The ascent of Internet of Things (IoT) is seemingly unstoppable, with global manufacturers of chips, modules, semiconductors and hardware devices now working more closely with connectivity, cloud computing and data management providers to usher in the Industry 4.0 revolution.
By 2020, IoT devices connected to the internet are expected to more than triple, from 10 billion to 34 billion. Of those, IoT devices will account for 24 billion, while traditional computing devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, will make up the rest. Financially speaking, nearly US$6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years., according to analysts.
This week, Mexico took another big step in the adoption of IoT, welcoming a new dedicated communications service for IoT. The network was implemented by French company Sigfox, a global provider of wireless IoT networks, alongside national operator IotNet Mexico and Sigfox’s partner WND, which is aiding the provider to extend the network across all of Latin America, kicking off the network’s regional expansion with Brazil in April.
IotNet Mexico will be the exclusive network operator for Sigfox and will initially focus on utility applications, such as remote metering for water, gas and residential electricity. The company is owned by the shareholders of NXTVIEW, a company that is deploying the first metering-as-a-service that exists in the Mexican energy market.
Once Sigfox completes its Brazil expansion and Mexico implementation, it will be able to provide coverage to 53% of Latin America’s territory and 56% of its population. It also announced plans earlier this year to launch networks in 100 cities in the US by the end of 2016.
One of IoT’s main advantages is the advent of smart city applications, which will change the way we live, work, travel and more. Some applications are currently being designed and implemented by large tech firms such as Cisco in Guadalajara and Queretaro. Sigfox is first targeting Mexico City with its network, and expects to have city-wide coverage by the end of 2016. A nationwide service is expected shortly afterwards.
Sigfox’s proprietary standard is one of the three leading standards for Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) designed specifically to connect IoT devices. The other two are the open LoRaWAN standard and Ingenu’s proprietary standard. Demand for LPWANs is growing as organisations search for a cheaper way to connect their low-power IoT devices to the internet. Compared to 4G cellular networks, LPWANs offer cheaper data subscriptions and use less battery power to connect these devices. Sigfox has said that it can connect IoT devices for as little as US$1 per year.
With the arrival of Sigfox’s new network, Mexico will be primed to better support businesses in their IoT ambitions very soon, emerging as one of Latin America’s IoT pioneers.