Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sigfox PAN offers choice to users

Steve Rogerson
November 20, 2019



Sigfox is launching a private area network (PAN) service so its customers can choose between a private service and a global service, depending on their economic and industrial constraints.
 
CEO Ludovic Le Moan announced the move at this week’s Sigfox Connect event in Singapore.
 
During the opening keynote, he also announced that Amadeus and Sigfox were partnering to improve asset tracking for the travel industry with PinPoint, a partnership to provide reusable, accessible and globally connected asset tracking for the travel industry. Sigfox is also strengthening its Atlas geolocation services to improve asset tracking.
 
The PAN could be deployed in more than 65 countries where Sigfox operates and will first be tested in France early next year.
 
Nine years ago, Sigfox started to deliver its vision of a 0G network, a low-cost and low-consumption network dedicated to small messages. By installing thousands of antennas in most of the world's major cities, Sigfox has built the foundations of a very high-capacity, seamless, one-way network that allows objects to communicate independently and securely. Since then, Sigfox has expanded its offer by providing a two-way service, followed by localisation services designed to suit all market applications.
 
Its WAN (wide area network) offer is a global network that meets the challenges of traceability, a requirement of considerable significance for most industries, particularly in logistics and supply chain segments. By the end of 2019, Sigfox will have more than 15 million registered objects worldwide, and more than 1500 users already have this connectivity across a broad range of industries.
 
In 2020, Sigfox will complete its WAN coverage thanks to its partnership with Eutelsat, which will be launching a constellation of nano-satellites. This constellation will deliver connectivity across the entire globe, bolstering coverage already provided by Sigfox’s network that delivers indoor coverage and high capacity in high-density areas.
 
Users who prefer an investment in capex rather than opex will be able to subscribe via Sigfox France to the PAN offer. PAN users will get the same quality and support levels as WAN customers.
 
"Sigfox's PAN offer will benefit from the existing ecosystem around the Sigfox WAN,” said Le Moan. “The possibility of using all the components on the market, combined with the use of extremely low transmission power to support objects without the need for batteries, gives Sigfox's PAN offer huge potential. Smart home or smart city providers will be among the first to benefit from this new offer.”
 
In the future, Sigfox says it will enable its operators in more than 65 countries to market its PAN offer to their customers. Sigfox also invites manufacturers of communication gateways to certify their products and join the Sigfox ecosystem. PAN users will be able to subscribe to an additional WAN extension offering should they wish to benefit from redundancy and flexibility in the event of devices needing to communicate outside the local network.
 
The partnership with Amadeus, a provider of IT for the travel and tourism industry, results from a year-long collaboration investigating business opportunities within the travel industry and developing a portfolio that will not only help meet the growing need for efficient asset tracking, but also reduce operational challenges for airports and airlines.
 
The combination of Sigfox IoT expertise and Amadeus’ travel industry knowledge could see the emergence of disruptive services that will hit the market in 2020 thanks to the PinPoint alliance. PinPoint aims at providing end-to-end tracking for the air transportation industry. It targets initially airports and airlines with trackers connected and communicating through the Sigfox 0G global network and managed through the PinPoint platform.
 
Every year, airports and airlines handle billions of pieces of luggage and high-value assets which are often lost, damaged or delayed leading to high financial losses for the whole value chain, a lack of operational efficiency, and increasing dissatisfaction for travellers. Meanwhile, existing tracking technologies require expensive infrastructure updates, such as gates and readers and provide limited interoperability and geolocation capabilities. In parallel, regulation is increasingly demanding, especially the new IATA Resolution 753 on luggage tracking, which imposes stricter tracking and increased visibility requirements to reduce luggage loss rates.
 
With this in mind, PinPoint aims to provide a journey for travel industry assets through reusable, cost and energy-efficient, and globally connected trackers that give airports and airlines access to real-time information about the location of luggage and high value assets, such as spare-parts, landing gear, unit load devices and more.
 
Le Moan also announced accuracy improvements for its Atlas Native and Atlas Wifi geolocation services.
 
Launched in January 2017, AtlasNative is the first Sigfox geolocation service solely based on the Sigfox network. The service is available for every device equipped with the simplest Sigfox module, without GPS or any other additional hardware or software component.
 
From now, makers with GPS-devices can benefit from the Atlas Native Complimentary service free of charge in exchange for data processing rights, with several major names already on board.
 
Thanks to this GPS location data and its comparison with the Sigfox network fingerprints, the machine learning algorithms used to compute Atlas should reduce the uncertainty of the real location of the asset and improve geolocation accuracy, down to 800 metres.