As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a bigger and more intelligent entity, connecting up millions of devices across the world, the technology industry needs to consider a number of issues.
Maintaining a network this large, and this complex, will require a huge amount of investment and support, both financially and technologically, in order to ensure it can grow and thrive.
French firm Sigfox has rapidly become one of the biggest players in the IoT hardware market, working with partners around the world to roll out hardware use cases from logistics to home alarms.
Now, the company is looking to grow its reach even further.
"For us, the IoT is about mining the data - like we did for oil,” Sigfox CTO Raoul Mallart tells ITProPortal. "The idea in our business is to make all the data accessible, to connect this data and bring it to the cloud."
Mallart states that the data market today is in the middle of a significant change, as companies go from collecting information from people, to collecting data from connected objects - the “things” of the IoT.
"The physical world is the new challenge - this is the world of IoT. The difficulty is how to do this in an economical way, and then make a business out of it...in the most cost-effective way possible."
Mallart notes that Sigfox currently has over a thousand projects in development, and hopes to reach six million connected things by the end of the year.
"We believe that the global market of IoT is huge,” he says, “M2M has been around for 20 years, but the number of connected devices is relatively modest. We believe that the only way to grow this market is to multiply the number of use cases."
But Sigfox is also looking to expand the reach of the IoT by providing low-cost, reliable hardware that is flexible enough to be used in a number of massive IoT deployment use cases.
"Many use cases aren't reachable if you are not economical enough,” Mallart says, highlighting that because most IoT devices don't need to send huge amounts of data, only simple networks are needed to support this.
This creates a world of what he calls “little big data” where large numbers of IoT products are able to supply a wealth of information, but without placing stress on the network itself.
Mallart reveals that Sigfox has hardware available for just two euros, and hopes to get this down to below one dollar before the end of the year, allowing more companies to begin their own IoT deployments.
"We believe that we have just scratched the surface of the market - there is a huge opportunity,” Mallart says, “this is the future.”