Sigfox posts €50 million in revenue, reiterates plans for 60 country connectivity in 2018

Sigfox, the French-based Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity provider, has announced its 2017 results and 2018 roadmap, promising a network of 60 countries and more than a billion people worldwide.

Revenues went up to €50 million (£44.4m), a rise of more than 56% year over year, according to the company, while the total number of objects connected to the Sigfox network rose by 65% to a total of 2.5 million. Alongside this, the company’s network grew to 45 countries earlier this month, including Malaysia, South Korea, and Switzerland.

Looking at the company’s 2018 roadmap, alongside its network figures Sigfox is promising greater focus on its evangelisation strategy. To that end, the provider is launching Hacking House, a project that will ‘bring together students from around the world to learn about IoT and Sigfox’s pioneering technology’, as the company put it.

“There is tremendous value in IoT, which lies in the data that is generated by millions of connected objects across the globe,” said Ludovic Le Moan, co-founder and CEO of Sigfox in a statement. “It’s up to us to turn this golden opportunity into a multi-billion dollar industry, just like we did with petrol a century ago.

“Our challenge for the next few years will be to lower the cost of collecting that data to close to zero,” Le Moan added.

This makes for an interesting comparison when looking at Sigfox’s proclamations in November 2016. The company had just secured a €150m funding round and promised then what it promises today – coverage in 60 countries by 2018.

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Chinese government wants country to be AI leader by 2030

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The Chinese government has released a three-step blueprint, showing how it intends to become the leader in artificial intelligence development and deployment by 2030.

The State Council, the chief administrative authority in China, published the plan last week.

See Also: WeChat’s director of user growth talks up new features for overseas clients

China will look to “keep pace” with all other leading countries in AI by 2020. This means an AI industry worth $ 22 billion and $ 150 billion in related fields, such as self-driving.

From there, the Chinese government will work to have all regulatory and legal framework set by 2025. This will allow operators to understand the rules and better market AI to customers and enterprises, both inside and outside of China.

China is expected to be more complacent about AI development than the U.S. or Europe, where regulators are likely to block AI that could harm citizens. A Forbes report already shows how the government can use facial recognition and AI to track potential “criminals,” seen in the West as a massive breach of privacy.

An innovation center by 2030?

By 2030, the Chinese government hopes to be an innovation center for AI. In the plan, the State Council estimated $ 150 billion in value for the AI sector and $ 1.5 trillion for related fields.

Major Chinese companies, like Alibaba, Tencent, and Lenovo, have already set up divisions for AI exploration and development. Baidu, the most popular search engine in China, has launched a personal assistant and is working on self-driving cars.

It is hard to calculate what country is in front in the AI race, especially since nobody knows where it will end. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who also founded an AI research startup, has said that the development of general purpose artificial intelligence is an existential threat to humanity, and has said governments should halt development until regulations are in place.

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India to block any self-driving vehicles that enter the country

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India doesn’t want anything to do with self-driving vehicles. The highway and transport minister, Nitin Gadkari, told reporters that he wouldn’t let driverless cars take away jobs.

“We won’t allow driverless cars in India. I am very clear on this. We won’t allow any technology that takes away jobs. In a country where you have unemployment, you can’t have a technology that ends up taking people’s jobs,” said Gadkari.

See Also: Honeywell bets big on India’s smart city growth

The country already needs thousands more professional drivers on its roads, and the government is planning to open facilities to train thousands of new drivers.

The confirmation will change little in the country, which Google and Uber have already wrote off as a prospective place for self-driving cars, due to its poor roads and chaotic traffic in cities. Some private tests have been carried out by developers, but there have been no public road tests.

The Indian government, while encouraging more investment and development from outsiders, has been against interference with its transport industry. The Modi government announced a $ 59 billion infrastructure plan for airports, railways, and roads, the majority of which will be built and delivered by the government.

Ola and Uber, the two major ride-sharing services in the country, are in a precarious spot, with the government debating whether to bring them under the Motor Vehicles Act. After the 2014 rape case, involving an Uber driver, calls were made to ban the taxi apps, but the government has reportedly decided to regulate the services.

India has far the most aggressive stance against self-driving vehicles out of all the major economies, with the U.S., China, the U.K., Germany, France, and Australia all accepting the development of autonomous vehicles and some actively funding startups and established players.

Despite the move away from self-driving cars, India has committed to making its entire new fleet of cars electric-powered.

 

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Discovery Ag and NNNCo to roll out Connected Country Network powered by Actility to boost Australian farms productivity

Discovery Ag and NNNCo to roll out Connected Country Network powered by Actility to boost Australian farms productivity

Actility announces that its ThingPark platform is powering the rollout of the Connected Country Network in Australia.

The Connected Country network is the result of a new joint venture between Delta Agribuiness subsidary Discovery Ag and long-standing Actility partner the National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo), and was launched last week at Australian Farm Institute’s Harvesting the Benefits of Digital Agriculture conference in Melbourne.

For agriculture, Connected Country will provide the backbone infrastructure for networks of low-cost wireless sensors that constantly report on essential farm metrics like soil moisture, rainfall, crop health, water levels and livestock data. The sensors use limited power and can operate ‘in the field’ for years without the need for intervention. The network will be immediately rolled out across 400,000ha (1m. acres) in the NSW Central West area. Within 18 months the joint venture partners intend to provide Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity across vast areas of the nation’s farming regions.

“While hi-tech farming techniques are in use today, 80% of Australia’s farming footprint lacks adequate network coverage,” explains Discovery Ag CEO, Alicia Garden.
Gardeen adds:
“For those that do have coverage, existing 3/4G cellular technologies make it too expensive for most farmers to network their sensors and create a truly connected ‘smart farm’. This private infrastructure project is initially about building the enabling technology to make the IoT viable for Australian agriculture.”

“As the network builds out, though, it will by default cover many other businesses and urban areas, so anyone who wants to develop a sensor network but who has been prohibited by the cost of data transfer will be able to join the Connected Country system and achieve their goals. This project is the first of its kind in terms of the size of the area we’re aiming to cover and will attract significant global interest. No-one has been willing or able to deliver such a solution on this scale before and we see it as a major step in helping ensure regional communities are ‘connected’ and able to improve the way they do business.”

NNNCo Founder & CEO, Rob Zagarella, adds:

“The Rural IoT network, delivered by the NNN and powered by Actility’s ThingPark platform, will solve the connectivity and affordability problems for farmers. Together with Discovery Ag we will be providing a low-cost end-to end standards based solution comprising on-farm networks, network-ready sensors, and access to simple on-farm tools that farmers can use to monitor information and take timely action.”

Actility CEO Mike Mulica comments:
“Projects like this clearly demonstrate how industrial IoT has now moved into a stage of widespread deployment to solve real problems and deliver concrete benefits. Agriculture is quick to adopt new technology when the business case is right. This network will be a game changer for farmers in Australia’s Connected Country, thanks to its dramatic reduction in the TCO of an IoT solution. We’re very pleased to be able to support NNNCo and Discovery Ag in the speedy and cost-effective roll-out of the technology bedrock of the Connected Country.”

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