Hi Pete, I recall you showing me some of this kit during the visit and really should follow up/investigate further for some near term price sensitive use cases. Medium & longer term the problem as I see it is one of maturity, these things are cheap as we are at the tail end of 2G services and cost has been driven out. LoRa(WAN) is still ramping and maturing with cost still to be reduced and volumes ramped. Also battery life is important - on a car, truck or even motorbike with a decent sized battery it is not an issue but tracking a bicycle or other assets - many of which have no specific power supply - as part of the ‘tracking’ class of apps generically will struggle.
In addition for new product & service introductions including vehicles you need to consider the design life of a product. Designing today for 2019/2020 market intro with a 10+ year product life (and in the case of automotive looking at 2023/2025 intro with a 15+ year end product life there is no way you consider designing in 2G products and even 3G gets questionable! As @Borroz says 2G services are already being turned off and many more are planned for exit in 2019-2024 (I think UK looks like 2022/23 EOL for 2G & GPRS), and I’m hearing many places already looking to turn off 3G 2027-2032…2G is now what 25 years old?..where will LoRaWAN product pricing and development be in 15 yet alone 25 years time? (and follow-ons & enhancements?).
The supporting infrastructure, back end services, device on-boarding etc. will all evolve and expand rapidly in the coming months and years (I recall you had some good/promising thoughts in that direction also ) and we should all remember that good though it is TTN =/= LoRaWAN market and ecosystem, just a small but well loved part of it and one that isn’t supposed to be used for mission critical use cases as many have stated on other forum threads. What happens in other LORaWAN network deployments, especially wrt standardised products and volume ramps & where they can be readily be reprogrammed, re-targeted and on-boarded to TTN will also help its users with respect to driving down cost and improving usability.
Here’s to an optimistic LoRaWAN enable future…