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Thursday, April 07, 2016

SIGFOX teams with Microsoft to use Azure IoT Hub

By Nick Flaherty

Deal allows customers to connect, monitor and control millions of IoT assets

With 7m devices connected to the Internet of Things, SIGFOX is one of the world’s leading IoT providers, so the fact that it is opening up its SIGFOX Cloud is significant.

The company’s unique solution is based on a dedicated global network of low power radio connectivity, and up until now you had to sign up with the company's own cloud service for the real-time analytics and to intelligently automate operations. 

Now the company has developed a 'cloud-to-cloud integration' to Microsoft's Azure IoT Hub, which provides an easy and secure way to connect and control millions of devices. The collaboration allows users to access both SIGFOX’s low-power, wide-area network and the power of advanced analytics and storage on Microsoft Azure to collect, analyse and visualize large quantities of operational data produced by their connected devices and applications.

The deal makes a lot of sense for large operators who want to develop their own analytics using the Azure Hub rather than the SIGFOX system. 

“Integration with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub in SIGFOX’s Cloud is a key step in the evolution of the IoT, providing customers with a great alternative to investing large amounts of resources to develop and manage data storage and management themselves,” said Stuart Lodge, SIGFOX executive vice president global sales and partners. “We are thrilled to have Microsoft as part of our global ecosystem as it will empower our customers’ asset management tool efficiency and lower their costs”.

“The rapid proliferation of connected devices can raise challenges in bringing together disparate data sources, handling the scale of the aggregate stream, and ensuring a variety of platforms and protocols work together harmoniously,” said Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft corporate vice president of developer platform & evangelism and chief evangelist. “Our collaboration with SIGFOX enables Microsoft Azure IoT customers to more easily integrate devices connected to the SIGFOX network in their existing solutions.”

SIGFOX and Microsoft are also working together on both startup opportunities and large-scale joint projects with customers around the world, including
  • The “Connect your City” hackathon in San Francisco, when 150 participants developed prototypes of connected hardware utilizing the network and the platform. The four winning teams developed smart solutions for the City of San Francisco, which is covered by the SIGFOX network.
  • System integrator Econocom enables the French company Servair to improve logistics efficiency and better secure Paris Orly Airport runways. The innovative logistics solution uses a network of connected buttons for sending parcel-removal notifications to Servair employees.
  • At Grand Lyon M├ętropole in France, a solution developed by Exakis measures real-time air quality in the city via sensors attached to buses and trams. The Lyon Air platform, to be launched soon, is fully monitored in Azure.
  • A programme developed by the IoT consulting firm Eridanis allows GRT Gaz, one of Europe’s biggest natural gas transportation companies, to continuously monitor the condition of its distribution network through connected terminals. The terminals immediately transmit signals, if sensors detect any changes in their position.

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