Currently available for 600 tobacconists in the Bouches-du-Rhône, the beacon “Calumet” is being rolled out in France

Paris, France – December 14, 2018 – Today Sigfox, Follower Product (FP) and Philip Morris France unveiled the first smart tag to fight cigarette theft and smuggling in France. Approved in June 2018 by the Ministry of the Interior after 6 months of testing in the Bouches-du-Rhône, the Calumet tag is now being deployed to 600 tobacco retailers in the area with a national rollout planned at a later stage. 

In France, the number of burglaries targeting tobacco retailers increased by 7% between 2017 and 2018 and crime related to tobacco trafficking has been growing steadily. Developed by FP, the Calumet tag is connected to the Sigfox network to provide a bimodal connectivity (GSM + Sigfox). It was designed in collaboration with the police and conditioned by Philip Morris France to optimize the solution in real conditions. Its objective is to respond to the problems of insecurity and theft in the tobacco industry.

Responding to key specifications defined by the Ministry of Interior, FP, Philip Morris France and Sigfox began the experimentation phase of Calumet with 18 volunteer retailers in the Bouches-du-Rhone in September 2017. The tag was integrated in cartons of dummy cigarettes and delivered to the retailers with their usual order. During these 6 months of tests, 4 events were recorded and sent in the form of alerts by the tag to the police, including 2 thefts and 1 attempted theft. The tag was also able to detect vibrations related to a fire in a tobacco store, allowing firefighters to intervene.

The FP solution, connected to the Sigfox network, has been selected by the Ministry of the Interior for being autonomous, essential for tracking stolen merchandise in the event of a rapid burglary, and the possibility of having a dual-mode connection, made possible by the interconnection with the Sigfox network. This allows the use of the tag for several months, which would only need to use the GSM connection as a last resort. In addition, Sigfox technology can counter signal jamming attempts.

Fully supported financially by French customs, tobacco retailers in the Bouches-du-Rhone can now be equipped with the Calumet tag and combat financial losses related to the burglary and theft of tobacco products. In January 2018, 407,400 euros worth of cigarettes were stolen (+ 7% vs. January 2017).

The Calumet project story illustrates the almost infinite range of uses and applications offered by the Internet of Things (IoT). Originally, we had developed the tag to help people with visual impairments to move around the city, we never imagined that it could respond to major security issues “explains Florence Poulet, President of FP. “Thanks to the tag and the support of Philip Morris France, coupled with Sigfox technology, we enable hundreds of tobacco retailers to feel safer and reduce their financial losses.

At Philip Morris, innovation is a strong value, which is at the heart of our desire to create a smoke-free future. Supporting cutting edge technology projects like Calumet seems particularly important to us” adds Daniel Bruquel, Head of Preventing Illicit Trade at Philip Morris France. “Crime around tobacco continues to grow in France and impacts the entire industry with retailers as first targets. We are delighted with this innovation which gives them an effective way to better protect themselves and to fight against the development of an alternative market whatever its form.

The multitude of innovations we see every day around IoT projects shows how this technology can positively impact our society by helping us meet challenges and in many sectors,” says Patrick Cason, General Manager at Sigfox France. “The safety of goods and people is a major issue for Sigfox. The Calumet tag responds to specific issues of insecurity, but the use of this technology can be extended to an infinite number of sectors and industries, such as logistics, luxury goods or even to respond to other security concerns. The Sigfox network enables fast and simple deployments at very low costs and very low energy consumption. These are the three conditions necessary for the massive adoption of IoT. “

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