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LPWAN technology emerges as a game-changer in IoT development

LPWAN usage, indicating high potential for precision farming while manufacturing and smart city applications being still at nascent stages, mostly using cellular or hybrid technologies

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The global Internet of Things (IoT) devices market is forecast to surge almost threefold between 2017 and 2023, exceeding US $45.4 billion in revenue by 2023. Much of this explosive growth will be enabled by LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology that possesses unique characteristics – making it particularly attractive for a growing number of deployments across sectors such as utilities, logistics and transportation, agriculture, and smart cities. LPWAN is a wireless communication technology specialised for interconnecting devices together, focusing on power efficiency and long range.

Frost & Sullivan recently collaborated with Murata Manufacturing to develop a White Paper, "Growing Industry Applications of LPWAN Technologies," to further demonstrate the functions and various adoptions of LPWAN technology. A unique 4C (Capacity, Consumption, Cost, Coverage) model was developed to highlight the key characteristics of the technology itself along with real life case studies from around the world.

As part of its research, Frost & Sullivan compared the 4Cs across eight industries and 24 sub-industries to establish a LPWAN Application Suitability Index. Some of the key findings from the index include agriculture as an emerging industry for LPWAN usage, indicating high potential for precision farming while manufacturing and smart city applications being still at nascent stages, mostly using cellular or hybrid technologies. With the diverse range of IoT devices and requirements, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, meaning both licensed and non-licensed LPWAN technologies could carve out their own niche without cannibalising the market share of each other.

"Convergence of LPWAN technologies and LTE (Long-Term Evolution, a 4G mobile communications standard) would be the logical route to address the wide range of IoT use cases. Availability of LPWAN at competitive pricing could outweigh concerns about proprietary technology," noted Tim Chuah, Associate Director, Automation & Electronics team at Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific. "Partnerships and revenue-sharing business models also need to be explored more extensively in the coming years," Chuah added.

Frost & Sullivan's white paper is intended to serve as a reference point for business leaders and decision makers around the world to guide them towards adopting the latest LPWAN technologies applicable for their relevant industries while lowering costs at the same time. As a key vendor of LPWAN technologies, Murata remains committed to fostering innovation to consistently address the 4Cs (Coverage, Capacity, Cost, Consumption) of LPWAN application suitability for its wide-reaching end-users.

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