Long Range Radio, or LoRa, is being forecast by some to be the network of choice for future Internet of Things solutions.
A number of LoRa base stations have already been set up across the globe, with London’s first now well-established on the roof of the Digital Catapult Centre in King’s Cross, according to IoTUK.
Long Range Radio is gaining in popularity due to the number of advantages it holds over other networks, including 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Due to its low power consumption, IoT sensors using LoRa could operate for many years from just a small 200mAH battery. What’s more, the frequencies used are currently open and free, making it perfect for trialling innovative new IoT solutions.
“Traditional technologies, Wi-Fi and Cellular, are not suitable for the new breed of connected sensors from a cost, resilience or battery lifetime requirement,” Fred de Haro, CEO of Pycom, told Internet of Business.
“The fulfilment of the untapped potential will therefore have to be done via other types of networks such as LoRa technology. It is perfectly positioned to fill some of the gap and it is estimated that there will be around one billion devices connected via LoRa by 2023.”
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LoRa powering smart cities
LoRa has a range of approximately five miles in urban and eight miles in suburban areas, which means base stations like the one at the Digital Catapult Centre are a vital step towards building smart city solutions. Data from IoT sensors can quickly and securely be transferred to the base station where it can be processed, analysed or transported to the relevant individuals. The King’s Cross hub already provides connectivity to a large part of central London and further base stations will open additional opportunities for developers.
Mark Hill, co-founder at OpenTRV, an Internet of Things firm heavily involved with the launch of the LoRa base station, and one of our top IoT start-ups to watch in 2016, believes that the technology could be a game changer.
“We at OpenTRV like to think of this as the missing link in the evolution of the Internet of Things,” he said. “Low cost sensors, simplified deployment, cloud based analytics and now free connectivity have reached the point where the combination is so cost effective that the business case moves into the no-brainer category.”
By providing long range, low power connectivity, the development of additional LoRa base stations could help push the Internet of Things into more mainstream applications, particularly in urban areas. Away from the UK, LoRa is already being used to power smart city applications in France, the Netherlands and Russia.