Machine-to-Machine (M2M) cellular subscription numbers are rising steadily all over the place in various vertical markets such as smart metering, automotive, or e-health.
Cellular connectivity remains nevertheless costly, thus leaving a low cost market untapped(in proper M2M as well as in B2C for the so-called “Internet of Things“) that an innovative company called SIGFOX is willing to conquer.
SIGFOX is a new breed of machine to machine wireless network that relies on Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) technology. Compared to a cellular network such as GSM, SIGFOX requires 1,000 less antennas and based stations, much cheaper modems and consumes far less power per Kbit, hence a massive impact on cost to deploy and operate such a network.
For SIGFOX the typical cost of communication is below $3 per year and the modem in volume production are expected to come as cheaper as below $1.
The downsize of the technology is that it is – by choice – designed for low throughput transmission (10b/s and1kb/s typical range).
While this might look as an hypothetical technology, it is however very real with a largely deployed network in France (hundred of stations already providing full outdoor coverage) and tens of thousands connected devices – including 10,000 panels from Clear Channel advertising.
French insurer MAAF is also using SIGFOX for a self-installed Theft & Fire detection solution that includes text alerts and costs 79€, with a yearly subscription of 3€.
SIGFOX already raised €12 million in two rounds of investments (Intel Capital, Elaia Partners, Partech Ventures International and iXO Private Equity) and the company is planning a third round that could go up to €100 million.
SIGFOX’s CEO Ludovic Le Moan forecasts to deploy its network in additional countries in 2013 either itself (to fully cover a country France costs around €3 million) or through local partners.
In 2015, once a large part of Europe is covered, SIGFOX could very well become a partner of choice for automotive e-call deployment and many other GPS tracking systems that do not require a large bandwidth.
More info at www.sigfox.com