What is IoT?

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to objects that communicate with other objects and computers through a network. It is a platform that connects the physical world to the virtual world, resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit. These “things” include any objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators that can send and receive data. 

Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are commonly used connectivity options, but these networks are often high power and expensive to adopt and maintain. As our need for data collection expands, we need technologies that are energy and cost efficient, so that they can be adopted massively globally.

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IoT

How does IoT work?

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). And so, 4 billion IoT devices have been forecasted to rely on LPWAN technologies by 2025! Learn about Charles Reed Anderson, the worldwide recognised IoT industry thought leader.

What kind of object works 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 applications for IoT?

IoT can have many possible applications, such as:

Health: 
– home security monitoring,
– connected defibrillator box,
– care button…

Buildings:
– facility management,
– door monitoring,
– smoke alarm…

Agriculture:
– crop management,
– flood monitoring,
– cattle management…

Environment:
– air monitoring,
– water monitoring,
– bush-fire monitoring…

Cities: 
– parking management,
– bin monitoring,
– manhole monitoring…

Living: 
– sensor devices,
– trackers, 
– security… 

Utilities:
– smart metering,
– water irrigation,
– utilities metering…

Industry:
– preventive maintenance,
– asset tracking,
– connected helmet…

How many devices are connected to IoT networks?

Currently there are an estimated 20 billion devices connected to IoT networks globally, and it should 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 preventive maintenance. Then 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 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.

Resources

Cellular IoT: IoT using the cellular network such as 4G or 5G.

Critical IoT:
IoT answering low-latency use cases such as car accident, or healthcare.

LPWAN: Low Power Wide Area Network. Ideal to transmit small amount of data accross the world.

Massive IoT:
IoT deployed widely, particularly in remote places, with a very low energy consumption.

Sigfox: Sigfox is the name of a worldwide proprietary LPWAN network.

UnaBiz

What is 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 and 94% in Taiwan, and will be looking to further strengthen our coverage in the near future through aggressive network deployment and testing.

What about the IoT ecosystem in Singapore and Taiwan?

UnaBiz currently has more than 80 partners within its ecosystem in Singapore, and more than 65 in Taiwan. These partners provide value add services to the IoT industry through research and development of new solutions and devices.

Rebranding

Why did UnaBiz rebrand?

Over the last 3 years, UnaBiz has grown exponentially, in both Singapore and Taiwan. With a simple logo and name, the founding team made a name for ourselves and made an impact on the ecosystem. As we grew, we navigated and explored our own identity discovering wonderful values and catchphrases that defined us such as “Less is More”. 

Post Series A, the management team saw an opportunity to revisit our strengths and weaknesses to enhance our brand identity, update our mission and values. With expansion on the horizon, the time has come for the rebranding to be unveiled for what is coming next: UnaBiz 2.0

What did the branding exercise involve?

A branding consultancy firm – Bonsey Design — was hired to lead the rebranding of UnaBiz. The rebranding process started with extensive research and stakeholder consultation, both internally and externally, including 1-1 interviews and surveys with management, key investors, strategic partners and team members. These people are closest to our organizations and who know it best; their involvement helps us to more effectively communicate our organizational identity through our new brand.

The results were then reviewed and crystalized into a branding approach by Bonsey Design, who then proposed possible new logo designs that best suit our strategic directions, and is a good representation of our brand identity. We have almost completed the redesigning of all our corporate communication assets and we are eager to share this with all our stakeholders.

Why is the UnaBiz name staying the same but the logo updated?

The current brand mark – the brainchild of the founding partners, has served the business well. The results from our stakeholder surveys and research efforts conducted by our branding consultant identified that there is a high level of brand equity in our name “UnaBiz” – it is recognised as a leader in the IoT field, with a strong association to partnerships. The bright orange symbol of our logo has also become iconic and synonymous with the energy we bring to the ecosystem, hence the management’s decision to refresh the brand mark without changing our name. 

What does the new logo mean?

The new brand visual is clean, simple and professional. To focus on the brand name, the tagline and the icon/symbol that represents connectivity has been removed. By decluttering, we have achieved a new logo that is modern and focused – a representation of a clear strategic direction. 

The colourful brand mark was toned down in the new logo to reflect maturity and reliability. However, our energetic and fun spirit is retained in a distinctive orange triangle that highlights the brandmark. This is also a reminder to the company to always have passion in everything we do.

What does this rebranding mean to all your stakeholders?

We recognize that this rebranding exercise marks a step towards a new beginning, but we want to emphasize that this refresh in no way takes away the history and founding principles of our founding members. Our mission is to:

“Unite People & Technology to Create Impact on a Massive Scale”

Going forward UnaBiz will continually emphasize on our core values; Unite, Open & Agile, to deliver our promise to our partners and clients. This will be an aspect of our efforts to honour those who helped make our organization what it is today – a key driving force in the industry.

When will you be using the new logo?

With effect immediately, our new logo will be updated in both digital and print, including our social media channels and website www.unabiz.com and miscellaneous stationery suites for both Singapore and Taiwan.

You may now download our new brand logo and brand guidelines here.

Will all your promotional materials change?

We will be updating all our promotional materials over a period of several months to reflect the new brand identity.  In the interim, you will see an overlap between our former names and logos and our new names and logos.  

In anticipation of a full rebranding of all our promotional materials through this exercise, we have been making only minor updates to our communication pieces for the last few years.

How long will it take to complete the rebranding project?

We expect that the implementation of the new logos will take place over a period of several months

Sigfox & 0G

What is LPWAN?

LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network. It is a low bandwidth network, its purpose is low power consumption, high efficiency and long ranges. Therefore this network is the best for IoT as it provides the benefit of connectivity through low power consumption, enabling devices to stay connected for years or decades through simple batteries.

Different networks for different uses

What is 0G?

What is 1G 2G 3G 4G and 5G? The ‘G’ here stands for the Generations of mobile network. 0G or otherwise known as ‘zero generation’ is essentially about using radio telephone, that is pre-cellular. 

In current times, 0G network is represented by an array of Low Power Wide Area Network (low-bandwidth wireless network) that is specifically designed to connect simple, low-powered IoT devices to the Internet, cost efficiently, at a massive scale. 

Why go for low bandwidth when there is high bandwidth 4G (even 5G) network available?

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

Will my devices work abroad, outside of Singapore and Taiwan?

Any device equipped with Sigfox proprietary chipset will be able to ‘roam’ freely in countries with operational Sigfox network. There are currently 65 countries on the list and it’s still going up!

How secure is the Sigfox network?

The unique thing about this network is that there is no synchronization between base station and device. Instead, the device broadcasts radio signals 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 choose when to communicate and at which frequency, which protects it from hackers sending targeted malicious commands.

Can we run a cyber attack by hacking a Sigfox device?

  • No. Sigfox devices do not have an IP address. They are not connected to the Internet. They cannot be used as a vector of attack of a global system. What happened with baby monitors (massive DDoS attack on Dynn servers) could not, by nature, happen through Sigfox devices.
  • Sigfox devices can send 12 bytes at a time and receive up to 32 bytes a day >> downloading malware on Sigfox devices becomes impossible.

What are security recommendations and support Sigfox and operators are bringing to enterprises willing to deploy an end to end solution?

We are applying the same security best practices we are recommending our customer:

1) Security by default (no IP devices)
2) Security by design: running risk evaluation of our overall system, implementing security countermeasures:
-DDoS protection
-Authentication / Integrity / Confidentiality of data transiting from a device to an application
-Continuous improvement: yearly penetration tests and cybersecurity audit

Leverage on Sigfox partners: Sigfox is partnering with Kudelski Security consulting, expert in security expertise and risk evaluation. Sigfox customers can benefit from this expertise.

What are risk mitigations against the vulnerabilities Sigfox customers might face?

  • Data vulnerabilities is about integrity (data sent are the data received: forged message detection), confidentiality (sensitive data cannot be intercepted)
    – By design, Sigfox provides AES 128 based message authentication, an anti-replay mechanism
    – Optionally, Sigfox provides a payload encryption mechanism from the device to the cloud. Customers can then implement data confidentiality when required by their sensitive application.
  • Physical security, Sigfox has built a network of partners and experts in security (ST Micro, WiseKey, Trusted Objects), who can provide additional tamper resistant security using secure elements in the device (protect credentials).

What are the Sigfox network specifications?

Sigfox network operates on license-free sub-GHz ISM band using Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) modulation to exchange radio messages over the air. Messages are transferred at a data rate of 100 or 600 bits/s, depending on region. The combination of UNB modulation and low bit rate allows the network to achieve high network capacity and high sensitivity of its receivers, enabling long range transmission.

  • Frequency bands: 920.8Mhz Uplink, 922.3Mhz Downlink (License-free ISM band)
  • Messages: Up to 140 uplink messages per device per day up and 4 downlink messages per device per day (Downlink requires device to initiate)
  • Maximum Payload format per message: 12 bytes uplink from device, 8 bytes downlink to device (Device ID Key and time stamp are included in the Sigfox message header)
  • Data rate: 600 bits per second
  • Maximum power radiated per device: 24 dBm (ERP)
  • Battery life: Up to 15 years depending on number of connections, sensor type and size
  • Subscription fee: as low as US$1 /device/year (depending on volume of devices and number of connections per day)

*List of countries in RCZ4: Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan

Is it truly wireless with Sigfox?

The Sigfox chipset embedded into devices enables seamless wireless connection. Furthermore, 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 and how stable is it?

Through the unique Sigfox network design, the network availability is very high at 99.8% where there is coverage. As devices broadcast radio signals, multiple base stations within proximity 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.

As a device maker, is there a need to specifically design the product for 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 setup devices under Sigfox network?

No. There is no technical knowledge required. The end user just needs to put in the batteries. So it is a perfect ‘Out-of-the-box’ connectivity solution.

What is the price of the network?

Similar to most network operators, the higher the bandwidth required the pricier it would be. However, Sigfox network is so low cost that the price of the network would mostly be bundled into the device itself. The individual cost of the 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. You can update devices wireless through the cloud network. This takes out the cost of maintenance of running so many devices.