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Costs in IoT: LTE-M vs. NB-IOT vs. SigFox vs. LoRa

The business model and costs associated with building an Internet of Things system are some of the most important considerations when planning what technology stack is used. 

This session examines the concepts that drive cost in IoT, as well as gives a framework for understanding what matters most in system development. This discussion focuses on the drivers of cost in development, production, and operations. The costs of connectivity options are also explored in depth.  

Here is a copy of the slides used in the presentation:

The conclusions are worth reiterating:

Module costs are <5% of loaded cost.

Team often focus on the cost of radio modules, which they should, but over the life of a product, this particular part often only constitutes 5% or less of the total cost. 

Data usage is largest variable cost.

Technologies like LTE-M and NB-IOT have attractive pricing, but the cost per byte of data is many times higher than traditional cellular data. Understanding how much data a system is going to use is one of the most important parts of modeling a system's costs.

Some networks are not available.

SigFox, Ingenu, and LoRaWAN are intriguing innovations, but these networks only exist in a few cities. Unless you are developing a geographically constrained product, these networks likely won't work for your solution. 

One-to-many architectures can save most money.

Using technologies like Bluetooth (see www.AirFinder.com) to gather data from many sensors before using a cellular technology can save serious money. 

LPWAN White Paper

Written by Brian Ray

Brian is the Founder and CTO of Link Labs. As the chief technical innovator and leader of the company, Brian has led the creation and deployment of a new type of ultra long-range, low-power wireless networking which is transforming the Internet of Things and M2M space.

Before starting Link Labs, Brian led a team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab that solved communications and geolocation problems for the national intelligence community. He was also the VP of Engineering at the network security company, Lookingglass, and served for eight years as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Master’s Degree from Oxford University.

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Want to learn more?

Looking for more information about the latest IoT technologies, like LPWAN, LoRa, M2M,
long-range wireless and more? Here are a few resources to get you started.


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