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LoRa Alliance and GS1 announce supply chain standards partnership

The LoRa Alliance and GS1 in Europe have announced a formal liaison agreement to explore adding LoRaWAN networks as an available carrier technology to the GS1 standards.

The LoRa Alliance is the global association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN standard for Internet of Things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), and GS1 in Europe, is a not-for-profit organisation that develops and maintains global standards for business communications.

Both organisations said that their goal is to provide greater efficiency and interoperability for supply chain and maintenance operations, strengthen inventory management, and simplify data exchanges between different systems and stakeholders. The initial collaboration addresses the requirements of the railway industry, with other sectors to follow.

A pilot project is in progress in France for national railway companies to implement a more cost-effective identification system for infrastructure and rollingstock. This initial collaboration is looking at the feasibility and value of carrying GS1 identifiers from EPC/RFID tags over LoRaWAN networks. In addition, an enriched data format is being specified, which can be applied to the railway industry to improve geolocation use cases by networks, as well as access to additional sensing data for predictive maintenance and asset management.

End users will have access to easy digitization of existing systems, as well as reduced integration and operational costs resulting from larger adoption of GS1 standards with LoRaWAN.

“The deployment of LoRaWAN has greatly accelerated over the past 12 months and has positioned 2021 to be the year of massive scaling of applications across multiple industries,” said Donna Moore, CEO and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. “One clear trend that has emerged is the need for multi-RAN strategies to address specific use cases. The combination of short-range RFID and long-range LoRaWAN networks represents a huge market opportunity, where cost-effective wireless communication can be achieved, amplifying the user benefits of both technologies. This liaison is another step in the LoRa Alliance’s strategic initiative to simplify the IoT by making LoRaWAN more accessible and interoperable with open standards.”

Commenting François Deprey, vice-chair of GS1 in Europe and CEO of GS1 France, said, “What makes a lot of sense in this agreement is a common belief in the benefits of interoperability. For the last 50 years, GS1 has been working with a lot of different industries to make supply chains more efficient, and data more portable and sharable. Nowadays, to fully benefit from the fast-growing development of IoT, better collaboration across sectors and data standardisation are essential."

In the initial pilot program, the focus is on inventory and condition monitoring of railway industry assets. The project objective is to demonstrate that combining RFID and LoRaWAN delivers cost-effective visibility of railway assets, resulting in improved uptime, maintenance and operations. The ambition is to launch other pilots and projects within this cooperation to cover additional sectors and expand to other countries.

Neil Tyler

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