Sigfox Boosts Its IoT Global Footprint

Sigfox Boosts Its IoT Global Footprint

Sigfox expands to 4 new countries: Costa Rica, Croatia, Thailand, Tunisia. 17 countries now with national coverage, as five additional countries reach national coverage milestone. Almost €100 million invested by Sigfox Operators to guarantee same quality of network service worldwide.

At Sigfox World IoT Expo, Sigfox announces that its network is now spanning 36 countries as part of its mission to offer a consistent level of connectivity quality and service anywhere in the world.

Four new operators in four different continents are today joining the Sigfox family:

  • COGNIX: working with Latin American partner WND, local operator COGNIX will expand low-cost, low-energy, dependable IoT networking to Costa Rica.
  • IoT Net Adria: seeing a great opportunity to replicate the accumulated know-how with Sigfox in other countries in their market, Croatian Sigfox Operator is extending the Sigfox coverage in eastern Europe.
  • IoT Tunisie: with an expanding manufacturing sector, demand for IoT solutions is high in Tunisia. Together with Sigfox, IoT Tunisie can meet that demand and promote hi-tech growth.
  • Platt Nera: the collaboration is set to connect hundreds of thousands of objects as Thailand invests in smart cities, intelligent energy, and other transformational digital projects.

Rodolphe Baronnet-Frugès, executive vice president of operators at Sigfox, said:
“We’re excited to work with all of our new partners, this move marks yet another key milestone towards Sigfox’s vision of a global IoT network. We are looking forward to collaborating with our new Sigfox operators to help their local ecosystems to seamlessly scale IoT solutions wherever the Sigfox network is present in the world. Together, we’re building a future that will be better to live in.”

Sigfox operators are not only contributing to accelerate IoT development in their local markets, they are also committing to deploy and operate the network infrastructure and offer national coverage in their countries. Up to this day, almost 100 million euros have been invested by Sigfox operators to offer a unique access to the Sigfox IoT services, with the exact same quality of service.

This unique global offer is enriched with Sigfox new service Monarch, now allowing IoT devices to recognize and automatically adapt to every local communications standard in the world without roaming. By enabling ‘globe trotter’ assets that can seamlessly adapt as they move across borders, Monarch represents a game-changer for logistics, freight, and consumer goods industries.

In other news from the Sigfox Operators’ ecosystem:

  • In Ireland, Sigfox Operator VT signed a €1-mill IoT subscription with Dunraven Systems, a market leader in the design and development of ultrasonic fuel tank monitors.
  • In Australia, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is now a cornerstone investor in Thinxtra, which is using Sigfox technology to make Australia’s energy industry more efficient.
  • In Singapore, Sigfox partner UnaBiz has developed Ratsense, which helps the pest control industry track and monitor the rodent population.
  • IoT Sweden is using Sigfox low-energy networking to develop intelligent crop-monitoring devices for smart-agriculture.
  • In Germany, BrakeForceOne is partnering with Sigfox to build IoT sensors into its electronic bikes and scooters.
  • In France, Airbus has chosen to use Sigfox to optimize its supply chain.

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Tiny GPS Antenna Under The Players’ Jersey Boosts Tracking Performance

Tiny GPS Antenna Under The Players’ Jersey Boosts Tracking Performance

Here’s your daily newsletter showcasing the everyday worldwide developments including news & research in the field of Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices. Following the links, you’ll know newest and hottest technologies and the important trends of this exploding world to keep you updated.

GPS Antenna Under The Players’ Jersey Boosts Tracking Performance

Ever wonder what are those things that players wear under their jerseys during practice? Well, that’s a GPS system for player tracking and analysis during their training and games to boost performance. One firm excelling in such GPS player tracking equipment, STATSports, recently said that it has chosen Taoglas’ GPS patch antenna for its Apex-line of sports performance monitors. This antenna is claimed to work even in the most challenging of situations and helps the device deliver location accuracy within 1 meter, and is hoped to eventually improve players’ performance. More details.


IoT Development Kit Enlivens India’s Smart City Vision

Geared for enhancing smart city development in India, u‑blox and IoT firm Atoll Solutions have launched an IoT starter kit for developing nodes and gateways based on LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT. The starter kit is based on u-blox’s LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT modules. Atoll’s spokesperson further noted: “narrowband LTE has the power to add affordable and reliable connectivity to a wide range of assets, creating truly Smart Cities through Smart Lighting and Smart Metering.” More details. 


One-click Parking Payment For Connected Car Drivers Made Easy!

In a bid to make one-click parking payments for connected car drivers easier, Tantalum is working with SAP to integrate SAP Vehicles Network into Tantalum’s Pay.Car end-to-end payment platform for connected cars. This will help drivers to find an available parking space quickly and pay securely without needing to find spare coins or load a separate app on their phone. In addition, customers will be better able to save time and reduce fuel consumption by navigating efficiently to an available parking space, thereby reducing harmful CO2 and NOx emissions, according to the announcement. More details.

 

 

 

 


Vodafone Joins Open-source Community To Ease Deployment Of Digital Home & Smart Gateways 

In order to foster innovation in the digital home and smart gateways, mobile giant Vodafone is working together with open-source IoT consortium prpl. The firm hopes that open-source software and open standards will accelerate the harmonisation of software platforms for the deployment of in-home devices like routers. More details. 


Have Fun Chatting With Your Home Appliances On Your Mobile Messenger!

Smart home appliances equipped with features such as LG HomeChat and SmartThinQ will be introduced in India this year, LGEI recently said. This will enable consumers to control and operate home appliances such as washing machine, air conditioners and refrigerators through smartphones. The company is in talks with several mobile network providers for data connectivity in order to connect different appliances to the internet.


Wireless VR To Storm Data Networks, Grow 650% By 2021!

Wireless VR headsets are all up in the news lately. According to a new report from Juniper Research, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets’ (both smartphone-based and standalone) data consumption will grow by over 650% over the next 4 years, from nearly 2,800PB (Petabytes) in 2017 to over 21,000PB in 2021, leaving data networks strained. This is said to be equivalent to a massive three billion hours of 4K video streaming! More details.

 


BeagleBone Green Wireless IoT Prototyping Kit Now Available! 

Seeed Studio’s BeagleBone Green Wireless internet of things (IoT) developer prototyping kit for the Google Cloud Platform is now available from Mouser. Together with BeagleBoard.org and Google, the kit collects various types of sensors and actuators used in internet-equipped devices. The sensor and actuator modules are plug-and-play and fully compatible with the BeagbleBone Green Wireless Board. The kit includes built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE).  More details.

 


 

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Dunelm boosts supply chain operations with IoT and SAP

Dunelm boosts supply chain operations with IoT and SAP

IoB speaks to Gavin Chappell, supply chain and merchandising director at UK home furnishing retailer Dunelm, about the challenge of managing supply chain and stock management operations across both stores and online. 

What can you tell us about Dunelm’s supply chain operation in Stoke-on-Trent and the improvements that you’ve made there?

Previously, we had a retail-only supply chain at our Stoke facility, which focused solely on store services. This consisted of five external storage facilities, so we were limited in our ability to manage our wider business offerings, such as e-commerce. Integration was minimal between them, which meant that some stock was unavailable for certain stores, and we weren’t able to have the same availability for customers online as we did in-store. This created a huge issue with customers, who wanted the most up-to-date information, with a shopping experience that was seamless.

How did software help you tackle the problem and why did you choose to work here with SAP?

Since bringing on SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) in January 2017, we’ve consolidated our storage into two facilities, which manage both retail and online operations. By bringing this all under one system, we can ensure our stock levels in-store and online are up-to-date, and monitor these in real-time. This ensures our customers have an accurate view on what’s available to them at all times.

We decided on SAP EWM, as we wanted to manage all of our facilities and inventory under one interface. We also run SAP for our wider corporate processes, so by moving our supply chain management under the same umbrella, we’re easily integrated across the company.

How has this implementation affected the way staff in your supply chain operations work?

One of the reasons we chose SAP EWM was so we could introduce a level of automation into the warehouse that would allow us to streamline some of the mundane tasks such as pallet moving. In March 2017, we implemented robotic devices that help transport the pallets, and SAP EWM helps us manage this easily – even from a remote location. The upgrade was smooth and easy to implement into our new facility, and we worked alongside SAP to integrate some of our existing core resources to support the project as well. The transition wasn’t difficult for our team, as we previously used SAP WM, so it was a small learning curve.

Read more: Small, fast pilots: The secret of Henkel’s supply chain success

Do you intend to roll out the software beyond Stoke, to other areas of Dunelm’s supply chain network?

We haven’t expanded beyond our Stoke facility yet. We have a lot of work to do in order to integrate our stores and distribution centers, bringing them more closely together.

What plans does Dunelm have to integrate IoT products into its supply chain in future?

I see great potential for IoT products benefiting many elements of our business – however, the transportation side of the supply chain would be an exciting integration. Connected devices for vehicles and our transport operations will allow us to identity the location of our delivery vehicles in real time. This could extend to delivery items, so we’d be able to track the entire process from start to finish.

How significant is IoT to the future of supply chains?

For supply chains, connected devices will become progressively more important over time. As organizations build on their core digital capabilities, the ability to connect and get real-time insights will give businesses a real edge. This could start with a retail business having IoT devices in its warehouses to monitor stock levels, but you can then progress this to cover the transport side of the business, which would allow the business to monitor the location and timing of customer deliveries from that original warehouse.

Read more: The voice of the warehouse worker


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Boiler company Baxi boosts first-time fix rate

Baxi boosts first-time-fix rate with Zebra Technologies

Baxi Heating UK has revamped the computer equipment used by its field service engineers, opting for a rugged handheld device that can scan barcodes, access remote information and even support engineers’ WhatsApp chats.

The resulting spike in first-time-fix rates and customer satisfaction pleases both Baxi and its customers.

Boiler busted – but not for long

Boiler engineers need to be efficient, knowledgeable and capable. They’ve long used technology to help with diagnosis and fixing of broken boilers.

Baxi UK has taken its technology to the next level by giving service engineers a handheld computer that offers a wide range of services based around modern access to information both through social sharing and Baxi’s own back end.

Zebra Technologies’ Android-powered TC75 handheld computers give engineers access to their own email account, a special forum where they can ask for technical help and advice, their own WhatsApp group for sharing local knowledge and information, and the ability to share videos and photos to help them get advice from colleagues in real time.

All this has helped raise the first-time-fix rate by more than 4,000 jobs in the first 12 months of deployment, bringing customer satisfaction level to over 90 percent.

Read more: Energy: How ENEL is using IoT to embrace the ‘energy revolution’

It’s all about the data

This access to information is invaluable, but there’s more: the devices will be used to share boiler performance data with Baxi’s research & development and quality departments, where they’ll play a part in the company’s continuous improvement strategy.

Where a first-time-fix isn’t possible, the engineer can access inventory and order spare parts on the spot, as well as show the customer brochures. Workflows benefit too, as engineers can easily see information about jobs they need to complete. The system even completes electronic timecards to log work time.

Steve Randal, service operations manager at Baxi Heating told Internet of Business, “The engineer can take photos and video and send it to the R&D and Quality departments to inform future improvements.

“All the safety data from the engineer can be sent back to the office, which in turn helps us to improve safety and efficiency for the engineers. For example, they are now given time to carry out risk assessments, attend safety inductions where necessary and are assigned appropriate amount of time, rather than just be given the time to do the service or repair. This has helped us to plan the engineers’ days more effectively.”

Bringing all the Things together

The big plus of the Zebra Technologies TC75 computer is that it brings so much together in one place, with both interactive elements and an information rich back end to help the engineer complete as many repairs as possible on their first visit.

Randal said, “Getting technical information and advice while on the job gives the engineer greater confidence, meaning more first-time fixes and more customer satisfaction.”

Read more: Smart energy systems to help tackle fuel poverty on Isles of Scilly

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IoT boosts healthy and safety in offshore environments

Fluenta: The health and safety case for IoT in remote oil & gas operations

In a contributed article for Internet of Business, Neil Bird, engineering director at flare gas measurement company Fluenta  makes the case for IoT technology in reducing safety risks in oil and gas operations.

In August 2015, an explosion at a gas treatment plant on the west coast of Venezuela demonstrated the need for the highest levels of safety in oil & gas operations.

The explosion took place at a processing plant in the Cardon IV Block of the Perla gas field, around 50km offshore of the North West of the Gulf of Venezuela, at one of the biggest offshore gas fields in Latin America. Fortunately, the explosion did not cause any fatalities, yet these kinds of incidents often do lead to the loss of life.

There are many potential causes of on-site explosions: the sudden release of gas under pressure or the introduction of an ignition source into an explosive or flammable environment. The Hydrocarbon Releases (HCRs) that cause explosions like these are, in simple terms, leaks.

It is inevitable that leaks will happen during operations, and while significant efforts have been made to reduce these, innovations in remote monitoring technology can be exploited to reduce the associated risk further.

A recent campaign called Step Change in Safety,supported by all of the stakeholders in the UK offshore industry, neatly demonstrates what can be achieved. In 2010, the total number of HCRs was 187. The Step Change in Safety campaign aimed to reduce this by 50 percent over a three-year period and while it  came up fractionally short – only reducing the number by 49 percent – the approach demonstrates what is possible when more focus and attention is paid to safety issues.

Monitoring potentially explosive environments for the presence of flammable vapours is an important health and safety practice and should be supported using accurate measuring equipment. By combining IoT advances in remote connectivity and innovations in monitoring technology, the success that has already been achieved in this area can be increased significantly.

IoT for remote monitoring in oil & gas

When applied effectively, remote asset management through connected infrastructure will revolutionize oil and gas operations. While the ability to operate oil rigs without any personnel on-board is still some way off, any reduction in the number of personnel needed is likely to quickly add up to a considerable cost saving and inherently reduces the risk of casualties during emergency incidents.

The capability to access diagnostic information remotely is already widely used in the utilities sector where, for example, remote assets have been controlled by telemetry for many years to manage several tasks. Typical examples are regular reporting of asset well-being and diagnostics when an asset may be malfunctioning.

Historically, it has been necessary for personnel to check whether assets were working or not. That costs time and money, and at its core, places a human life in a potentially dangerous environment. Not only does remote measurement and polling of these assets significantly reduce cost, but inherent risk.

Ubiquitous internet connectivity

It is cloud technology and the ubiquity of internet connectivity that fundamentally brings significant change to remote asset management. Cloud is the infrastructure or network over which an application or programme can run on many different computers simultaneously, and with remote asset monitoring relates specifically to the internet.

Monitoring equipment installed on local assets transmits information in real time to software that is stored on central servers, rather than physically on-site. When real-time data is fed into software such as continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS), organisations can continuously collect, record and report data remotely.

Better management through measurement

The combination of accurate, real-time information on remote assets and cloud technology can have a significant positive impact on moving an oil and gas operation from a monitoring approach to a management approach. It enables companies to access information on extreme events, and make strategic decisions based on historic data.

Data enables insight and insight enables better management, and this in turn should lead to reduced risk. The oil and gas industry matches high risk against high reward, and any action that can be taken to reduce risk means that a higher proportion of the reward is accessible.

In late 2015, dozens of oil workers were killed in a fire aboard a rig in the Caspian Sea. This was caused by a gas pipeline that was damaged in high winds. By recording critical data to the cloud, companies can understand the impact of extreme weather on oil rigs and implement procedures to reduce the risk of a similar incident. Had the owners of the rig been more aware of the likelihood of such an incident happening, the workers would have evacuated the site earlier.

Read more: Remote monitoring in oil and gas: a new path to profitability?

The human factor

Ironically, the most critical aspect of deploying successful IoT communication systems for remote asset monitoring is human involvement. Connected infrastructure will report accurate information in real-time, but skilled humans still need to interpret and analyse the information, to turn it into actionable insight to make better decisions. IoT applications also need to be designed with fail safes, to ensure that immediate escalation for human intervention takes place when required and the monitoring systems are themselves monitored.

Rather than taking the place of human beings, the best IoT applications will enhance people’s abilities to make accurate decisions, reducing cost, improving capability and, most important, reducing risk.

Nowhere will this be more applicable than in the high-risk oil and gas industry, but this is also an industry that can experience a host of ancillary benefits through connected monitoring infrastructure. As regulations become increasingly targeted, complex, and legally enforceable, businesses in the oil and gas industry need to harness the most innovative technology if they are to maximise the financial potential of their operations in an increasingly uncertain environment.

Read more: SkyX aims high in oil & gas drone services

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