This week, Donna Moore, CEO of the LoRa Alliance®, discusses LoRa® and LoRaWAN®, what they are, how they differ, and the outlook of connectivity going forward. LoRaWAN® is a widely available low power wide area network protocol designed to connect IoT devices to the internet via public and private networks. Donna talks more about the use cases of LoRa® and its fit among other connectivity options. At the end of the episode, she details what implementers need to know about the technology, where they can learn more, and how it can be adopted.
Donna Moore is a collaborative and visionary executive with extensive experience in launching new companies and growing businesses across various industries and competitive environments. Donna advances both ground floor start-ups and more mature organizations to the next level. She is currently the CEO of the LoRa Alliance®, which focuses on adopting and scaling the LoRaWAN® standard and works with over 500 member companies and 4,000 members.
Interested in connecting with Donna Moore? Reach out to her on Linkedin!
The LoRa Alliance® drives adoption and scale of the LoRaWAN® standard, a widely available low power, wide area networking (LPWAN) protocol designed to wirelessly connect IoT devices to the internet in public or private networks. The Alliance has the largest IoT member ecosystem that brings industry-leading technical and market expertise to its activities. It has developed a robust certification program, global roaming availability, industry-leading end-to-end security and is easy to develop and deploy―and is meeting its targets for mass global scaling.
The Alliance engages in a multitude of activities to drive the global scale of LoRaWAN® and bring value to its members. Driven by member-led committees of the brightest minds in IoT, LoRaWAN® has become the leading LPWAN technology, recognized as the de facto standard. Its highly collaborative structure has simplified the process of IoT deployments by facilitating true end-to-end solutions, which has also driven massive scale.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:30) Introduction to Donna Moore
(02:13) Introduction to the LoRa Alliance
(04:32) Difference between LoRa and LoRaWAN
(06:03) LoRaWAN’s role within IoT
(09:44) Use cases of LoRa
(15:40) What implementers should know about LoRa
(18:15) Helping customers understand LoRa and IoT
(20:17) Why decision makers should look to adopt LoRaWAN
– [Voice Over] You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
– [Ryan] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast. I’m your host Ryan Chacon. And today’s guest is Donna Moore, the CEO of the LoRa Alliance. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the LoRa Alliance, they are focused on driving the adoption of the LoRaWAN standard, a widely available low power wide area network protocol designed to wirelessly connect IoT devices to the internet via public and private networks. Most of you are probably very familiar with it, but if you’re not, we talk a lot about that in this episode, as well as what LoRa is, how it connects to LoRaWAN, what the differences are. The different use cases LoRa is appropriate for, how it fits into the connectivity landscape, benefits of the technology, how it can be used, how it can be adopted, you know, the list goes on, it’s a fantastic conversation I promise you that. And one note before we get into this is the LoRa Alliance puts on a big event every year. It was originally in March, it’s being moved to July. We make a note of it in the video, but if you’re listening to this, you may not catch that piece. So their event is actually in July not in March. But before we get into the episode, if any of you out there are looking to enter the fast growing and profitable IoT market, but don’t know where to start, check out our sponsor Leverage. Leverage is IoT Solutions Development platform provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more, go to iotchangeseverything.com, that’s iotchangeseverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome Donna to the IoT For All show. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Donna] Thanks Ryan. I appreciate it.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. It’s great to have you. I am very excited about this conversation. The LoRa Alliance is a organization that I’ve known about and kind of, and met many companies, many of your members in many of my conversations. So I’m very excited to talk to you. I would love it if you could kind of kick us off by just give me a quick introduction about yourself.
– [Donna] Oh, okay. I’m Donna Moore. I’m the CEO and Chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. I’ve been with the Alliance for about four years now and we’ve just continued to have incredible traction. And my role is to lead the board as a chairwoman and the operations and the membership of the Alliance as the CEO.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So for those of our listeners who may not be as familiar with the LoRa Alliance, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about that, the overall purpose, why it was formed, your goals and kind of why it exists.
– [Donna] Got it. So the LoRa Alliance is an open standard. It’s LPWAN, wide area networking standard. And we were formed in 2015 and it’s really to create an Alliance of companies around the globe to support and drive an LPWAN standard. And in fact, LoRaWAN is the number one LPWAN standard globally. And the importance of a standard and an Alliance like LoRaWAN is that in order to really scale and drive IoT, we know the market is huge and really actually never ending. You need a standard for consistency, for innovation, for inter-operability, for companies that can build and continue to deploy and add on new use cases once the network is up and running. It’s really important to have a certification program that is a part of the Alliance so that when you’re deploying millions and billions of sensors in the market, you know they’re gonna work. I mean, nothing is more expensive than deploying in and having issues and going back out and picking them up. So, the LoRa Alliance was created so that all the companies can come together, work together and drive this standard forward.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. And how many of the companies are members now?
– [Donna] Yeah, we have, again, it fluctuates, but somewhere around 500 member companies. And then the number of members is somewhere around three or 4,000.
– [Ryan] Wow. Okay. And what’s the difference between the members and the member companies? Like what are their, how their roles differ there a little bit?
– [Donna] Well, each we have, you know, somewhere around 500 and always growing member companies. And then in each member company, they have multiple employees that participate in our marketing committee or certification committee or technical committee and help really drive the standard forward and continue to evolve the standard.
– [Ryan] That’s awesome. Okay, great. That kind of clears things up a little bit there. On, so when it comes to obviously LoRa and LoRaWAN they are different but connected obviously. Can you tell us a little bit more about kind of what the differences when people are talking about LoRa or they mentioned LoRaWAN and kind of what, how they work at a high level and just kind of what they are.
– [Donna] That’s a great question. And it is confusing in the market. So, LoRa is the PHI, the physical interface, the radio chip and LoRa is from Semtech and created from Semtech. And LoRa is absolutely hands down best of breed technology and why LoRaWAN is the number one standard in the world. They also have many companies that they licensed a chip to. So you can get the chip from other companies aside from Semtech, right? It’s nice and so there’s multiple sources to purchase the chip from. And again, it is an incredible solution. Now, on top of that is the LoRaWAN standard. And the LoRaWAN standard is an open standard. It is the Mac level, the link layer communication standard that sits on top of the PHI and together they create incredible opportunities for really, really looking at what our strengths are. We can go into that later if you want. But so the difference is that it’s a standard to again drive it and then the PHI. And. Yeah.
– [Ryan] So tell me about kind of the, when this was created, what was the overall purpose for LoRa and LoRaWAN in the IoT space? Or even, I guess, maybe more relevant, how do you see it as, like what role does it play now in this space from a, on the connectivity side? You know, is it more aimed at certain use cases, certain, does that certain characteristics that are worth mentioning to kind of put it into perspective with the other connectivity options out there in the market?
– [Donna] Yeah, I will say that again, we were formed in 2015 and it was a very smart strategy in that in order to scale and reach all the opportunities available in the market, you know, you have to be able to have a standard that can inter-operate and scale. And so that was the driving point to create LoRaWAN as an Alliance. Today, I I’ll be really clear and we are clear as LoRa Alliance, what our strengths are. The LoRaWAN strengths are really around battery life, you know, 15 plus year battery life. When your deploying sensors in the market, sometimes underground and very hard to reach places you don’t have the manpower or the money to go and replace them every few years. So wireless battery operated sensors that live again 15 plus year is a key strength of LoRaWAN. Our ability to penetrate underground through concrete, through steel is phenomenally a part of the real strength of LoRaWAN. The ability to work with other types of connectivity. So we have many use cases with WiFi, with Bluetooth, with RFID and many others. Because we really believe that a multi-brand approach is critical to addressing all the use cases. You know, as LoRa Alliance, we don’t feel like LoRaWAN is the right technology for everything. We are the right technology for our strengths. And, you know, not to go on but let me just finish that thought. The, our other strengths are around, we have the ability to do a private network or a public network, which you can’t do with obviously a lot of cellular. We have the ability to do either an business models in terms of OP-X or service-X. So again, whichever works best for the specific company who’s deploying. We have roaming capabilities. And you can roam either within your network, on a public network or a hybrid network, which again is very individualized to LoRaWAN. You know, and our really key strengths are in, the markets that we’re serving we do so much, but our particularly smart cities, buildings, industrial IoT, utilities, agriculture, and logistics are probably the six strongest verticals out there right now. Even within those verticals, we work with a lot of other technologies. And I’ll say one last thing here, let you get a question in. We do small data bites at near real time. And, you know, it’s on the sub gigahertz spectrum. And we don’t do, so we’re really clear what we do. What we don’t do is large bandwidth, low latency, such as video, audio. And so that’s where we work with WiFi or cellular. So it’s a perfect technology to combine with others.
– [Ryan] Okay, fantastic. I wanted to see if you could expand a little bit on some of the areas you mentioned. You’re talking about the different industries that you are strongest in or see most applications within. Could you break that down a little further to the actual different use cases you’ve seen and talk about how LoRa is really influencing businesses and changing the way things are done. And really focusing on those applications of the technology in a business setting. So, you know, we’ll probably have a lot of people listening here who are in different industries and just kind of curious, well, how does LoRa potentially fit with what I’m doing? And so any examples you could give would be fantastic.
– [Donna] Great. So let me start off with saying regardless of the market, and I’ll talk to some of the specific use cases. The incredible thing about LoRaWAN is that it doesn’t have to get tied up into your current IT infrastructure. It can run separately, it can be integrated. We have many cases where like, DLMS, we are LoRaWAN over, you know, DLMS over LoRaWAN. So it doesn’t interfere with current operations or current structures. So that’s key especially in businesses and hospitals and whatnot. So if we look at the applications and you look at smart city, looks like my screen just went. I’m not sure, but,
– [Ryan] Oh yeah.
– [Donna] Oh sorry. We got it. We got it. All right, hold on.
– [Donna] Little difficulty there.
– [Ryan] That happens. There you go.
– [Donna] No worries. So if you look at smart cities for an example, and we are growing globally in smart city deployments, Australia, India, I mean, you name it. It’s really around, it usually starts off with smart lighting use cases. And it saves with the dollars and cents. It does predictive analytics with the lighting structures. So once the LoRaWAN network is set up and you’ve got a gateway on top of a, you know, a light, a streetlight, then they add use case after use case after use case. And really the cost to add is nothing more than the sensor because you’ve got your system set up. And so then they expand to smart waste cans, smart water metering, air quality, water quality. You know, the list goes on and on in terms of once the network is set up. If you look at a smart building, we’re doing a lot in smart buildings with again, preventative maintenance, looking at COVID, when to clean. We’re looking at measuring the health of buildings. We used to look at green buildings in terms of energy efficiency and with LoRaWAN we moved to blue buildings. So you’re looking at beyond energy efficiency and what we’re contributing back and whatnot. So, in industrial IoT, that is a huge market for us. And we have some incredible use cases around safety for workers. Such as some of our chevron workers around, again, predictive maintenance and keeping the equipment up and running so they don’t lose downtime. Replacing manual labor that’s very expensive and not efficient or effective, using LoRa and notifying when, you know, boiling heads need to be changed or whatnot. Utilities such as water, gas and electric, and that’s measuring from water loss, water consumption. You know, an interesting thing with utilities is safety around, If, in Japan I know they have a lot of meters and when there’s a tsunami coming, the sensors will go off and shut down the gas so that they don’t explode. Agriculture is farming and better crops, better soil, monitoring cows, livestock. Logistics is everything from, you know, asset tracking within a building, asset tracking outside of a building, cracking supplies and healthcare. So, I mean, the, that’s what I’m saying. Anything your eyes see in the road, we can track and make better decisions. And it’s not just gathering the data, it’s making notes through the interface that allows them to be notified. We have devices that are both sensors and actuators. So the sensors, you know, responding to something and the actuators do something for us.
– [Ryan] Right. Now, that’s great. I think, you know, with any connectivity choice that a company has when they’re building a solution, there’s always unique properties about the different connectivity options out there. Right? And I think what you kind of shed light on is the important elements of LoRa and the fit it potentially has with certain use cases. And like you said, you’re focused on where you are the strongest. You’re not not trying to make a one size fits all connectivity option, which we really, you know, really I don’t see because there’s always trade-offs. It all has to be tied back to the ROI for the individual solution. And, you know, cellular is good for some things. You know, WiFi is good for others, Bluetooth, you know, but when we get to LoRa, there’s so many possibilities with what can be done, because like you said, mentioned the penetration ability it has, how wide of an area can cover, the low battery impact that it has. So there are a lot of great pieces to why LoRa is a great solution for a lot of things. And we’ve seen a lot of companies that we’ve spoken with who utilize LoRa in many different ways. So I really appreciate you kind of breaking that down.
– [Ryan] Yeah. Absolutely. And now, if I’m kind of listening out there and I wanted the, a decision-maker within an organization, I’ve, I’m kind of getting a better sense of how this all works, what this potentially could be a fit for, but tell me a little bit about kind of the, what I should know about the ecosystem that’s kind of built connected to the LoRa Alliance. I know we talked about the LoRa Alliance a good bit, and we talked about the use cases, but I think there’s a value there when we talk about the ecosystem that a potential company who’s adopting IoT would interact with and what they kind of, what’s important for them to not understand.
– [Donna] Yeah. It’s in, it’s really important. The ecosystem is from Indian, who participates in the LoRa Alliance and that’s from the chip makers. You know, and again it takes a village to put together IoT. So from the chip makers to the devices, to the gateways, to the networks, to the system integrators, you know, to the operators, to the, you know, it’s a wide value change that all comes together. And the key thing about the LoRa Alliance is that each one of those players in the ecosystem collaborate, they need each other. And so within the Alliance, they collaborate, they partner and they roll out and deploy. And that is why LoRaWAN is growing at the rate that it’s growing is through the partnerships and the collaboration. You really have to be an expert in most of these areas or each of these areas and then you come together and deploy,
– [Ryan] Right. Yeah, absolutely. So what do you think about kind of the best way forward for companies on how they can approach these conversations and, you know, evaluate if LoRa is a fit for what they’re doing?
– [Donna] Well, a great way to do it is to come to one of our events. Because we have a big event coming up in Paris in March, and that’s the LoRaWAN World Expo. [Date Moved To July 6-7, 2022] We anticipate having over 2000 attendees, there’s over 80 exhibitors and two days worth of the leading experts from around the world that are successfully deploying, educating everyone. So that’s a great place to really come and understand. But if you can’t get to Paris and do this, the expo a great way is just to reach out to any one of us that at the LoRa Alliance and start conversations. And we’re happy, always happy to get on a call and explain understand, you know, understand what the company is looking for in terms of their growth. And we also connect them with other members as well.
– [Ryan] Okay. Fantastic. Well, I have a question about, as you’ve been involved with the LoRa Alliance, and I think just IoT in general, there’s always this challenge with the educational component of the value of different pieces of IoT. There are so many different pieces of an IoT solution. So many different choices and options out there, but I’m curious to get a sense from you all is how you’ve handled those discussions with companies when they are looking to better understand, you know, the necessity of certification standards, you know, the way that collaborate and work with other companies, the value of LoRa and things like that. How have you approached trying to solving that problem, which I know is a problem that every company seems to face, regardless of what area of IoT they’re focused on. So I’m curious, I think you guys probably have a very unique perspective on this.
– [Donna] Well, like I said, and for my even past experience prior to the LoRa Alliance, really, you, it takes like it takes a village. And so coming together and learning from each other, learning from events, learning from the web, you know, different types of webcasts that we do. And many of our members do is aid the wafer education and moving forward. And you know, the thing about LoRaWAN it’s, it is cost-effective to deploy and it’s not complicated to deploy. In fact, we’ve created our standards that we just released this last year that, you know, have made QR code onboarding and many, many things, you know, we’re all about ease of deployment. So it’s really more about the multiple components that it takes and partnering. And you just got to jump in with both your feet, understand the value proposition and then, and network, and get educated through all the avenues that we certainly have in our website for education and with our members. Many of our members do a great job on their website or in panels of educating and collaborating as well.
– [Ryan] That’s great. Now I appreciate that’s a great insights to kind of share. I did want to ask you also, so again, we kind of put ourselves in the position of the decision maker a lot through this conversation, because I think it’s important to kind of talk through that perspective. If I’m a decision maker out there, tell me why I should be investigating the benefits of LoRaWAN and the LoRa Alliance. Kind of just the general value it could potentially provide me as a business as I’m looking to either adopt a new connectivity standard or option for a solution, or I’m looking to kind of just get started on my IoT journey.
– [Donna] Well, I think it’s always starts with, you know, what is the problem they’re trying to solve. And usually, you know, companies don’t get into this, you know, just because they wanna get the IoT space, but they have some problem they need to solve. And it starts with that. And based on the needs, then we break it down to, you know, who, what standards or what technology can best solve, you know, the issues. And like I said, in most situations, LoRaWAN, if it’s, you know, data from wireless things that they need to connect and provide them with, that’s usually the solution. Now, you know, when you look at ROI, we’ll say with LoRaWAN, the return on investment is pretty rapid and grows as you continue to move your use cases forward. And we are deployed globally and at, you know, mass scale in the millions that there are many, many use, similar use cases, which you can also find within the LoRa Alliance to compare to yourself to see what was the ROI, how fast, what were any bumps in the road? What do I need to know? So I would say that. And you know, the other thing I would say for a company deploying well, at the end of the day, it’s always about the bottom line and how do I, LoRaWAN it’s about efficient and effective operations. You know, we really drive the operations in terms of reducing labor costs and, you know, reducing downtime and, you know, tracking, you know, so you don’t lose your assets and whatnot. So it really focus on operations. And I would say that if you’re looking beyond the bottom line and many governments that are doing smart cities do LoRaWAN is key for safety, for people, human health and welfare and the planet. You know, we do so much with environmental sustainability, again, air quality, water quality safety in hotels, for people that are working at the hotels at nights, you know, with the automatic streetlight for safety. So there, beyond the bottom line, there’s a huge component. And fortunately people plan and profits all go hand in hand. You know, many times profit doesn’t necessarily go with bettering the world or our human welfare. And I’m really happy to say that this time it really does. All three go hand in hand together.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Well, that’s great. I really appreciate a lot of these insights you’ve been sharing today. It’s great. And I’m excited about, actually wanted to dive in a little, just a little bit before we finish up, a little bit more about this event that you all have going on in Paris in March. [Date Moved To July 6-7, 2022] Tell me a little bit more about kind of, I know you kind of broke down the value it provides and why companies should pay attention to it, but just some other details, like how can people attend? How can they find out more information about it, anything important to kind of note on that side.
– [Donna] Yeah. Great. Thanks Ryan. If you go to the LoRa Alliance website, you know, loraalliance.com, we have a whole page about who’s gonna be attending, what the agenda looks like, how to register. It is a two day event. And I’ll tell you if you’re looking at all in the IoT journey, we have incredible thought leaders there, so highly recommend going.
– [Ryan] Great. Well, I appreciate that. I’m, we’re gonna stay very much on top of that. And I think we’re gonna be helping promote that in some capacity one way or another, cause we think it’s a great cause.
– [Donna] Are you going to come to the event itself?
– [Ryan] I don’t know. It really depends. I think we’re all kind of monitoring the current travel situation and things like that, but we’ll be, we’ll, you know, we’ll be as involved as we possibly can because we think it’s great. A lot of our partners like we’ve said are a part of the LoRa Alliance and really think what you have going on there is fantastic. So last thing I wanna ask you before we jump off here is anything new besides the event happening kind of in the next number of months that companies or any of our listeners should be on the lookout for, or we can get excited about?
– [Donna] Couple things. Two press releases we just released. One is that the LoRaWAN standard has just been approved by the ITU as an official internationally recognized standard. And we are now part of their library. Which we’ve always been an open standard, but to get, you know, be a part of the ITO standardization is a great recognition. And another press release we just released I believe this week was we roaming. So we have opened up roaming for even non-member alliances to get a net ID and roam so that they can extend and enlarge their roaming capabilities globally. So those are two. And, you know, just to say one of the things we have quite a few satellite companies in the LoRa Alliance, several actually. And there’s a lot happening with satellite and LoRaWAN overseas over rural areas and that’s interesting to track as well.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. That’s great. I’m very excited. I will, we’ll definitely stay on top of as much as we can and keep an eye out for everything you have going on. But Donna, this has been a very great conversation. Thank you so much for taking some time to chat with me. I’m sure our audience is gonna get a ton of value out of it. What you all have going on is great. You know, we love everything that we see coming out of the LoRa Alliance and just the different deployments we see that are utilizing LoRa because of how powerful it can be in IoT and it is in IoT. So thank you for everything that you guys are doing and thanks again.
– [Donna] Great Ryan. I hope see in Paris.
– [Ryan] Absolutely.
– [Donna] Thank you. Bye
– [Ryan] All right, everyone. Thanks again for watching that episode of the IoT For All Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel and be sure to hit the bell notification so you get the latest episodes as soon as they become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching and we’ll see you next time.