‘And at the end, connecting your product will cost you US$1 per year’ – Is this the role for SIGFOX?

SIGFOX_logo

(BLOG): August 22, 2013 — It sounds quite odd to start a book from its last page, but this is the claim of SIGFOX, a French start-up company, which is intending to be the network operator of “Things”. As Groupe SEB’s Karim Houni writes, since the first minutes of a meeting with SIGFOX, its aim has been to tackle one of the major challenge of the Internet of Things: connectivity cost.

When scanning the available technological solutions to bring wireless connectivity to a product, a wide catalogue of solutions appears. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, NFC, cellular with all its generations, Ant and so many others. The way through that digital jungle can only be found with a good understanding (or choice!) of the connectivity scenarios: To what will my product connect? How much data do I need to transfer? Does it need a gateway to the internet? Could it be the domestic access point or a smartphone? What happens when none of them is reachable? Could cellular fit the need?

Cellular is indeed one of the best ways to tackle the coverage issue, network operators have done tremendous work over the years to make SIM cards a turnkey solution almost anywhere under the blue sky. This ubiquity comes at a cost for an integrator; putting the power-consuming modem in the product to be connected, and figuring its data plan.

SIGFOX as a small network operator in the short term (but probably much bigger in the long) tries to fit in the uncovered zone; geographically, by building its cellular network around its patented Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) which allows better coverage with much fewer antennas; and “market-ly”, by building its business model around the $1-per-year gimmick which allows everyone to start brainstorming about cheap connected applications like the tweeting thirsty flower. This simplicity comes at a cost for an integrator: SIGFOX networks offer only long range but low data rate (around 100bps), and for now only the uplink.

When it comes to daily life products, like domestic appliances, SIGFOX UNB network won’t be of any help pushing HD video for step-by-step recipes. But this long range, low rate, low cost connection could be the assistant sought by business technologists to create a better link with customers eager to have an always fully functional appliance.

The UNB network is a well-fitting solution to make your kettle digitally whisper its functional status to the manufacturer who will repair it before it fails. Along with low power consumption modems, which will be soon widely available, SIGFOX pre(o)mise is a complementary network for the Internet of Everything, where kettles, flowers, alarms, meters and so much more will be sending bunches of bits, thus cheaply connected.

The thread may be thin, but its web might be gigantic.

The author of this blog, Karim HOUNI, PhD. Eng., is innovation project manager, Connected World & Smart Home, Smart Systems Innovation Center at Groupe SEB. Groupe SEB is based in Pont-Evêque, France.

Groupe SEB

RECENT ARTICLES

TD SYNNEX expands solution offering with Google Cloud

Posted on: May 20, 2022

19 May 2022 – TD SYNNEX announced the expansion of its cloud solution portfolio with the addition of Google Cloud offerings. Available immediately to partners, Google Cloud provides users with a suite of cloud computing services businesses can use to enhance productivity and workflow.

Read more

Self-driving technology firm Sensible 4 receives €8mn to boost sustainable transport

Posted on: May 19, 2022

Luxembourg & Finland. 19 May, 2022 – Sensible 4’s software enables vehicles to operate under the most challenging weather conditions, including snow, heavy rain, fog and sandstorms. Autonomous driving contributes to sustainable transport, reducing the number of traffic accidents and carbon dioxide and polluting emissions. It also provides a solution to the shortage of public

Read more
FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more