LPWAN use cases emerging in smart home, consumer IoT

According to Parks Associates, the combination of low power, wide range, and other features makes LPWAN (low-power wide-area networks) an ideal solution for ...

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According to Parks Associates, the combination of low power, wide range, and other features makes LPWAN (low-power wide-area networks) an ideal solution for consumer IoT applications, including healthcare wearables, smart home, asset/pet tracking, and connected car.

"There are multiple business cases where LPWAN can fit and improve the consumer experience or the provider's bottom line," said Elizabeth Parks, president, Parks Associates. "Most LPWAN deployments so far are in the enterprise sector, but early crossover use cases into the consumer sector include pet tracking and connected healthcare. For example, AT&T released its first LTE-M certified medical-grade smart watch in February 2019, which allows healthcare providers to provide health monitoring services to their consumers."

Smart watches are expected to serve as a strong entry point for LPWAN into the consumer market, as the form factor already has significant awareness and adoption among consumers - 17% of U.S. broadband households own a smart watch. The low-power aspect of LPWAN is expected to help extend the battery life on smart watches, a key demand among smart watch owners, while still maintaining strong connectivity.

LPWAN use cases can then expand from the monitoring use cases to cover the home and car via various current LPWAN standards, including Sigfox, LoRaWAN, LTE-M, NB-IoT, and WiFi HaLow.

"Growth in the LPWAN consumer market is slow today due to technology fragmentation and low market demand," Parks said. "Nevertheless, open ecosystems and third-party development of LPWAN solutions and applications will drive the market forward."        

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