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LPWAN systems offer an easy-to-use connectivity option

The COVID-19 pandemic made one thing clear: the global supply chain needs to be resilient.

Over the last year, the pandemic has had many effects on the supply chain, causing severe disruptions many companies hadn’t ever experienced before. Organizations have found an increased need to track and manage assets as they move through the factory floor, distribution, retail stores and deliveries around the world.

In 2021, key connectivity products and services will address supply chain challenges specifically, as well as connectivity challenges across industries that have been brought to life because of the pandemic. According to industry analyst firm IHS Markit, 43% of all low-power wide-area-network (LPWAN)-based IoT applications will be based on LoRa devices or LoRaWAN networks by 2023. Supply chain managers use LPWAN systems to collect data quickly and efficiently without the headache of sorting billions of data points.

Benefits of LPWAN systems

LPWAN networks offer low-bit rates and low latency so devices can be easily installed across factory and supply chain floors to monitor equipment. These networks reduce some of the common complexities of IoT implementations, such as determining where edge computing and fog computing can be put to best use and how this data is ingested into the cloud.

Low-cost LPWAN sensors and IoT nodes can attach to major cloud providers. When organizations simplify the data delivery process to the cloud, it gives them tremendous power for analysis and management. It will also simplify the learning curve to add devices efficiently to one network without the need for complex processes.

The cost of tracking devices is falling, which has led to monitoring assets with associated links to enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools. As manufacturers build more LPWAN connections into equipment for monitoring, the stronger connectivity organizations will have in the manufacturing and transit phases of the supply chain. Smart sensors create the ability to track devices not just through the factory but also into the distribution chain and retail.

Universal connectivity

As more organizations deploy LPWAN systems and IoT devices, the number of new business models in use will also increase. Because more networks and devices will roll out, more base stations will become available across cities. Companies will be able to use a universal public infrastructure to track goods and equipment across wider areas and access data across networks. Recent advances with access control and security have enabled sharing that can increase the coverage available to an enterprise and cut data acquisition costs across IoT deployments.

With LPWAN systems, network expansion can cost less compared to cellular networks. The ease of adding nodes to a cloud-based data network can deliver the scaling necessary to gain IoT’s advantages.

Connected networks

In 2021, more verticals will seek out connected technologies that allow for better regulation and increased IoT device implementations. Organizations want a service that can simplify and connect all devices in one place. The future of IoT services requires the capability of linking devices to one network. This requires collaboration across different technologies. From an enterprise perspective, many technologies may be necessary for different locations, multiple nodes and terminals and a wide variety of applications. Interoperability has been driven at the cloud level, and 2021 advances will allow many types of connectivity to work together for efficient IoT implementations.

With the simplicity of long distance LPWAN wireless technology, new ways of connecting devices to a singular network can expand connectivity across industry verticals including the supply chain and smart cities.