Hiboo is a complete IoT solution for the construction industry capturing, aggregating and analyzing data collected from the field. With hiboo’s software, data gathered becomes meaningful information displayed in real-time on the platform, giving greater visibility to any field operation. The ability to digest and structure multiple sources of data into key insights unlocks added value from the data, and creates the opportunity to optimize all operations and unlock new business models.

We interviewed Francois Jacob, co-founder at Hiboo, to provide an insight into the real-life applications and opportunities of their service, as well as a more in-depth explanation of their integrated technology. 

1) Tell us a little about yourself

As one of the three co-founders of Hiboo, I’m in charge of the product hardware and industrialization, as well as the financial side of Hiboo.

Hiboo is a small start-up with big ambitions. Our solution applies to many industries, however we specialize in helping the construction industry to improve their field’s operations and to lower their operational costs.  

Improving Efficiency with Smart Technology

2) What problem does your solution solve?

The industrial sector and more importantly the construction industry generates a large turnover but often small margins and its operational success relies on effective management of thousands of assets. It is also a sector that is still very late in the digital transformation. 

A great way to improve operating margins is to better exploit your equipment by: increasing occupancy rate, reducing external rentals, optimizing fuel consumption, reducing idle time or better plan maintenance cycles …

Hiboo aggregates data from the field and turns it into intelligible insights. The solution generates reports on dormant assets, unusual fuel consumption or ‘time on site’ – the latter referring to the length of time equipment has been on-site and any reasoning behind over and under usage.

To do this, we retrieve data from natively connected machines (Caterpillar, Liebherr, Komatsu, etc.) and centralize it in a unique environment, which allows companies to truly use their connected assets to their full power. Our solution goes further and offers sensors communicating via the 0G Sigfox network, to connect assets that have no energy onboard (crane parts, skips, trailers, etc.)

Ultimately, by collecting data from connected and non-connected assets, we are able to provide extremely valuable insights on any asset’s activity. Our goal is to give our clients the tools to optimize their asset management.

3) What kind of ROI does your solution offer to customers?

We can help companies reinvent the way they manage maintenance, inventory or invoicing by leveraging data produced on the field.

ROIs vary according to the needs of each client.

For example, our customer NGE is looking to reduce idle time and fuel consumption but had no way to track it easily. Potential savings are substantial as overall cost exceeds millions of euros of fuel consumption per year.

To manage and maximise fuel consumption, we analyze and report NGE’s idle time information for the entire fleet and identify anomalies or unusual behaviours in order to reach the 20% idle time targeted by the group.

4) You’ve been using Sigfox for a long time, what is the most important thing you have learnt?

We chose Sigfox because, at the time, it was the sole European operational network without roaming that guaranteed high service quality across the continent.

Today, we are seeing emerging initiatives offering similar propositions to Sigfox. While the topics of discussion revolve greatly around NB-IoT and 5G, none of them have the same maturity as Sigfox. 

One issue we encounter talking with clients is the difference between their expectations of real time data versus the reality of a low-frequency network. Therefore an important part of our job is to educate our clients on this. On the cases we address, there is no need to have a GPS position every minute. For example, a customer may only require data on its trailers once or twice every hour.

Looking into the future: Scope for Alternative Applications

5) We understand Sigfox also helped you in your personal life recently, can you tell us more?

Yes, recently my wife parked her scooter and left her keys on it. Fortunately, I had equipped some of the family’s motorbikes with our connected device (Hiboo Lapone). The device was set on the “keep-alive” mode, which signals one GPS position per day.

So I called Anthony from Sigfox to ask him if we had an estimate on where the scooter was. We didn’t have a GPS position, however, Sigfox provided us with the signal strength of the three nearest antennas that did pick up the scooter’s location. It had been moved from Porte de Versailles to literally 100m away from my office, and as we walked down the street we found it right away. Without Sigfox we would have never been able to get it back.  

6) Was Sigfox 0G network important in the research process?

Absolutely, our starting point came with the (at the time unprecedented) opportunity to offer a low cost and autonomous tracking device after Sigfox 0G network release.

I remember at the very beginning starting to test the 0G network putting a device under the saddle of my bike. And today, I systematically equip all of my family’s and friends’ vehicles with our device! There is no better tracking system that can last for years without worrying about the autonomy and it’s truly amazing when you think about it. 

7) What’s next for Hiboo and where can we find you?

The next steps are the development of a new version of our device using Sigfox but also BLE and Wifi technologies for outdoor/indoor geolocation. We have also started to work on preventive maintenance, using millions of already collected data. 

We will be participating at the Batimat Paris 2019 Event at Parc des Expositions Villepinte on November 4-8th if you want to meet us.




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This article is part of the Sigfox Testimony series featuring interviews with innovative startups. We are proud to collaborate and explore new adventures with a large ecosystem, from startups to established players.

If you are willing to start an IoT project and you want to access some support and partners benefits, feel free to apply to the Sigfox Starter program (free and open to anyone!)