It was another busy week last week in the world of low-power, wide-area IoT networking, with the LoRa Alliance (the global association of companies backing the LoRaWAN standard for low-power wide-area IoT networks) announcing it has hit a new high watermark of more than 500 members, signed on in less than 2 years.
The Alliance also shared that deployments of LoRaWAN protocol-based networks more than tripled in the last twelve months, with over 250 trials and “smart city” deployments in place.
As debates continue regarding the relative risks and rewards of LoRaWAN vs. Bluetooth, ZigBee, WiFi, 3G, 4GLTE, CDMA, Narrow-Band (NB-IoT), Satellite and other approaches, for certain industrial strength applications, the former continues to steadily pick up steam.
"The LoRaWAN protocol is being adopted so quickly because it provides an open standard with 10+ years of node battery operation, a range of 10+ kilometers and an average node bill of materials of less than $10, providing a wide-area alternative to the high cost, complexity and overhead of other network implementations," said Geoff Mulligan, chairman of the LoRa Alliance, in the organization’s news release.
The Alliance also released the latest update to its regional parameters for LoRaWAN 1.0.2 revB, including adding support in India for the country's 865 MHz band, which enabled a recent deployment announced by Tata Communications that includes managing data from 200,000 sensors and gateways (Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Universal IoT platform as a technology ecosystem partner).
With more news out of India, SenRa Tech, a LoRaWAN network provider with several upcoming deployments this year (in industries including cities, water management, and agriculture), announced they are adopting Senet’s Managed Network Services to support their growth.
“We chose to focus on India for a few reasons,” said Ali Hosseini, CEO, SenRa, “including the rapid growth projected for the second largest country, by population, in the world. There is already a healthy market today, with a US $15 billion market value forecast by 2020.”
SenRa also is actively supporting the robust technology ecosystem and start-up community in India, including participating in Smart India initiatives and working on solving some of India’s water and electricity challenges by supporting smart metering solutions. “There will be over 130 million smart meters in India over the next few years, and today we are responding to tenders in New Delhi, Bangalore, and other large cities where energy and water conservation can make a big difference,” Hosseini said. “As demand for natural resources grows as the population continues to rise, air and water quality continues to suffer, and IoT-based monitoring can change the course of how the environment evolves.”
Senet’s expansion into India and other markets signals a change in strategy for the company, which until recently has been focused on deployments in North America.
Senet’s new CEO, Bruce Chatterley has global ambitions building on Senet’s relatively long tenure of experience in providing LoRaWAN services, and sees the company’s OSS/BSS and other operations applications as something similar companies can leverage as global ecosystem partners.
“The opportunity to help SenRa accelerate their business plan in India is very exciting to our team,”
Chatterley said. “Not only will they be using our technology and platform, but relying on our managed services offering, which includes 24/7 live network operations support. SenRa is white-labeling our proven service, providing Tier One support under their brand, with our technology and team making it possible to go-to-market very quickly and with very little risk.”
And while SenRa is hiring in India, Hosseini explained that by tapping into Senet’s service, and related operations experience, “We can hire as our business takes off, which is also very meaningful for the communities we will be serving, creating high quality engineering, technology, support and other jobs.”
SenRa’s LoRaWAN roll out is currently underway and industry applications include environmentally focused solutions including water meters, air quality monitors, precision agriculture, electric and power meters.
SenRa is new to the IoT scene, having been established in 2017. SenRa is an interesting choice for a name – not only is SenRa a flower in the hibiscus family, SENRA stands for “Section on Environmental and Natural Resources Administration.” An urban legend, Senra is a fantasy character, “responsible for all the world’s greatest works of art, science, medical discovery and music. His likes include changing history, travelling back in time and spitting in the primordial soup.”
However, Hosseini said SenRa simply is a combination of “Sensors” and “LoRa” – inspired by his daughter’s love of Pokemon, another two-part made-up word. “While there are many other ways to connect things, for certain applications, like metering, nothing beats LoRaWAN,” he said.
Additionally, Hosseini said, “There’s so much drive in LoRaWAN in India because it doesn’t require licensed spectrum. The Indian government’s policies favor unlicensed spectrum, which has proven to be a consistent theme in tenders coming out for smart cities, energy grid, waste and water management, and more. This is where the economics of LoRa become even more dramatic, on top of the reduced costs associated with battery replacement, particularly in large scale projects with hundreds and hundreds of thousands of end-points.”
Senet’s name also is inspired by “Sensors” and “Networks” according to Chatterley. “What’s cool about our new partnership with SenRa is that they are not only about the network,” added Chatterley. “They are developing a deep bench of partners across the IoT ecosystem, so are also able to bring solution design and engineering to their markets in India.”
Signaling additional announcements in the near future, Chatterley mentioned smart factory projects in the works. “Consumer IoT is well covered, and well-served by real time networks, Bluetooth, WiFi and more,” he said. “The space we’ve chosen is big, industrial strength and ripe for large-scale value across manufacturing and logistics, as well as environment and government projects we’re deeply involved in today.”
Edited by Ken Briodagh