Sigfox Connect is usually one of the MAIN EVENT for the LPWAN community as the technical solutions provided by Sigfox were, in the last 5 years, the one presenting disruptive innovations around low power radio communications suporting the IoT revolution. I was usually rushing on my blog to communicate and explain how these innovations could transform our markets…
This year in 2020, I’ve made 5 days before starting to write something because, I see nothing really interesting to tell about this event, at least on the technical side. I could fill many pages on the quality of the event, starting by the backgrounds, the phone ringing in background, even on recorded conferences and the number of conferences about the same topic (supply chain). Christophe Fourtet had a great talk… for Sigfox beginner… and my preferred event’s backgrounds. But what about the yellow texts scrolling ?!? WTF !
So, I could write tons of line on this topic, but let’s try to go to the only and main announcement of this year, nothing technical, something like a company business pivot. Basically, after watching Ludovic conference, I had to refer to the only one online press post to understand what it was about. The morning keynote had some of the elements related to it but honestly I give the same to my IoT students on the first 30 minutes, so for the vision I’ve been a bit disappointed. You can check my IoT slidedeck.
At first Sigfox announced the ability to deploy a private network, we are going to see what it could means as the details have not yet been given. Next I’ve got update on satellites connectivity and bubble service announced last year.
Sigfox Connect yearly event is the opportunity for the company to present its vision on IoT technology evolution. As part of the 2019 edition, the company has introduced Ultra-Low-Power Sigfox communication. In this domain, we are talking about micro-watt to send a radio message over the air the Sigfox network will be able to capture on the fly. You can find a lot of different use-cases for a such communication system. Industrial environment sounds to be the primary market but it can also be included in final products. The main interest of ultra-low-power is to not needing battery but harvesting its energy from many sources, up to the existing WiFi network energy captured from the air.
As a gift to the participants of 2019 Connect forum, Sigfox has offered a connected button. This button is the first official device based on the ultra-low cost technology detailed in my previous post about $1 Iot. This device is based on a single SoC, a CMT2189C chip from CMOSTEK. This chip usually made for garage door remote controller is offering a low-cost solution ($0,25) with a MCU+Radio solution, compatible with Sigfox.
In this post I’ll detail what are the components of this solution and the real price you can achieve for a such device to verify the low cost promise.
Sigfox published the reference design for this type of IoT devices, including the button elements. Where writing this post, I did not add a chance yet to read the final version of the document and the estimate is based on reverse engineering of a prototype I’ve got a month ago. The reference design can be obtained from build.sigfox.com.
This was 2 years ago during the first Sigfox connect event: Christophe Fourtet was on stage opening a letter and this action was firing a Sigfox message. He was announcing Admiral Ivory service. He was announcing $0.20 solution able to communicate on the Sigfox network. Since this date, the Admiral Ivory service has just been a strategic vision proposed by Sigfox for a future low cost IoT, far from the device maker day to day reality. Far from the minimum $10-$15 devices we currently produce coming with its $2-$5 yearly subscription fee.
Could we imagine, this two years old vision will be the next semester reality ?
Being in relation with the Sigfox lab, I’m back with some really good news about making this vision becoming a reality, let see how it is going to be possible.
Yesterday in a communication around Securitas Direct deal a small phrase has waked up all the Sigfox community:
Announcing in a certain way the arrival of 600Bps support for Europe (this is already the North American standard speed) to support the picture transfer over the LPWAn network. That said, even at 600Bps it’s a bit complex to transfer a picture… let’s see what we can do with this:
Sigfox is not publishing its detailed specifications. For this reason different people (like me) are doing reverse engineering. Thank to this activity we are now getting more and more information on how the IoT network communication works. I’ve been the first one to publish the uplink frame in details more than a year ago.
Today, during the 35th edition of CCC Congress, Florian Euchner has published, on Github, the first Open-Source Sigfox stack : LibRenard.
This library allows to transform a Sigfox radio signal into a decoded frame (uplink demodulation). It allows to create a Sigfox radio signal from a decoded frame (downlink modulation).
The LibRenard implementation follows the Open Sigfox Protocol specification also host on Github from Florian. It details the uplink as the downlink communication frames. Making this open specification as the real first Sigfox global protocol specification published.
I really want to congratulate Florian for this excellent work. I hope the stack will be soon enriched with the native Sigfox encryption I’ve just finished to detail, with the associated OOB frames.
In a previous post, I was complaining a bit about the Sigfox API. At this time Sigfox was already working on a new version of the APIs.
Today Sigfox released the API version 2 for managing devices, subscriptions, messages… And this new version based on REST and JSON standards is a really positive rupture compared to the previous one.
More than a new version of the API set it’s also the full deployment of some of the new backend components now accessible by the API deployment. As part of this the 2018 deployed new Group entity, the asynchronous device creation/edition processing and the coming replacement of the callback duplicates to the equivalent with API.
As part of this APIs also some coming features like different level of geolocation precision, payload encryption and many more…
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