12 Must-Know Projections about the LPWAN Market
A few years ago, “Low Power Wide Area Network” (LPWAN) was an unfamiliar term for most enterprises and industrial users. In fact, it didn’t exist until the beginning of this decade. Now, with the Internet of Things (IoT) rapidly growing, LPWAN is taking over the wireless stage, providing a cost-effective and easy to deploy solution for large-scale IoT sensor networks. IoT Analytics – a leading provider of market insights and competitive intelligence – predicts that LPWAN will be the fastest growing IoT connectivity type in years to come. At a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 109%, the total number of LPWAN connections will surge from 14 million in 2017 to more than 1.15 billion in 2023. According to Global Market Insights, the global LPWAN market is set to surpass USD$65 billion by 2025.
For those who are still unfamiliar with LPWAN, it is a family of wireless technologies sharing common qualities such as long-range, low power and low cost. Different from legacy cellular and Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN), LPWAN technologies aren’t designed for high-bandwidth, low-latency uses like voice and video streaming. Instead, they’re targeted towards telemetry-based applications wherein small amounts of data are sent from a large number of end devices. Examples include condition monitoring, asset management, smart metering, environmental monitoring and worker health and safety. The increasing prevalence of industrial IoT applications is considered an important catalyst for the strong LPWAN market growth, due to their demand for power-efficient and reliable M2M communication.
The LPWAN market can be overwhelming at first sight with at least 16 active players. Nevertheless, it isn’t so hard to decide which technology would be the right fit, once you understand your key network criteria. LPWAN solutions can generally be categorized based on licensed vs license-free operating spectrum, public vs private network deployments and proprietary vs standardized technology. The licensed spectrum is dominated by cellular LPWANs (i.e. NB-IoT, LTE-M and EC-GSM-IoT) that implement 3GPP standards and come as managed connectivity services by telecom operators. Cellular LPWANs provide comparatively higher data rates at the cost of power consumption and are more pertinent to smart city and urban contexts where the telecom infrastructure is already mature.
On the other end, the license-free spectrum is a lot busier with a wide variety of solutions from multiple independent vendors. Proprietary technologies that are tied to custom silicon or a proprietary cloud like LoRa and Sigfox have worked their way into the market leveraging the first-mover advantage. Nevertheless, MYTHINGS™ – the only standard-based solution in the license-free spectrum is quickly catching up, given its unique positioning as a highly integrable, interoperable and future-proof LPWAN solution. According to ABI Research, as of late 2018, non-cellular technologies operating in the license-free spectrum accounts for 71% of the LPWAN market.
By geographical regions, Asia will make up the largest share of the LPWAN market with over one billion connections by 2025, followed by North America and Europe with 917 million and 850 million connections respectively (Machina Research). LPWAN revenue predictions for these three regions altogether are between USD$15 and $18.5 billion.
The following infographic encapsulates 12 of the most important LPWAN forecasts to give you a quick glimpse into the future of this wireless family and where it stands in the IoT market.