Global IoT network operator Sigfox has made four major announcements during its annual Connect event.
Ludovic Le Moan, CEO and co-founder of Sigfox, opened Connect 2019 in Singapore this morning and unveiled the following announcements during his keynote:
Sigfox launches Private Area Network (PAN) to offer greater choice
The first major announcement is Sigfox’s launch of a Private Area Network (PAN) to offer businesses a choice between a private or global service dependent on their needs.
The service will first launch in France during Q1 2020 but Sigfox plans for it to be deployed across the more than 65 countries it operates.
Sigfox says it will have more than 15 million registered objects globally by the end of 2019, with more than 1,500 customers using their solutions across various industries.
The operator’s Wide Area Network (WAN) is set to be completed next year due to a partnership with Eutelsat. Sigfox will use a constellation of nanosatellites launched by Eutelsat to provide coverage around the world.
"Sigfox's PAN offer will benefit from the existing ecosystem around the Sigfox WAN. The possibility of using all the components on the market, combined with the use of extremely low transmission power to support objects without the need for batteries, gives Sigfox's PAN offer huge potential," comments Ludovic Le Moan, CEO and co-founder of Sigfox.
Sigfox says its PAN customers can expect the same as its WAN clients in terms of support and quality. PAN customers can choose to subscribe to an additional ‘WAN extension’ offering should they wish if devices need to communicate outside the local network.
Sigfox enhances the accuracy of its Atlas geolocation services
Sigfox launched Atlas Native in January 2017 as its first geolocation service. The service is available for every device equipped with even the simplest Sigfox module.
The IoT operator has now launched Atlas Native Complimentary, which is offered free in exchange for data processing rights of GPS location data. This data is compared with Sigfox network fingerprints, using machine learning, to improve accuracy down to 800 metres.
Benjamin Mazet, Product Management Director on the global Sigfox portfolio, said: “With this partnership offer and the machine learning algorithms used to compute and improve Atlas accuracy, Sigfox is constantly enhancing the quality of its geolocation services, bringing huge benefits to new and existing Sigfox customers – literally at the flick of a switch and by always keeping the device as simple as possible.”
To further improve the accuracy of its geolocation services, Sigfox says it has completed the global rollout of Atlas WiFi in partnership with the mapping experts at HERE Technologies.
Sigfox is specifically using HERE’s global database of WiFi access points. The access points are queried by Sigfox WiFi trackers to more accurately track asset positions outdoors and indoors with less battery consumption than using GPS.
Amadeus partners with Sigfox for travel industry asset tracking
The next major announcement is a partnership with Amadeus, a leading provider of IT solutions for the travel and tourism industry.
A strategic alliance called PinPoint will see Amadeus combine its knowledge of the travel industry with Sigfox’s expertise in the IoT.
“We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Amadeus and share our combined expertise to create real digital transformation of the travel sector. Our strategic alliance named PinPoint will not only help to improve the travel experience, but this will also change completely the game for an industry looking for decades for THE technology able to save costs while improving efficiency and quality of services”, explains Raouti Chehih, Chief Adoption Officer at Sigfox.
PinPoint aims to deliver an end-to-end tracking solution for the air transport industry to help keep tabs on things such as luggage and high-value assets. Sigfox claims this will reduce the current high financial losses arising from lost assets in addition to preventing dissatisfaction for travellers.
“Sigfox technology is unique in its ability to track objects seamlessly across the globe, and at such a low cost. Combining Amadeus expertise and partners’ network in travel with Sigfox technology, we can enable luggage tracking at a price which is within what consumers are ready to pay for, and thus bring peace of mind to billions of travellers.” Marion Mesnage, Head of Research, Innovation & Ecosystems, Amadeus.
The first services from the strategic alliance are expected to hit the market in 2020.
850,000 Japanese gas metres will use Sigfox
850,000 gas metres from NICIGAS across Japan will be connected using Sigfox’s nationwide 0G network by the end of FY2020.
The deployment is one of the largest in smart utilities around the world and uses a retrofitted gas meter reader developed by UnaBiz and SORACOM.
Sigfox’s network transfers data collected by the Network Controlling Unit to NICIGAS’ IoT data platform. The gas valve can be controlled remotely and the NCU is expected to last more than 10 years with its built-in batteries.
Rather than having to manually collect meter data each month, the reader provides information on an hourly basis. This ensures more accurate prediction of the gas remaining so households can be supplied with a new cylinder more quickly.
“With more precise gas consumption data, we can better analyse our demand and supply and turn them into actionable insights for our logistics and distribution channels to achieve maximum resource efficiency. In addition, it will enable us to propose optimal energy usage plans to our existing and potential customers,” a NICIGAS spokesperson said.
Japan is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is the most active earthquake belt in the world. Japan accounts for around 20 percent of earthquakes around the world with a magnitude 6.0 or more. Around 1,500 earthquakes strike the island nation every year and minor tremors occur nearly every day.
One particularly valuable feature of the smart meter solution is that, in the event of an earthquake, the gas valve will automatically close to prevent damage to the property.
Ken Tamagawa, CEO & Co-founder of SORACOM, said: “NICIGAS represents a prime example of the benefits that a smart IoT connectivity platform brings to large-scale deployments. The combination of IoT technology and cloud capability lets businesses connect devices quickly, affordably, and securely anywhere in the world, while increasing efficiency, sustainability, and customer satisfaction.”
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