Pundits predict China’s IoT market will balloon to more than $120 billion by 2022. A significant part of this market opportunity is composed of promising industrial projects around water and gas meters, smart parking, and asset monitoring and tracking, where cost-effective, ultra-low power, long-distance communication LPWAN technologies, such as LoRa, can boost the Industrial IoT (IIoT) business in China, are worth investigating. LoRa technology is well suited to these applications because of its low-power capability, long-distance coverage, Free ISM band, and overall cost effectiveness across hardware, network, and operational service charges.
Together, LoRa Alliance board members ST and ZTE Corporation are addressing the China LoRa Application Alliance (CLAA) technical specifications and test certifications. They are also cooperatively promoting the China-based LoRa industry chains’ application and development. In this effort, both companies aim to develop the STM32 CLAA library to combine the current ST-certified LoRaWan1.0.2 stack with the Proprietary CLAA security protocol. The goal is a shareable carrier level LPWAN IoT that can be used for production status monitoring, energy-efficiency management, asset tracking, park-infrastructure monitoring, industrial environmental monitoring (Low-Cost Digital Oilfield Monitoring), intelligent meters (water, electricity, gas), and power-distribution monitoring.
LoRa in China has been adapted by CLAA to be a harmonized and standardized specification protocol for the domestic market that is based on the LoRa-Alliance standard with some additional specific implementations for China. The alliance expects the scale of the China market and the number of diverse IoT-application use cases for LoRa to make it a unique benchmark globally.
Given China’s geographic size, one big challenge will be to rapidly deploy the CLAA network across the country. How quickly the network can be rolled out, together with its operating cost efficiency, will strongly influence the LoRa network’s market acceptance, as it will enable the technology to demonstrate a suitable return on investment to potential customers.
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