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IoT operator Qowisio launches disruptive IoT price plan

France-based IoT operator Qowisio launched its IoT network in France this week and presented a rather aggressive IoT price plan.

Just about $0.11 or €0.10 per connected object per year: this is what it will cost businesses to connect their IoT devices to Qowisio ’s newly-launched IoT network in France. The IoT operator is also waiving upfront fees and volume requirements. The French startup announced this rather aggressive IoT price plan as it launched its IoT network to all cities with 10,000 inhabitants or more in France this week. ”Our IoT price plan is very innovative and disruptive because we are a new type of IoT operator. We have made that pricing choice because we want to be a driving force in the IoT market and help bring more connected objects to the market,” David Halopé, operational marketing director at Qowisio, told Industry IoT 5G Insights. ”Connectivity should not be a break for enterprises that want to bring connected devices to the market.” Competing IoT price plan in France typically involve a subscription fee and a connectivity price tag of around €5 euro per connected object, which makes Qowisio’s pricing rather competitive.

In France, Qowisio has deployed over 1,000 gateways in the past 12 months and expects to have deployed 1,700 gateways by end of 2016-2017. Sigfox has in comparison deployed 1,500 IoT gateways in the country.

Focus on hardware sales

Qowisio’s roots in hardware design explain why the company has chosen to focus on providing turnkey solutions, with a focus on hardware sales, rather than connectivity. ”We have all the capabilities in-house to bring connected devices to the market, from hardware design to connectivity and data,” said David Halopé.

The company has often been compared to Sigfox but the companies’ business models are very different though. ”Are we competing with Sigfox? Yes and no,” said David Halopé. ”Sigfox has a more traditional operator model with subscription fees and connectivity at its core. Our business is about turnkey solutions. We are also the only operator focusing on connected devices costing €10 or under.”

UNB and LoRa combined

The IoT operator has global ambitions, envisioning the deployment of its bimodal UNB-LoRa IoT network internationally in the coming years. ”We expect to have deployed our IoT network in about ten European countries by 2017,” said Hadopé. The startup has in fact deployed private IoT networks in 29 countries to date.

Qowisio is using a combination of UNB (Ultra Narrow Band) and LoRa technologies. The choice to combine these technologies was made to enable customers not to be constrained by a technological choice from start. Also, Qowisio has chosen not to use bi-directionality via UNB because of network constraints. This brings some limitations, but just as many possibilities, Hadopé said. ”Technologically speaking, we could do bi-directional but this is not something we would recommend customers. On the other hand, UNB offers many advantages: devices are smaller, cheaper and have a longer battery life. They address about 80 percent of the needs of the market, needs that are not addressed today.”

Qowisio has recently opened an office in Austin, which is twinned with Angers, where the operator has its headquarters. It plans to open a City of Connected Objects in Austin, just like it did in Angers, creating a hub where hardware startups can produce and accelerate their IoT device concepts.

Qowisio had revenue of €6.2 million and a net profit of €1.1 million in 2015. The company forecasts a revenue of €140 million by 2020. Qowisio raised €10 million in financing in 2015 to launch its network in France. Investors included Ouest Croissance, Go Capital, BNP PARIBAS Développement and Pays de la Loire Développement. A new financing round may be underway. Qowisio already boasts around 50 customers, of which 30 in its home market, and over 100,000 deployed sensors in the world. 

Sigfox expands to Finland

Sigfox announced it is expanding its IoT network to Finland, the 19th Country to deploy a Sigfox network. To do so, Sigfox has entered a partnership with Connected Finland, a company created by Finnish telco professionals Markku Patronen, Marko Vanninen and Tom Lindblad. The rollout will cover the nation’s largest cities by this summer and 85 percent of the population by spring 2017. “There is a very clear and urgent need in Finland for SIGFOX’s energy-efficient and low-cost IoT solution, which can open a huge number of exciting new use cases in sectors such as insurance, smart cities, smart buildings, and asset tracking, safety and security, transportation and industry,” said Patronen. Sigfox plans to cover more than 30 countries with its network by the end of 2016.

IIoT News Recap: Carrefour selects Avanquest; Semtech’ LoRa RF technology widely adopted in China; VMware launches SDK for secure IOT gateways; Tile raises $18 million

IoT price plan

IoT data: IBM and Cisco partner on IoT edge analytics

Cisco and IBM announced they are to combine IBM’s Watson IoT and business analytics capabilities with Cisco’s edge analytics to provide instant IoT insight at the edge of the network. “The way we experience and interact with the physical world is being transformed by the power of cloud computing and the Internet of Things,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT, Commerce and Education. “For an oil rig in a remote location or a factory where critical decisions have to be taken immediately, uploading all data to the cloud is not always the best option. By coming together, IBM and Cisco are taking these powerful IoT technologies the last mile, extending Watson IoT from the cloud to the edge of computer networks, helping to make these strong analytics capabilities available virtually everywhere, always.”

Enterprise IoT: Global supermarket chain Carrefour selects Avanquest

Global supermarket chain Carrefour has entered an agreement with Avanquest, whereby Carrefour is to use the vendor’s connected device management platform ”myDevices”. This is the first deal of its type since Avanquest pivoted towards IoT.

Smart metering: Semtech claims widespread adoption of its LoRa RF technology in China

Semiconductor company Semtech announced a great number of Chinese metering companies have adopted its LoRa RF wireless technology to scale metering deployments. According to IHS, just under 90 million communicating meters were shipped in China in 2015. “The overwhelming integration of LoRa technology into automatic metering reading (AMR) systems in China is very exciting. The technology, when paired with the standardized LoRaWAN specification and PLC infrastructure, gives a way to develop metering processes that are scalable, affordable and reliable,” said Mike Wong, vice president of Marketing and Applications for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Product Group.

IoT Security: VMware launches SDK for secure IOT gateways

WMWare has launched Liota (Little IoT Agent), a vendor-neutral open source software development kit (SDK) for building secure IoT gateway data and control orchestration applications. ”Gateways are an integral part of IoT infrastructure. They bridge, but also de-couple, the physical IoT devices from the analytics and management components in data centers. This bridge allows data and control to move freely, correctly and securely from the device to the cloud or data center. Liota provides that next step, while also offering the flexibility developers want and need,” wrote Bask Iyer, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, VMware, in a blog post. Liota is available to developers for free now on Github. It works with any gateway or operating system that supports Python.

Today’s startup: Smart location specialist Tile raises $18 million

Smart location company Tile has raised $18 million in Series B Funding in an oversubscribed round led by Bessemer Venture Partners.  Tile will use the financing to expand its network reach. “Tile’s addressable market is growing rapidly. By 2020, there will be 34 billion connected devices in the world, up from 10 billion last year, according to BI Intelligence,” said Mike Farley, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Tile. “We aim to give all of those connected devices – as well as the billions of analog items in the world – the power of smart location. This new capital will enable us to make aggressive steps toward accomplishing that goal.” To date, Tile has sold more than five million of its devices. In 2015, the company had revenue of $43 million. The company said it is on track to double that figure in 2016.

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