HomeConnectivityFive ways Sigfox alarms are helping farmers fight robbers, rustlers and vandals

Five ways Sigfox alarms are helping farmers fight robbers, rustlers and vandals

Low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks like Sigfox are providing the platform for internet-of-thing (IoT) based alarm systems that are cheap and easy to install. They also provide coverage to rural areas, which 3G and 4G based alarm systems struggle to cover.

Rural crime is a growing problem. In some areas, up to 74 per cent of farmers have experienced theft, trespassing or vandalism on their properties, according to LPWA network provider Sigfox. Thieves are opportunistic, as well, and will serve their market’s fluid fancies, as commodities prices fluctuate.

Staying one step ahead of the game is part of crime fighting in the countryside. Here, Enterprise IoT Insights, with the help of source material from Sigfox itself, covers a number of use cases for the new generation of wireless alarm systems, both in rural settings, and in urban work sites.

1 | RANCHES

A mid-sized Texas rancher is looking for a better way to protect his 700 head of cattle. With the rising price of beef, rustlers are on the prowl. Most thefts are relatively small; six or seven cattle loaded into a stock trailer in the middle of the night, it says. Even so, losses hurt.

Padlocks won’t stop a pair of bolt cutters. Floodlights light the way, and hasten the theft. The branding doesn’t show up in prime cuts.

Traditional gate alarm systems use 3G and 4G, but coverage is patchy on the prairies. This ranchers needs an alternative. IoT alarms, running on low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks, are just the ticket. Sigfox says its LPWA network was “built for this type of alarm application.”

The rancher rents three devices, placing each at a different gate. They have a range of ten to fifteen metres, and differentiate between human and animal movement. His cattle are safe.

2 | CORN FIELDS

A corn grower finds his tractor is stolen. It has a universal key; once the barn’s deadbolt is cut, they just drive it off, in the middle of the night. Insurance covers the cost of a new tractor, all $75,000. But it’s early May; his planting schedule is tight, and even a few days downtime will put him back.

A standard security system on the barn will cost a few thousand dollars. It’s worth it, though. Except he has two storage sheds as well, plus the family home. The price of security keeps going up.

IoT alarms, running on low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks, are just the ticket. Sigfox says its LPWA network was “built for this type of alarm application.”

Because it doesn’t depend on WiFi, it is easy to install and cheap to rent. The farmer sets it up himself. All told, he spends $720 to secure everything – compared with many thousands on traditional alarms, and the downtime and rising insurance bills from broken barn doors.

3 | DAIRY FARMS

For one small family dairy farm, the choice seems clear: install a wireless security system on the barn, or one on the equipment shed. The farmer can’t afford both. Lights and cameras are out of the question. The fuel tanks and chemical tanks will remain in the dark.

He decides takes a punt on the barn. But then, in the summer, local thieves start robbing the irrigation systems for their copper wire. The fee for repairing an irrigation system could be $10,000. Everything is a target, he decides. He needs another option.

IoT alarms, running on low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks, are just the ticket. Sigfox says its LPWA network was “built for this type of alarm application.” They are cheap, plug-and-play devices, that can be installed everywhere, or moved around according to thieves’ latest predilections.

He installs three wireless alarms along the irrigation system for $45 per month, or $540 for the year. It’s the kind of expense a dairy farmer can absorb, says Sigfox.

4 | SMALL JOB SITES

Power tools and materials are easy to steal and easy to sell. Unlike large construction companies, contractors often don’t have the resources to invest in major security systems. Thieves know this. Temporary job sites are easy targets.

One small construction company, specialising in town houses, is robbed of thousand dollars in materials, says Sigfox. Again, budgets are tight, and the cost of replacing everything is hard to bear. But this firm is on the clock, too, and the theft will put back their next job.

Most security systems are costly, however. Most projects last only a few months; equipping each job site with a security system does not make sense. IoT alarms, running on low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks, are just the ticket. Sigfox says its LPWA network was “built for this type of alarm application.”

This contractor pays $15 per month for an alarm at the entrance. That’s $60 for a four month work contract and the system is live in five minutes. It can also be moved to the next job, like a regular part of his stock-in-trade.

5 | LARGE JOB SITES

A contractor on a large work site has installed an alarm, running on Sigfox’s low-power wide-area (LPWA) network. It was “built for this type of alarm application,” says Sigfox. He leaves town for a few days, when gets an alert on his mobile app in the middle of about suspicious activity at the job site.

The alarm system knows the difference between humans and animals; this notification should be taken seriously, says Sigfox. He calls the police. They head out to the jobsite and catch two thieves making off with a spool of copper wire and a few drills.

The police also find a GSM jammer in the thieves’ van; it didn’t do the thieves any good, however. LPWA alarms aren’t connected to Wi-Fi like most security systems. The thieves were caught in the act. For less than $0.50 per day, the contractor saved his company time and money.

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