New Sigfox parent claims million-milestone and ready-supply for Sigfox 2.0 (‘Unabiz 0G’)
The first shot of blue sky in the murky Sigfox firmament? Maybe, just – even despite mutterings of discontent from the old guard and warnings of difficulty for the new regime. A press announcement, proclaiming the “first one-millionth” Sigfox tracker for European postal services, plus a materials backlog for 2.6 million more – issued, notably, with only second-line reference to Sigfox itself (and, perhaps significantly, a new “Unabiz 0G” tech descriptor; see bottom) – is designed to reassure and reanimate the Sigfox market.
So, what’s the news? Unabiz, the new parent of Sigfox, has said Heliot Europe, the Sigfox network operator in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia, has switched on the millionth Sigfox-based IoT device in Alps Alpine’s line of Lykaner-branded asset trackers. The Lykaner family of trackers from Japanese device manufacturer Alps Alpine has underpinned various headline Sigfox deals in Europe, mostly handled by Heliot Europe.
These include contracts with Deutsche Post DHL Group and Austrian Post, plus “different automakers and mobility providers” in France. Sigfox has notable deals in the automotive market with Michelin and Groupe PSA. It is unclear if the same Lykaner line has underpinned parallel deals, mostly for tracking roll cages around delivery offices and onto fleet vehicles, with An Post Mails & Parcels (An Post) in Ireland and Posti in Finland.
Unabiz said the milestone made the multi-client Lykaner deployment “the largest deployment” of low-power wide-area (LPWA) IoT trackers IoT “to date in Europe”. More interesting, however – just because the millionth is a milestone, more than an advance in new business – is Alps Alpine Europe has secured enough in the way of materials to guarantee 2.6 million more tracker units in the region, without delay, just as soon as the orders come in.
The press statement specifies new activity on Sigfox trackers in the Netherlands and other European countries, as well. Alps Alpine, with R&D offices in Germany and Ireland, has 15 tracker variants in the Lykaner family, the story goes; each claims 12 years of battery life. The statement said: “The company confirms its plan to achieve the next milestone of producing another 2.6 million trackers based on materials procured a year ago, to continue shipping even under the current component shortage situation.”
Henri Bong, co-founder and co-chief executive at UnaBiz, said: “UnaBiz is pleased to be a part of this amazing milestone and scaling story that demonstrates Sigfox’s capabilities in asset tracking use cases. As a custom-designed IoT solution provider ourselves, we have experienced first-hand the challenges of massive deployment. In order to deliver success to our customers, we will continue to support and work closely with all Sigfox operators and solution providers to accelerate their go-to-market. We believe that an open and collaborative ecosystem is key to enabling massive IoT.”
Sascha Kunzmann, in charge of the engineering division at Alps Alpine Europe, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented stress but also opportunities for transformation in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the demands for asset tracking continue to increase in the region, we are prepared to support our customers with the best in class asset tracking solutions to provide values such as visibility in everyday operations and lift the dormant monetary potential in every process. In times of crisis, companies are required to optimise their operations for higher productivity and a higher level of process automation.”
Lars Landewee, senior vice president of operations for the parcel sorting centres with Deutsche Post DHL, said: “The Alps Alpine tracking solutions help us organise our internal processes and achieve visibility of our assets. Due to the great results of the last few years in the field of IoT tracking, we can highly recommend Alps Alpine’s long-lifetime trackers.”
Thomas Scheibel, chief executive at Heliot Europe, said: “Logistics [is] a competition of speed, cost and precision. This industrial Alps tracker does its silent work a million times out there every day so that our customers can deliver with speed and precision in a cost-efficient manner. Together with Alps Alpine asset tracking solution, the UnaBiz 0G technology, and our nationwide 0G service coverage, reliable seamless asset tracking is a reality for logistics players in Europe.”