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Arqiva, SIGFOX Combine Efforts to Bring IoT Network to UK

By Steve Anderson May 21, 2014

While much has been made of the hardware involved in the Internet of Things (IoT), from refrigerators to watches to even wall sockets that come with Wi-Fi connectivity for access to critical home systems while outside the home, somewhat less consideration is given to the connectivity that keeps these devices accessible and able to perform functions remotely. A new partnership between Arqiva and SIGFOX looks to provide the important connectivity functions that will help drive the IoT throughout a large portion of the U.K.

Arqiva, whose specialty is in communications infrastructure and media services, has turned to SIGFOX for access to the global IoT network that it's already set up. Between the two firms, a new breed of IoT infrastructure should emerge throughout 10 of the U.K.'s largest cities. Set to get access to the new Arqiva/SIGFOX operation range from Leeds and London to Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol. But SIGFOX networks are scarcely unique to the U.K; such networks can also be found throughout a large portion of France, Spain and the Netherlands as well as in both Munich and Moscow, proving that this particular kind of network has plenty of legs throughout several regions.

Comment about the new network, meanwhile, came from Arqiva's Wendy McMillan, who serves as the company's managing director of smart metering and machine to machine (M2M) solutions, who noted, “Arqiva has the unique breadth of capabilities needed to meet evolving machine-to-machine connectivity requirements across the UK. We already run satellite, Wi-Fi, and long-range radio networks, providing full managed services where required. Our smart metering communications service, connecting ten million homes using long-range radio technology, will be one of the UK’s largest machine-to-machine deployments.”

It may well be one of the biggest problems that M2M will have to surmount; the issue of how to get the necessary connectivity in place to allow the machines to communicate with the other machines in the larger IoT network, as well as in the narrower, more interpersonal machine to machine sense. Several possibilities have already been advanced, from the greater use of 2G communications to even 3G and in some cases outright LTE, but it's likely not a good idea to have machines using the same bandwidth that all of us depend on for access to email, YouTube videos and so on. That's already in short enough supply as it is, in some places much more so than others. So turning to unconventional solutions like those offered by SIGFOX and Arqiva should go a long way in keeping the IoT up and running without shorting the average user.

So the new coalition of SIGFOX and Arqiva should go a long way in terms of keeping devices connected without requiring the users of said devices to have to move bandwidth around or otherwise diminish the user experience of normal home bandwidth. Perhaps this might even prove the answer that's needed for remote operations as well, particularly in things like energy work or logistics services, where connectivity in the middle of nowhere is a must. Only time will tell just how it all works out, but we may well be well on the way to a future where all our devices connect to other devices via networks like this one.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Contributing IoTevolutionworld Writer

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