Why IoT is the future of manufacturing

Key network tools, such as LPWAN, offer quick adoption, flexibility and affordable solutions

By Maria Hernandez March 15, 2022
Image courtesy: Brett Sayles

Regardless of someone’s skill level, implementing innovative design tactics takes the right tools. In addition, with the recent acceleration of the Internet of things (IoT), adopting the technology to support these ever-changing applications, such as smart cities, healthcare and agriculture is critical. Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) is one of the key tools developed for these applications to take advantage of IoT growth to connect devices.

These tools show many promising capabilities over their counterparts. Maria Hernandez, an Electronics Engineer who has been dedicated to advocating IoT technologies and Developer Relations Lead at RAKwireless explores the newest Innovation in mechanical designs and why people may see new designs pivot towards using LoRaWAN parts.

These three trends are the ones to watch when it comes to LoRaWAN usage for innovation in mechanical designs:

LPWAN adoption

LoRaWAN parts are by far the most adopted LPWAN technology. They are readily accessible and increasingly pervasive in terms of network connectivity as 5G may take longer to implement than initially anticipated. Forecasts estimate that by 2020 there will be 20.8 billion connected devices, the number of 5G-connected IoT devices will reach 4.1 billion by 2024 and 500 billion IoT devices are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2030. As of now, it is deployed by 150 major mobile network operators globally, LoRaWAN connectivity is available in more than 160 countries to date.

One example of this accelerated consumer adoption is Helium. A peer-to-peer decentralized network infrastructure that allows to expand low power and long range connectivity for development of IoT solutions, as well as plans to expand 5G networks globally, starting with the United States. Donned “The People’s Network,” it has had very good adoption rates with more than 200,000 miners deploying coverage nationwide.

Flexibility

Beyond its adoption, LoRaWAN promises universal connectivity for many IoT applications while keeping network structures and management simple. LoRaWAN has the technical flexibility to address a broad range of IoT applications, both static and mobile. The LoRaWAN architecture guarantees smooth communication between the IoT device and gateway over several channels, eliminates the need for complex networks and can exist in existing IP networks. Given this flexibility, LoRaWAN provides connectivity to a massive amount of IoT devices deployed over a vast area.

Affordability

LoRaWAN’s low complexity means less cost. LoRaWAN has dynamic networking features and maximizes the ability for an IoT device to continually get in and out of the network and to send data with different rate patterns.

Depending on the needs of the industry and the ecosystem where the project will be deployed, such as an outdoor or indoor space, someone can find a high variety of options with affordable prices compared to the costs that could be found in the market years ago. Adding that with just one gateway someone could cover up to 10 Km of coverage, allowing the end-user to connect thousands of sensors to a single gateway that is generating long-range coverage, and more importantly, low power consumption for the end devices.

LPWAN easy accessibility and widespread connectivity paired with its flexible network structures and affordable prices are quickly becoming the preferred tool for engineering applications to take advantage of IoT growth to connect devices.

Original content can be found at Plant Engineering.


Author Bio: Maria Hernandez is an Electronics Engineer who has been dedicated to advocating Internet of Things (IoT) technologies from the hardware to the software layer. She currently is the Developer Relations Lead at RAKwireless – an industry-leading company powering IoT infrastructures with high-quality hardware, where she is responsible for connecting and empowering individuals and businesses to create and deploy robust and scalable IoT solutions under LPWA technologies.