Sigfox – Where Are Your End Devices?


At the Sigfox World IoT Expo in Prague this week, announced partnerships with operators in four new countries: Costa Rica, Thailand, Tunisia. and Croatia.

The company restated its mission to offer a consistent level of quality and service for low-power, wide area network (LPWAN) connectivity  to anywhere in the world – and announced it has recently expanded into four new countries.

“Coverage, Coverage, Coverage”

Sigfox news has revolved around their growing network coverage but little about the growth in connected end-devices figures.

Which raises the raises a larger question, where are the IoT end devices?

The deployment of LPWAN infrastructure is as easy as an operator powering on a Sigfox base station on their existing cell towers but without the anticipated billion of paid end device subscriptions, how will Sigfox survive?

The IoT community is more and more educated of the Sigfox technical limitations. The limitations focus on applications that can use the “uplink ONLY” and require the bare minimum transmissions. The most concrete application that is repeated at every Sgifox event is their “rat trap” and “buttons”.

Many have labeled Sigfox as potentially the gateway to IoT consumer devices and other low-end, cost-sensitive devices. It will be quite interesting to see how Sigfox’s aggressive network deployment gamble unfolds.


Sigfox Fuel Tank Monitors – Ireland

The Sigfox LPWA Network operator VT has struck a deal with Dundalk-based Dunraven Systems Ltd., a market leader in the design and development of ultrasonic fuel tank monitors. The deal is estimated to bring VT over a €1 million in subscription revenue over an undisclosed amount of time.

The agreement includes 250,000 global Sigfox subscriptions to Dunraven.

Read More: Pros and Cons of Sigfox Technology

Interference Measurements in European 868 MHz ISM bands

A recent wireless signal measurement study shows as high as 33.7% chance of interference in the European ISM bands. (study

Specifically aimed towards evaluating the signal quality of LPWAN technologies such as LoRa and Sigfox, the recent publication by the Dept. of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Denmark measured signal activity in fives distinct types of settings: a shopping area, a business park, a hospital complex, an industrial and residential area.

The two hour collection of data at each site yielded as high as 33.7% interference probability in the downtown shopping area and 22.8% in a business park.

What does this mean for IoT LPWAN technologies?

Interference in the “real world” is going to limit a LPWAN technology’s range and reliability. There are some key features/workarounds that will drastically improve performance. Here are two…

1. Ultra Narrowband

With increasing technologies using the unlicensed ISM band frequencies, the real estate is becoming precious. Using a narrowband technology increases your probability of finding a clean frequency to use. So think twice when evaluating LoRa using 125MHz per channel over a Sigfox technology using just 200 Hz per channel.

2.  Bi-directional Communication

If you can confirm a message sent  in the network is successful (ACK) then you don’t need to fret about packet loss. Weightless-P is the LPWAN technology that has been capitalising on this feature that is growing in demand; this Sigfox and LoRa cannot support.

This void has also led a number of variations of LoRa. Companies using the LoRa PHY and developing their own protocol stack on top it but the “125MHz per channel” is still inherent.


pictured – Aalborg University , Denmark


‘Tesla Boats’ Coming Soon

Nicknamed ‘Tesla of the Seas”, autonomous electric container ships are under construction at two companies in Norway -Yara International ASA and Kongsberg Gruppen AS A.

The ships use a combination of GPS, radar, cameras and sensors to navigate itself through boat traffic and even dock on its own. The cost is anticipated to be more than 3 times a conventional container ship but a return-on-investment will catch the attention of freight ship companies worldwide. With no need for fuel or crew members, it is calculated that owners can save 90% in operating costs by adopting an autonomous, electric container ship. The concept is currently being tested with humans on deck to ensure reliability before its launch in 2020.

IOT: 4 Connected Devices per Person?


According to research from Business Insider, more than 24 billion internet-connected devices will be installed around the world by 2020. To give that some context, that’s more than four devices for every person on the planet. Together, these devices comprise the Internet of Things (IoT), and its presence is permanently changing our world.

Privacy and the Internet of Things
Click to View Full Infographic

IoT is the connection between the physical world of humans and the digital world of data (and, to some extent, human ideas). Computers, smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, modern TVs, and wearables are all part of the IoTs — that part is intuitive. However, even everyday appliances like thermostats and smoke detectors are now beginning to boast smart capabilities, which establishes them as part of the IoT. Our entire transportation system, the way we work, and even how we socialize will all change because of the IoT.


Although there are many things that together are driving the growth of the IoT, there are a few basic trends that are easy to identify. Internet connectivity is expanding and will soon be almost everywhere. For example, in 2018 New York is set become the first state to bring broadband access to every household, even in rural areas. Another factor is that mobile technology is improving quickly, and the use of remote and mobile devices is rapidly becoming more widespread. This means prices are falling, and access is growing. Nokia, for example, is bringing 5G technology to India.

Along these lines, more money is being invested into the IoT as companies and governments alike recognize its importance. The U.S. government invested $8.8 billion in IoT solutions in 2015, up $1.1 from the previous year. At the same time, the price of internet-connected sensors, which most IoT devices rely on, is falling. This means the price of IoT devices are dropping, and more people can afford more devices.

As the IoT grows, security challenges will arise, and possible privacy concerns that could affect our individual rights. However, overall the growth of the IoT will mean more access to opportunity for more people. The best way to respond to it is to plan ahead for these kinds of problems and be ready to tackle them.

original source:

IDC says IoT Spending to reach US$1.4 Trillion By 2021


IOT spending is estimated to reach nearly US$1.4 trillion by 2021 and the Asia/Pacific is said to lead all in the investments. This is according to new research from IDC, who said the key metric is now dollars spent rather than devices connected.

“The key metric is now dollars spent rather than devices connected”

Previous forecasts  have focussed on how many devices would be connected, but the discussion is now about spending, said IDC.

The IDC Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide forecasts worldwide spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) to grow 16.7 per cent year-over -year in 2017, reaching just over $800 billion. By 2021, global IoT spending is expected to total nearly $1.4 trillion as organisations continue to invest in the hardware, software, services, and connectivity that enable the IoT.

“The discussion about IoT has shifted away from the number of devices connected,” said Carrie MacGillivray, vice president, Internet of Things and Mobility at IDC.

“The true value of IoT is being realised when the software and services come together to enable the capture, interpretation, and action on data produced by IoT endpoints. With our Worldwide IoT Spending Guide, IDC provides insight into key use cases where investment is being made to achieve the business value and transformation promised by the Internet of Things.”

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) will be the IoT investment leader throughout the forecast with spending expected to reach $455 billion in 2021. The second and third largest regions will be the United States ($421 billion in 2021) and Western Europe ($274 billion).

The IoT use cases that are expected to attract the largest investments in 2017 include manufacturing operations ($105 billion), freight monitoring ($50 billion), and production asset management ($45 billion). Smart grid technologies for electricity, gas and water and smart building technologies are also forecast to see significant investments this year ($56 billion and $40 billion, respectively).

While these use cases will remain the largest areas of IoT spending in 2021, smart home technologies are forecast to experience strong growth (19.8 per cent CAGR) over the five-year forecast. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth are airport facilities automation (33.4 per cent CAGR), electric vehicle charging (21. per cent CAGR), and in-store contextual marketing (20.2 per cent CAGR).

Investment by industry

The industries making the largest IoT investments in 2017 are manufacturing ($183 billion), transportation ($85 billion), and utilities ($66 billion). Cross-industry IoT investments, which represent use cases common to all industries, such as connected vehicles and smart buildings, will be $86 billion in 2017 and rank among the top segments throughout the five-year forecast.

Consumer IoT purchases will be the fourth largest market segment in 2017 at $62 billion, but will grow to become the third largest segment in 2021. Meanwhile, the industries that will see the fastest spending growth are insurance (20.2 per cent CAGR), consumer (19.4 per cent), and cross-industry (17.6 per cent).

From a technology perspective, hardware will be the largest spending category until the last year of the forecast when it will be overtaken by the faster growing services category. Hardware spending will be dominated by modules and sensors that connect end points to networks, while software spending will be similarly dominated by applications software.

Services spending will be about evenly split between ongoing and content services and IT and installation services.

“As enterprises are adopting to new and innovative services provided by different vendors a lot of new threats are introduced, so it’s very important to upgrade existing security systems to ensure that an optimal business outcome can be reached and ROI can be justified,” said Ashutosh Bisht, research manager for IT Spending across APeJ.




LoRaWAN cannot support FOTA

LoRaWAN is unable to meet a key IoT network deployment requirement: bi-directional communication to upgrade firmware-over-the-air and update security patches to end-devices that have already been deployed in the field. To not be deceived by “demonstrations” of FOTA using LoRaWAN. It is indeed possible but not reasonable in a real world. What I mean: it is possible for a base station to do downlink to a single end device but in an actual REAL deployment there could be hundreds if not thousands of end devices….

Let’s first take a look at the three reasons why LoRaWAN is unable to support Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) for a real IoT deployment.

1. With very stringent downlink limitations, LoRaWAN would take an unreasonably long time to update the firmware for a single end device. There are a few elements to take into consideration including the distance of gateway to end device and spreading factor utilised but It could potentially take weeks to send a 200K update to ONE end-device given 20 bytes on a 5-minute polling.

2. LoRaWAN gateway transmissions are uncoordinated. This means if a gateway attempts firmware downlink transmission, it will not be able to listen and receive messages from the rest of the end devices in the network. When you have thousands of end devices deployed, the end-devices won’t know the gateway is conducting a firmware upgrade and all messages being sent will be lost.

3. LoRaWAN gateways are duty cycle limited. LoRaWAN gateways can only transmit 1% of the time (ETSI), and will need all of the downlink resource for acknowledgements and MAC control messages. Very, very little would be left over for FOTA multicast. In the US, the 1% duty cycle limit does not apply so the network basically stops functioning to facilitate uplink.

Weightless-P is a narrowband LPWAN technology which looks like it can support FOTA and true bi-directional communication. Duty cycle limitations do not apply as Weightless-P utilises spectrally efficient narrowband operation and frequency hopping.

There have been so many early adopters who have rushed into deploying LoRa gateways without taking into consideration the major drawback of LoRa’s inability to support firmware-over-the-air.