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ASEAN’s first nationwide IoT network debuts in Singapore

Sigfox-based IoT network now covers 95% of Singapore, meaning enterprises can connect devices to the network nationwide

Singapore enterprises looking to harness the benefits of the internet of things (IoT) can now hook up their devices to the country’s first nationwide IoT network.

The low-power wide area network, powered by technology from French IoT connectivity company Sigfox, was rolled out by IoT systems provider UnaBiz. It is also the first of its kind in Southeast Asia.

In October 2016, UnaBiz was granted a facilities-based operator (FBO) licence by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority to operate the IoT network, which uses unlicensed spectrum in the 920Mhz range.

During a media briefing on 24 February 2017, Christophe Fourtet, co-founder and chief science officer of Sigfox, said the use of unlicensed spectrum is cost-effective for hooking up IoT devices that transmit very small amounts of data and may be left on their own for years.

UnaBiz is capping its network subscription charges at S$1 (US$0.71) per device per month, which comes with a data plan for up to 140 messages per day. Qualified channel partners that commit to volume will also enjoy subscription charges from as low as S$1 per device per year.

Fourtet said Sigfox’s technology is able to deliver high quality of service (QoS) standards, despite the use of unlicensed spectrum which is prone to interference from nearby devices. This is done by monitoring the shared spectrum, and optimising spectral efficiency, he said.

Prior to the launch of the network, which covers 95% of outdoor areas in Singapore, UnaBiz has been conducting several proof of concept (PoC) projects with companies in the logistics and energy sectors.

For example, Engie, a French provider of property and energy management services, has deployed sensors that hook up to the new IoT network in commercial buildings that it manages in Singapore, according to Henri Bong, CEO and founder of UnaBiz.

“Singapore has the potential to be a powerhouse for IoT because of its size and people,” Bong said, adding that UnaBiz is also deploying a similar Sigfox-based network in Taiwan.

Bong said UnaBiz is also working with more than 30 partners to deliver IoT services. These include Singapore internet service provider MyRepublic, which will develop IoT systems for businesses, as well as Dimension Data, a global systems integrator.

“What UnaBiz is doing in Singapore is part of a global IoT movement led by Sigfox,” said Andy Cocks, chief technology officer at Dimension Data. “I believe this is game-changing technology that will make IoT a reality for thousands of companies in Singapore, at a palatable price point.”

According to Frost and Sullivan, IoT spending in Southeast Asia is forecast by to grow by 35%, from $1.68bn in 2015, to $7.53bn by 2020. ... ... ... ... ...

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