Last week Carnegie Technologies debuted the Longview IoT solution at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles. It was exciting to be in the LoRa Alliance booth giving live demos of our new product, and engaging in meaningful conversations about all things IoT. After resting and having a bit of time to digest all we saw and learned, we compiled three key observations:
1. CAT-M and NB-IoT are here – and both are here to stay
CAT-M (Category M) and NB-IoT (Narrowband-IoT) were discussed by many carriers and vendors that we met as well as people who came by our demo. In addition to LoRaWAN, we plan to support these technologies in the Longview solution, so we are excited that all of the major US carriers will now support both.
This is definitely a place where the technology is moving from “coming soon” to a main attraction. There will be great use cases for all the wireless technologies and they will offer tradeoffs in bandwidth, distance, power, battery and cost. We feel there is a place for local LPWANs like LoRa as well as for carrier-based IoT like CAT-M and NB-IoT. As the networks get built out, we are excited to see the new use cases for these technologies flourish.
2. 5G is the very hot next thing, but it’s carrier driven and looking for use cases
All the big carriers and telecom equipment vendors were all about 5G. But the bottom line still is, it is a carrier driven-network evolution and not a customer-driven network revolution. The reason that may be is that there are just not enough high-bandwidth applications to generate enough data to require the expensive bandwidth upgrades.
We saw many futuristic use cases from 3D stereoscopic gaming (like holochess from Star Wars) to multiplayer virtual reality to real time video streaming of multiple cameras. I do think that cameras will be one of the base use cases as we store more and more video data. Bottom line is that 5G will lag until there is more demand for real world bandwidth heavy uses.
3. LoRa is a clear LPWAN winner, with Semtech and the LoRa Alliance reaping benefits
When we picked LoRa as our low-powered wide area network (LPWAN) technology early in 2017, we didn’t realize what a great bet we were making. Since then, Semtech, the creator of the LoRa chip and the LoRa Alliance have pushed LoRa to the forefront of LPWAN technology and both are reaping benefits.
The keys to LoRa are that they have maintained a flexible open standard, they have a decent packet size for an LPWAN and they have really pushed to expand the ecosystem. We are proud to be a contributing member of the alliance helping to drive the technology evolution. We are also excited about to be a great partner of Semtech as they continue to promote LoRa.