With a new CEO, Senet looks to make noise in the burgeoning IoT

As published by FierceWireless, July 11, 2017

After quietly building a business to serve the burgeoning IoT for the last three years, Senet is hoping to turn up the volume.

The New Hampshire-based company is the largest LoRa-based network provider in the United States due largely to its success in connecting water meters and other industrial-type devices via sensors, but it is far from a household name. That’s not unusual in the IoT space, of course, which is a segment that remains all but invisible to everyday consumers.

But Senet recently brought on Bruce Chatterley, a self-described serial entrepreneur, to both broaden the company’s scope and raise its profile. The executive has served as CEO of several tech firms and earlier held senior sales and marketing positions at GE and IBM.

Chatterley, who was also elected to Senet’s board of directors, will focus on developing strategic partnerships and “executing go-to-market strategies” for the company’s LoRa WAN offerings.

“I was really itching to get back into a small company; making a small company big, when this opportunity came along,” Chatterley told FierceWireless recently in a phone interview. “What attracted me was that the IoT space is potentially massive. … Essentially there is a really significant value proposition to this whole industry, instrumenting things that previously couldn’t be instrumented.”

Senet announced Chatterley’s hiring last month alongside the introduction of a suite of offerings for communication service providers (CSPs) looking to deploy LoRa WAN on their networks. The services are aimed at enabling network operators to manage their infrastructures and control connectivity, roles and access rights through a “reliable and scalable solution.”

Like rivals Ingenu and Sigfox, Senet views its Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) offering as a more attractive alternative—or sometimes a complementary—technology to cellular-based NB-IoT technologies. And Chatterley said LoRa’s open standard nature gives it a notable edge as the IoT begins to move into more mainstream applications.

“The thing that’s interesting about LoRa is that it’s an open standard, so anyone can make hardware which can connect to a LoRa network,” which makes it easier to scale, he opined. “We’ve seen dramatic reductions in the price of antennas to put on poles and devices just in the last three years. A second advantage is that it’s very efficient in terms of using batteries. What we’re getting now through our testing is greater than 10-year battery life through these devices. That’s really critically important if you have to open a manhole cover or examine a water main, which could require permits and for police to block the whole thing off.”

And like other LPWAN operators, Senet views cellular carriers as potential partners. But the IoT is expected to grow quickly over the next few years—a recent forecast from ABI Research has the Industrial Internet of Things alone adding more than 13 million new connections worldwide this year, raising its installed base to more than 53 million connections—and Chatterley sees significant opportunities to gain market share while incumbent carriers scramble to bring 5G technologies and services to market.

“Most carriers are really focused on 5G, but if you’re following 5G you know that it’s still on the whiteboard,” Chatterley said. “We believe that with their core product that they’re going to ride with this segment, they’re about three or four years out.”