Opportunity for IoT combining LoRaWAN and WiFi

19th November 2020
Alex Lynn

Selecting an intelligent multi-radio strategy is becoming increasingly important to succeed in a connected world, as illustrated in a new whitepaper recently released by the LoRa Alliance and Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). The paper, ‘WiFi & LoRaWAN Trials - An Overview of Use Cases Across Regions Combining Two Technologies,’ provides details on practical trials and proof of concept deployments (POCs), representing a variety of uses cases implemented across different geographies and verticals.

It builds on the two organisations’ earlier whitepaper, ‘WiFi & LoRaWAN Deployment Synergies: Expanding Addressable Use Cases for the Internet of Things’, which compared the two technologies theoretically and sought to demonstrate how they could be utilised to effectively support a vast array of use cases.

The POCs explored in this new white paper conclude that hybrid WiFi and LoRaWAN connectivity increases market opportunity, provides a strong ROI, and offers enhanced network solutions. Adding LoRaWAN to WiFi using network mutualisation is a cost-effective approach to deployment using the existing base of WiFi access points. This offers a significant opportunity for WiFi providers to expand their addressable businesses on complementary use cases that cover both broadband applications and massive IoT leveraging the license-exempt spectrum.

This work is the result of a collaboration between members of the WBA and the LoRa Alliance. WiFi and LoRaWAN are two of the most widely adopted unlicensed technologies, and together they address a large proportion of current IoT use cases.

Both technologies are disrupting private-public business models and enable participation in the 5G ecosystem and developing capabilities for IoT roaming, using OpenRoaming models. Eleven companies representing both Alliances from all global regions contributed to this work, including: Actility, Abeeway, Boingo Wireless, Charter Communications, Cisco, Kerlink, Lacuna Space, Nesten, Simplycity, Skyhook, and Semtech.

Covered use cases include:

  • Smart Buildings: Multi-Family Dwellings (Boingo Wireless, United States).
  • Smart City: Smart Light Pole (Charter Communications, United States).
  • Smart City: Energy Management and People Attendance Monitoring (Simplycity, Australia).
  • Smart City: Interoperability between WiFi and LoRaWAN at the Network Level (Nesten, Skyhook, United States).
  • Smart Interconnection: OpenRoaming & LoRaWAN (ORL) (Cisco, Switzerland).
  • Smart Retail: WiFi & LoRaWAN In-Store Retail Analytics (Kerlink, Smart Traffik, The Netherlands).
  • Smart Tracking: Tracking with Semtech LoRa Edge and Lacuna Satellites to Resolve Human-Wildlife Conflict (Lacuna Space, IRNAS and Smart Parks, South Africa).
  • Smart Transportation: Asset Tracking for the Automotive Industry (Actility, Abeeway, Volvo, France).

These featured use cases are expected to give existing market players who have deployed both technologies new ideas for how to leverage their networks to support innovative applications. Additionally, network operators, enterprises or communities that have deployed either WiFi or LoRaWAN networks are shown ways they might consider extending their offerings by deploying the other complementary technology.

“2020 has been a turning point for IoT adoption, and unlicensed wireless technologies are a key driver supporting the rapidly accelerating digital transformation,” said Donna Moore, CEO and Chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. “This latest collaboration between our Alliances clearly shows that WiFi and LoRaWAN can deliver real business advantages and improved ROI.”

Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of WBA commented: “Homes, cities, transport systems and retailers all stand to benefit from these findings. In proving this large variety of use cases, we are able to demonstrate how WiFi and LoRaWAN can work together to augment capacity, coverage and increase ROI, and we start to see real commercial drivers for the two technologies working side by side and resolving interoperability through OpenRoaming.”

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