The modules claim to be up to 20 times cheaper than LTE cellular modules and five times cheaper than the closest competing technologies
Sigfox is claiming that the world’s first “ultra-low cost” Internet of Things (IoT) communication module has been enabled through its ecosystem of partners for as little as $2.00 for European, Middle East and African markets, and less than $3.00 for American and Asian markets.
The IoT communication solutions provider hopes the ecosystem initiative will encourage mass market acceleration, adoption and deployment of the IoT.
The announcement is expected to further accelerate the low power wide area (LPWA) solutions market, which is already set to grow 90 per cent annually to $24.5 billion, according to MarketsandMarkets by 2021. The new modules are up to 20 times cheaper than LTE cellular modules and five times cheaper than the closest competing technologies.
To significantly lower the cost barriers, Sigfox has worked with its partners to optimise every aspect of the design and specification down to the silicon level. The module specifications are also royalty-free to ensure the lowest possible cost, whilst encouraging even greater levels of innovation.
"As the total costs to connect devices to the IoT fall, the cost of modules becomes a key component in the equation”, said David Parker, senior analyst at Beecham Research. “This announcement strengthens the IoT service provider approach Sigfox brings to the market, lowering the cost to connect, enabling more applications to be connected economically and further expanding the market.”
The first partners delivering the ultra-low cost modules include module manufacturer, Wisol, which is already delivering samples based on On Semiconductor single chip SoC and which will be starting mass production in December 2016. Meanwhile, InnoComm is manufacturing modules based on NXP transceivers with samples to be available from January 2017 and mass production starting in March 2017.
“We believe in a future where billions of connected devices have a role in our society and economic development. Dramatically reducing the cost of the low power devices means that we are able to make this belief a reality much quicker,” said Stuart Lodge, executive vice president, global sales and partners at Sigfox.
He added: “Sigfox continues to focus on lowering the barriers to IoT mass adoption by working with the entire ecosystem, including all silicon and device partners. We will keep expanding and supporting our ecosystem partners to overcome the cost challenges and make new solutions available that the market requires."
Paul Wang, General Manager at InnoComm, said: “The simplicity” of the new specification makes it easy to build modules on the Sigfox network. It fundamentally moves proofs of concepts to mass market and high volume. This is essential to encouraging mass adoption particularly amongst product manufacturers seeking to become service providers.”
The Sigfox network spans 24 countries and is on track to reach over 60 by 2018. Sigfox has built a comprehensive supply chain of ecosystem partners that are developing, selling and supporting the connected devices. These partners consist of semiconductors, module makers, developers, design houses, electronics manufacturing services/original design manufacturers, device makers, and distributors.
The ecosystem partners will also be launching new modules to combine the Sigfox protocol with other complimentary connectivity protocols, such as wi-fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Combining these protocols with Sigfox will deliver additional benefits and features that are required by many IoT applications. These additional low cost modules will be available in early 2017.
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The LPWAN network has also clocked an unofficial world record for the longest transmission on a Sigfox IoT network