Sigfox partners with WND-UK to extend IoT network coverage ‘to 95 percent of UK’

Sigfox partners with WND-UK to extend IoT network coverage ‘to 95% of UK’

Global communications service provider Sigfox is partnering with WND-UK, an IoT network deployment company, to extend the coverage of its IoT network in the UK to 95 percent.

The Sigfox network already covers 30 percent of the UK population, thanks to its partnership with infrastructure and media services provider Arqiva. It has had a presence in the UK since 2014, with its network deployed in 11 major cities that include Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

Sigfox calls its partners who handle the local distribution of its IoT network Sigfox Operators (SO), and WND-UK will now join Arqiva as an SO. While Arqiva will continue to deliver IoT connectivity in the country’s most populated urban areas, WND-UK will deploy, operate and maintain a national network, as well as develop Sigfox’s existing services. Both networks will be interoperable for Arqiva and WND-UK’s customers and will enable new applications in areas such as smart logistics, asset tracking and facilities management, according to Sigfox.

WND-UK is a subsidiary of WND, which is already a Sigfox partner of in Latin America, where it delivers connectivity in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, while it is scheduled to launch in Argentina shortly.

Meanwhile, the UK branch has already begun its deployment, and Sigfox claims that it is on track to reach up to 95 percent of the UK population by 2019.

Read more: Actility launches LoRaWAN networks in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia

Ambitious target?

This may seem like an ambitious target, considering that 4G availability isn’t yet available across the whole of the UK. But Ian Hughes, an IoT analyst at IT advisory company 451 Research believes that IoT network providers like Sigfox will find it easier to achieve coverage with a low-bandwidth and low-power network than with high-power, high-bandwidth services such as 4G.

“The base stations are simpler to deploy and integrate with the rest of the existing low-power network with no difficult configuration, which is very different to installing a traditional mobile cell,” he said.

“The profile of devices connecting to these low-power networks deliver only small packets of information, which are more likely to get through any interference intact than something like a large video stream.

“These new networks disrupt the traditional telecoms companies’ approaches, though they too are investing in their own such as NB-IoT, as we move toward the more radical evolution of networks with 5G,” he added.

Last month, Thinxtra, an IoT specialist that operates the Sigfox IoT network in Australia and New Zealand, announced details of two new projects that it is working on in the region, including a joint venture with Tasmania-based telco Tasmanet to build a dedicated IoT network that would cover 95 percent of the island state’s population before the end of 2017.

Read more: Everynet announces FOTA update capabilities for LPWA networks

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Smart lights ‘to be most popular IoT device in the next decade’ – Philips

Smart lights could be most popular IoT device in the next decade

Smart lights will become one of the most popular Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the next five to ten years, according to Harshvardhan Chitale, vice chairman and managing director of Philips Lighting India, a division of Dutch consumer electronics company Philips.

Chitale told India’s largest independent news service IANS that IoT-driven smart lights will “be the default” over the next five to 10 years.

“Today, when we think of buying a phone, we don’t think of a landline phone. By default, we think of a mobile or a smartphone. We anticipate that over the next five to 10 years – closer to five years – potentially, when people think of upgrading their existing lights or installing new ones, they would install lights or lighting systems which are smart,” Chitale said.

With India’s recent Smart Cities initiative, Chitale expects that smart street lighting “will be one of the key pillars of the mission” in India.

Ian Hughes, IoT analyst at IT advisory company 451 Research suggests that smart lighting is gaining traction in large infrastructure such as cities and buildings globally.

“The replacement and use of new LED lighting offers a significant bottom-line saving in energy costs. Increasingly, these units are being provided as part of an IoT rollout for extra control. The major lighting providers look to provide a quality of lighting linked to the comfort of people experiencing it, with IoT-style control helping to adjust the lighting to the needs of a situation,” he said.

Read more: Echelon connected streetlights to get smart with IBM Watson

But these systems that manage smart lights on a large scale are more robust and sophisticated than a smart light set-up in a home. According to Hughes, many existing home IoT products are solving individual problems, mimicking the silos seen in the IoT industry as a whole.

“The power of IoT is in interaction between things that have not traditionally been connected. We see sites such as IFTTT allowing the custom rule definition to make one device do something based on another, but it is still something for early adopters,” he said.

“For example, if your house is empty because your burglar alarm is set, you want the lights to turn on as you approach in your connected vehicle with the thermostat having already started to warm your house when it detected you were on the way five miles out; this is a complex interaction,” he added.

Read more: Thousands of IoT lights cut costs and carbon footprint in Gloucestershire

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