- GSMA boasts 48 NB-IoT and LTE-M operators
- LoRa Alliance boasts 76 network operators and 57 ‘Alliance Member’ operators
- Looks like LoRa very much here to stay, 5G IoT or not
The GSMA recently launched a ‘state of the IoT’ update, reminding the industry that 5G wasn’t just about speed. The mid range and high frequency hares may get the attention, but the IoT tortoises - LTE-M and NB-IoT - were going to be just as important to the whole 5G effort.
At the same time GSMA released its global IoT network adoption totals: there have been a total of 48 IoT network launches (that’s both NB-IoT and LTE-M) worldwide as of this month (April 2018).
It’s hard to know from these totals just how successful the telco IoT effort has actually been so far, but the fact that the GSMA felt the need to highlight the importance of NB-IoT and LTE-M for 5G, and that operators should get on and support them, might tell us something.
Meanwhile, over in the opposing LoRa camp, commonly accepted now as the leading proprietary low-powered IoT network play, the LoRa Alliance claims it’s the fastest growing technology alliance. It now boasts more than 500 member companies and a certification scheme to pull the ecosystem together and head it the right direction. It says it is supported by 76 Network Operators and 57 ‘Alliance Member’ operators. And it claims to have operators present in over 100 countries.
It’s noticeable that the GSMA is now talking about NB-IoT and LTE-M as being ‘mobile’ IoT, not just general low-powered IoT, whereas before one got the impression that NB-IoT was being readied to take-over the entire field. That is clearly not happening.
Many IoT deployments rely on low powered operation and extremely low device costs and it seems unlikely that either of the ‘standard’ GSMA technologies will ever be in a position to go after that market. Rather, at least for the time being, it looks as though the telecoms technologies will position themselves in a tier above LoRa and push their security, mobility and network reliability credentials. LoRa will have breadth of devices and, increasingly, lower device costs to flaunt.
To that end LoRa has just scored a handy victory this week with the announcement that giant Japanese gadget and systems-maker, NEC, is launching a partner program with LoRA manufacturers and distributors to provide an “environment for verifying interconnectivity between devices, gateways and NEC's LoRaWAN compliant network servers.”
NEC says LoRaWAN is expected to be widely used as a low power consumption communication network for IoT, so it’s important to verify interconnectivity with a variety of LoRaWAN-compliant peripherals at an early stage. The idea, says NEC, is to stimulate the IoT market, to which NEC itself will provide total solutions, covering everything from devices to applications.
NEC launches partner program with manufacturers of LoRaWAN compliant peripherals
- Promotes the use of LoRaWAN and stimulates the IoT Market-
Tokyo, May 17, 2018 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) today announced the launch of a partner program with manufacturers, distributers and other related companies for LoRa (Long Range) WAN compliant devices and gateways from this May in Japan. Through this program, which will be gradually rolled out to global markets, NEC promotes the use of LoRaWAN, which is part of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks.
This program provides companies with an environment for verifying interconnectivity between devices, gateways and NEC's LoRaWAN compliant network servers, which control and manage the devices free of charge. Additionally, NEC provides verification test items and monitors activity logs during verification as part of its comprehensive support of the verification process. NEC will also list devices and gateways whose interconnectivity has been confirmed through this program on its website.
The range of services using IoT is constantly expanding. LoRaWAN is expected to be widely used as a low power consumption communication network for IoT, which is suitable for data collection over a wide range of devices. Under these circumstances, it is important to verify interconnectivity with a variety of LoRaWAN-compliant peripherals at an early stage in order to respond promptly, reliably and cost effectively to the variety of needs from service providers using IoT.
"This program will enable a wide range of companies to collaboratively create products and services, and encourage the use of LoRaWAN with the aim of stimulating the IoT market. Moreover, NEC will continue to fulfill the many needs of service providers for IoT by providing total solutions covering everything from devices to applications," said Takashi Sato, General Manager, Digital Services Solution Division, NEC Corporation.
"Oi Electrics is pleased that NEC has launched a partner program and we look forward to seeing it stimulate the IoT market in Japan. We are already offering a variety of customers, including communication carriers, original LoRa compliant gateways, communication units and devices used for prototype development and demonstration tests," said Hiroyuki Nakamura, Executive Officer, Chief Director of 3rd Sales, Oi Electric Co., Ltd. "We expect this program to promote collaboration among device partners and to increase the delivery of LoRa-based solutions."
Tsuyoshi Yoshida, CEO, Braveridge Co., Ltd. said,
"I expect the LoRa market to continue gathering momentum through the collaboration between NEC's network server and our LoRa-related products, communication modules, and sensor devices. We will continuously provide sophisticated devices that help resolve problems within autonomous bodies and companies, as well as social issues.".