Sigfox teams with chip firms HT Micron, Nowi to tease energy-harvesting IoT module
Ultra-narrowband IoT technology firm Sigfox is working with semiconductor companies Nowi and HT Micron, based in the Netherlands and Brazil respectively, on a new energy harvesting IoT device. It is the French firm’s first time to develop an energy harvesting module for commercial release, it said.
Nowi specializes in energy harvesting technology for integrated circuit (IC) microchips; its power-management IC (PMIC) has been integrated in the research phase with a system-in-package (SiP) solution for low-power IoT devices from HT Micron. The Nowi PMIC extracts power from ambient energy sources like light and vibration to charge a variety of energy storage elements such as a rechargeable battery or a capacitor.
It is suited for low power applications like distributed IoT sensors and TV remote controls. Sigfox is testing the semiconductor solution with its low-power wide-area (LPWA) connectivity technology for smart metering, industrial sensoring, asset tracking and air quality monitoring.
The plan is to further reduce the battery consumption, increase the lifespan, and reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of IoT devices on the Sigfox network. The trio are also looking to tie-in with the global drive on environmental sustainability by delivering greener IoT solutions. The trio are showcasing a development kit for their combined solution at CES in Las Vegas this week with the purpose to gather customer and developer feedback.
They will deliver a “mass production module that can be used by any type of device maker” at an unspecified time thereafter, they said. The announcement comes, Sigfox said, as the French IoT provider strengthens its strategy to “reduce the human impact on the environment with IoT”. A statement said: “It will be soon followed by other solutions based on energy harvesting as new projects are already in discussion.”
Benjamin Jooris, client and ecosystem director at Sigfox, said: “This collaboration with Nowi and HT Micron is another proof point towards our ambition to create IoT solutions that will help our clients preserve the environment by greatly reducing their energy consumption. We are looking forward to the development of these new-kind of devices and to the positive impact they will generate.”
Chris Juliano, chief commercial officer at Nowi, commented: “The low power consumption of Sigfox is well suited to being powered by ambient energy harvesting. As many Sigfox-based applications require intermittent communication intervals, this allows for trickle charging a storage element with energy harvesting in between transmissions.”
Edelweis Ritt, chief information officer at HT Micron, said: “We are glad to take this next step with Sigfox and explore energy harvesting solutions as a new way to create added value to our end customers and help them improve their environmental impact.”