Massive IoT and the Internet of Transformation
Traditionally, IoT is defined as the “Internet of Things.” However, there is a different and more accurate description for IoT: the “Internet of Transformation.” The transformation occurs when the things in our daily life are connected. And the power of this connectivity is realized when technology can unlock new insights and help enterprises discover opportunities to drive operational efficiencies, create better customer experiences, or even develop new business models resulting in new revenue streams. This connectivity is transforming our daily lives and making changes on how we live, work and play.
Smart farms now can aggregate data from soil sensors to share information on soil conditions, water, PH and nutrient levels so we can deliver new insights and increase crop yields. This is true not only on the farm, but now we have the ability to manage across the complete logistics supply chain. We can even track when berries are picked, packed and delivered to grocery store shelves to help monitor and reduce waste and help ensure product safety.
The monitoring of the produce from the farm to the store shelf is critical. In fact, according to the USDA,  food waste is estimated to be at 30-40%, corresponding to 133 billion pounds. Cold chain monitoring can help determine if our food, dairy, and other cold sensitive products are delivered in a safe and secure manner across the complete supply chain.
This transformation and need for data have driven billions of devices to be connected to the cloud and has resulted in a new and growing category of IoT, which is Massive IoT. A leading technology that supports Massive IoT is LoRaWAN that delivers a low-cost, long-range and secure connection.
KEY USE CASES FOR MASSIVE IoT
Let’s now explore some use cases for LoRaWAN that will further drive Massive IoT:
- Smart Utilities: IoT-enabled sensors allow managers to remotely monitor, maintain and evaluate the data across a wide range of use cases such as the smart grid, water loss management, substations and industrial distribution systems, gas, water, electric metering and more.
- Smart Healthcare: Smart sensors enable patient tracking, and health monitoring like contact tracing and proximity monitoring. Critical antibiotics and vaccines can be cold-chain monitored, and audited to ensure they are transported in a safe manner.
- Smart Buildings: These sensors enable the regular maintenance of both residential and commercial buildings. By installing sensors running on LoRaWAN, building managers and homeowners can check the air quality, lighting, water utilization and more to ensure everything is safe and operational.
- Industrial IoT: Expensive downtime due to equipment failure, costs incurred due to production delays, and maintenance and repairs drive down profitability. IoT-based predictive maintenance enables more efficient use of existing assets by providing the ability to predict machine failures and reduce maintenance issues. Benefits are better asset availability, reliability and performance.
While these various massive IoT use cases serve different purposes, they all have one common need: connectivity.
To enable massive IoT, we need to have a low-power, long range wireless connection. The term LPWAN, or Low Power Wide Area Networks is the kind of connection that will enable this next generation of device connectivity. Now, devices can be turned on and used for years, collect data and send to the cloud with a minimal impact to the battery. These devices without a power source can be easily be connected. As an example, think of every product in your home, nearly all of them at some point was packaged and delivered on a pallet. There are over 1.8 billion pallets  in the United States. The pallets need the ability to connect to the cloud to be monitored and share critical information such as location, sudden drops, and temperature. They need a long-range wireless connection and a battery that can last for years.
GLOBAL NETWORK LEADER: LoRaWAN
LoRaWAN helps solve for the key needs of massive IoT in that it is very stingy on its need for battery-life. Sensors wake themselves up, based on a condition, (for example: too hot, too cold, tank full or empty) and send a small amount of data to the cloud then go back to sleep. As a result, the devices can be used over 10 years without a charge. The LoRaWAN signal is long-range, secure and can be offered at a very low-cost. LoRaWAN is also an open standard. That means companies are not locked into just one vendor but have thousands of devices from a broad and growing ecosystem.
IoT is really not about the “thing,” rather it’s the data from the thing that is the real powerhouse, enabling new insights and knowledge. This knowledge is truly transformational.
Companies can evolve their business to be fully connected across the supply chain. Companies also can easily connect their products to the cloud to form a stronger bond with their customers. For example, LoRaWAN is enabling consumer appliance companies to embed LoRaWAN sensors that can perform preventive maintenance offering more value for their customers beyond the initial sale. In Brazil, gas companies are using LoRaWAN to simplify LPG gas replenishment for customers and ultimately reducing operational costs and strengthening their customer relationships.
In summary IoT, the “Internet of Transformation” is the future and massive IoT has the ability to transform how business can effectively deliver products, change the customer experience, enable innovation, and create new business models. The future of IoT is promising and having the correct network to support it will only help boost the impact of IoT now and into the future.
Everynet | www.everynet.com
PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • OCTOBER 2021 #375 – Get a PDF of the issue