Closed LPWAN standards to be hit by cellular tech, claims new report

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Growth among non-standardised Internet of Things technology, such as Sigfox or LoRa, will remain conservative unless the vendor ecosystem is opened up, a new report has claimed.

ABI Research said these technologies hold strong potential, but without a workable revenue model for public networks the market will be behind cellular standards in the coming years.

Last month, 3GPP completed the standardisation of Narrowband-IoT, GSM-IoT and LTE-M, which will allow operators to use their spectrum holdings to enable low power, wide area networks.

Adarsh Krishnan, Senior Analyst at ABI Research, said: “While network operators typically favour non-cellular LPWA technologies for their low deployment and maintenance costs, the lack of standards among proprietary vendors is a drawback to wider adoption of these technologies. The closed ecosystem is limiting market innovation and suppressing year-on-year growth.”

He cited the Weightless SIG consortium as one player keen to move onto a standard-based technology to spur growth. Weightless-P has been developed in collaboration with M2COMM and is expected to launch in the third quarter of this year.

Krishnan noted that while private networks were popular, driven by utility companies seeking to build smart grids, the rise in public network infrastructure would lead to a increase in demand for more reliable LPWA technology.

He added: “This is one market ripe for development, and there are many application segments out there in which LPWA technologies can be utilised but did not find their place yet, such as connected agriculture and commercial building automation.

“Once the infrastructure for nationwide public networks takes off and standardisations are set, we will start to see these new applications come out of the woodwork, and we believe it will signify big opportunity for the non-3GPP LPWA technologies.”