Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sigfox keeps track of athletes at Special Olympics

Steve Rogerson
April 10, 2019

At last month’s Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, Sigfox partnered with technology providers iWire and Lite-On Technology to roll out a tracking service that safeguarded the 10,000 athletes and delegates opting into the scheme.
The Games was the largest sports and humanitarian event on the planet, featuring 200 nations, more than 7000 athletes, 20,000 registered volunteers and hundreds of thousands of spectators. Taking place in the 50th anniversary year of the Special Olympics movement, the event empowers people with intellectual disabilities through sport and champions social inclusion.
Partnering with iWire Connect and Lite-On, Sigfox created a service bringing together IoT connectivity and wifi in a simple device resembling a credit card. In less than three months, Lite-On was able to develop, produce, certify and deliver 10,000 devices that run on Sigfox’s 0G network, all fitted with batteries providing up to four months of charge for an uninterrupted and reliable service throughout the week-long event.
“We’re proud to have created a simple yet innovative monitoring device that truly puts safety at the heart of technology,” said Shilung Chiang, president of mechanical competence for Lite-On. “From tracker design to wifi and Sigfox communication modules design, the time in which we were able to deliver on the project illustrates the potential of the technology and the industrial expertise of Lite-On synergy across its business portfolio.”
The project was brought to life under the guidance of Sigfox’s IoT agency, which specialises in advising customers around digital transformation from project organisation to industrialisation.
Throughout the course of the event, devices worn by those opting into the scheme periodically transmitted messages including the closest wifi mac addresses to help identify the location of athletes and delegates in the event a person became lost. These mac addresses were converted into coordinates based on Sigfox Atlas wifi services. Integrating a button, the devices were also able to send an alert if a person found themselves in an emergency situation or in need of assistance, immediately triggering the tracking mode to get help to the scene.
“With the Special Olympics World Games hosted in the UAE this year, we had the unique opportunity to provide energy efficient connectivity for the 10,000 people connected at the event, maximising their safety and delivering on the region’s sustainability vision, thanks to our global network coverage,” said Ahmed Fasih Akhtar, CEO of iWire Connect, Sigfox’s operator in the UAE.
Raouti Chehih, chief adoption officer at Sigfox, added: “This is the first time the solution has been rolled out and its great success at the Games points towards the huge potential the technology has not only for larger sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympics, but also for massive IoT applications such as asset tracking. We are thrilled to have been involved in providing a service that has helped to ensure the safety of the 10,000 attendees at the Special Olympic World Games and look forward to seeing how we can leverage this for future applications.”
The Sigfox network is available in 60 countries, with one billion people covered. Founded in 2010 by Ludovic Le Moan and Christophe Fourtet, the company is headquartered in France, and has offices in Madrid, Munich, Boston, Dallas, San Jose, Dubai, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.
Sigfox has launched Canada’s first national low-bandwidth, IoT network. Sigfox Canada is leveraging LPWAN technology with the capacity to support millions of IoT sensors, and will benefit from a current ecosystem of over 693 different Sigfox IoT enabled sensors to provide connectivity from coast to coast throughout Canada.
The combination of the national network and hundreds of devices should provide Canadian businesses with simple and cost-effective connectivity to help drive efficiency in almost any area of their business.
Today, the network is live as far east as St John’s, Newfoundland, and as far west as Vancouver, British Columbia, with coverage continuing to be added weekly.