Episode 264’s Sponsor: Silicon Labs
Silicon Labs, a leader in secure, intelligent wireless technology has launched their 2023 Tech Talk schedule. This year’s Tech Talks include a dedicated technology series for Matter, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LPWAN in order to help you build the development skills needed to deliver cutting edge IoT products. Join Silicon Labs experts, industry leaders for these one-hour, live virtual trainings created for developers by developers. Accelerate your device development today by registering at silabs.com.
2022 was a huge year for LoRaWAN! What will 2023 hold? Donna Moore, CEO & Chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance, joins Ryan Chacon on the IoT For All Podcast to discuss the progress LoRaWAN made in 2022 and how it will grow in 2023. They explore use cases that emerged in 2022, remaining challenges for LoRaWAN adoption and deployment, what will enable Massive IoT, and how LoRa Alliance is advancing LoRaWAN and IoT.
Donna Moore is CEO & Chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. In this role, she oversees the organization, its strategy and direction to drive the global adoption of the LoRaWAN standard. Moore has nearly two decades of experience launching new companies and growing businesses across a variety of industries and competitive environments. Donna is an IoT thought leader with an extensive background of successfully advancing IoT globally. This year, Donna received IoT Breakthrough Award’s “IoT Company CEO of the Year,” and she was named a 2021 Connected World “Women in Technology” winner. Additionally, the LoRa Alliance won the 2021 “Wireless Technology Innovation Award” from the IoT Breakthrough Awards program. Published extensively, Donna has been featured in Authority Magazine and Telecom Drive (India) for her business leadership. Most recently, she was CEO of SpireSpark International, a company that provides highly skilled technical and operational expertise to design and build certification, compliance, and conformance programs. Prior to that, she served as the executive director of the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), as it became the de facto IoT standard for streaming video, audio, and picture files to each other over a LAN. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from San Diego State University.
Interested in connecting with Donna? 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 2022 and beyond.
Vision: Empowering sustainable IoT to maximize efficiency, improve quality of life, and protect the planet’s resources.
Mission: To achieve Massive IoT through the global adoption of LoRaWAN technology.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:12) Introduction to Donna and LoRa Alliance
(01:56) LoRaWAN progress in 2022
(04:16) What use cases emerged in 2022?
(14:10) LoRaWAN in 2023
(15:25) Remaining challenges for LoRaWAN adoption
(17:53) What will enable Massive IoT?
(24:14) How is LoRa Alliance advancing LoRaWAN and IoT?
(27:20) Learn more and follow up
– [Ryan] Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast. I’m Ryan Chacon, and on today’s episode, we’re going to talk about what 2023 holds for LoRaWAN and IoT. With me today is going to be Donna Moore, the CEO and Chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. They are an open nonprofit association, closely collaborating and sharing their experiences to help promote and drive success of the LoRaWAN standard, a great episode here. Please subscribe to this channel if you have not done so already. Hit that bell icon so you get the latest episodes as soon as they’re out, and give this video a thumbs up. All right, before we get into this, we have a quick word from our sponsor. Silicon Labs, a leader in secure, intelligent wireless technology has launched their 2023 Tech Talk schedule. This year’s Tech Talks include a dedicated technology series for Matter, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LPWAN in order to help you build the development skills needed to deliver cutting edge IoT products. Join Silicon Labs expert’s industry leaders for these one-hour, live virtual trainings created for developers by developers. Accelerate your device development today by registering at silabs.com. That’s the letter S, the letter I, L-A-B-S.com. Welcome Donna, to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here again as a fantastic guest.
– [Donna] Great, thanks Ryan. Always happy to come and have a chat with you.
– [Ryan] Yeah, looking forward to it. Let’s kick this off. Just for any of our audience who may be unfamiliar, I’ll have you give a quick introduction about yourself and the LoRa Alliance, if you wouldn’t mind.
– [Donna] Yeah, that’s great. I’m Donna Moore. I’m the CEO and Chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. The LoRa Alliance has been around for seven years, going on our eighth year, and we do low-power white area networking. We have had strong, strong momentum over the last few years in terms of driving our standard forward. Last year, we became an official standard by ITU, and so just incredible strides supporting the planet and this world. And businesses moving forward, for sure.
– [Ryan] That’s fantastic. So I wanted to dive into kind of a conversation that’s gonna talk in a couple of different ways about LoRaWAN and IoT this year, last year, kinda what we’re most excited about, how the alliance is playing a role in that and so forth. But let’s kick this off and talk about 2022 real quick. Where were the biggest strides made in 2022? Like, which use cases led the way? Has anything surprised you that happened, changes? Or kind of obviously becoming a standard is fantastic. Any other things that happened in the LoRaWAN world that kind of really made 2022 kind of end where it was?
– [Donna] Yeah, 2022 was actually like a very explosive year in a good way. You know, with the world opening up from COVID and everybody getting together, and we just saw such a burst of energy. We had the LoRaWAN World Expo in Paris in July. That was a huge success. And at that event, we really saw all the pent-up demand, all the work that had been happening kind of behind the scenes, but we didn’t see it because we weren’t, you know, getting together at events. And so I would say 2022, again, getting together and having Paris. The biggest change that I saw in 2022 was the industry moving from asking questions about what is LoRaWAN to really a journey of how do I implement LoRaWAN? How do I find devices? You know, what are best practices? How do I, you know, collaborate with other companies? How do I integrate it into my system? And that was probably the biggest change from an industry perspective. And, you know, very exciting to see it. So, you know, the other thing in 2022 that we saw is that the time from proof of concepts to actual deployments dropped dramatically. You know, it used to be maybe a year, year and a half for a proof of concept and we saw that drop down to five to six months, getting the return on investment. Actually, usually greater return on investment than anticipated in rolling out LoRaWAN. So those are probably the biggest things that we saw in 2022.
– [Ryan] Were there any use cases that kind of stuck out to you where adoption kind of increased or was maybe bigger than you expected throughout the year that’s worth noting?
– [Donna] So I would say that, actually, in all the areas that we look at, our six key vertical areas, which, you know, buildings, utilities, smart city, agriculture, asset tracking, and certainly industrial all moved forward in a very big way. However, I would say the top three would be cities, buildings, and utilities and the use cases around that. And primarily because if you look at really LoRaWAN strengths, you know, battery-operated devices, long distance, you know, deep signal penetration, low cost, because of our strengths in those areas in particular, we saw some of the greatest growth. And, in fact, in 2023, there’s so much that LoRaWAN can do, we really said, “Okay, we’re gonna try to focus, not that we’re not still doing it all, but as an alliance, we’re gonna focus on three verticals.” And those three for 2023 are cities, buildings, and utilities because of the growth that we saw in 2022.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, yeah. I mean I’ve seen in similar conversations that I’ve had or recent conversations I’ve had, the buildings and the industrial outside of the LoRaWAN space have been pretty hot areas of growth. And to your point earlier about kind of big changes you saw in 2022, going from kind of focusing on the technology to focusing on the adoption and the use cases, I’ve noticed that kind of across IoT as a whole as well. And I started to really see that when I went to CES back in January where most companies were less focused on showcasing technology and more focused on showcasing what companies were doing with their technology, successful deployments, actual solutions that were out in the market being used to kind of help build up some level of just kind of credibility to what they were doing as opposed to just trying to impress you with their technology. People now need to see this implemented in order to feel more comfortable about going down the path of adoption.
– [Donna] Right, I mean, and back to my point about the change of the questions and the change of the IoT industry in general, I mean, we’ve already proven out the ROIs there. We have so many deployments around the world that the question about, you know, does it work, is this the right technology, we’ve moved past all of that. And, you know, just looking at replication, you know, we have so many cities that have deployed LoRaWAN and we have a recipe about, you know, why, and how to help additional cities move forward. And so, you know, some of our use cases are, you know, or not use cases, but deployments are three, five years old. And they really added on additional use cases from the network where they’ve got, you know, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 different types of use cases on the LoRaWAN network.
– [Ryan] Well, I think that’s such an interesting point about LoRaWAN in general. And when I got involved in this space about seven years ago now and I started to learn about LoRaWAN and kind of the power of what this could bring to solutions, that was one of the biggest things that was really pushed and now we’re starting to see it in practice more day after day, is how, once you deploy a LoRaWAN network, how extensible it is to add on new applications without much of, you know, a hassle. And how are you seeing that kind of contribute to the adoption in the three areas, cities, buildings, and industrial? Because I imagine that if you really think about those individual industries as a whole, they kind of are ripe for multiple use cases within a building, within, you know, a factory, and we’re within obviously a city. And I imagine this is kind of why LoRaWAN is such a big deal and plays such a good role there.
– [Donna] Yeah, I mean that’s exactly it. And if we just look at smart cities, many, not all, but many smart cities will start with lighting, right? And they’ll use the poles as a gateway. You know, and so that’s around safety and energy conservation, but immediately move to, you know, trash and parking and air quality and, you know, then they start bringing utilities depending on the city. And, you know, water is huge for LoRaWAN in terms of water waste management, water quality. Gas is huge for LoRaWAN with gas leaks, you know, paying bills and making sure that the usage matches the bills. So, I mean, the use cases really are almost endless. And the same thing with buildings. I mean, they put in the network. A lot of times they started back in COVID or right after COVID with, you know, monitoring space and monitoring the cleanliness or monitoring the bathrooms. And then they, you know, moved on to air quality and they’ve moved on to water leak management. And again, the use cases just keep adding. And what that does is it just allows the ROI to continue to build. But I think, I just wanna take a little divergent here, I think that the key is, with the world away it is today, the reality is businesses and governments must operate in a different manner, you know, with labor shortages and inflation and supply chain issues. Honestly, there’s really not a choice, you know, but to be more effective and efficient in your operations. And I think that is one of the biggest drivers for LoRaWAN. I mean, we’re out there, we’re proven, we’re global. But the reality is businesses are looking for solutions because they have to, they have to move forward with the world the way it is today. And they have to be more efficient and LoRaWAN provides all that.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, I was actually, I had a recording earlier with Wienke from The Things Industries, and he was kind of making some similar points. And then I brought up kind of the experience we kind of witnessed during the pandemic as companies had to learn how to be more efficient and do more with less remotely that kind of caused IoT to really rise to the top. And he was kind of talking about how, with LoRaWAN, kind of what that enables for organizations to do. ‘Cause at the, at the root of it with IoT being able to kind of be focused around improving efficiencies within organizations, helping them do more with less, helping them monitor things remotely, you know, it kind of feeds right into that. And we were talking more so about just kind of the general kind of path of the economy right now. And with so much uncertainty, companies are kind of hesitant on where they should be diverting their time and money. And IoT kind of rises the top a lot because of what it enables organizations to do, how can it generate new business models and new revenue streams while, at the same time, making them more efficient and doing more with less resources, things like that. And to your point about LoRaWAN being something that really fits into that from a technology standpoint is very much in line.
– [Donna] Very much so. And the other thing thing too, agree with all of that, and the other thing is with ESG, right? LoRaWAN is the perfect solution to monitor that and report it. So when you’ve got companies that are bound by, you know, ESG guidelines and they need to report it to the board or to their stakeholders, how do you get that data to report, you know, those various types of measurements? And LoRaWAN does a great job ant a cost efficient way to provide the measurement tools around that as well and so that they can get better and ensure that they’re doing environmental or, you know, employee work environment or whatever the goals are for the organization.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. No, I totally agree. I wanted to kind of start to pivot now towards the year ahead. But one of the things you asked earlier, and I wanted to expand on this cause I’m curious, is you talked about how LoRaWAN became an official standard. When that happens, what does that, like, what does that mean and what does that enable? And that’s something that I think a lot of people out there, you know, are learning about different standards now with the growth of Matter and things like that in the smart home. But as we’re talking about LoRaWAN becoming a standard, what does that exactly mean and do you feel like enables kind of as we head into this year?
– [Donna] Well, you know, for LoRaWAN itself, it doesn’t change much in that we are an open body, we’re an open ecosystem. We created the standards, and I’ll talk in a minute about what that means, but what it does just say is that we have been accepted by an international standards body and recognized as an official standard, which is important to be recognized. And we are incorporated into the ITU Standard Body Organization. And that’s really important. But what standardization does is create the venue to have an open ecosystem, ongoing development, ongoing innovation. It’s not locked in by any one company. So any and all companies move forward. It tells you that, you know, if a company or government deploys LoRaWAN, it’s here, there’s multiple companies they can get devices from. There’s multiple companies they can get gateways from. And, you know, it is a standard by all and improved by all, so.
– [Ryan] Right. Gotcha. Fantastic.
– [Donna] Yeah.
– [Ryan] And as we’re heading into kind of this year, where do you see the biggest growth opportunities? Where are you expecting to see the most adoption you know, as it relates to the buildings, cities, and utility spaces? What are you most expecting to kind of happen in that area as we’re going through this year?
– [Donna] Yeah, I think we’re just gonna see, in terms of buildings and utilities and cities, I think we’re gonna see enormous growth and continue to grow. I mean, that’s why we’re focusing there and we will also continue to see, for those cities and buildings that have LoRaWAN deployments, our ecosystem continue to develop new and exciting use cases based on their needs. And so we will see growth of the extension of LoRaWAN deployments that are already out there. And that is the exciting thing about an ecosystem is that, you know, when the partners get together and they really listen to the cities or the buildings that are saying, “Listen, I’m having issues with this. Can you help me solve this? I mean, we’re already doing these things with LoRaWAN, but here are some additional issues,” they get together, they create new devices, and they can continue on and evolve the path with LoRaWAN.
– [Ryan] Gotcha. That makes total sense. What would you say are still some of the challenges that maybe remain in this space? Or, you know, what challenges does the space still face? Even with all the advances that we make year after year, where do you kind of see challenges still existing with, you know, with deployments and adoption and things like that?
– [Donna] I think it’s just really around ease of use and continue to make it easier to deploy. You know, IoT takes a village to deploy. And again, that’s where a big, open ecosystem comes into play, but just continue to create new standards, like we’ve done this last year, to make it easier to, you know, deploy LoRaWAN or develop LoRaWAN. And having the ecosystem partners that get together and create full end-to-end solutions is really important because the customer isn’t looking to piecemeal solutions together, right? They have a need, they wanna solve it, and they want a solution. They don’t want, you know, to have to go around and find the different parts of the ecosystem. So our ecosystem does a great job working together to create that full end-to-end solution, which makes deployments easier.
– [Ryan] Yeah, I think that goes back to our point earlier about focusing more on the solution, the success stories, more of the application of the technologies as opposed to different components and making it feel kinda like a big lift for companies, feeling like you have to go out and figure out what, you know, what connectivity do you need, what hardware do you need? How are you gonna build the UI and the application layer? How are you gonna connect to the cloud? What’s gonna happen on the edge? All that kind of stuff. And the more that these companies can come together kind of behind the scenes and present an end-to-end solution for the companies that really just wants something that works and solves their problem and, you know, is affordable, hits their ROI goals and so forth, I mean, and not in a rude way, but they don’t care about the technology inside as long as it does, you know, what they’re asking it to do. And the more companies that can spend more time making that an easier purchasing process or an adoption process, which, don’t get me wrong, a lot of use cases still require customizations and still require, you know, different things to be adjusted for their end users and what they’re trying to track, but where you can bring it more kind of together to make it an easier buy is something that I think will help contribute to adoption and things like that. But one question I have for you is like, what are we seeing happen, aside from kind of these comments we’re making now, what else do you see really helping us overcome, you know, this challenge to enable, you know, what a lot of people consider kinda like Massive IoT?
– [Donna] Well, a couple of things, and I think that, again, we need to have a big ecosystem and so that everybody is playing a part in continuing to develop. So I know I keep saying that, but it’s huge. I think the other challenge is making sure that the end users or the consumers understand how important certification is. We don’t talk a lot about that, and I don’t know if this is, you know, the perfect time, but I don’t wanna miss bringing up this opportunity to talk about certified devices and certification because that is a means to ease of use and making sure that it all works well and out the gate and it helps with deployments because you know that they’re gonna work. And so LoRaWAN has done a lot with our certification program. We continue to expand our certification program. So as we roll out new specifications, we have certification programs as appropriate that go along with those specifications so that, you know, it’s just important. And more and more governments and businesses are requiring in their tenders and their bids to have LoRaWAN certified devices because, as you’re rolling out and you’re doing Massive IoT, not having certified devices feels very risky to me. So that is one key to help with mass adoption is to make sure that what you’re deploying are certified devices.
– [Ryan] Right. No, I agree. I think the devices is a very interesting kind of piece to talk about, because, a lot of times, that’s where people start their kind of journey into learning what am I trying to accomplish? But to dis to kind of distinguish between the different devices out there and what exactly do I need without it being overkill, without it, you know, not being able to do what I need, where do I start? And that’s a good kind of point. We’ve talked to companies in the past about, in the smart home space, more the consumer side, how important it is to be focusing on devices that are certified in some capacity, you know, approved and not just buy any old thing you find on Amazon that thinks it could do the job. So I think it carries very well over to the enterprise space as well.
– [Donna] Yes, absolutely. And you know what’s interesting, and you talk about mass adoption as well, I see with our members that the relationships that they build with, you know, various, you know, members or end users, some of our end users are members, like Chevron and Target and and whatnot, but the relationships that they build with those end users are long relationships. You know, when it’s done well, and hopefully it is, and so those long relationships, they continue to evolve, they continue to add more use cases, they continue to expand the LoRaWAN implementations. And that’s what I’m seeing is that the relationships, which is great for our members, but that’s what’s also driving the Massive IoT.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, and I remembered something I wanted to mention from an earlier point you made about the ecosystem and how important the ecosystem is. I also have to think it’s important for companies to understand how the ecosystem and how their company plays a role with other companies and folk and understand how important partnerships are. I think a lot of times I run into companies who just kind of almost have a fear of working with others because they just think everyone’s a competitor and somehow it’s not going to kind of work in the way they envision, but IoT is in such a unique space where you require so many different pieces to build a solution. And not everyone can specialize and be good at all the different pieces. So putting a big emphasis on that partnership and understanding, like, making yourself more available, reaching out to companies, engaging with companies, finding out how you can build together just makes that adoption process more realistic for companies who are looking to kind of get involved in IoT and adopt solutions. It’s a less daunting task for them when those companies kind of already have a relationship. And it’s just an important thing I think people to really be thinking about while they’re building their IoT company to then eventually bring a solution to market.
– [Donna] Yeah. I’ll tell you, the successful deployments out there and the successful end users that I see are our members. Some of them are like three and four members coming together. Again, it does require expertise in different areas and coming together and working together to supply the end-to-end solution. And that’s where LoRa Alliance as an alliance, it is the greatest benefit of being a part of the alliance is that you are mixing with, speaking with, developing with, innovating with the partners that you need to provide the solution, for sure.
– [Ryan] Right, totally agree with you. And that’s kind of how we’ve envisioned when we built IoT For All is bringing companies together, not just to share their expertise, but, you know, bringing our partners and our members together in a way that’s kind of offline a little bit, but in a way that allows like-minded individuals to share what they’re doing and then not kind of like promoting and trying to sell each other stuff, but just talking about what they do, how they do it, and help to find ways to work together and compliment each other. And I’ve noticed that with the LoRa Alliance’s Your members can, at times, fit very well together and you all do a very good job of trying to bring them together in order to see how working in a collaborative way is going to just help further, and not just what they’re doing, but the alliance’s mission too. And as we’ve started recently working more closely with your marketing team about just getting more members involved in sharing their knowledge and expertise from different perspectives, we think all of that is just a win for the audience, for the companies, for the alliance, for the industry. The more people you can get sharing their knowledge and information, the better it is. And that’s kind of what we’re trying to hope, you know, advocate for.
– [Donna] Right, absolutely. And even just true deployments, like business models, it’s how business models are done. It is multiple members coming together for the business model to implement their expertise.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, so speaking of the Alliance, I wanted to kind of wrap this up by talking a little bit about, everything we’ve talked about, going from 2022 to 2023 and what we’re looking forward and seeing kind of happen, the challenges in this space and so forth, how is the alliance really helping with this direction we’re heading in? I know you’ve talked about the standard, but I imagine there’s probably something on the certification side that’s probably gonna contribute to this and so forth. Just talk to us kind of how you all as an alliance are really contributing to this and helping, you know, grow this direction.
– [Donna] Yeah, and again, that is exactly what we do as an alliance. Well first, let me just say we do have LoRa Alliance meetings. In March, March 15 and 16, we will be in Orlando. And it’s LoRaWAN Live in Orlando. And it’s open to members and non-members. It’ll be a big event as well. And that event specifically will be focusing on cities, buildings, and utilities. And it’s a great way, so this is one of the ways that the LoRa Alliance supports the ecosystem, in that we’ll have speakers there, we’ll have end users there, we’ll talk about best practices, we’ve got technical tracks, how to track, certification tracks. So that is how we share cross knowledge at the event. And, you know, going back to your question about working together, in my keynote for Orlando I’m actually gonna be having the City of Calgary come on stage with me. And what’s interesting to talk about, they’ve been doing LoRaWAN deployments for years now and they have incredible insights. They have so many use cases deployed. It’s amazing. But who else will be on that stage is the LoRaWAN members that work together to put together and continue to drive the deployments for the City of Calgary. And so OrbiWise, TEKTELIC, eleven-x are examples. They’ll all be up on stage, and all of those Members came together to drive this deployment.
– [Ryan] That’s great. That’s very exciting. I think that event sounds like a really good one. You know, I can’t wait to learn more about it on my end and kind of hear how it goes. ‘Cause I think anytime you can not only bring the members together, which we’ve stressed in this conversation of why it’s important, but bringing kind of non-members to educate themselves and learn more about how this alliance and these groups of companies are working together to actually build deployments and help with adoption growth is fantastic.
– [Donna] Yeah, and, again, I don’t know any other way to do it successfully than the way we’re doing it and it be successful.
– [Ryan] Right, right.
– [Donna] And, you know, I wanted to say too, and hopefully you’ll link it, we just launched a few weeks ago our 2022 year end report. And it really wraps up from technical to certification to marketing. to all the events that happened in 2022 and kind of where we’re heading in 2023. So you’ll be able to-
– [Ryan] We’ll share for sure. I’m sure we’ll talk with your team and make sure we get that report before this episode goes live so that everybody who listens to this can check it out as well. But that’s awesome. But, Donna, thank you so much again for taking the time to chat with me. For those out there who wanna learn more about the Alliance and kind of what you have going on, what’s the best way they can do that?
– [Donna] They can go to our website, lora-alliance.org. And it talks about the Orlando event, the agenda, how to register, As well as the the alliance overall.
– [Ryan] Fantastic, well really appreciate your time as always, and look forward to hopefully talking again soon.
– [Donna] Thanks Ryan, thanks so much. 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 notifications 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.