IoT Blog

IoT Blog

MWC Marked the Start of a Standards-Based Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) Era in IoT

by Nicolas Damour, Senior Manager, Business & Innovation Development

In the time it takes technology to move from concept to reality, your business could fall behind. It’s always been that way, but the rate of advancement has been accelerating at a similar pace to Moore’s Law. Take the Internet of Things. Just five years ago, it was mostly discussed in terms of potential and possibilities. Now a company that lacks an IoT strategy can quickly fall behind.

And the IoT is poised to advance at an even more rapid pace thanks to standard low power, wide area (LPWA) technology. We’ve described how LPWA is critical for the IoT in other posts — it addresses the core IoT application needs, or the 3 C’s: Cost (devices and services costs), Current (battery life) and Coverage (reach).

In the last couple years, LPWA networks were a mishmash of proprietary technology, with varying degrees of functionality. But recent ratification of 3GPP cellular standards is allowing for commercialization of standard solutions, which makes cellular ideal for IoT deployments, even in markets that never considered it an option before. We’re seeing a plethora of new possibilities, and applications that don’t need 4G broadband are leading the charge.

Live Cat-M1 Network Demonstration at MWC

LPWA has quickly evolved from idea, to prototype, to deployment-ready. At Mobile World Congress 2016, Sierra Wireless was the first to demonstrate how the new LPWA power saving techniques make 10-year battery life possible. A year later in February 2017, we were the first to demonstrate new solutions on a live Cat-M1 network. In fact, we had 10 different Cat-M1 and NB1 demonstrations with partners using LPWA for everything from waste management, to smart metering, to gas management, to smart agriculture and beyond.

Migration is even easier for companies who use scalable embedded solutions—more about this in my next post. They can deploy LPWA technology as soon as it’s available, putting them at the forefront of innovation.

To move at the speed of the present, you need to take advantage of new technology as it’s developed, not after it’s taken for granted. The LPWA era of cellular connectivity is here. Start with Sierra to find out more.

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