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If you're one of our followers in Belgium, you might have joined us for the IoTBE Low Power WAN Technologies Meetup. An interesting event (Thanks IoTBE!), and an even more interesting dynamic between LPWAN contenders, LoRa and SIGFOX, both competing in the LPWAN space.
With a packed conference hall (112 signups via the meetup!) and a variety of profiles (not just IoT nerds), including business developers, startups and open source enthusiasts, it truly shows the potential for this technology.
The interest from the Belgian tech community alone proves this potential, as an enabler for new applications, new business and IoT moving towards the masses.
Putting the continuing techie debates between LoRa and SIGFOX aside, a number of reiterating points were made, which highlight the true value of LPWAN and IoT:
- Long Range capabilities should not be a key metric on decision making when using public networks (Think of your cellular network for your cellphone, it's up to your network provider to ensure you have adequate coverage)
- LPWAN is just connectivity, an entire solution has to be built around it with slick hardware, cloud based services, and IoT web and mobile applications
- Additional incubatory services are required for entrepreneurs to get onboard, and to identify and take advantage of new opportunities
- Clear cost structures for business leaders are required to evaluate LPWAN to take decisions to replace existing connectivity solutions, which again can produce new market opportunities by lowering the cost of existing services
- Ecosystems are at the centre for enabling new business in IoT
Of course for those subscribers outside of Belgium, LPWAN networks are being rolled out everywhere. One of the unique features is that LPWAN operates in an unlicensed band. Meaning anyone can set up their own basestation as easily as setting up a WiFi router to build low power IoT devices.
Proximus also shared a new initiative for a LoRa 'enabling' program, which will include a portal and tools for developers, makers and inventors, a route from prototyping to production and industrialisation, as well as preview access to their Sensor-as-a-service (SEaaS) API. You can find out more details and sign up over at enabling.be.