“India is an ideal market for deploying LoRaWAN.”

An Interview with Donna Moore, CEO & Chairwoman, LoRa Alliance

Donna Moore, CEO & Chairwoman, LoRa Alliance spoke to Electronics Media about the state of LoRaWAN deployment in Indian Market, driving factors behind LoRaWAN growth and major application area of LoRaWAN technology in India. She also explained about LoRaWAN Certification Test Tool and how LoRa WAN and Wi-Fi together will strengthen IoT use cases and many more about LoRa Alliance.

Electronics Media: What is the prime challenge for LoRaWAN® technology in India and how LoRa Alliance® is addressing the issue?

Donna Moore: India is an ideal market for deploying LoRaWAN and whilst other technologies have been slower to roll-out or have network and device availability, we already have a strong ecosystem of members and deployment success stories. We intend to build on this early momentum to increase the visibility of the benefits of using LoRaWAN, which is the de facto standard for LPWAN.

The number of compelling use cases in India, from smart city, smart metering, environmental monitoring and enhancing crop yields and water usage, all offer strong opportunities to improve citizens’ quality of life. With public LoRaWAN networks now available in more than 100 cities, and with the support of the government’s Smart Cities 2.0 Mission, which aims to reach to all 4,000 cities in the country expanding housing and building better infrastructure, accessibility of LoRaWAN networking is accelerating rapidly and being built into RFP tenders from government bodies.

In terms of driving awareness and understanding, the LoRa Alliance recently hosted our LoRaWAN Live! event in New Delhi and announced the launch of two authorized test houses in India to certify LoRaWAN devices locally. This reduces the cost of shipping devices for certification and creates local drive to develop and test in India. We also have a growing member ecosystem in India that is actively promoting the technology’s benefits across the country.

Kindly comment on the LoRaWAN acceptance by the Indian market or Indian players or what is driving the LoRaWAN growth in India.

For many of the reasons outlined previously, we are seeing strong adoption of LoRaWAN technology in India. The technology’s ability to cover long distances means a lower investment in infrastructure compared to other networking technologies. Further, the same infrastructure can support multiple applications without “running out of” bandwidth, so once a network is up and running the number of applications that can run on it are limitless. The flexibility in operating model is also an important differentiator – LoRaWAN can accommodate capex or opex models, as well as public or private networks. LoRaWAN can be installed in remote areas or regions without requiring cellular infrastructure to bring connectivity where there has never been any.

The market drivers here are similar to those elsewhere, but more urgent for such a large population – fundamentally collecting more data offers more areas for improvement across health, tracking, delivery of services and monitoring companies and allows government organizations to better analyze and develop solutions to solve some of India’s biggest challenges.

What is going to be the biggest application area of LoRaWAN with respect to India?

Donna Moore, CEO & Chairwoman, LoRa Alliance
Donna Moore, CEO & Chairwoman, LoRa Alliance

Two of the main areas that we see interest in are related – smart cities and smart metering. From traffic and parking management, to infrastructure monitoring, to air and water usage and quality – LoRaWAN can make a significant improvement in quality of life for the residents of urban areas. Once a city has a LoRaWAN network up and running it cost effective and easy to add new applications.

Need for collaboration between LoRa Alliance and the Wireless Broadband Alliance?

Yes, we felt there was a need to collaborate with the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) because Wi-Fi® and LoRaWAN® are two of the most widely adopted unlicensed technologies and together they address a large proportion of IoT use cases. We recently released a Wi-Fi & LoRaWAN® Deployment Synergies white paper, the goal of which is to demonstrate how these two widely deployed IoT connectivity technologies can be utilized together to effectively support a vast array of use cases. Together with the WBA, we summarized the strengths of each technology, their positions in the IoT ecosystem, explained their complementary natures and the way that both technologies can be easily deployed simultaneously. Our joint work aims to showcase how LoRaWAN can be deployed on the top of an existing Wi-Fi network to address a substantial number of use cases while also allowing users to optimize their operational costs.

Tell us about LoRa Alliance ecosystem, current status (members, activities, any latest news)?

The LoRa Alliance ecosystem has more than 500 member companies with more than 3,000 active members participating in our committees and working groups. One of our fundamental activities is LoRaWAN device certification. A key role of the LoRa Alliance is to ensure that all LoRaWAN devices pass a comprehensive and rigorous test suite and deliver the quality and performance expected by installers and end users alike. With millions of LoRaWAN devices in the field and deployment rapidly scaling, the LoRaWAN CertifiedCM mark provides confidence to the market that devices will perform as intended. We have recently invested in strengthening our certification program and the enhanced program offers benefits for device manufacturers, network operators and end customers. Device manufacturers will save time and expense by undergoing a single certification process that covers conformance, interoperability and RF testing. Network operators no longer need to perform additional network testing on LoRaWAN CertifiedCM devices. Finally, end users are assured that a device will deliver the expected performance.

We recently introduced the LoRaWAN Certification Test Tool that allows members to pre-certify their devices substantially reducing costs and time to market. Along with that – as mentioned previously – we now offer certification in India, so Indian companies can test in-country and not face any obstacles in terms of needing to ship devices overseas. Finally, we were very excited to announce recently that some major brands have joined the LoRa Alliance’s leadership levels in recent months, including Amazon, BT, Intel, Netze BW, Arduino, Dish Network, Intel, Interlink Electronics, Paige Wireless, and Tata Communications, Thingstream AG and Unitymedia NRW GmbH.

This year we’re hosting our flagship global event – LoRaWAN World Expo in Paris, France June 9-10, 2020. Thousands of attendees will join our members, including end-customers, developers, influencers and media. The program features an impressive plenary of renowned speakers from the industry and there will be multiple technical, business and vertical tracks covering all aspects of the LoRaWAN standard, use cases and how businesses are achieving ROI. It’s a key opportunity to meet our ecosystem and learn more about the success stories and our vision. As we’ll be celebrating the 5th Anniversary since the LoRa Alliance was first founded in Paris, we’ll also be hosting a networking party – it promises to be the standout event of the year and I warmly invite all to attend.

Does LoRa Alliance provide support to new players or startups for joining the LoRa Alliance ecosystem?

The LoRa Alliance provides tremendous support to our members – whether start-up or well-established. We do have a significant list of members who qualify as start-ups and most frequently they cite their access to networking and forming business relationships as a primary benefit of their membership.

We also provide strong marketing support to our members – we post and share their news via our social channels and offer many opportunities each year to join us at a variety of events to demonstrate their LoRaWAN products, giving them opportunities that otherwise may well be out of reach financially. We also have one of the largest developer communities of any technology ecosystem globally with a wealth of educational materials available and this ensures continuous innovation.

Another major investment this year has been the launch of the LoRaWAN Showcase, the LoRa Alliance’s online digital catalog of all LoRaWAN CertifiedCM devices, as well as all LoRaWAN products and services. It is the only official global resource where customers can search to find all LoRaWAN services and solutions. The Showcase facilitates both members and end users to connect, partner and collaborate in the  development of more end-to-end solutions and provides valuable opportunities for our members to acquire new business leads driving LoRaWAN deployments forward.

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