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Internet of things (IoT) connectivity provider Unabiz has been given the green light to roll out its Sigfox-based network in Taiwan, underscoring its ambition to expand its global footprint to 60 countries by 2018.
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Unabiz said it is the first organisation of its kind to receive an IoT network operator licence from Taiwan’s National Communication Commission since the territory allowed the use of the unlicensed spectrum.
The low-power wide area network will be deployed in six main municipalities – Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung – effectively serving more than 80% of Taiwan’s population.
By 2018, the network, which is currently present in 32 countries worldwide, including Singapore, will be extended to rural areas in Taiwan, covering 95% of the island’s population.
Rural farmers, schools, businesses and local governments are expected to benefit from the network through various IoT applications, which will improve efficiency and productivity.
As early as 2011, the Taiwanese Cabinet’s Strategic Review Board for IoT had identified disaster relief, smart transportation, smart grids and logistics as some of the potential IoT applications that could be developed.
Unabiz said it will actively engage and collaborate with industry partners, academic institutions and government agencies to help Taiwan address the potential of the global IoT market. Local IoT players can already start to evaluate and develop systems using Sigfox’s technology.
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The roll-out of Sigfox’s commercial-grade global network is in line with Taiwan’s “Asian Silicon Valley” vision to transform the country from an information and communications technology specialist to an IoT specialist.
Although Taiwan is a semiconductor manufacturing powerhouse with 60% of the global market, it accounts for only 15% of the global IoT sensors market, which is expected to be worth $17.8bn by 2020.
“To significantly build up the IoT industry, we need a sound ecosystem of highly engaged players from semiconductors to device manufacturers and all the way up to cloud platforms,” said Philippe Chiu, managing director and co-founder of Unabiz.
“That is why, on top of providing the Sigfox service, Unabiz is also acting to catalyse IoT opportunities by establishing partnerships and providing keys to address the Sigfox global IoT market.”
Unabiz is not the only network operator eyeing a slice of the burgeoning IoT market. Taiwanese telco Asia Pacific Telecom had also rolled out IoT connectivity services based on the competing Lora and cellular IoT technologies.