Cost, power consumption and ease of design and configuration see LoRa selected for Indian IoT connectivity
Tata Communications has recently started to roll-out LoRa technology for its low power wide area network (LPWA) across India. Here, Anthony Bartolo, the digital infrastructure provider’s chief product officer, details the needs of developing markets and the Internet of Things (IoT) applications that are driving adoption. He also explains why Tata Communications has chosen LoRa in preference to narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) technology.
IoT Now: Most industry forecasts place the developing economies very much in the forefront of IoT adoption and usage – why do you think this is?
Anthony Bartolo: There are a number of factors at play. The developed economies by definition already have quite well-developed infrastructures, which is something that many developing economies do not have. IoT can be perceived as a way to overcome infrastructure challenges and drive innovation to address challenges around areas such as water management, agriculture, population growth and others.
For this reason, governments and local municipalities in developing countries are very open to encouraging investment and use of IoT. A combination of national and regional government support along with local enthusiasm for technology adoption plays an important role in IoT growth rates in developing countries. GSMA Intelligence recently published an interesting set of statistics in its ‘IoT: the next wave of connectivity and services’ report. This indicates that while the Asia-Pacific region will continue to be the largest regional market for IoT connectivity, this is fuelled by industrial IoT rather than consumer IoT adoption. Therefore the charge is led by enterprise adoption of IoT for a range of use cases including smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 adoption, logistics, transportation, agriculture, smart city services, public utilities and associated uses. GSMA Intelligence indicates that Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa combined will contribute around half of all global IoT connections by 2025, with all three regions demonstrating significant growth up to 2025.
IoT Now: What sort of common challenges do organisations face, when they are embarking on a new IoT project?
AB: IoT-related projects usually demonstrate positive results in the proof-of-concept (PoC) phase. However, in some cases an organisation may not be ready to immediately scale up the project. One of the reasons for this can be that an IoT project often touches multiple organisational processes and boundaries and there is no single owner to help take advantage of the benefits without encroaching on someone else’s turf. Hence, IoT projects can get caught up in internal struggle of ownership and this issue can have significant impact on the actual implementation of the project, when going beyond the PoC phase.
IoT projects can also be subject to the bureaucracies of large organisations, and it can take time to administer a way around the procedural obstacles. Partnering with an organisation that has already enabled IoT solutions many times can help enterprises navigate these issues. Ultimately, taking advantage of significant benefits associated with IoT outweighs the occasional organisational tangle.
IoT Now: With all the technology options available, why focus on LoRa for LPWAN? What about NBIoT?
AB: We assessed a number of low power wireless technologies, […]