Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sigfox reaches 90% population coverage in UK

Steve Rogerson
January 30, 2020



WND, the UK’s Sigfox network operator, has achieved over 90% population coverage in 18 months since it deployed the UK’s first wireless public network for secure sensor data.
 
The network uses the Sigfox low-power wide area network (LPWAN) technology, which is purpose built to provide low-cost connectivity and enable the use of cost-efficient silicon modules.
 
Sigfox was the first dedicated low-power wide-area communications service for the IoT. Harnessing ultra-narrow band technology, it provides basic connectivity to devices that do not require high throughput. This approach is suited to the vast majority of IoT devices as it requires very little power, enabling devices to run for years on a single battery.
 
“Our Sigfox data sensor network is fully operational today,” said Tim Harris, chief executive for WND UK. “We now have over 130 channel partners and the list is growing by the day. These companies are using the network for real-world commercial applications, from metering to flood detection to legionella monitoring.”
 
Luke Thomas from EBI, a WND channel partner, added: “Sigfox has growing momentum worldwide. If you want to deploy an IoT application, Sigfox is the logical choice. The other technologies we explored simply did not come close. WND UK’s network rollout has been extremely impressive. The Sigfox network is reliable and the technology is market leading. With thousands of active devices performing above expectation, our IoT deployments have been a huge success and award winning.’’
 
And Ian Rose, professional services director at PassivSystems, said: “We have pioneered the development of AMR, or automated meter reading, using Sigfox. As part of an ongoing deployment programme with a major utility, we’ve already delivered 3000 meter readers for district heating installations, enabling accurate billing for residents. With 17,000 district heating networks in the UK connected to nearly half a million properties, the market opportunity is substantial.”
 
Most retrofit AMR devices use mobile GSM networks but achieving reliable signal connections can be problematic. Heat meters are often tucked away, located in a basement or in housing blocks with poor signal coverage.
 
“Using Sigfox is cheaper than using GSM networks and we get a higher level of coverage that offers better penetration within buildings,” said Rose. “In addition to the improved reliability in signal for accurate billing, we can also collect data on the flow and return temperatures within a property to optimise performance of the heating system.”
 
Harris added: “We’re continuing to strengthen the network by working with our customers to achieve deep in-building coverage where it’s required. We will also be installing a further 500 repeaters during 2020, which will further enhance our coverage. The range of IoT applications is set for explosive growth and Sigfox is the natural, low-risk enabling technology.”