Earlier this summer, Samsung announced the integration of SIGFOX‘s Internet of Things (IoT) network protocol in the new ARTIK platform. Based in Labège, France, with offices in Paris, San Francisco, Madrid and Singapore, SIGFOX is a provider of dedicated cellular connectivity for IoT and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications.
SIGFOX is currently building a Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) on a global scale that offers unique benefits to developers. We were excited by the capabilities – and the rapid expansion – that SIGFOX brings to IoT developers, and we wanted to learn more about their upcoming plans.
In this Partner Profile, we spoke with Cédric Giorgi, head of developer and startup relations at SIGFOX, to get his take on IoT and why it will be changing all of our lives.
As Cédric told us: “Too many people believe IoT is about creating new connected devices, whereas the biggest market for the IoT will be in enriching existing things and systems. When everything will be connected, connectable and producing data without us paying attention to it, then only our imagination will be the limit.”
Tell us about your current work, and how ARTIK fits into your vision.
Our mission at SIGFOX is to provide connectivity for developers who are looking to build solutions relying on low power consumption. ARTIK does the same on the hardware side, so it is a natural fit.
Can you tell us about the network that your company is running in San Francisco?
We started with San Francisco not only because we have an office in the city, but because we want to address makers and developers who’d like to discover our network and technologies. We’re also in conversation with some public institutions in California to work on some use cases where SIGFOX is needed.
When did you first encounter the concept of IoT?
SIGFOX was founded in 2010, when IoT was not even a well-known concept. At that time M2M was the leading term. When IoT started to be a concept talked about in the press, we already knew we were a part of it. We’re pioneering IoT at the connectivity layer.
What are the most significant hurdles facing developers that are working on IoT projects?
Even if it has never been so easy to create new hardware prototypes and get access to resources for scaling, hardware remains hard, and continues to be the No. 1 hurdle. Then you also have to consider sub-categories such as finding the right energy source, connectivity solutions, and sensors that will produce data.
Once the hardware has been designed, then the second hurdle comes: making sense of the data, and being organized to process it, store it, and analyze it in meaningful ways!
What role do you see SIGFOX playing in the future of IoT?
SIGFOX wants to be the fourth protocol, offering developers a completely new, breakthrough, connectivity solution, in replacement of or in addition to GSM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth™ Low Energy (BLE). Many IoT projects will need to be based on a LPWAN network, that can be available everywhere and can scale with projects. Only SIGFOX will be able to answer such needs.
What aspects of IoT do you see changing in the next several years? What are you looking forward to the most?
Most people have been focusing on developing IoT in B2C plus what we call intelligent objects, that is, objects in which all the intelligence and data processing is done locally. At SIGFOX, we believe there’s a big opportunity in B2B, and in deployments where things are sensor-based and all the processing is done in the cloud.
In the next several years, we’ll see massive deployments of sensor-based IoT solutions for cities, factories, agriculture, smart cities and more.
IoT is still as the peak of the hype cycle, so this is still the perfect time for entrepreneurs. We’re looking forward to see more disrupting innovations which can scale globally, and really change the world.
What are the coolest IoT applications you have seen recently?
It’s very difficult to pick among all the developers and entrepreneurs we meet on a regular basis, but I’m definitely a fan of Weenat, the French company that is producing a solution for farmers to help them use less water for their fields, via connected sensors.
If resources were not a factor, what would be your dream IoT app or service?
Personally, I’m awaiting with great expectations when we’ll be able to produce battery-free connected sensors, thanks to improvements of energy harvesting. Think about how amazing it will be to have IoT applications that will be so low-power that they will last forever! Then even very simple sensors monitoring temperature, movement, light etc. can have a big impact when their data can be processed and turned into added-value services.
Are you tired of hearing about IoT?
Of course not! This is still the beginning.
What I’m tired of is when people don’t realize IoT is not just your new connected gadget that is trying to get funded on Kickstarter. The IoT is not just about objects, it’s about everything that can be connected, on a global scale, and not just for consumers, but also for entire industries, cities, and infrastructures.
We’ve certainly got our eye on SIGFOX – we think you should do the same. You can keep up with the latest from SIGFOX via Twitter. See more about what SIGFOX offers in this short video: