to scale, bundle, and evolve. Accordingly, LoRaWAN Alliance members are focused on accelerating products to market and swiftly demonstrating use cases.

LoRa Alliance founding members include Cisco, IBM. Semtech, Microchip, Singtel, KPN, Swisscom, Proximus (née Belgacom), and Bouygues Telecom. Semtech provides the underlying chip technology that implements a full LoRAWAN stack, powering fast expanding LoRaWAN deployments.

By filling a crucial technology gap. LoRa has broadened IoT adoption by enabling communication over long ranges while using sparse power. Networks with LoRa, including the LoRaWAN standard, fill the technology gap of cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) networks that require high bandwidth or high power, have limited range, or the inability to penetrate deep indoor environments. Accordingly, the LoRaWAN standard and LoRa devices are flexible for rural or indoor use cases across a wide array of use cases such as smart cities, homes, buildings, communities, agriculture, healthcare, environmental, supply chain, logistics, metering, and utilities.

I see that IoT networks with LoRa serve distinct use cases where devices need to be battery-operated and endure in the field for extended periods of time. As a result, LoRaWAN networks have a communication range reaching more than six miles, surpassing 5G mmWave capabilities. While 5G is designed for high-bandwidth and ultra-low latency applications, such as cloud gaming, video streaming, and fixed wireless access (FWA), LoRa-based networks are best suited for applications such as water and gas metering, asset tracking, smart buildings, and a vast array of applications where low-power consumption, long range, and the ability to penetrate physical structures are essential.

Additionally, LoRa uses an open platform approach, which operates on unlicensed bands. As such, I find that the network deployment model for LoRa devices is flexible by accommodating diverse business models. Networks can be deployed privately, such as for secure enterprise use, or made available by public LoRaWAN network operators such as Alibaba Cloud, American Tower Corporation, eleven-X, Everynet, KPN, MachineQ (Comcast), Minol-ZENNET Group, NNNCo, NTT West, Orange, Senet, SK Telecom, Tata, Tencent Cloud, and The Things Network. Emerging network deployment models, such as those rewarding gateway installations with cryptocurrency or blockchain, include players like Helium and Nesten. Also, organizations may choose to deploy a proprietary network based on LoRa, such as Amazon Sidewalk.

Key Takeaways: LoRa Alliance Expands Global Ecosystem Influence

Now LoRaWAN has the most networks around the world and the only LPWAN with multiple network options – public, private, satellite, community, and hybrid. LoRa Alliance members have most deployed multi-technology solutions in alignment with WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID, 5G DLMS, OMS, BACnet, and others. Plus, LoRa sensor data can help fuel analytics platforms, including AI/ML engines.

Massive at-scale deployments include Everynet as the company continues to expand its IoT build across the U.S. with its LoRaWAN network delivering coast-to-coast coverage, reaching more than 550 cities, which includes more than 130 logistics points using long-range connectivity as well as offering dense coverage in urban areas. The Helium Network and Senet have completed an integration between their networks, making 850,000 Helium-compatible hotspots across 170 countries available to Senet customers and creating the largest worldwide managed LoRaWAN network. The LoRa Alliance is on a roll.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

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Image Credit: INTEGRA Metering

About the Author

Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues. Read Full Bio.