Exploring the future of LoRaWAN in the IoT ecosystem
The potential of the LoRaWAN® protocol throughout some of IoT´s biggest verticals: Industry 4.0, Smart Tracking and Smart Cities
Looking back to when I first dived into the industry of the Internet of Things, a world of possibilities opened before my eyes. Suddenly there was potential to fight humanity's biggest challenges and make the world a better place.
Especially the technology of LoRaWAN® promises to offer easy solutions with its ability to collect data across big distances, through a wireless way, essentially making it applicable to any situation.
That is why I would like to share this article on LoRaWAN®, tag along with me as we discover together what influence it has on the IoT ecosystem.
This maturing ecosystem of LoRaWAN® by the LoRa Alliance currently counts many verticals, each with specific use cases. The fastest-growing verticals include Industry 4.0, Smart Tracking, and Smart Cities. But what is Industry 4.0 exactly? What are the biggest breakthroughs in Smart Tracking? And how are cities becoming smarter? Continue reading to find out.
Industry 4.0, also known as the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, is a concept of integrating smart manufacturing, machinery, AI-powered automation, and advanced analytics into the manufacturing industry. The goal is to help every worker and factory to become more efficient.
The Industrial Internet of Things is greatly improving the manufacturing industry by optimizing traditional workflows. It gives manufacturers more visibility throughout the whole manufacturing process, and in turn, makes this data immediately available to consumers and applications. This ensures that manufacturers know how processes are developing, which makes them able to implement fast changes when necessary.
A big part of IIoT is machine learning, made possible by capturing data and coupling that with real-time predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. By using this method, machines can be trained to identify potential patterns that could result in future failure. If the data is concerning, the algorithm can automatically report it for further investigation, helping to save huge amounts of money, whilst delivering better quality services and products.
Smart tracking has been amongst the first applications to gain momentum in the early years of IoT. Before that, tracking was always done using cellular or satellite connections. With the new availability of LPWAN technologies, such as LoRaWAN®, it became much easier to get insights into data that was never that sophisticated before. Now we can easily draw important information quickly, like the location of the asset, but also key information like the status of the object, temperature, speed, and asset-specific information.
Smart Tracking can be used in many different verticals. A very popular use case is Fleet Management. Vehicle fleets are the lifeline of many companies, and can therefore benefit greatly from an upgrade to their machinery. By implementing a fleet management solution, they can reduce costs by improving fuel usage, benefitting from better safety for their staff, having visibility into maintenance issues, reducing downtime, and improving overall operational visibility. Previously, an operator would have to manually record this data, enter it into a database and be slow to respond by taking actions retroactively.
The world´s population has been increasingly moving to cities in the past decades. This has kicked off the start of making everyday life easier by implementing IoT in various fields like energy, mobility, infrastructure, governance, and healthcare. By making these changes, municipalities can provide the services required to meet the urban influx adequately.
LPWA networks, especially LoRaWAN®, provide solutions that are optimized for Smart City applications. The technology delivers sensors that are battery-powered and can last up to ten years without needing a battery replacement. Furthermore, a radius of up to 3 miles (5 km) ensures maximum coverage in a densely populated city.
Just as an example, the city of Calgary is using LoRaWAN® to reduce noise pollution in the city. They built a network of acoustic sensors that are set to improve noise monitoring. The fabrication of the sensors uses low-power, wide-area radio transceivers between the sensor nodes and the network server. This LoRaWAN® solution limits network maintenance and transmits data with ease and is robust enough in Canadian weather conditions.
The technology of LoRaWAN® knows many benefits that make the creation of any IoT project child’s play.
Smart Tracking alone has an array of different use cases, from fleet management to asset and parcel tracking, I believe this vertical will keep the crown for the biggest industry for a bit longer.
The Industrial Internet of Things will also continue to grow due to its many benefits, amongst which are the biggest points of interest: reducing costs and improving safety.
Lastly, the vertical of Smart Cities is continuing to gain momentum as well. With many big cities implementing the technology, we can only dream of long-awaited efficiency and public transport arriving on time.
All in all, the availability of any sort of device uniquely tied to specific use cases, and the high level of interoperability of the technology definitely show the maturity of the ecosystem of LoRaWAN® by the LoRa Alliance.
With more IoT devices connected than non-IoT, we are in the era of the Internet of Things growing exponentially. It's spreading across the globe and being adopted in virtually any industry now.
As an IoT enthusiast, I can't wait to see how the technology will continue to shape the world for the better, as well as our lives, and continue fighting against humanity's biggest challenges.