Low-cost modules to enable an IoT revolution

16th November 2016
Source: SIGFOX
Posted By : Alice Matthews
Low-cost modules to enable an IoT revolution

It has been announced that Sigfox, along with its ecosystem of partners, have enabled an IoT revolution thanks to low cost IoT communication modules. Enabled through the Sigfox ecosystem, the Sigfox certified and ready to use modules cost as little as $2.00 for European, Middle East and African markets, and less than $3.00 for US and Asian markets.

In a developing world of cloud connected devices, high costs and short battery life are now a thing of the past. These barriers were once due to the complex silicon chips required for the devices to communicate with the cloud.

Sigfox is different. Device-to-cloud communication is now possible without connections, as the Sigfox network and devices simply listen in and capture specifically formatted messages from around the world, needing something as simple as a silicon chip that you find in a remote control. With this approach, Sigfox believes it is well positioned as the only IoT communications provider to enable a future where devices no longer need to rely on batteries to communicate with the cloud.

Low cost IoT modules significantly lower the cost barrier, with modules up to 20 times cheaper than LTE cellular modules and five times cheaper than the closest competing technologies. The Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) solutions market is set to grow 90% annually to $24.5bn by 2021, so this announcement will further accelerate growth and access to this market.

To achieve this unprecedented low cost, Sigfox worked with its partners to optimise every aspect of the design and specification down to the silicon level. The module specifications are also royalty free to ensure the lowest possible cost, whilst encouraging even greater levels of innovation.

"As the total costs to connect devices to the IoT fall, the cost of modules becomes a key component in the equation”, said David Parker, Senior Research Analyst at Beecham Research. “This announcement strengthens the IoT Service Provider approach Sigfox brings to the market, lowering the cost to connect, enabling more applications to be connected economically and further expanding the market”.

The first partners delivering the low cost modules include module manufacturer, Wisol, who is already delivering samples based on ON Semiconductor single chip SoC and who will be starting mass production in December 2016. Additionally, InnoComm will be manufacturing modules based on NXP transceivers. Its samples will be available from January 2017, with mass production starting in March 2017.

The Sigfox network spans 24 countries and is on track to reach over 60 by 2018. Sigfox has built a comprehensive supply chain of ecosystem partners that are developing, selling and supporting the connected devices. These partners consist of semiconductors, module makers, developers, design houses, Electronics Manufacturing Services/Original Design Manufacturers, device makers, and distributors.

Sigfox ecosystem partners will also be launching modules to combine the Sigfox protocol with other complimentary connectivity protocols, such as WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Combining these protocols with Sigfox will deliver additional benefits and features that are required by many IoT applications. These additional low cost modules will be available in early 2017.

Stuart Lodge, Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Partners at Sigfox, said: “Today’s announcement reflects the power of our partner ecosystem, which enables low cost devices and accelerates the mass production of Sigfox compatible modules and devices.

“We believe in a future where billions of connected devices have a role in our society and economic development. Dramatically reducing the cost of the low power devices means that we are able to make this belief a reality much quicker.

“Sigfox continues to focus on lowering the barriers to IoT mass adoption by working with the entire ecosystem, including all silicon and device partners. We will keep expanding and supporting our ecosystem partners to overcome the cost challenges and make solutions available that the market requires.”

This is how Sigfox, with its partner network, are able to 'make things come alive'.

Volker Graeger, Vice President, Secure Car Access at NXP, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Sigfox ecosystem, and its game-changing approach to device connectivity. These IoT modules will be catalysts for new business models and use cases that are virtually unimaginable today.”

Dr Thomas Wolff, Vice President at ON Semiconductor, said: “Sigfox and its partner ecosystem have just lowered barriers to an IoT future thanks to very high level of integration and extremely low BOM while not compromising on performance. By greatly extending the battery and service life of connected devices, we can imagine a future where battery life is no longer a limitation to what is possible.”

JiHo, Kim, CEO at Wisol, said: “As a global module partner of Sigfox, we are very excited to launch the competitive module solution, ideal for limitless IoT opportunities. We are very confident that our module solutions will play a key role in enabling device makers to build IoT solutions very easily and quickly. We will keep strengthening our partnership with Sigfox to expand Sigfox’s global network and ecosystem.”

Paul Wang, CEO at InnoComm, said: “The simplicity of the specification makes it incredibly easy to build modules on the Sigfox network. It fundamentally moves proofs of concepts to mass market and high volume. This is essential to encouraging mass adoption particularly amongst product manufacturers seeking to become service providers.”

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