By Nicolas Poussier, Product Manager at Sigfox
Most people are perplexed when they hear the phrase “Internet of Things”.
At least until they remember smart speakers, watches, and thermostats. Mostly lifestyle consumer electronics. But, in the world of connected devices, consumer electronics are only the tip of the iceberg. Most things worth connecting are, in fact, “invisible assets”. They carry things that make our lives easier, things we don’t see.
Water, electricity, gas, food, mail. Things we take for granted.
Augmenting our essential infrastructures
What do these have in common? Each requires an infrastructure that works round-the-clock. Meticulous logistics that make things magically appear in our daily lives. All this amounts to a gigantic web that we assume must work pretty well, considering it has made it that far. And for a significant part, it is impressive. But, fact is, when you start connecting and measuring how things go behind the scenes, you are usually up for surprises.
You quickly discover untold stories of infrastructures or equipment breaking down when they could have been fixed preventively. Of things getting lost or stolen on a regular basis only because there was no way to identify patterns before.
The problem with these two stories is that they happen all around the planet, on a daily basis. Which means we are collectively losing tremendous amounts of resources, both financial and natural, because we are unable to learn and improve as much as we could, and we keep replacing things that could have lasted much longer.
Many companies and cities have taken the bull by the horns: they are experts in their respective fields, and are digitizing the way they are run, down to the smallest level.
Their aim is to curb and eliminate the waste of their own resources: preventing leakages, losses, accidents, food spoilage, lost goods. These are all major causes of disruption, and they can be methodically tackled.
0G for all
Sigfox was created with the idea to democratize access to the Internet of Things, with a plug & play, deploy & forget approach. Among its core principles are simplicity, global reach, reliability, and security.
Clients quickly started asking us for 0G subscriptions to be buyable online. If simplicity was a core principle of ours, then getting onboard should be as simple as shopping online. So, we listened, and pretty soon start-ups and R&D teams from large companies were getting started with only a few clicks and a credit card. Central to this shift was choosing Stripe as our online payment infrastructure. Which made sense, because they were best aligned with our own core principles.
Stripe has been instrumental in democratizing access to online payments and payouts for millions of companies across the planet, making it easier than ever for companies to expand into some of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world and thus accelerate the internet economy. This resonated with our mission to make the Internet of Things available to all. With outstanding uptime, a flawless user experience, strong European foundations and new countries launched every quarter, Stripe’s ethos and ambitions were obviously aligned with ours.
Three years on, we are happy that, among the 70+ countries covered by Sigfox, companies from 28 different countries (and counting) can now buy Sigfox 0G subscriptions online!
Thousands of companies have since been able to join the network every year! All are solving problems with 0G that couldn’t be addressed before in a practical way: predictive maintenance of equipment, asset tracking in logistics, food storage monitoring, wildlife protection, and so many other use cases.
The Internet of Things must consider the Return on Sustainability
What is Sigfox doing to make IoT sustainable?
We can think of 0G as being mainly composed of devices that (sometimes) talk, a network that listens (always), and a cloud that makes sense of the data collected.
Let’s start with the cloud. In 2020, we signed a partnership with Google to host our Sigfox Cloud. We now benefit from an infrastructure that is twice as efficient as a traditional enterprise data center infrastructure, meaning less servers built, and less resources extracted in the process. Additionally, they are actively decarbonizing the energy needed to run their data centers, with a goal of becoming carbon-free by 2030.
Our (radio) network is frugal, to the point that one 5G antenna uses more energy than, for example, our entire French 0G network. Plus, we only need a fraction of 0G stations to cover the same surface area, so there is much less hardware equipment that needs to be manufactured to maintain a 0G network.
Device sustainability is the new frontier for the device makers of our ecosystem. Because although Sigfox Ready devices are simple in design and ultra-low power over their lifespan, we must make sure that they have the lowest impact in terms of e-waste too. Which means, aside from their simple design, we must make it possible to locate, collect and recycle devices when they reach the end of their lifetime.
Beyond this, we are already working with our ecosystem of partners towards biodegradable batteries and energy-harvesting devices (battery less), with, ultimately, devices that will be partly biodegradable, partly recycled.
What will you fix tomorrow?
If you have ever cursed inefficient processes, theft of equipment, loss of assets, breakdown of critical infrastructures, destruction of resources, you might be onto something. Thinking about your pain points, you are already halfway to the solution: what is it, that needs be measured?
If you think you know the answer to this question, then you are probably ready to leverage the Sigfox 0G network.
Available globally and easy to get started with, Sigfox 0G will let you connect the physical world with the digital world.
- Get your hands on a Sigfox Ready device!
- Get your first subscription on https://buy.sigfox.com/buy.
- Now, turn invisible assets into data, problems into solutions.