Changes are brewing in the LPWAN market, how will the 2.7 billion connection market be allocated in the future

As we all know, the IoT industry has already formed a consensus on the proportion of IoT connections, that is, the pyramid structure of “60%-30%-10%”. Among them, 10% of the connections are mainly for high-speed scenarios, 30% are mainly for medium-speed scenarios, and the remaining 60% are mainly for low-speed scenarios.

Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), as the key infrastructure for IoT connectivity and the technology that bears the largest share of connectivity, has been the focus of attention in the global IoT industry since 2016. Nearly 6 years have passed now. In recent years, the development of LPWAN has continued to improve, and the industry has shown a stable development pattern. However, at the same time, under the traction of the market, there have been some small changes within it.

LPWAN market is dynamic

After several years of technical iteration and market verification, LPWAN technology has become an indispensable key technology in the Internet of Things industry. The application solutions originally envisaged by the industry have been implemented, and gas, water and electricity meters, smoke detectors, electric vehicles have been developed. , street lamps and other applications, and continue to release strong vitality.

Not long ago, a report released by the Internet of Things market research organization IoT Analytics showed that LPWAN still drew a high-spirited upward curve under the dual adverse effects of the global large-scale epidemic and the shortage of chips. In 2020, the number of device activations supporting LPWAN devices reached 450 million, a year-on-year growth rate of 62%.

At the same time, IoT Analytics also predicts that in 2021, the number of LPWAN device connections will continue to maintain rapid growth. It is expected that the final number will be fixed at 660 million, a year-on-year increase of 47%. In the next five years, this number is expected to reach 2.7 billion.

During 2020, LPWAN continued to play a role in the second and third quarters due to the blockade of many countries due to the epidemic, especially the surge in demand for various IoT applications related to the fight against the epidemic, especially when it comes to measures to control the spread of the virus and provide Application areas of supply chain visualization, such as disinfection, cleaning management, food and medical cold chain monitoring, etc.

In addition, traditional industries such as smart meters are still the largest market for LPWAN. Of course, this is not surprising. In China alone, an operator of China Telecom has more than 42 million connections in smart gas meters, smart water connections The scale also exceeds 32 million, both of which are the first in the world.

However, this does not mean that the innovation space in the LPWAN field is limited. At present, the domestic market has begun to explore the fields of fire protection, white goods, and tracking in addition to metering. At the same time, it is not a leading foreign market. Efforts are also made to open up new fields.

Changes are brewing in the LPWAN field

As mentioned above, the LPWAN field has formed a stable market pattern under the market verification in the past few years. The “duopoly” dominated by NB-IoT and LoRa is running side by side, leading the development of the LPWAN market. According to statistics, NB-IoT and LoRa together account for 83% of the global LPWAN share, and other technologies such as LTE-M and Sigfox segment the remaining market, with the former accounting for 10% and the latter 3%.

IoT Analytics expects that NB-IoT and LoRa will continue to dominate the LPWAN market in the next 5 years.

However, while the duopoly is advancing, some subtle changes are also taking place in the LPWAN space. In September this year, IoT Analytics released detection data showing that the total number of NB-IoT and LTE-M connections accounted for 54% of the total number of LPWAN connections, which means that licensed spectrum technology has surpassed unlicensed spectrum connections for the first time. One of the key factors is that the number of NB-IoT connections has achieved a rapid growth of 75% in the first six months of 2021, and its connection technology alone accounts for 44% of the LPWAN market share.

In July last year, NB-IoT technology was officially incorporated into the 5G network standard by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and became an important part of 5G mMTC, which is highly sought after by mainstream operators, equipment manufacturers and industry solution companies. At the same time, the global 2G3G network withdrawal plan is in full swing, which also brings opportunities for NB-IoT.

Up to now, the NB-IoT market share has overwhelmed the 37% connection share of LoRa technology, making it the largest connection technology in the LPWAN field. It is foreseeable that the number of NB-IoT connections will further increase in the future.

China continues to lead the global LPWAN market

In the LPWAN market, China has always been the main driving force for LPWAN connections. By the end of 2019, the number of domestic LPWAN connections accounted for 57% of the world’s total.

With the 14th Five-Year Plan, it is necessary to “accelerate digital development and build a digital China”, and separate the digital economy into a separate chapter. Capability”, creating a good environment for China’s Internet of Things market to maintain global leadership in the next five years or even a longer period of time.

According to the latest forecast data from IoT Analytics, the number of LPWAN connections in China will account for 80% of the global total in 2020. Although it will decline slightly by the end of 2021, it will still reach 76% of the connection share. China is still a potential market for LPWAN dividends.

In response to the domestic LPWAN market opportunities, the IoT think tank will once again set out with the industry, and cooperate with the Zhiwu AIoT Industry Research Institute. Held the 2021 China AIoT Industry Annual Meeting. In the special event of IoT communication + positioning technology with the theme of “‘Intelligent Connected Future, Positioning the Universe’” in the afternoon, representatives of industry leaders will share successful cases and experiences related to LPWAN, positioning technology, etc., and present their opinions on industry trends. Interpretation, facing opportunities, clearing the clouds and fog, and beginning to see the light.

At that time, the conference will also release the results of “2021 AIoT Industry Development Achievement Summary and 2022 Trend Forecast”, “2022 China AIoT Industry Panorama Map”, “2022 China 5G Industry Panorama Map”, and “AIoT New Dimension Award” selection results. In addition, the 2021 China AIoT Industry Annual Conference has also set up an exhibition area to provide a high-quality business exhibition platform for the upstream and downstream of the industry chain.

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