Internet of Things (IoT) company Senet is debuting a new incentive-based business model to help expand its low-power wide area (LoRa) IoT network and provide companies with a new way to generate revenue.
Even though Senet claims to have the largest public LoRa network in the U.S., it says this new demand-based model, called Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network (LVN), will offer municipalities, cable companies, tower firms, and cellular operators a way to earn money by adding a LoRa gateway to their existing infrastructure. CEO Bruce Chatterley said that even with Senet’s current footprint, it still doesn’t have connectivity everywhere it needs it. “You need this crowdsource model to build a network to serve all the applications,” he said.
The way it works is a company adds a gateway with Senet’s proprietary operating system that uses a cloud-based services architecture. The gateway acts as a neutral-host service and then devices can be provisioned, deployed, and activated on the network. Senet’s secret sauce is that its operational support services (OSS) and backend software connects the device virtually and makes it seem as if there is just one big network.
Chatterley said that a typical gateway costs between $1,500 to $5,000 depending upon its capacity. And even though most IoT devices connected to the network will generate only a few dollars per month in revenue, Chatterley said that with the anticipated volume of those devices, the amount of revenue could be sizable. “With the real-life applications that are being deployed, it will only take three or four months to get payback on those gateways,” he said.
Chatterley said this model is ideal for cable or wireline operators that want to augment their existing networks and provide a LoRa option. They just have to deploy a gateway on their tower or building assets and they can extend the service to their customers.
Senet also hopes to work with wireless operators as well. Chatterley said that while most cellular operators are deploying LTE CAT-M or narrowband-IoT, most realize that they would benefit from having a LoRa network too.
This isn’t the first time Senet has tweaked its business model. In July, the company decided to focus more on being a cloud-based IoT software and services firm instead of just building a public IoT network. According to Chatterly, the company is continuing on that path but believes that the IoT industry needs a new model for building network coverage because no one existing IoT network will be able to fulfill all the connectivity needs.
Senet was an early proponent of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The company was founded about five years ago to use IoT to notify heating fuel delivery companies when their customers tanks were running low.