LoRa Alliance’s® Vice-Chair of Board and Chair of Technical Committee, Alper Yegin, joins Ryan on the podcast to discuss how LoRaWAN is Accelerating IoT. The podcast opens up with Alper introducing himself, LoRa Alliance®, and the importance of having an alliance in a space like this. The conversation then turns to the tech, with Alper discussing the feature of LoRaWAN and what makes it unique in the connectivity space. Ryan and Alper also discuss the different types of networks in LoRa, a few of the current challenges in the industry, and details about the upcoming LoRaWAN World Expo.
Alper is a technology architect involved in the research, design, standardization, and productization of IoT and mobile technologies. He currently serves as the VP of Advanced Technology Development at Actility, the leading system vendor in the IoT LP-WAN field, and Vice-Chairman of the BoD and Chairman of the Technical Committee at the LoRa Alliance®. Before his current post, he worked for Samsung Electronics Research Center, leading the 5G IP mobility, 4G WiMAX security, and ETSI M2M security design projects. During his tenure at Samsung, DoCoMo USA Labs, and Sun Microsystems, he contributed to the design and standardization of networking technologies, including Mobile IP, IPv6, and Zigbee IP. In contributor and committee capacities, he has been actively involved in international standards organizations such as IETF, 3GPP, ETSI, LoRa Alliance®, Zigbee Alliance, and WiMAX Forum. In addition to global R&D engagements, he is also driving the formation of the IoT R&D ecosystem in Turkey as the founder of the “Nesnelerin Interneti Toplulugu (IoTxTR).” He is on the Industry Advisory Board of Bogazici University Computer Engineering Department, where he has also started an IoT course jointly with the faculty.
Interested in connecting with Alper? Reach out on Linkedin!
About LoRa Alliance
The LoRa Alliance® is an open, nonprofit association that has become one of the largest and fastest-growing alliances in the technology sector since its inception in 2015. Its members closely collaborate and share experiences to promote and drive the success of the LoRaWAN® standard as the leading open global standard for secure, carrier-grade IoT LPWAN connectivity. With the technical flexibility to address a broad range of IoT applications, both static and mobile and a certification program to guarantee interoperability, LoRaWAN® has already been deployed by major mobile network operators globally, with continuing wide expansion into 2020 and beyond.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(02:01) Introduction to Alper and LoRa Alliance
(03:40) The importance of an alliance
(06:03) Features of LoRaWAN
(12:19) The different types of networks
(18:04) Industry challenges
(25:03) LoRaWAN World Expo Event
– [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 The number one resource and publication for all things IoT. I’m your host, Ryan Chacon. If you are watching this on YouTube, please be sure to like the video, subscribe to the channel. If you’re listening to us on a podcast directory, please be sure to subscribe as well. So to get the latest episodes, as soon as they are out. On today’s episode, we have Alper Yegin, the Vice-Chair of the Board, Chair of the Technical Committee at the LoRa Alliance. A lot of interesting stuff we talk about here. This is kind of a lead up to the LoRa Alliance’s big world expo they have in July in Paris that we also will be attending. So if you’re there, feel free to come find us, be great to kinda meet you in person. Give you a little background. The LoRa Alliance is an open nonprofit association that has become one of the largest and fastest growing alliances in the technical sector since 2015. So we talk a lot about what the Alliance does, what Alliance’s roles in general are in the IoT and the tech space, how LoRaWAN differentiates itself from a technology standpoint, when it comes to the technical features, low-power, long-range, unlicensed band, low-cost, those kind of things, the importance of the technology in the space, what types of networks exist? So public, private, community, terrestrial satellite, those kind of things. How they differentiate, the benefits of them and so forth, and a bunch of other things related to the market LPWAN space, LoRaWAN. And we also finish up talking a little bit about the event, which I think would be a great spend to attend if you are interested in learning more. But other than that, I think this would be a great episode, so please enjoy it. But before we get into it, 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, Leverege. Leverege’s 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 Alper is the IoT for all podcast. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Alper] Thank you, Ryan. Thanks for inviting me.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Yeah, I’m very excited about this conversation. I wanted to kick it off by having you do a quick introduction about yourself for our audience.
– [Alper] Sure, thank you. So my name is Alper Yegin, I’m the VP of Advanced Technology Development in Actility. I’m also the Chair of the Technical Committee and Vice-chair of the Board in the LoRa Alliance.
– [Ryan] So tell us about both. And we’ve featured the LoRa Alliance on here before, but at the same time, I’d love to hear a little bit more about your role there, kind of what the Alliance is doing. And then on the Actility side, kind of what the focus is for Actility?
– [Alper] Sure. So LoRa Alliance is the open nonprofit international organization, in charge of building the LoRaWAN standard, and also running a certification program for certifying the end devices, and marketing the technology and building the ecosystem around it. It was founded back in 2015, and right now it has approximately 400 members, spending all parts of the IoT ecosystem and all of the regions, including the Americas, the Europe and the Asia and the APAC region. Actility is the leading core system vendor in the LoRaWAN ecosystem. It’s a founding member of the LoRa Alliance, permanent board member. And it’s been involved in building networks, both public and private all across the globe.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So when we talk about an Alliance within an industry like IoT, tell us a little bit about kind of how you view the importance of an Alliance, and the role it plays, the importance of a open ecosystem that this kind of enables. Just tell us a little bit more about kind of that stance and kind of the value it provides across the industry as a whole, for the LoRaWAN standard.
– [Alper] Sure. Anytime a technology involves multiple parties coming together to make working system, we need to have interoperability. Meaning that we need to have multiple vendors building systems that would work together with each other. That is a lot of times not only necessary for building large systems, but also it’s good for bringing the quality up and the prices down, to create a competitive environment. And in the field of IoT, we feel the need for such open ecosystem and interoperable to the most because in IoT, there are so many different elements of entrance systems, and not a single company, no matter how big that vendor is, or how big that operator is, can single handedly build such systems. So IoT necessitates having large ecosystem with multiple players, coming together, playing together, defining systems that would interoperate together to build these large systems, to spend all around the planets and cater to hundreds and thousands of different use cases. So LoRa Alliance has been built with the spirit. So the companies that are a member of the LoRa Alliance have tremendous amount of experience in the industry, being part of other standards organizations, other alliances, and they have been bringing this experience into the LoRa Alliance, that coupled with the great technology we have. So we’ve been able to put the technology and the open ecosystem, and a very, very collaborative ecosystem together. And that’s how we end up with a technology that is making very, very large impact in the IoT field.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So let’s do this. Let’s break down kind of LoRaWAN a little bit for our audience. Talk about… When we’re talking about different kinds of connectivity, there’s obviously lots of different ways and paths and use cases connectivity is built for and optimized for. But on the LoRaWAN side, we speak specifically to that. What are LoRaWAN’s differentiating kind of technological or technology features, obviously like from just past experiences and conversations, low-power, long-range, things like that. But just talk a little bit more about the key features, that make it different. and then go into what those key features are enabling when it comes to use cases, and things connected to IoT, that maybe different connectivity technologies that existed beforehand were not enabling.
– [Alper] Right. So the wireless communication technology has been in our lives for a very long time. With the GSM and its variance and the Wi-Fi. And these technologies have been providing us mobile broadband connectivity, powering our mobile phones, our laptops, our desktops for applications that are consuming high amount of data like web browsing, streaming audio, video, and email, and various other social applications. Now, that has been pretty well done for the human users. Now, as we enter a new era to empower devices connecting, a new need has emerged, which is to provide long-range wireless connectivity that consumes the least amount of power, because with the IoT and especially the so-called massive IoT, where we are being surrounded by all sorts of sensors and actuators, we have the need to provide autonomy to these devices in terms of cutting the cord, not only for networking, but also for the power. We would like to deploy these devices on battery and not having to recharge them for five, 10 and even more years. So this new need has not been met by any standard. So neither Wi-Fi nor GSM and its variants, or even technologies like Zigbee, Z-wave Bluetooth Low Energy, NFC, RFID, UWB. They could not fill the gap, which is defined as a long range technology that consumes very little amount of power to enable devices operating for 10 or more years. So that’s where LoRaWAN came into the picture. And prior to LoRaWAN, there was other technologies, but they could not completely fill this gap for two reasons. One reason is the technical advantages of LoRaWAN, such as providing low-power, long-range, but also operating in unlicensed band and also being a very low -ost on the infrastructure side. And also the LoRa Alliance again, as I talked about a couple minutes earlier, having a large open ecosystem, putting its weight behind this technology. So this combination created a very unique technology. So again, the low-power, long-range, I think that’s clear in terms of, well, let expand a little bit on the range and the power elements, and then I’ll jump on the other elements as well. So in terms of the range, so there are different settings, right? There is a dense urban area and an open space. In the dense urban area, a LoRaWAN gateway, which is basically our base station or access point, just a different terminology we use. It can provide coverage for three to four kilometers. And when we say dense urban, we are talking about like downtown Manhattan, right? As you move out of the dense urban area, as you start to clear the buildings, then the range quickly goes up to 20 and 30 kilometers. And in fact, this technology went has line of sight. The connectivity, it provides reach the level of 500 to 600 kilometers. That’s actually exactly where we are placing LoRaWAN gateways on the low-Earth orbit satellite that are flying above ground 500 to 600 kilometers and providing connectivity to devices on the ground. That in addition to any terrestrial network that we’ve been building. And that is happening while the end device is consuming very little amount of energy. The transmission power of the end device are limited to 25 milliwatts. And with that level of transmission power, they’re still able to communicate huge distances and a sensor that transmits couple packets a day, such as a gas meter, or water meter, that can have a lifetime of more than 10 years. Once it’s deployed, until it needs to be fully replaced, it can run on the same battery, the initial charge. So these two elements, and then on top of that, we are using unlicensed band. So it’s just like WiFi. Anyone can build LoRaWAN networks for their office building, for their campus, for their city. And then we have public operators having built nationwide networks, spending multiple countries, and also the space-based satellite networks. And then the fourth element is very low cost infrastructure. So an indoor Picocell, which is a box that pretty much resembles the Wi-Fi access point, it comes at around less than $100, and it has very similar form factor as a Wi-Fi access point. And we are seeing people deploying site Picocell LoRa in gateways, in their homes and offices as well. So just two of these, like the long-range, low-power is pretty distinctive, adding the use of unlicensed band and the low cost. That’s where we see these networks mushrooming all around the world in an autonomous fashion.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. One thing I wanted ask, if you wouldn’t mind expanding on kind of at a fundamental level, you talked about different types of networks, like, you know, terrestrial, we talked about kind of the public and private, there’s also community, there’s you know, the satellite side obviously. But can you tell us, just break down a little bit more about how or what those different types of networks are? Kind of what they mean? The value they provide? kind of how they differentiate between each other? ‘Cause I know those terms get turned around to a lot as public network, versus private network, versus terrestrial satellite. So just tell us a little bit more from a high level, the difference between the different networks kind of out there.
– [Alper] Sure. The public networks are the ones that are built by service providers for selling connectivity. So typically in a lot of cases, the GSM operators seeing LoRaWAN as complimentary to their offering, they add LoRaWAN coverage to their GSM based coverage. And a lot of them do provide nationwide networks like the ones in France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Thailand. There are nationwide networks providing connectivity. So if you were to walk into these countries, you can buy a sensor as a consumer, or you can buy a batch of sensors as a business and connect them to the connectivity service provided by these public operators. So the initial rollout of the LoRa networks, starting from Europe, and then spread to America and the Asia, they have been fueled by the public operators, bringing nationwide networks. And then that first trend is followed by the private enterprise networks. These are the networks built by individuals in their residences, or by organizations within their building or campuses like university campus, hospitals, or the factory floors. And this is equivalent to the Wi-Fi that’s been used in such environments, that the network is privately built by the organization or the individual. It’s only open to provide connectivity for that individual or organization’s devices, and maybe neighbors and friends, but not the public on the street. And it’s not meant for selling it as a service. So it’s a private closed network. So the second wave we’ve been seeing in the LoRaWAN market has been the proliferation of private enterprise networks popping up again, all around the world. And then the third wave picked up, which has been going on actually, since the beginning, the so-called community networks where people deploy LoRaWAN gateways for their own use, but then they share the connectivity with the rest of the so-called community. And they build their shared network. So we have had this from the beginning, but in the past, I would say 3 years, that has started pretty significant acceleration where some of the players started blending cryptocurrency and blockchain, together with the LoRaWAN and community networks, which basically set a fire underneath. And the third type has started to claim its place in this scene. So these three types of networks have been happening on the ground by building gateways and base stations stuck on the ground. But also now these are rising to the sky, to the space, you know, these gateways, riding, catching a ride to space and starting orbiting around the world. Now we see public and private networks being built based on LoRaWAN gateways on-board LEO satellites. So on the ground and in space, three different types of networks we’ve been building. And like I said before, because of the low-cost nature and the unlicensed frequency use, they have been mushrooming around the world autonomously without having to coordinate with each other. On the other hand, we’ve been also able to integrate them together in a very collaborative spirit and in a very lightweight interconnection. So the networks would start integrating to provide a unified coverage to the users. And we’ve been able to set up roaming between any combination of public, private and community networks, both on terrestrial and space-based networks. And this is also one of the elements that sets us apart from competing technologies. Some other competing technologies, even though they might be using a licensed band, they are typically a closed ecosystem. So there’s like a single operator all around the world. There’s no way for networks to collaborate. And in other case, like, as in case of GSM, it’s licensed band, there are only public operators. There’s not even any possibility of integrating networks with the private ones. So, that’s been a very essential differentiating factor, our ability to autonomously grow networks at their own pace, and being able to combine them in any arbitrary form and shape, to form many unified networks serving the IoT devices.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, yeah. That’s actually gonna be one of my next questions, which is around the ability to unite these different networks through the collaboration, roaming and things, you know, using kind of the backbone there. So that’s fantastic. Out of curiosity, just from the perspective of an Alliance, you know, you guys are all, you’re engaging with tons of different companies. You’re seeing a lot of different angles on solutions being built, the industry evolving over the years. You obviously have a unique perspective coming from Actility as well. What are some of the biggest challenges you all have seen just in the market in general? How are you maybe as it relates more to adoption, I would say is just, is there anything that kind of sticking out to you as some of the biggest challenges that the industry kind of faces at its current time right now?
– [Alper] Yeah. Well, the biggest challenge we’re facing is stemming from the nature of IoT. At first site, the IoT market appears like a huge market with a potential to reach billions of devices. And as one enters into this market, it clearly becomes apparent that it’s not a market, a single market of a billion, but it’s a market of like 1000 small segments of each of size, another 1000. Well, so there are so many different use cases. And every use case requires an end to integration of multiple elements, like the sensors, the end device, the connectivity, the core network, applications, and involving system integrators, and the operational aspects, and how these things get physically packaged and how they go to the market, and how they get supported. So one would expect, like if you were to narrow down the scope, and say, “Hey, I’m just gonna do tracker. Your life would be easier.” That is not so, because building a tracker solution for a path, is different than building a solution for livestock, than for people, than for vehicles and machinery and all that. So obviously there is some reuse, you know, from one use case to the other, but typically there is anything between like a 10% and 8%, you know, rebuilding the solution or rebuilding the whole system from the beginning. So it’s a vastly fragmented market. And that’s not just for LoRaWAN, but for anything IoT. So it’s a pretty large scale challenge that we’ve been going after. And we’ve been making great progress despite this challenge. So what I do is again, having an open ecosystem and we’ve been… we started building just one piece of the puzzle. Just connectivity, link layer connectivity between the end device and the core network element. And from there, we started growing this solution to involve more elements, to decompose the network, to achieve even greater interoperability, and also started moving up the stack, not just the so-called connectivity, but also started standardizing things that would facilitate application development. So step-by-step we are providing a more complete solution. And while doing so, we are also pretty well integrating with other wireless technologies and other ecosystems, in some sense, competing ecosystems, wherever we’re complimentary, and also other complimentary ecosystems, the existing legacy IoT application stacks, we are adapting them to run over LoRaWAN. So a recent announcement from LoRa Alliance is the support for IPv6 Over LoRaWAN. So even though all these technologies are, we’re talking about IoT, majority of these highly efficient connectivity technologies like BLE, Zigbee, Z-wave, they don’t… They have a mode of operation that doesn’t support the internet protocol, which is the foundation of the internet. And they don’t, and we haven’t for the sake of having a very efficient connected to technology. And then later we’ve been doing a collaboration with the Internet Engineering Task Force, which is another standards organization in charge of building the TCPIP stack that runs the whole internet. And through a collaboration, we have defined a very efficient way to carry IPv6 packets over LoRaWAN. So now IPv6 enabled applications can readily run over LoRaWAN connectivity. So through multiple additional integration and growing our space of our work scope, we’ve been taking a bigger chunk and we’ve been handling a bigger chunk of the end-to-end problem space. And that’s been accelerating the adoption of LoRaWAN and also solving numerous IoT problems. The other challenge that we are facing is usually for a relatively newer technology, that’s been around for six, seven years, there’s still a lot of information dissemination we need to be doing. So yeah, that’s under challenge. We’ve been taken up and through our events, webinars, and our ambassadors going around and talking about LoRaWAN, so we’ve been cracking that problem as well.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Yeah, I actually wanna talk about the event here in a second. But I think it’s important to kind of reiterate a lot of the stuff that you were just saying. The fragmentation of the market’s a huge challenge. And the more options people have out there from a connectivity standpoint, hardware standpoint, software, you name it, the more likely they are to have find a better fit of all those components for particular use cases, solving particular use cases, whether it’s use cases that require a lot of data being transferred, small amount of data, whether it needs different, you know, shorter, longer battery life, stronger, different kinds of connectivity, accuracy, as far as different kinds of tracking solutions go. Just the more possibilities or the more options that are out there, the more likely use cases are to be built. And I think LoRaWAN does a fantastic job really focusing on the low power, long range, low cost side of things. And the further we can kind of drill that down the further we can make things more reliable, more secure, more low cost, the more likely we are to see adoption drive even higher for the IoT space. So, I think a lot of your points are very, very well taken, and carry kind of across all different industries and not just, you know, it’s not just one market, as you said, it’s thousands of individual markets that all need to be thought about, in order for them to be successful, because it’s not a generalized approach that you can take when it comes to these solutions.
– [Alper] Right. Exactly, yep.
– [Ryan] But speaking of an event, so I wanted to… the last thing I wanna do before we kind of wrap up here is, the LoRaWAN World Expo event in July in Paris. Tell us a little bit more about that. What the focus is? What the event is like? What people can expect, who are interested in attending? Or are attending, and just more information in general?
– [Alper] Sure. So we have this great event coming up in July 6th and 7th in Paris, the LoRaWAN World Expo. It’s the largest LoRaWAN event to take place. And so, we can have numerous things happening at that event. We can have panels with the industrial players talking about what they’ve been doing with this technology. And what kind of use case they’ve been implementing and problems they’re solving. We have presentations, we have technical tutorials. We are going to have an exhibition area. Numerous players will come and demonstrate their latest and greatest products in technology. Well, anyone can expect to see all of the dominant players in this field to be present, to have open conversations. And we’re gonna have several prospects who will be checking out our technology. And so it’s gonna be a great place to meet old friends and make new friends, and meet the partners. So I would highly encourage folks who have been using LoRaWAN, who are wanting to grow their business, or who would like to get a sense of how this technology works, and what kind of use cases have been realized, to come out and meet us. And we will have a great conversation there.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Yeah, it seems like an amazing event. And we’ve been promoting it out to our audience. We think it’s gonna be a lot of attention, a lot of people. I know we have partners of ours who are already attending, planning to attend, so very exciting stuff. But thanks again so much for your time. This has been a conversation that we’ve been able to really dive into a lot of LoRaWAN, what you’re all going on at the Alliance itself, the value the technology is providing for the industry and kind of the overall perspective of what’s needed to drive adoption. So, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciated it. And for our audience out there who wants to learn more about the Alliance and about kind of LoRaWAN in general, what’s the best way they can do that?
– [Alper] Well, visit LoRa-alliance.org. We have many, many material. Just visit the resource library, you will have a lot of white papers, numerous presentations and webinars, great amount of materials awaiting. So yeah, that’s what I would recommend.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Well, thanks again so much for your time. Really appreciate it. And we’ll be sure to let you guys know when this is going out, and we look forward to doing much more content together.
– [Alper] Thank you very much, Ryan. And thanks for inviting. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, take it easy. 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 notifications so you get the latest episodes as soon as it become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching. And we’ll see you next time.