3 min reading

9 February 2023

9 February 2023

Guide to LoRaWAN Sensors

Guide to LoRaWAN Sensors
Guide to LoRaWAN Sensors

Regardless of the industry that your business focuses on, applying Internet of Things (IoT) technology can increase your return on investment.  A key element of an IoT network is the end device or sensor.  

What are LoRaWAN Sensors Used for?

Sensors can measure various parameters, such as temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, occupancy, motion, location, and many others. They are used in many Internet of Things (IoT) applications, including smart cities, smart buildings, agriculture, industrial area, healthcare, asset tracking, hospitality, and smart metering. The data gathered, in turn, can then be analyzed to provide insights into various systems and processes. The table below summarizes the type of sensors that are typically used for various industries.  

Industry  Type of Sensors 
Smart Cities  Temperature monitors 

CO2 monitors 

Light sensors 

Leak detectors 

Humidity sensors 

Smart Buildings  CO2 monitors 

Light sensors 

Leak detectors 

Humidity sensors 

Motion sensors 

Pulse reading sensors 

Agriculture  Soil moisture monitors 

Soil temperature monitors 

Ambient humidity sensors 

Ambient temperature sensors 

Light sensors 

Industrial  Wearable trackers 

Indoor asset trackers 

Outdoor asset trackers 

Healthcare  Heart rate monitors 

Respiratory rate monitors 

Temperature monitors 

Panic buttons 

Indoor asset trackers 

Asset Tracking  Indoor asset trackers 

Outdoor asset trackers

Hospitality  CO2 monitors 

Light sensors 

Leak detectors 

Humidity sensors 

Motion sensors 

Pulse reading sensors 

Room booking sensors 

Smart Metering  Leak detectors 

Pulse reading sensors

Once you’ve determined the type of sensors that are suitable for your industry, you can use this guide to select the ideal LoRaWAN sensor.  Here you’ll learn about the different types of sensors available and the various use cases they can be applied to. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced user of the Internet of Things (IoT), this guide has something to offer. So, if you are interested in understanding the LoRaWAN network and IoT devices, read on. 

What are LoRaWAN Sensors?

LoRaWAN sensors are the latest type of devices in the burgeoning category of wireless sensors. They use the LoRaWAN protocol to transmit data to a LoRaWAN gateway, which can send data over long distances, up to 15 kilometers. LoRaWAN technology is a type of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) protocol used for wireless communication for low-cost, low-power sensors, actuators, and other devices over long distances. 

The sensors are designed for low power consumption and are used for a variety of applications, such as asset tracking in remote locations, environmental monitoring, energy management, occupancy check, and industrial automation. Most LoRaWAN sensors also support over-the-air activation and updates. 

Reasons to Use LoRaWAN

Before starting the review of different sensors and use cases, let’s list 3 major reasons to build your infrastructure on the LoRaWAN network: 

Low energy consumption. LoRaWAN is based on LPWAN technology, which requires much less power than other wireless protocols. This means device batteries last longer, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and battery replacements. 

Long Range. LoRaWAN is the best choice for remote locations because of its long range. Unlike cellular or Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN can reach areas where other networks cannot, which makes it ideal for powering devices in remote locations. LoRaWAN also has a wide coverage area, so it can easily cover a large area with a few gateways. 

Cost-effectiveness. LoRaWAN only requires a single gateway to communicate with multiple devices, reducing the costs associated with having multiple access points. Finally, LoRaWAN is open source, making it easy to modify or create new applications, reducing the need for costly development teams. 

Is it Secure to Use?

The short answer is yes, LoRaWAN is a secure network protocol to use. It uses two primary layers of security to protect messages: encryption and authentication. The encryption layer uses AES-128 encryption, which is a strong and widely used algorithm. The authentication layer uses a unique set of keys shared between devices and the network server, which prevents unauthorized devices from connecting to the network and sending data. This helps ensure that the data sent over the network is only accessible to authorized devices. 

Additionally, LoRaWAN has a unique feature called Adaptive Data Rate (ADR) which allows the network to automatically adjust data transmission rates based on distance, which helps protect against eavesdropping (the act of using sensors to monitor, record, and analyze data from a device or environment without the knowledge or consent of its user).

Types of Sensors

LoRaWAN sensors can be divided into quite a few major categories: motion sensors, environmental sensors, and location trackers. 

Motion Sensors

LoRaWAN motion sensors are typically battery-powered for autonomy purposes. These sensors are designed to detect motion and can be used in home security, industrial automation, occupancy monitoring, and asset tracking. 

The data gathered can then be used to track the movements of objects or people, as well as to trigger alarms or other actions. The data can also be used to generate real-time analytics and insights to manage occupancy and foot traffic patterns better. 

TEKTELIC, in its portfolio, has a motion sensor as well, with a successful case of robbery prevention system in Germany. The main challenge was to create a system, which will alert homeowners as soon as an intruder enters the building. For this particular case, we have offered our VIVID motion sensor to complete a security system. VIVID PIR sensor works as a door sensor or vibration sensor, so the device sends notifications to the owner and security agents via the LoRaWAN network when any motion is detected. It is way more effective than a sound sensor, which many homeowners use because irrelevant sound can be detected and marked as “intrusive”, which creates confusion for both owners, and security service providers. In turn, this system created with VIVID allows homeowners to immediately know about intrusion via their smartphones and turn the alarm off or on when needed. 

Room Booking 

Room booking sensors are another type of device, considered to be motion sensors. These types of smart sensors are designed to help manage and optimize the use of office spaces, meeting rooms, or lecture rooms in the university. They are an ideal solution for organizations that need to track the occupancy of their rooms in real time. Initially, the trend for these sensors appeared during COVID-19, when there was a need to monitor occupancy, use proximity sensors, and limit people’s presence in one room. However, when the pandemic passed, people realized the benefits booking devices can bring to them, such as time management, space management, and energy use in unoccupied spaces. 

TEKTELIC offers TEMPO Solution to solve the problem of overbooking or scheduling difficulties in the meeting rooms. With e-Ink display, VIVID, and KONA Micro Gateway, you will be able to manage, adjust and analyze your meeting room occupancy. It is integrated with Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar, so no additional software is needed for usage. 

Environmental Sensors

LoRaWAN environmental sensors collect environmental data such as temperature, humidity, light intensity, CO2 monitoring, soil moisture, and more. These sensors are typically used in industries such as smart agriculture, smart retail, and public services. They are also used in smart cities, where they provide real-time data on air quality, noise levels, and other important metrics. 

LoRaWAN Agriculture Sensors 

In agriculture, sensors are being used to track and improve crop yields and quality while reducing waste and environmental footprint. For example, with the KIWI soil moisture sensor, we managed to automate data collection for temperature, soil moisture, and temperature as well as ambient humidity and temperature in the Botanical Garden in Rome. With our KIWI sensor, the Botanical garden has solved the challenge of conserving rare plants, which need special soil moisture conditions and have ambient environment requirements. Specifically, KIWI is designed to do the following: detect the temperature of a single crop, monitor soil moisture, and detect light, ambient temperature, and humidity. It also helps farmers get in front of the game by ensuring their crops get all the nutrients they can handle. For example, it can be programmed to send a data signal when soil temperatures and water levels exceed a predetermined threshold. 

Temperature & Humidity Sensors 

These sensors are designed to measure and monitor the relative humidity and temperature of an environment. They are usually located indoors and allow for real-time monitoring of the environment’s humidity and temperature. It’s common to have a temperature sensor together with a humidity sensor in one device, not to create a complex architecture with an excessive number of devices. 

Light Sensors 

These types of sensors are the most common for IoT in real estate. They can be both outdoor and indoor sensors to monitor street lights or just energy usage in the home or office. We have a light sensor in our portfolio as well, which can help reduce the cost of energy bills and optimize the lighting in office environments. It has advantages over a simple current sensor because while a current tracker can give you information only on the voltage used, our COMFORT and VIVID give a comprehensive understanding of the time lights were on, an area where most energy is spent and can be additionally used to detect water leaks, motion, and vibration, and provide you with pulse readings.  

TEKTELIC had a chance to solve the issue of sustaining a healthy indoor environment in the UK’s residential buildings with minimal usage of sensors installed. Our COMFORT smart sensor has covered all the monitoring needs with minimal installation requirements. With the help of the TEKTELIC sensor, the leading construction company in the United Kingdom was able to improve the health of residential and commercial properties, controlling environmental settings and adjusting space conditions accordingly through the complete remote control. 

Leak Detectors 

A water leak sensor is an ideal choice to detect water leaks and alert homeowners and businesses of potential damage. The water level sensor and pressure sensor can be combined in one device as well. A single sensor based on the water pressure levels can send an alert on a possible leak occurred because the pressure will decrease if a pipe has leaks somewhere along the way. Once a water leak is detected, the sensor can be set to send an alert to the user via an app or text message. The alert can then be used to take corrective action, such as shutting off the water or repairing a damaged pipe, or for smart meter analytics to take preventive measures in the future. 

One of our latest projects involves water leak monitoring in the US luxury building segment. One of the biggest companies in the construction industry in the US faced huge financial losses due to unnoticed/late noticed water leaks in residential buildings. With our KONA Micro IoT gateway integrated into the existing sensor network of a real estate company, we’ve managed to notice 12 leaks within the first six weeks of deployment in a building in San Francisco, CA. It has prevented potential expenses and allowed maintenance teams to address the problem immediately. With this remote monitoring system, users and building managers can access the network remotely and check if any pipes need maintenance at any time. 

Air Quality Monitors 

Air quality sensors are used in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, offices, and homes. These monitors use LoRaWAN technology to provide real-time data on indoor air quality parameters such as temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and the presence of pollutants. This data can be used to make informed decisions on air quality management and to ensure that air quality standards are met. 

TEKTELIC is proud to have the BREEZE CO2 sensor, which monitors the exposure of carbon dioxide in the indoor environment. This air quality sensor allows for better HVAC management and pairs with an E-Ink display, which you can mount near the door or place on a table. This ultrasonic sensor itself can be mounted to the wall or ceiling, fitting in any interior. 

Location Trackers

LoRaWAN locators are small, low-powered devices that are designed to be easily placed on any object or person, and can be used for locating assets in transit or a warehouse as well as locating personnel in critical infrastructure and ensuring their safety. They usually can transmit data via GPS, LoRa, or BLE but rarely have all connectivity options in one device. 

TEKTELIC with the main focus on LoRaWAN-based devices has developed SEAL LoRaWAN GPS Tracker, which can transmit location data via all three technologies (GPS, LoRa, and BLE) to ensure the highest level of personnel safety in remote locations or hazardous areas. With this device, the employer always knows where workers are located and can find them or send help in a matter of seconds. 

LoRaWAN trackers offer several advantages over other location-tracking technologies. They are extremely energy efficient, allowing them to be powered by small batteries that can last up to 10 years. They are also highly secure, with encryption technology that prevents unauthorized access. Finally, they provide reliable, accurate location data with low latency, making them ideal for applications where real-time tracking is required. 

How do LoRaWAN Sensors Work?

The basic principle of LoRaWAN sensors operation is as follows: 

  • The sensor collects data it is supposed to collect 
  • Data is transmitted to a gateway 
  • The gateway sends the data to the end user 
  • The user either takes action based on the data or the sensor triggers certain actions by itself. 

Summing up

LoRaWAN sensors are incredibly useful for a variety of applications, which is proven by many cases listed. They are highly accurate, reliable, and easy to use. With the capability to be used in a variety of locations, these sensors have become popular for smart cities, agriculture, industrial areas, and building management. They offer an efficient and cost-effective way to monitor and control resources while providing a secure and reliable connection. In turn, along with the increasing demand for connected devices, LoRaWAN sensors are sure to become a popular choice for developers and businesses alike. That’s why if you want to stay ahead of the competition and build reliable network architecture, make sure to get in touch with our sales team or buy LoRaWAN sensors to enhance your business. 

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