Sigfox to Expand Its Internet of Things Network in Antarctica

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by Polina Chernykh · 3 min read
Sigfox to Expand Its Internet of Things Network in Antarctica

IoT connectivity provider Sigfox has announced the expansion of its cellular network in Antarctica as part of its initiative to start the Sigfox Foundation for humanitarian causes.

France-based startup Sigfox is going to enlarge its Internet of Things (IoT) network to Belgian Princess Elisabeth Research Station located in Antarctica.

According to Forbes, the expansion is a part of the company’s plans to launch the nonprofit Sigfox Foundation that will utilize the IoT network for humanitarian objectives. The foundation is aimed at enhancing health care, protecting environment and people.

The Princess Elisabeth Research Station is situated in a million square mile region named Queen Maud Land. Launched in 2009, the Belgian station features environmentally-friendly materials and efficient energy consumption.he connectivity is required.

Sigfox also projects to help fishermen in Indonesia increase their safety while they’re far from the shore. The company will develop a special device that will allow fishermen send signals to people on the shore if something happened.

The 2015-16 BELARE expedition team will be the first to leverage the advantages of the network expansion. Sigfox’s technology will help researchers to ensure safety during their activities.

The members of the team will use internet-connected 45 GPS trackers that allow monitoring their locations and operations even in severe weather conditions. These devices will be able to maintain communication with the station at a distance of 40 km.

The testing of the equipment has already started and the first results will be unveiled in March 2016.

Sigfox’s IoT network is designed for low-power devices, including light bulbs and sensors. The technology allows sending only 12 bytes per message, what is not enough for transmitting videos or photos.

Although some US-based cell-phone carriers intended to use their networks in these types of devices, traditional cellular modem consumes too much power. Besides, in comparison with conventional cell phone networks, Sigfox requires fewer funds to establish IoT network.

The company projects to set up about 20 stations in order to build out Antarctica and cover areas where the connectivity is most required. At the moment, there are only three running base stations.

Launched in 2010, the company’s IoT network is available in 16 countries around the world, including France, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Sigfox is currently focused on expanding the coverage across the United States. The network, which already runs in New York City and San Francisco, is planned to be launched in additional 100 cities by the end of 2016.

Last year, Sigfox raised about $150 million from a range of investors, including SK Telecom, Telefonica, NTT DOCOMO, Air Liquide, Elliott Management Corporation and others, to extend its existing network. The company is in plans to go public on the US market between 2017 and 2018.

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