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IoT In Action: 5 Questions with Jaap Groot, Vice Chair Europe, LoRa Alliance

May 9, 2019

Q1: How would you describe the current state of IoT?

The IoT is still in the early stages, with companies working actively to build their IoT strategies. That said, we are seeing an overwhelming number of LoRaWAN™ deployments already taking place around the world. In addition, large-scale proof of concept (POC) projects are converting in to long-term contracts and rolling out in mass. The utilities market is leading the way with major rollouts, in part because meters were already being connected “pre-IoT.” Outside of utilities, we are seeing solutions in industrial IoT, supply chain, smart cities and smart buildings really taking off for LPWAN providers. There continues to be growth and development in areas such as global roaming, standard definitions and to address implementation-specific issues. This is why an alliance with a large diverse ecosystem that creates open standards with certification programs are so critical in the successful evolution of the IoT.  

 

Q2: The LoRa Alliance has grown to over 500 members across the ecosystem. How have things changed since the organization started?

The LoRa Alliance™ has grown to become one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems in the IoT. We rely on our ecosystem to share real-world implementation requirements, which allows us to continue to evolve and address consumer needs from all aspects of the ecosystem supply chain. We have also progressed from solely developing the technology to discussing solutions and ROI.

 

One of the most important changes is the development of our world-class LoRaWAN certification program, which includes conformance, battery, and radio frequency testing. LoRaWAN devices are developed for a 10 plus year lifespan, often in remote and hard to reach locations, with millions, if not billions, of devices on a network. The LoRaWAN CertifiedCM mark is critical to brand promise and market confidence. If you want to know you have made a sound purchase – look for the LoRaWAN Certified logo.

 

Q3: What is the most common thing that you are asked from companies trying to participate in IoT. 

Where is the money? People have all kinds of ideas and the digitalization of the world is moving everything forward – PCs, internet, and now connecting assets and sensors. Additionally, companies struggle to focus on incremental change or disruptive change. What the market is now starting to realize is the fact that digitalization alone does not bring value – it is all about the data; and as a result, there is still experimentation taking place in POCs. The operators supporting LoRaWAN are confident as they have learned quite a bit over the past few years and are now evolving their business models accordingly. It is a big change of DNA for them and we will see how it evolves. It also remains to be seen which players can effectively capture the value of the IoT.

 

Q4: What is the dumbest thing you have seen in the market lately?

Choosing the wrong business model can be fatal. From a customer perspective operating in a vertical market, all these silos of solutions do not make sense. Solutions need to exist in the context of legacy systems and existing business processes. Some companies are focusing more on connectivity than solutions value, and in my opinion, this could be a risk for them. Companies should focus on where they need to make money or where they are losing the most money to find the right model.

 

Q5: How do you see the market evolving over the next year?

The market will continue to evolve and the LoRa Alliance is well placed to support this, having demonstrated continued growth in new members, LoRaWAN CertifiedCM devices, private/enterprise deployments, and enhancements to the LoRaWAN specification to meet the variety of new application requirements. We predict this will accelerate in the next 12 months, further evidenced by the fact that we have over 100 LoRaWAN network operators globally and number of connected end devices doubling year over year - an achievement unrivalled by other LPWAN technologies.

 

IoT growth in general has tracked lower than most analyst projections because it is a fact of life that this new IoT technology wave is very complex and may take longer than initially predicted. The good news is that the connected future is inevitable, and LoRaWAN is already available and being deployed with the backing of an enviable ecosystem of vendors making end-to-end solutions more cost effective and efficient to deploy.

 

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