In this episode of the podcast, Semtech’s Randy Ryder joins Ryan Chacon to discuss the future of asset tracking. The podcast opens up with an introduction of Randy and Semtech before Randy discusses the current state and where he sees asset tracking heading. He then discusses the importance of expanding connectivity and how new technologies enable new use cases. The podcast wraps up with a high-level conversation about how companies can stand out and what makes them successful.
Randy Ryder is the Director of Wireless Products for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group, where he focuses on Semtech’s LoRa® devices. Before Semtech, he led a product marketing team at ams AG, developing advanced optical sensor solutions for consumer and industrial applications. Randy has 20+ years of experience in the semiconductor industry, working across various products, including microcontrollers, applications processors, and different wireless technologies. Randy holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Business Administration from Vlerick Business School in Belgium.
Interested in connecting with Randy? Reach out on Linkedin!
Semtech, a supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms, produces a long-range, low-power Internet of Things wireless chipset called LoRa®, which seamlessly connects sensors to the Cloud to enable real-time communication of data and analytics. Semtech’s LoRa technology reduces costs, extends battery life, and improves network capacity to enable smart IoT applications that solve some of our planet’s most significant challenges from energy management, natural resources reduction, pollution control, and infrastructure efficiency. During the interview, Randy will discuss LoRa and the recently announced LoRa Edge LR1120 platform, which seamlessly tracks assets worldwide, regardless of location.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:40) Introduction to Randy and Semtech
(02:55) Future of asset tracking
(04:38) Expanding connectivity
(08:40) Use cases that are now enabled
(10:46) How do companies stand out?
(15:45) Which companies will succeed?
– [Voice Over] You’re listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
– Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast, the number one publication and resource for the Internet of Things. If you are watching us on YouTube, please like the video and subscribe to our channel. If you’re listening to us on a podcast directory somewhere else, please feel free to subscribe so you get the latest episodes as soon as they are out. My name is Ryan Chacon, and I’ll be your host. On today’s episode, we have Randy Ryder, the Director of Wireless Product Marketing at Semtech. For those of who may be unfamiliar with Semtech, they are a supplier of analog and mixed signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms. They also produce a long-range, low-power Internet of Things wireless chip set called LoRa, which seamlessly connects sensors to the cloud to enable realtime communication of data and analytics. So we talk a lot about asset tracking in this conversation, ways LoRa connects to asset tracking, benefits of combining satellite and terrestrial networks to create global connectivity, enable more use cases in the industry. We also talk about different challenges in the space, how companies can stand out. Since Randy does handle more of the marketing side of things, we talk about how companies stand out amongst a crowd in an industry that is rapidly growing with lots of competition. So a very good conversation. Hope you find a lot of value in it. But before we get into this. 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 IoTChangesEverything.com. That’s IoTChangesEverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome, Randy, to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Randy] Thank you for having me.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Let’s kick this off by giving a quick introduction about yourself to our audience.
– Okay, so my name is Randy Ryder. I work for Semtech, and I am responsible for Semtech product marketing on our LoRa-enabled products, which includes our standard transceiver products as well as a geolocation platform we call LoRa Edge.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. And tell us, for our audience out there who may be not as familiar with Semtech kinda what you do, what the focus is.
– [Randy] Right, so my particular focus is around LoRa-enabled products. So we of course make the standard transceiver products that go into all kinds of different sensor products for LoRa, as well as the gateway products that we have which provide the network connectivity for the endpoints that are LoRa-enabled. And then most recently, of course, we’ve added to our device the cloud solution, which is called LoRa Edge. And I believe that will be probably where the primary interest for this topic is.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So I know one of the main topics I wanted to kind of talk to you about today is asset tracking, the kind of seamless nature of it, and the role you all play in that space. So tell us a little bit about, or I guess, talk to us a little bit about kind of how you all view the future of asset tracking kind of in that nature.
– [Randy] Right, so asset tracking, of course it’s a pretty broad category, and actually, we’ve kind of extended that to refer to asset tracking more as asset management. And asset management, we kind of look at as a horizontal category. It spans, really, across many different sort of traditional verticals. There’s of course logistics, but you can also think of asset management or asset tracking of something that’s done indoors. So you can have assets in, for example, a hospital. You could be tracking assets in warehouses, so there’s warehouse asset management, inventory management. So there’s a lot of aspects when you talk about asset management. From our perspective, what we’re focused on is trying to create a seamless way to track your assets, not just regionally, but also globally, not just outdoor, but also outdoor and indoor. And that means, really, the combination of a variety of different technologies coupled with LoRa to be able to provide this sort of seamless view on being able to track assets anywhere they are, whether they’re outdoor and indoor, and being able to provide this sort of promise of continuous, seamless asset tracking.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, and so let’s elaborate on that a little bit further, ’cause we’ve dabbled in this conversation a bit here and there with companies, talking about how we can expand the connectivity for a particular use case and just IoT in general to make new use cases more viable, just enhance existing use cases for exactly what you mentioned, coverage across larger areas, indoor, outdoor, kind of combining them together. So how do we do that? And what are the benefits of kind of combining those different technologies, which, you know, talking more towards the satellite and terrestrial networks to create that global access or global connectivity. Talk to us a little bit about kind of the benefits of that, how that’s done, what this enables, kind of thing.
– [Randy] Right, so from our perspective, so what we’ve done is we’ve created a platform called LoRa Edge. And LoRa Edge is our device-to-cloud platform. And the purpose of LoRa Edge is to address a lot of the specific points that you just raised. On one end of the platform is the device side, which is the silicon. The particular silicon that we have is a combination of different technologies. So obviously there is the LoRa piece, which means that there is an advanced LoRa transceiver, and on that with the silicon of the LoRa advanced transceiver, we’ve embedded some geolocation features. So we’ve added a GNSS receiver, we’ve added a Wi-Fi receiver, to basically create a homogenous hardware platform to be able to do outdoor, indoor geolocation over LoRaWAN. Now the other piece to the platform is, I mentioned device-to-cloud. So there’s a cloud component to this, and the cloud component to the platform is what actually provides the location results. So the device basically sniffs, either gets the GNSS data from the satellites or it’s receiving Wi-Fi location information, and then that information is fed up to the cloud where we have a solver, and that solver returns a latitude and longitude. And so that’s, in general, kind of high level what the platform is. The first release of that platform, or the first product that we had that was part of this platform was called LR1110, and that was a single band, sub-GHz LoRa transceiver with the ability to do GNSS scans as well as Wi-Fi. And now we’ve complimented that this year with what we call the LR1120, that’s the second device in the portfolio, which now adds satellite connectivity capabilities as well as 2.4 GHz connectivity capabilities. And the two combined really provide this ability to do both terrestrial, satellite, or mixed mode connectivity solutions, and use the geolocation features of combining GNSS plus Wi-Fi to give you sort of this vision of seamless outdoor to indoor tracking, as well as being able to support kind of global use cases. And I think, as you mentioned, one of the things that’s been missing in kind of asset tracking is the pieces have been there for a variety of use cases, but to be able, for example, if you take international shipping, container shipping, use cases like that, what’s been missing is this ability to provide a cost-efficient platform that can do this seamless tracking across oceans, across geographies, and with LoRa Edge, we’re really trying to address a lot of those type of use cases with the enablement that we have now with the two particular products that I mentioned.
– [Ryan] And specifically talking about the use cases here for a second, what are some use cases that you’ve seen, I guess, be enabled through combining of the satellite and terrestrial networks and providing that wider coverage? Are there things that maybe weren’t as viable before but are more viable now?
– [Randy] Right, so I think there’s been a need in the market for specific scenarios, for example, in very rural areas, for example, where you may not have terrestrial network coverage. The example of transnational or international shipping over oceans, obviously, there’s a coverage problem there from a terrestrial perspective. So a great example of a use case where satellite plays, I think, a significant role in the future is for livestock management. So, in certain geographies of the world where you have cattle tracking and sheep tracking, management of livestock, these are in very remote areas where terrestrial network availability is sparse or non-existent. And there, you have a situation where a customer could potentially set up a localized network to manage the livestock and then use the uplink to a satellite to basically get connection back to a backend system. So that’s one example. A mixed mode operation would be, for example, where, again, going back to logistics where you may have a logistics company that uses terrestrial networks in certain areas, maybe in urban areas, and then when they move through a very remote area or a rural area on like a highway or something where they may lose connectivity, they can go back to satellite. Satellite can also work really well if you look at a land area like Europe where you have a lot of different countries. You may have different types of networks where satellite can provide sort of a seamless coverage where you don’t have to worry about roaming issues and things like that.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. If we move out of just this scope of thinking for a second, I wanted to ask you, from your perspective, what are some of the biggest challenges you’re seeing, kind of faced in the market? I mean, for instance, there’s a lot of noise, right, that goes on in the IoT industry. There’s tons of companies out there that have IoT solutions, different industries, different use cases. So if we stick on that topic, related to challenges, how do companies stand out? How do companies kind of separate themselves out with the use cases that they’re building solutions for and really kind get themselves in front of potential customers?
– [Randy] Yeah, I think you bring up a good point about IoT and some of the pain points in general with IoT. I think, you know, at the end of the day, you know, we believe that the LoRa Edge platform itself can deliver a lot of value downstream. And then our customers are able to translate that value that we’re providing into a value downstream from that point on. And a great example of that is in the livestock tracking market, going back to that again. Livestock management has traditionally been sort of a non-technology kind of focused area, so. But there’s been, at least in the Western world, there have been recent changes in regulatory requirements, and I think it’s also coming from a consumer point of view, where consumers, for example, want to know traceability of the things that they eat. So that affects like agriculture in general where somebody may want to know, you know, “Where did this banana come from?” Or, “Is there a supply chain accountability for a certain piece, you know, a certain food or a certain meat product?” And so that pull from the market, from either the consumer or from a regulatory point of view, is creating the need to either have more digitization within the supply chain where you can, you know, create this sort of accounting, or it’s creating the need to be able to add more value in terms of the traditional sense of livestock tracking. And to put that into perspective, there’s been recent changes or concerns with, for example, cattle, where if they get sick, you know, the farmer needs to know quite fast if the cow’s getting sick so that he can contain the problem. And a lot of customers that have, for example, in livestock and tracking industry, you’re talking about areas where you have animals deployed across thousands of square acres where you really can’t do this in a manual process. So setting up sort of a LoRa network on property, on premise, gives you the ability to create more insights in terms of what’s happening with the animals. It’s not just about tracking them. It’s also about having sensors deployed on the animals to be able to measure temperature and other behaviors.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Yeah, it’s kind of interesting as we start to think about what these types of technologies enables and how companies are more closely aligning what they’re building to particular use cases, particular problems within a particular industry to stand out, because it’s something that I think for a long time the industry struggled with, where everyone made it seem like they can do anything and everything because they all have a platform or they can, you know, build for any type of use case, when in reality, we’re finding that that’s not the case, and it’s not really what’s needed to be successful in IoT or required to be successful in IoT. So it’s a very interesting kind of way to start thinking about how the industry is put together and how companies are trying to stand out.
– [Randy] Right, right. And at the end of the day, you know, we have to deliver value and the value has to be perceived as actually being valuable to a customer. And I think one of the things with IoT is, you know, it’s progressing, it’s moving in the right direction, but being able to hit, you know, being able to make sure that it’s affordable and it delivers the right value to a customer, that’s the most important thing, you know, and there’s just changes in the technology as well, right? As technology progresses, for example, we work with certain customers, again, in the cattle tracking industry. I find this really fascinating. They’re able to deploy sensors into the body of the cow, and we’re able now to be able to have a transmitter inside with that sensor, that temperature sensor, or that bolus that’s delivering medicine, and we’re able to transmit information from inside the cow to the ear tag, and then deliver that, and then send that via an uplink to the customer’s server to analyze the data, right? So the ability to do some of these use cases, we’re being able to address more and more use cases because price, technology, performance, all of these factors are coming together to deliver the right value at the right time.
– [Ryan] So based on kind of, as we wrap up, I just wanna ask this kind of final question, is who will be the most successful companies? Like, what does a company have to do to really stand out and drive engagement and to acquire customers?
– [Randy] Yeah. You know, I think the most important thing is that the entire value chain is indeed delivering value. And I think where we see, for example, with LoRa Edge, we see a lot of interest in this platform because we’ve put together a highly integrated solution at a very nice price point that helps our customers to reduce time to market, to reduce their costs, and then downstream, deliver, you know translate that into downstream value. And I think the companies that’ll be successful are the ones that are able to leverage technology and put together solutions that meet the customer’s needs. I mean, one of the main things we’re always constantly focused on is making sure that we’re listening to the customer and making sure that, you know, the products that we’re building are meeting the needs. And I think it boils back down to that, right?
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Could not agree more. So for our audience out there who wants to kind of learn more about everything you have going on on the Semtech side of things, what’s the best way to do that to follow up, stay in touch, that kind of thing?
– [Randy] Well, I would first of all recommend going to Semtech.com, visiting our website, and whatever your particular area of interest is, we have a very good website with all of our LoRa-enabled products listed. And then the next step would be to probably contact your local sales rep, who then eventually will contact us and we can help you get that product development started.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Well, Randy, it’s been a true pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to our audience about this. We’ve obviously been in touch with other members of your team for a while, and you guys have some fantastic things going on contributing a lot to the industry. So I think the asset tracking space is a very popular one, and these technologies and just the general growth of the space across the board is a win for everyone when it comes to IoT. So thank you so much for your time.
– [Randy] Thank you, Ryan. Appreciate it.
– [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.