SIGFOX Launches IoT Network In Antarctica For Polar Researchers

SIGFOX has deployed the first ever Internet of Things (IoT) network on Antarctica, claiming it will improve the safety of a Belgian expedition undertaking projects related to climate change and sustainability.

Around 30 technicians and researchers participating in the 2015-16 BELARE expedition will be equipped with GPS sensors that can track their movements when they travel significant distances from their base, the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station.

Temperatures on the continent can drop as low as minus 90 degrees centigrade, while winds can reach up to 250km per hour, making communication in extreme weather conditions a priority.

SIGFOX Antarctica

Two antennas will be deployed at the base, connecting the continent to SIGFOX’s global network. The technology used on Antarctica is ultra-narrowband (UNB), which has a range of 40km in open space.

The network is currently being tested during the Antarctic Summer and the first results will be released in March.

“This partnership will allow us to test technology that could be useful for the safety of our operations in Antarctica,” said Rachid Touzani, director of the Belgian Polar Secretariat. “However, the security of women and men we send to Antarctica to implement key scientific projects for the preservation of mankind is a top priority for the Belgian Polar Secretariat. In addition, this collaboration perfectly answers our ongoing commitment to include the industrial world in our development projects.”

SIGFOX’s proprietary network is one of a number of competing IoT standards, with cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth also seen as potential technologies. The company’s UNB network powers Arqiva’s M2M network in the UK.

“We fully support the BELARE expedition and are convinced that the Internet of Things is a great opportunity to ensure the safety of high-risk operations by Belgian teams in Antarctica,” said Ludovic Le Moan and Christophe Fourtet, co-founders of SIGFOX.

“We wish to commit ourselves to support the causes that are all or part of the solution with SIGFOX’s connectivity solution and sensors connected to the Internet. In that perspective, we are today launching SIGFOX Foundation, that will operate non-profit missions.”

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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