Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

LPWAN connections to grow at 46% CAGR to 2025

Steve Rogerson
July 19, 2018

Licensed communications technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE will have more connections than unlicensed versions such as LoRa and Sigfox by 2021, despite entering the sector later, according to IDTechEx Research.
The report estimates that LPWAN connections will see a 46% CAGR to 2025, and that there will be 2.7 billion LPWAN IoT connections in 2029.
There are many choices of low power wide area networks (LPWAN) that will be key connectivity elements of the IoT. Some use licensed spectrum, others unlicensed spectrum, the latter being lower power and cheaper in the medium term.
To determine the number of IoT connections based on these protocols, now and forecast, the report advises to look beyond the smoke-and-mirror marketing of all these choices, with inconsistent and often inflated numbers of connections loosely given by proponents. This is due to each of the proponents being acutely aware that they need to be seen as the communications protocol of choice before potential adopters sniff loss of confidence and momentum, leading to an inevitable shake-out of some of these options.
It is against this hype that IDTechEx Research has conducted its study of LPWAN and related technologies, including wireless local area networks and 5G as comparisons. Based on primary research consisting of interviews with key players, the report provides a current and forecast data set of LPWAN protocols over 2018 to 2029 and forecasts of adoption by application for the same period.
The report analyses the four main verticals driving adoption of low power wireless network technology:

  • Smart buildings and homes: Intelligent building networks are moving past the early adopter stage into the early majority. Government regulations are driving the need for connected utilities and intelligent lighting and environmental management are being used to make homes and offices more energy efficient. Wireless networks play a key role in the connected building.
  • Smart cities: Governments around the world are investing heavily in adding connected infrastructure to their environments, primarily in street lighting and environmental monitoring among other applications.
  • Asset tracking: Low power networks are providing a new business model in the form of subscriptions for tracking things.
  • Agriculture: Technology is increasingly entering the agricultural space with new ways to monitor crops, water usage, environmental conditions and other aspects designed to ensure produce uniformity and good yields on farms and vineyards. The long range and low power requirements of LPWAN make it suitable for some applications.