With LeWeb just a week away, the Internet of Things, this year’s theme for LeWeb Paris, is on everyone’s minds. After all, with LeWeb’s tendency to pick sectors/trends on the rise, it’s no surprise that everyone’s talking about it. While we’ve not quite arrived at Microsoft’s vision of the future, Sigfox as made significant strides in laying down the groundwork for connected devices, with a network covering 80% of France, and 100% coverage set for early 2013.
Why do we need a whole new network dedicated to connected devices?
Imagine a large suburban area, and the difficulties associated with getting good cell service, when you share a cell tower with a couple thousand people. Now imagine how many connected devices each person may have – Fire Detector sensors that alert when they go off, tracking devices for animals, water, electricity, and gas meters,… – a network like that would soak up all the signal, not too mention it would be very energy intensive.
That’s why co-founder and CEO Ludovic Le Moan joined up with technical director Christophe Fourtet, who had developed a radio communications network that was up to the task. Not only was this network built to deal with billions of devices, but could do it with 30-40x less bay stations, and consuming significantly less energy, meaning sensors could hold a charge for years.
Sigfox raised 10 million € on this technology from Elaia Partners, Partech International, and Intel Ventures – oh, and on the fact that they showed they could cover France for just. 3 million €.
A deal in the works with a Worldwide leader…
Sigfox already has 500k devices active in France, and says they will be at break even with 3 million devices. Le Moan says that they hope to announce a deal with an unnamed worldwide leader in Waste Management at LeWeb next week. I would imagine the deal will involve using Sigfox’s network to detect when waste bins are full, in order to better manage waste management, which would be quite interesting.
Le Moan previously co-founded Goojet, a now defunct startup, who’s other cofounder, Marc Rougier, is now president of Scoop.it. Goojet also employed Cedric Giorgi, co-founder of Cooking and organizer of the social track at LeWeb this year.
Sigfox currently employs 30-45 people in Toulouse, France.