With so much to see and do at Mobile World Congress, we always aim to hit the ground running from day one, and this year's show has been no different. To kick things off at “the world's largest gathering for the mobile industry,” our own Regis Lerbour steered a seminar on two of the buzziest topics on the show floor: IoT and LoRa networks.
In discussing IoT, Regis led the talk by emphasizing that the proliferation of this technology in both the commercial and industrial space will bring with it a deluge of connected devices. In fact, the growth rate is expected to continue compounding significantly, with the market jumping from 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to upwards of 75.4 billion in 2025.
With this many connected devices coming online, operators face a host of challenges surrounding device costs, battery life, service diversity and more, as they try to navigate new business models and frameworks for tackling the IoT. Most notably, they must maintain coverage and network capacity in a way that allows them to limit CAPEX and curb churn.
IoT Coverage and Capacity Challenges — Thinking Ahead
As Regis pointed out during his seminars, coverage, capacity and other challenges require anticipating traffic expansion with the help of network planning, design, dimensioning and optimization functions.
IoT brings with it diversified technologies, services and topologies, like that of LoRa, which is a low-power WAN (LPWAN) architecture often used for IoT networks. To accurately plan for LoRa, operators must have coverage and capacity needs top of mind. Overestimating coverage could create subscriber churn, while underestimating coverage results in unnecessary CAPEX. In order to achieve a sufficient level of coverage with low cost devices and low utilization of spectrum, operators must think differently, and consider a tradeoff between throughput and coverage. In tandem, proper capacity is what allows operators to grow their IoT networks. After all, while most LoRa networks have not reached their limits today, if operators wait until it happens, it will be too late to act.
As the number of connected devices grows, so, too, will revenue opportunities for operators. But, these opportunities are not to be taken for granted. Operators must work now to properly plan for their IoT future.
While IoT and LoRa have been big talking points at Mobile World Congress 2017, we plan on covering a lot more ground while we're here in Barcelona. Stay tuned for more updates from the show, and come meet the new Infovista at booth 7G40 if you're currently attending this year's gathering.