In this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, Donna Moore, CEO and Chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance, joins Ryan Chacon to discuss the state of LoRaWAN. The conversation covers the three key missions of the Alliance; standard development, device certification, and awareness marketing, the significant growth of LoRaWAN in cities, utilities, and buildings, and the emergence of Industry 5.0, combining operational efficiencies with safety, sustainability, and good business practices.

About Donna Moore

Donna Moore is the CEO and 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 2024 and beyond.

Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:

(00:17) Introduction to Donna Moore and the LoRa Alliance

(01:07) The state of LoRaWAN

(02:17) Why LoRaWAN is ideal for smart cities

(04:39) Expanding LoRaWAN use cases

(06:01) LoRa Alliance 2023 End of Year Report

(06:49) Key findings from the report

(09:09) Importance of the LoRaWAN ecosystem

(10:39) Why is it important to certify LoRaWAN devices?

(13:25) Industry 5.0

(15:12) Emergence of satellite connectivity

(16:36) Challenges and successes in LoRaWAN deployments

(20:20) Upcoming LoRaWAN Live event in Munich

(21:38) Learn more and follow up


– [Ryan] Welcome Donna to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being back as another guest. 

– [Donna] Thank you, Ryan, for having me. 

– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s great to always have you. I’m glad we get to do these regularly and hear all the exciting things going on on your end with the Alliance. And I think that’d be a good way to kick this off. Just for any audience members who maybe are not familiar with you and the Alliance, just give some background information that would be helpful to give them some context. 

– [Donna] Great. What? Not everyone’s familiar with the LoRa Alliance. Come on. No. So, the LoRa Alliance is a Low Power Wide Area Networking standard. We have one of the or the largest ecosystem in the world, which is why we’re the number one standard. It really is the members in the ecosystem that has made us so incredibly successful. And we do three key things. We develop standards and evolve our standard. We have a certification program for in devices. And we do marketing awareness, education about the standard. 

– [Ryan] I’ve had a lot of exposure to the stuff you all do, which is, which has been fantastic. For our audience who may be new to the IoT space, let’s talk about where LoRaWAN is now versus where maybe it was last year and what, what’s been going on in the space over the last 12 months or so.

– [Donna] So the last year we, as an alliance, have really focused on cities, utilities, and buildings slash campuses. And we just needed to narrow the focus because there’s so much we can do, and we really wanted to focus in and get traction and solve problems in those areas. And we’ve been incredibly successful. We have hundreds and hundreds of cities around the world that have deployed LoRaWAN.

We’re in all kinds of buildings and stores and restaurants and campuses and certainly for utilities, in all types of utilities companies, whether it’s with a government or independent, gas, water, electric as well. We have just seen an incredible growth in those three verticals in particular over the last three years.

– [Ryan] And what is it about LoRaWAN standard that makes it so ideal for cities, campuses, and such? Obviously you’re honing your focus for a reason, and that’s where you’ve seen probably the most success with certain solution deployments. So, what is it about LoRaWAN that really makes it an ideal fit for those environments?

– [Donna] It is that it is low data rates, right? We really focus on the massive IoT, the 75 percent of the IoT needs in the market. It is a fact that LoRaWAN can penetrate through steel and concrete, deep underground. It’s low cost, easy to deploy, easy to continue to add use cases, to network, and probably two of the other really key reasons why those areas and honestly, it’s the same for most areas, whether it’s buildings, cities, and utilities, or whether it’s agriculture and industrial IoT, which we’re going to be focusing on more this year, really it’s the similar strengths of LoRaWAN for all of those verticals. 

And the other two things I was going to say is our flexibility. So the fact that we have private public networks, we have community networks, we have satellite networks, we have hybrid networks. That flexibility is huge because we really are focused on solving the problem. And problems come in all different shapes and sizes as well as our flexibility with CapEx or OpEx. It depends on the customer and what their needs are. 

So the fact that it’s low data rate, and we have a long battery life so it can be deployed, and the sensors can be out there for tens of years, is really the key for most sectors when they’re trying to gather small amounts of data over long periods of time to make decisions, to make their businesses better, to make their people safer, to make the environment healthier and cleaner. So, it’s really the same for all environments, whether it was those three, or as, like I said, we’re going to move on and this year really focus on manufacturing and industrial IoT.

– [Ryan] I think one of the cool things I’ve always been excited to hear about is the ability for use cases to be expanded upon in these different environments. And obviously cities, you could just imagine, you start with one thing like smart lighting and just can expand to so many different things once the infrastructure is in place.

And that’s one of the big areas for as long as I’ve been in the IoT space that LoRaWAN has really been pushing to show the power and the fit for, to bring LoRaWAN into those types of environments or a campus, for instance, where you could launch one solution, show the ROI, and then because you have everything all in place, you’re just looking now at potentially different sensors or, and building different user interfaces to engage with that data. But because you already laid the groundwork, the expansion into these other use cases is just, continues to compound the value of those solutions, which I think is really cool. 

– [Donna] 100%. And not only that, it extends to different departments or different needs within the company or the government to bring in their use cases, right? Some of them may have been around, street lighting or street maintenance, but then there’s another one that wants to have parks and safety or, so it really brings in different areas of the business that really might not have been involved in the initial trial. 

– [Ryan] One thing I wanted to get to, you all every year do an end of the year report. What is the purpose and the intention of that report for the Alliance members, for you all who run the Alliance and what, is, what’s the purpose and goal of that report each year? 

– [Donna] It’s for the market. Certainly our members, but a lot of our members know the work that they’ve done and the outcome, but it’s for the market. And it’s, especially as a nonprofit alliance, we really want to track what were our goals at the beginning of the year, what did we achieve, where are we at today, and what are we looking at for tomorrow. So, we do those every year so that we can show the world but also ourselves, hold ourselves accountable to the success and to reaching our goals that we’re putting forward.

– [Ryan] So take me through and take our audience through some of the biggest findings that you learned about. I know we already briefly touched on where LoRaWAN has come, but I’d love to dig into the details of the key findings from that report that the market should really be paying attention to. 

– [Donna] I think some of the key findings that we talk about in that report, and it’s a great report, I encourage everyone to read it, it’s really quick because we talk about every sector, right? What we’ve done in technology, in marketing and certification, and showing the growth of the market as a whole with LoRaWAN deployments. 

But I think some of the really interesting things is what we found with SIs, system integrators and solution providers, really how much value they add to companies, manufacturing, to cities because they, the benefit and the value when you can really look at a long term approach similar to what you were saying about adding additional use cases is huge and that support of integration, that support of knowledge, that support of a bigger plan, we found over the last few years, has just really appreciated the value of LoRaWAN to the end users. So, that was one of the key things. 

And satellite, I think I may have forgotten to mention satellite in our network options, but satellite is a connectivity market that is absolutely exploding for LoRaWAN. We implemented or released, maybe a year plus ago, but long range frequency hopping spread spectrum, and it increases capacity and the value of satellite in terms of asset tracking, whether you’re on land with terrestrial and moving up to the satellite, again, interoperability, as your asset moves over water, ocean, back to land, back from the satellite, down to the terrestrial, or whether satellite’s doing very remote use cases where there is no connectivity, satellite has been a huge win for LoRaWAN in terms of really bringing that and adding that networking level and flexibility to our standard over the last year. 

– [Ryan] How has the community from within the Alliance, from a collaboration standpoint, the ecosystem, how has that really helped drive the growth of these solutions? Because from my engagement, when I was down at, it was about a little over a year ago, at the event down in Florida, it just seemed like there was a very tight knit ecosystem. So, how does, how did the different components of the ecosystem work together and how has that really helped accelerate adoption, and the ability for these solutions to exist over the last year or so.

– [Donna] It is all about the ecosystem. The fact that these companies come together in a collaborative way to identify problems in the market and needs and bring together a full solution, end to end solution is what’s driven LoRaWAN in this space forward over this last couple of years really in such a great way, and it is the ecosystem that understands the market and brings new issues or new problems to the Alliance, so we can expand our standards, so we can look at what does that mean for market needs.

So, the fact that we have an ecosystem that works together, partners that collaborate and also brings in other standards for us to collaborate with on their deployments is the reason why we are so successful. 

– [Ryan] One of the things, I was actually talking to Senet the other day, and they were talking about the importance of devices, LoRaWAN devices being certified, and I know that was something that you all talked about in your report is that smart cities are really increasing the requirements for LoRaWAN devices to be LoRaWAN certified when they’re putting out RFPs. Why is that so important? Because I, when I was talking to Senet, they were explaining to me that it’s something to make sure you should be looking for, but we really didn’t get into the, to the nuts and bolts as to why that matters so much. And I’d love to hear from your perspective why that’s so important.

– [Donna] So cities and governments and now many businesses are including in their tenders and RFPs, like you just said, LoRaWAN certified devices, not just we’re doing a call for LoRaWAN. And it’s important because you, the standard is an open standard. Anyone can build to the standard, but how do you know they’re building correctly? And how do you know they’re developing correctly? And so when an in device gets certified, it is being tested against a specification. It’s called conformance testing. When you’re deploying hundreds or thousands of sensors out there, you need to know they’re going to work. You need to have confidence that they’ve been tested and built to the standard.

And that’s exactly why the LoRaWAN ecosystem is large within LoRaWAN, but there’s also a lot of companies out there developing and deploying LoRaWAN that are not a LoRa Alliance member or certified. And the difference is those that are within the ecosystem are a part of building the specification, understand how to develop the specification, typically get their devices certified so that the customer knows that it will work, it’ll interoperate as they deploy more and more. So it’s really important to know that it’s been built and deployed as a, as it was supposed to be with confidence. 

– [Ryan] I think that’s something that’s very important for people listening to this to understand. If they’re going to be exploring any type of deployment with LoRaWAN, the devices and the sensors that you bring in, really focus and make sure that they are certified because without that, I think you just potentially open the door for problems down the line and any type of little hiccups or problems oftentimes can derail a solution and that’s just, nobody benefits from that. So, I totally agree with your point. 

– [Donna] And if you look at Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, they’re Bluetooth certified, Wi-Fi certified. There’s a reason that the devices are certified because end users want to know they’re not going to have issues, and that, again, it was built as intended. 

– [Ryan] Do you all talk about Industry 5.0 much? I know 4.0, there’s been obviously conversations and deployments and things around that, but when it comes to Industry 5.0, how do you all view that upcoming initiative and what is your all kind of thoughts on that?

– [Donna] We feel like we’ve been leading industry 5.0. Since the beginning, our focus as an Alliance has been on people, profit, and planet, which is industry 5.0. 4.0 really focuses on operational efficiencies and bottom line ROI, which is needed and great. But as you roll into 5.0, you really bring in the human element, the safety, using labor in its highest and most valuable form and taking out the repetitive and unsafe tasks that may be going on. So, it’s combining the efficiencies and the ROI with safety and highest use of your labor and sustainability and business, good business practices from an environmental standpoint. And we’ve always been about that from day one. 

So, I am super excited that 5.0 is rolling out in a larger awareness. I’m going to be speaking to some of this in Munich because it’s where our strength is. It is what we’ve been doing since day one, and it’s the right place to be. You do need to have a strong ROI and be efficient at operations. It’s not a nice to have. It’s a must to have. It, the labor is tight right now and finances are tight, so you need it. But, you also need to have safe, healthy people and environment as well. 

– [Ryan] Absolutely. I wanted to go back to something you talked about because I think it’s been really cool to follow the progress of this over the last year or so, even beyond that, but we’re starting to have that conversation around satellite connectivity and really starting to play a role in the IoT space and the work you do, and you’ve already touched on collaborating and building those hybrid connectivity models so that regardless of where a device may travel or go to, whether it’s within a LoRaWAN network, whether it’s, or required to connect to satellite, there’s a lot of power of this, why that’s so important. Can you talk about or expand on more about what does that mean and what does that really enable for solutions that maybe were not possible before? 

– [Donna] Asset tracking is one. Within buildings or campuses, or if you have a private network, you could move your equipment within the area. But with satellite, it allows you to do global asset tracking. Again, it allows you to network into areas and monitor things that we weren’t able to before because there just was no connectivity. So as with many of our next steps forward as an Alliance, it continues to evolve our ability to solve more problems in the world. And satellite helps to solve more problems that we could not solve before for our end users. 

– [Ryan] What challenges still exist for LoRaWAN deployments? Or I guess through all the work that you do and the deployments that you observe, are you seeing any existing challenges or things that still or maybe are top of the list that you’re working on helping overcome that people just need to be understanding and aware of? 

– [Donna] I think it’s honestly awareness. It’s still a fairly new LPWAN technology in these various markets. While some have been deploying for seven or eight years, others are still new to it and understanding what all can be done with LoRaWAN and just education, I would say is really the number one thing that we as an Alliance work on. Again, we’re always evolving security. We’re always evolving our certification. We’re always evolving the technology. We’re always evolving because there’s, the needs change in the market. But I would say the number one hump, and we’ve achieved so much of that in the last, education in the last four or five years, but it’s still about awareness in certain markets or certain crannies.

But I’ll tell you one thing real quick, Ryan, the interesting thing that’s really helped us in the last year with awareness is that safe cities, for an example, they’re, the barrier entry, making sure that they’re not spending time and money and deploying this new technology to do all these wonderful things, now they can look to their left or to the right and they can see other cities that have deployed and success breeds success. And so what I’m finding, whether it’s a city or utility or a large hotel, motel type building, they’re looking around and seeing other types of use cases being deployed and being successful and going, all right, my, I feel confident now. I’m going to move forward with this because I see the success out there in very similar types of environments. So that’s been huge for us. 

– [Ryan] Yeah, that’s probably one of the most powerful things with IoT in general. I feel like regardless of how mature the technology is and how far the industry has come, at times, depending on the organization, depending on the industry, there’s still hesitation as to should the company explore adopting a solution and what do they need to understand and what do they need to know in order to see success. And the more solutions that can be deployed successfully, the more use cases out there, I think it just adds to the value and adds to the credibility of everything that you all talk about, that we talk about on our podcast, really promoting the power of what IoT can be. But for most people, they need to see it, see success in something that’s relatable to them or that can be applied to them. And now that we’re seeing that happen a lot more across industries, I think is a real big reason why we’re very bullish on where the industry is going with solutions leading the way. 

And you all have done a great job of really showcasing and focusing on that, especially in the smart city space because I remember down when I was down in Florida, the member you had that was, I think Calgary, I believe was, is it Calgary? Yeah. Talking about, yeah, talking about all the deployment successes they’ve had was huge for the people that attended the event. Just really being able to say, okay, they’re seeing success. There’s no reason why we can’t see that same success if the ecosystem is behind it. 

– [Donna] Absolutely. And it’s true for not just municipalities, but also businesses. Starbucks has launched LoRaWAN and even for their competitors, they see the savings and the efficiencies, and they’re going we need to keep pace with some of this stuff. We’re, operationally, we need to move forward and improve our bottom line like the people around us that are in similar industries. So, some of it is again for various reasons, but seeing it real is moving the market for sure. 

– [Ryan] As always, this has been a fantastic conversation. Before I let you go here, I wanted to ask about when I attended the event down in Florida, LoRaWAN Live down there. You all have one coming up. Where are you at this year? Is it in Germany this year? 

– [Donna] In Munich, and it’s June 19 and 20. Open to everybody. So if you were in the IoT space or for your listeners, an end user that really wants to be educated on what’s happening and see successes and learn more, this is the place, this is the place where we’ve moved an annual event, and this is our big annual event. And to see full solutions. You talked a lot about that, Ryan, and that’s so important. We will have full solutions of members showcasing how to solve problems. 

– [Ryan] That’ll be exciting. I think the fact that you’ll have direct access to the European market and being more accessible to them for this event is a big deal because I know they’re very high on all this. Excited to hear how that goes. We’ll definitely have to have you back afterwards and get a sense of how the learnings were, what were the biggest takeaways, and what was the overall successes you all saw. So that’ll be great. 

– [Donna] Will do. You need to come join us again. 

– [Ryan] Yeah, I’ll definitely look into it because I had a great time down in Florida. A little more convenient for me just coming straight down the coast, but I never turn down an opportunity to go over to Europe. But Donna, thanks again so much for being here. Really appreciate it. Tell our audience where they can learn more about the Alliance, dive into things, learn about the use cases, solutions, all the different things that members are doing.

– [Donna] We just revamped our entire website, so, and we’ve got use cases and ROIs and training documents, practice documents, in terms of development and deployment, and so go to the website, you will find everything you need to know more about LoRa Alliance. 

– [Ryan] Thank you, Donna, again for being here, and we’ll talk again soon.

– [Donna] Thank you, Ryan.

Special Guest
LoRa Alliance
LoRa Alliance
The LoRa Alliance® is an open, non-profit association with the mission to achieve massive IoT through the global adoption of the LoRaWAN® standard.
The LoRa Alliance® is an open, non-profit association with the mission to achieve massive IoT through the global adoption of the LoRaWAN® standard.

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IoT For All
IoT For All
IoT For All is creating resources to enable companies of all sizes to leverage IoT. From technical deep-dives, to IoT ecosystem overviews, to evergreen resources, IoT For All is the best place to keep up with what's going on in IoT.
IoT For All is creating resources to enable companies of all sizes to leverage IoT. From technical deep-dives, to IoT ecosystem overviews, to evergreen resources, IoT For All is the best place to keep up with what's going on in IoT.