The Complete Guide to Turning LoRaWAN Devices into Services

LoRaWAN, a long-range IoT protocol, connects devices across vast distances for applications like smart cities and asset tracking. Yet its true power lies in transforming raw sensor data at scale into actionable insights via a smart application layer.
May 22, 2024


min read

The Complete Guide to Turning LoRaWAN Devices into Services

LoRaWAN, a long-range IoT protocol, connects devices across vast distances for applications like smart cities and asset tracking. Yet its true power lies in transforming raw sensor data at scale into actionable insights via a smart application layer. Here’s everything you need to know about this IoT game-changer.

What is LoRaWAN?

LoRaWAN is a networking protocol, developed by the nonprofit LoRa Alliance. The protocol was designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) and is particularly suited for connecting devices that need to operate over long ranges and with low power consumption. LoRaWAN combines two key layers:

  • LoRa - This defines the physical layer, enabling extended range communication through a special radio modulation technique.
  • LoRaWAN - This is a MAC (Medium Access Control) layer protocol that sits on top of LoRa. It dictates how devices communicate with each other and the network, ensuring efficient data exchange and security.

Numerous LoRaWAN benefits for IoT stakeholders

LoRaWAN offers numerous benefits for IoT stakeholders, notably:

Long range

LoRaWAN boasts impressive range, allowing devices to transmit data over vast distances, even in rural or remote locations where traditional connectivity options struggle.

Low power consumption

By design, LoRaWAN devices use minimal power to transmit data, translating to extended battery life that often lasts years on a single charge. This is crucial for IoT applications in hard-to-reach areas or those requiring minimal maintenance.

Wide area coverage

LoRaWAN networks can provide blanket coverage across large areas, making it suitable for applications like smart city infrastructure, agriculture monitoring, or asset tracking across vast regions.

Bi-directional communication

LoRaWAN facilitates two-way communication, enabling not only data collection from devices but also the ability to send or relay commands or configuration updates to devices remotely.


LoRaWAN incorporates robust security mechanisms to protect data privacy and integrity throughout the network, safeguarding sensitive information transmitted between devices and servers.

What Kind of Devices are LoRaWAN-Enabled?

LoRaWAN is suitable for a diverse range of low-power Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including:

  • Sensors - Environmental sensors for temperature, humidity, air quality, or light monitoring use LoRaWAN to gather data and transmit it wirelessly over long distances.
  • Asset Trackers - LoRaWAN shines in tracking valuable assets like shipping containers, vehicles, or industrial equipment. These devices periodically transmit location updates, enabling real-time monitoring.
  • Smart Meters - Utilities can leverage LoRaWAN for smart meters that efficiently collect water or energy consumption data from remote locations, reducing manual meter-reading needs.
  • Smart Agriculture - LoRaWAN enables sensors to monitor soil moisture, crop health, and weather conditions in fields, helping farmers optimize irrigation, fertilization, and overall yield.
  • Smart Cities - LoRaWAN can connect various city infrastructure elements like parking sensors, noise monitors, or waste bin fill-level indicators, facilitating data collection for improved urban management.
  • Industrial Automation - Factories and industrial facilities can utilize LoRaWAN for monitoring machinery performance, tracking inventory levels, or managing environmental conditions within the workspace.
  • Home Automation - While less common due to shorter range needs within a home, some low-power smart home devices for security or automation could potentially benefit from LoRaWAN's reliability.
  • Wearables - Some low-power wearables, like health trackers or industrial safety monitors, could potentially utilize LoRaWAN for reliable data transmission over extended ranges.

Future Trends for LoRaWAN Devices

What does the future hold for the LoRaWAN protocol, LoRaWAN-enabled devices and LoRaWAN-based applications? 

  • Wider markets - Advancements in satellite connectivity, relay enhancements, and mobile gateways will enable data collection in previously unreachable areas.
  • Hyper scalability - Streamlined device profile management, simplified device migration processes, and integration with RFID technology (like GS1) will allow for massive network growth.
  • Standardized interfaces - Standardization of application server and gateway interfaces will improve network management efficiency and interoperability.
  • Enhanced security - Over-the-air firmware updates, relay certification, and advanced interoperability testing will strengthen LoRaWAN's security posture.
  • Physical/link layer innovation - Crypto-agility features will ensure continued data security in a constantly evolving technological landscape.
  • Improved network efficiency - Advancements in LoRaWAN protocols will lead to optimized network capacity, allowing for even denser deployments of devices without compromising performance.
  • Integration with other tech – In the future, LoRaWAN could integrate with cellular networks or satellite communication to offer seamless connectivity in remote areas where LoRaWAN's reach might be limited.
  • Lower power consumption - Continued research could lead to even lower power consumption for LoRaWAN devices, extending battery life further and minimizing maintenance needs.

How Can LoRaWAN Devices be Turned into Services? 

LoRaWAN devices are data collection workhorses, but their real power emerges when their raw information is transformed into actionable services. How does this work? 

To enable LoRaWAN devices to be sold through a subscription model or to sell premium features for these devices, you’ll need to ensure that your application layer can handle the full gamut of eCommerce functionality. This includes everything from credit card support and payment gateways, refunds, cancellations and faulty products, tax calculations, invoicing, automated email communications, and countless other back office functionality. In addition, in the event of a subscription cancellation or payment failure, the application layer must include mechanisms through which the device can be turned off as easily as any other digital subscription.

Instead of asking customers to purchase a large number of sensors and incur a heavy upfront fee, with a smart application layer, the manufacturer or integrator can now offer a subscription to the data and insights. Consider a few examples:

  • Farms and other agricultural businesses can subscribe to LoRaWAN devices such as water level monitors, electric fence sensors, rain gauges, soil moisture, and other types of sensors that send periodic monitoring and alerts if there are issues with key elements on the farm. 
  • Property management companies can subscribe to a host of LoRaWAN-enabled IoT devices such as temperature sensors, window and door sensors, occupancy sensors, and others to improve energy efficiency and tenant satisfaction, among other benefits.
  • Construction management companies can subscribe to LoRaWAN sensors, such as water leak detectors, to detect and locate leaks during the business process. 

What Should Manufacturers of LoRaWAN-Enabled Devices Look For?

Manufacturers of LoRaWAN devices need a smart application layer that goes beyond data collection – one that transforms raw sensor readings into actionable insights. Look for features like:

  • Commercial tools and ability to launch as-a-service pricing models - Application layers with commercial tools and as-a-service pricing allow manufacturers of LoRaWAN-enabled devices to build and launch subscription-based services around their devices, generating recurring revenue.
  • Ability to enable premium features - Manufacturers of LoRaWAN devices should prioritize a smart application layer that allows premium features and unlocks tiered service plans. By offering additional functionalities and insights for a higher cost, manufacturers can increase their margins and cater to diverse customer needs.
  • Ability to manage device license entitlements - A smart application layer with device license entitlement management streamlines device activation, provisioning, and subscription management. This allows manufacturers to offer more flexible pricing models and ensure proper network access for their devices.
  • Ability to see data and insights visually - An application layer with data visualization capabilities allows users to see sensor data and insights presented visually in charts and graphs. This improves user experience, simplifies data comprehension, and empowers users to make quicker, data-driven decisions.
  • Integrations with CRM, ERP and notification systems – Integration with CRM, ERP, and notification systems fosters a unified data ecosystem and enables sensor data to flow seamlessly into existing workflows – resulting in better decision-making, automated actions based on alerts, and improved customer service.
  • Collaboration tools with the partners in your ecosystem - A smart application layer that offers collaboration tools and channel partner connectivity fosters teamwork within the ecosystem, empowering manufacturers to collaborate with partners on data analysis and service development, and even share insights with distributors or resellers.
  • Access management and support for multi-tenancy - This allows LoRaWAN device manufacturers to offer their devices to multiple customers while ensuring secure, segregated data access for each user – and is crucial for scaling deployments.
  • Security and reliability - LoRaWAN device manufacturers require a smart application layer that safeguards sensitive user data throughout the network and ensures consistent data delivery. This translates to user trust and a robust foundation for mission-critical applications.

The Bottom Line

LoRaWAN is making waves in the IoT world. From smart cities and agriculture to asset tracking and industrial automation, LoRaWAN's ability to connect devices over vast distances with minimal power consumption makes it ideal for applications in remote areas or those requiring low maintenance. 

However, the true power of LoRaWAN lies in transforming raw sensor data into actionable insights. Here's where a servitization platform like Xyte Device Cloud comes in, allowing LoRaWAN device manufacturers to integrate service offerings like as-a-service pricing models, premium feature enablement, and license entitlements, without writing a single line of code. Xyte’s smart application layer refines and analyzes the data, triggering automated actions, integrating with existing workflows, and presenting user-friendly reports. 

Manufacturers of LoRaWAN devices should prioritize application layers with features like data analysis, subscription-based service models, and robust security to unlock the true service potential of their devices and empower businesses to make data-driven decisions.


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