Riding a crest of big ambitions, France’s Sigfox today announced a series of new initiatives designed to boost the global IoT network it’s building.
At the company’s first-ever users’ conference today in Prague, executives and partners talked up the idea that massive connectivity will transform numerous facets of industry and our daily lives. Sigfox has been creating a specialized low-power communications network to enable that future and has attracted more than $400 million in venture capital.
The company continues to expand that network, announcing today that it would soon be live in four new countries: Costa Rica, Croatia, Thailand, and Tunisia. Sigfox also announced a string of new partnerships with other companies that will bake its technology into their services.
But one of the concerns analysts have had is whether Sigfox can attract enough users to take advantage of the capacity of its network. Until now, Sigfox has worked by selling an energy-efficient module that transmits tiny packets of information over radio networks, and then charging a subscription for network usage. The cost of that module, now called Admiral Blue, was about $2 per unit, but the company had said it was working on ways to reduce that cost.
Today, it unveiled a new module called Admiral Ivory that would cost only $.20 per unit. The hope is that while the original module might be appropriate for more permanent deployments, the new version would be cheap enough for disposable products and one-time uses, like for shipping items or logistics or retail.
The company also announced a new Sigfox Monarch service that would allow the modules to communicate more easily with local networks as they move around the world.
The announcements come as Sigfox faces greater competition from communications standards and telecom companies that are rolling out their own IoT communications networks. On the stage in Prague, Sigfox cofounder and CEO Ludovic LeMoan said he was confident that the company is on course to realize its vision of a more connected world.
“It’s not science fiction; it’s not a fake,” LeMoan said on stage. “It’s what we do. Connectivity is like running water. It’s like electricity.”