Internet of Things

“As the Internet of things advances, the very notion of a clear dividing line between reality and virtual reality becomes blurred, sometimes in creative ways.” – Geoff Mulgan


“Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to the inter-networks of objects (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”) that communicate with other objects and with computers through a network. These “Things” may include virtually any object that has been embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity to collect and exchange data, communicate or control objects remotely.

In other words, IoT potentially includes a large number of interconnected objects that connect the physical world to the virtual world, resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention.

Previously, these connected devices rely heavily on Cellular, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth network, which are expensive to adopt and maintain, not to mention high in power consumption.

As our requirement for these objects expands – we need these devices to be deployed pervasively, in less accessible places: e.g. factories in remote locations, rural fields, construction sites, moving vehicles, basically, potentially everywhere – we need to explore and adopt new technologies that are power efficient, low cost and simple to deploy at a massive scale.

We need to connect these devices to cloud-based analytics by using a low-power wide-area network, that is Sigfox.




About IoT

What is IoT?

“Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to networks of objects that communicate with other objects and with computers through the Internet, enabling them to send and receive data.

How does IoT works?

IoT works by providing connectivity to sensors and objects. This connectivity is enabled by embedding a special proprietary (Sigfox) chipset into such objects which allows it to leverage onto a specialized Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN).

What kind of objects work with IoT?

Virtually anything that could be embedded with a chip. Some examples include streetlights, thermostats, electric meters, fitness trackers, factory equipment, automobiles, unmanned aircraft systems (UASs or drones), or even cows or sheep in a field.

What’s the role of UnaBiz within the IoT space?

UnaBiz is an exclusive network operator of Sigfox in Singapore and Taiwan. It functions similarly as a Telco by providing IoT specific network through its established network infrastructures. It also provides ready solutions and consultations for businesses interested in adopting IoT into their business model.

How ready is the network to supercharge IoT?

As of today, UnaBiz has managed to provide up to 98% outdoor coverage in Singapore within 3 months, and will be looking to further strengthen our coverage in the near future through aggressive network deployment and testing.

The number of devices that are already connected to IoT networks?

Currently there are an estimated 20 billion devices connected to IoT networks globally. It is expected to expand rapidly to 75 billion devices by 2025.

Who are the biggest adopters of IoT?

The manufacturing industry is currently the biggest adopters of IoT. Manufacturers are using it for the purpose of optimizing process, monitoring equipment and conducting of preventive maintenance. In second, we have the transport industry who is mainly using IoT for asset tracking purposes.

How does IoT impact traditional businesses?

Through the use of sensors to collect data and analytics to break it down, businesses can look forward to lower operating cost and improving productivity by acting on key data.

Is there a fixed IoT network standard?

There are more than one standards within the IoT industry. The three more prominent ones are Sigfox, LoRa and NB-IoT. Sigfox has the largest market share in the world and is by far considered the true standard.

What about the Ecosystem in Singapore?

UnaBiz currently has more than 50 partners within its ecosystem. These partners provide value add services to the IoT industry through research and development of new solutions and devices. With the government pushing Singapore towards a smart nation, this ecosystem will definitely grow further.

About Sigfox Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN)

How secured is the Sigfox network?

The unique thing about this network is that there is no synchronization between base station and device. Instead, the device broadcast packets to multiple base stations close by through random frequency. This means that hackers would not be able to gain access into Sigfox network backend. Furthermore, there is a restricted downlink and devices chooses when to communicate and at which frequency, which protects it from hackers sending targeted malicious commands.

What is LPWAN?

LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network. It is a low bandwidth network that is built for the purpose of low power consumption, high efficiency and long ranges. This network is the best for IoT as it provides the benefit of connectivity through low power consumption, enabling devices to stay online for years or decades through a single battery.

Why go for low bandwidth network when there is high bandwidth network like 4G available?

There are very different use cases for such low bandwidth network. Low bandwidth network’s main application is in sensing modules for data collection and analytics which are measured in bytes. This provide cost savings up to 90% as compared to the more expensive 4G network.

Is it truly wireless with Sigfox?

The Sigfox chipset embedded into devices enables seamless wireless connection. On top of that, the low power consumption enables devices to run on batteries for years or even decades, distinguishing it as a truly wireless device.

What is the uptime of the network? How stable is the network?

Through the unique way in which Sigfox network is designed, the uptime for the network is very high (%?). As devices broadcast packets of data, surrounding base stations are able to pick up these packets. Sigfox backend would then send only an instant of it to the destination set. Since there are multiple base stations around, in the event of a single failure, there are many others around to pick up the packets. The more base stations are installed, the more stable the network will be.

Will my devices work abroad, out of Singapore?

Any device equipped with Sigfox proprietary chipset will be able to ‘roam’ freely in countries with operational Sigfox network. There are currently 32 countries on the list and is expected to cover 60 countries by 2018.

As a device maker, is there a need to specifically design the product for different countries with different wavebands? (Eg. Europe standards vs Asia vs US)

No. The marvel of this network is that it runs on the same band globally. There is no need to design different models of your product for different countries. Any device working under Singapore’s Sigfox network would work similarly in other countries.

Is there any technical knowledge required to set up devices under Sigfox network?

No. There is no technical knowledge required. All the end user has to do is put in the batteries and put it in place. It is a perfect ‘Out-of-the-box’ connectivity solution.

What is the price of the network?

Similarly, with most network operators, the higher the bandwidth required the pricier the cost would be. However, Sigfox network are so low cost that the price of the network would mostly be bundled into the device itself. The individual cost of network starts as low as $1- $12 per annum.

I have 1,000,000 devices; do I have to conduct maintenance for them over the years?

Thankfully no. These Sigfox connected devices are always designed to run seamlessly in the background for years or decades without the need for human interference. Devices can even be updated wireless through the cloud network. This takes out the cost of maintenance of running so many devices.