RFID Talk Blog

San Francisco to get its own network for Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is coming to San Francisco. The Bay Area is getting its own network exclusively for connecting things, such as dog collars, thermostats, parking meters and a myriad of devices.

San Francisco was chosen by French company SigFox to demonstrate the wireless network that will economically link almost any device to the Internet. Industry estimates call for 50 billion devices to be connected to the Internet over the next 10 years.

The Golden Gate Bridge and other city infrastructure might soon all be connected to the Internet of Things.

According to MIT Technology Review, SigFox’s network, which is waiting on final approval of the company’s hardware from regulators, will cover San Francisco from its urban tip to Silicon Valley 40 miles to the south.

It will be the company’s first U.S. deployment of a network technology that already covers the whole of France, most of the Netherlands, and parts of Russia and Spain. The company hopes to expand the network to tech hubs like Austin, Cambridge and Boulder.

SigFox expects to roll out its network in 60 countries over the next five years, providing device-to-cloud connectivity for automobiles, consumer electronics, medical devices, construction equipment and much more.

Here is an excerpt from the MIT Technology Review:

The Silicon Valley network will use the unlicensed 915-megahertz spectrum band commonly used by cordless phones. Objects connected to SigFox’s network can operate at very low power but will be able to transmit at only 100 bits per second—slower by a factor of 1,000 than the networks that serve smartphones. But that could be enough for many applications.

Indeed, semiconductor companies like Intel and Broadcom are also in a race to make far cheaper, far smaller, and much-lower-power wireless chips. Several showed off these “miniature computers” at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. “They saw the cell phone turn into the smartphone, and so companies are saying ‘What is next’?” says David Blaauw, a professor of engineering at the University of Michigan. Blaauw builds millimeter-scale wireless computers that he believes may one day report data from just about anywhere, even from inside a patient’s tumor.

A SigFox base station can serve a radius of tens of kilometers in the countryside and five kilometers in urban areas. To connect to the network, a device will need a $1 or $2 wireless chip that’s compatible, and customers will pay about $1 in service charges per year per device.

Click here to read the entire article in MIT Technology Review.

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