LoRaWAN and Massive IoT transforming business and society

LoRaWAN and Massive IoT transforming business and society

The Expanding Internet of Things: Harnessing the Power of LoRaWAN

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Over the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has grown exponentially, entering what is known as the “Massive IoT” era. With an increasing number of sensors and devices in the market, the possibilities for businesses and global challenges are expanding beyond what we could have imagined just five years ago.

Valuable use cases have emerged across industries, revolutionizing resource monitoring, process optimization, and cost savings. Sensor devices provide crucial data about an asset’s location, condition, and operational status, enabling the prevention of costly losses and potential liabilities. However, for the IoT to thrive and continue growing, it is crucial to have scalable networks that can support these large-scale deployments of sensors for extended periods of time. These networks should also be adaptable to different deployment models, simplify networking tasks, and scale as needs and priorities evolve.

In meeting these requirements, LoRaWAN has outshined competing Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) solutions, thanks to its unique combination of cost efficiency, low power consumption, long-range capability, and non-proprietary model. The LoRa Alliance reports that LoRaWAN leads the global LPWAN deployments in terms of solutions available, devices deployed, messages sent, and network availability. With coverage in over 76,000 cities across 188 countries, LoRaWAN has become the go-to choice for large-scale IoT deployments.

The value provided by large-scale IoT sensor deployments far outweighs the cost of moving away from legacy technologies and manual processes. These legacy systems are ill-equipped to handle the requirements of IoT devices and lack the flexibility to adapt. Here are three examples that illustrate how IoT connectivity through LPWAN networks like LoRaWAN is driving improvements in public safety, resource conservation, and more.

Smart Buildings and Campuses – Improving Air Quality

Smog, wildfires, and other sources of pollution contribute to unhealthy air conditions that affect our health. Recent research reveals that 40% of the country lives in areas with failing grades for particle pollution or ozone. However, poor air quality is not limited to outdoor environments, as it can extend indoors as well. Proper ventilation and good indoor air quality have become paramount, especially considering the lessons learned during the pandemic.

Sensor monitoring offers a solution in both indoor and outdoor environments, providing states, municipalities, and building owners an easy way to monitor environmental safety conditions such as wildfire smoke and other air pollution. In smart buildings and campuses, IoT sensors monitor indoor air quality (IAQ), helping to identify and reduce pollutants, viruses, and other contaminants that can cause discomfort and respiratory issues.

By deploying IoT sensors, building managers can access real-time temperature, humidity, and CO2 level data. In case of potential dangers, remote commands and alarms can be executed to alert occupants. Additionally, the gathered data helps optimize heating and air conditioning usage, leading to energy cost savings. For effective air quality monitoring, IoT devices require network connectivity that can transmit signals through building materials without obstruction and operate continuously without losing power. LoRaWAN enables this functionality, and building owners can analyze the collected data to identify areas where ventilation improvements are needed or potential liabilities exist.

Natural Gas – Preventing Dangerous Leaks

Methane and natural gas leaks are not only common but also pose a significant hazard. Outside of building environments, leaks can occur in pipelines and other related infrastructure. Methane leaks in urban areas have been found to be more than double the estimates provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To improve public safety and increase visibility, many gas utilities are implementing sensing and alerting systems with valve shut-off capabilities.

By deploying sensors throughout their infrastructure, gas utilities gain complete awareness and control over their gas distribution systems, with the ability to automate the secure shutdown of valves. In the past, gas utilities were often unaware of leaks until significant damage had occurred. However, these automated systems that detect hazards and shut off the gas flow mitigate risks and improve safety for both residential and commercial building owners.

Connectivity for these sensors needs to be reliable across long distances due to the extensive nature of the infrastructure. Moreover, utilizing LoRaWAN for sensor connectivity unlocks the potential for additional property management data, enabling detection of water leaks, rodents, HVAC malfunctions, and more.

Water Utilities – Conserving a Scarce Resource

Droughts have become increasingly common, highlighting the importance of water conservation. To tackle this challenge, municipalities, water utilities, and residents must work together to optimize water distribution and consumption.

Smart water metering in residential and commercial properties allows water utilities to measure water usage trends accurately and automatically, eliminating the need for manual intervention. It is estimated that almost 50 million smart water meters will be shipped globally in 2023, which is four times more than in 2017.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) goes beyond Automatic Meter Reading (AMR). In addition to enabling direct customer billing based on usage data, AMI helps detect leaks, monitor water flow more efficiently, and implement new rate structures to incentivize water conservation. The two-way communication between utilities and metering devices enhances infrastructure diagnostics, facilitates advanced data analytics, and improves field operations. Furthermore, deploying a shared LoRaWAN network infrastructure allows municipalities to support a wide range of commercial and citizen-facing applications beyond water metering.

Embracing the Power of LoRaWAN

LoRaWAN has emerged as the optimal choice for large-scale IoT deployments with low data payloads and minimal latency requirements. Its open standards, exceptional propagation characteristics, extended battery life for end-devices, ease of deployment, and cost-effectiveness make it ideal for critical infrastructure and essential enterprise IoT projects.

LoRaWAN was designed to connect low-cost, battery-operated sensors wirelessly over long distances. Once deployed, a LoRaWAN network supports various resource conservation and sustainability initiatives. Its open standards allow for the deployment of an ever-growing range of LoRaWAN-enabled devices on the network, providing seamless integration and compatibility compared to proprietary connectivity solutions.

As industries and municipalities explore ways to optimize their operations and services using data, the network supporting IoT devices becomes a critical consideration. LoRaWAN empowers organizations to leverage the cost, safety, and resource conservation benefits of the Internet of Things across various sectors, enabling unprecedented advancements in efficiency and effectiveness.

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