Bringing Sigfox IoT projects to life
HELIOT Group is a telecommunications company that delivers Sigfox 0G cellular connectivity through a network of 800 base stations deployed across Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Unlike short-range bearers like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, Sigfox low-power/wide-area (LPWA) transmissions can send small data packets across tremendous distances — 3-10km in urban areas, and as much as 50km in rural areas; And unlike cellular, Sigfox allows devices to connect as needed to any base station in range
While these tiny data packets may not be not well-suited to consumer applications like gaming or video streaming, the combination of low power draw, extraordinary range, and distributed network architecture is ideal for the small sensing and actuation devices of the Internet of Things.
HELIOT helps bring Sigfox IoT projects to life by connecting millions of low-power IoT devices with strong, reliable connectivity that is monitored 24/7 for quality assurance.
HELIOT Network Operations and Pre-Sales Engineer
The Soracom pay-as-you-go model fits our business case and operational needs perfectly.
Sigfox now connects over 10 million devices in over 65 countries and counting, showcasing the value of low-power, wide-area connectivity, especially for IoT use cases like asset tracking, backup connectivity and building monitoring.
However, delivering quality Sigfox connectivity can present its own challenges. For instance, while many IoT projects may require multi-national coverage, in a fragmented market like Europe this might require establishing a separate carrier agreement in each country served. In addition, relying on a single cellular operator (or single type of connectivity) exposes IoT projects to the risk of a single point of network failure that could result in lost data, legal liability, or even threats to public safety.
For HELIOT’s network deployment team, the challenge boils down to one that will be familiar to any business: how to ensure best-in-class quality of service while keeping costs down for end users.
To ensure optimal service levels, HELIOT designed its network to support multiple connectivity options at each base station, with several network operators supported to ensure continuous connection.
This establishes a failover failover system that can automatically switch sources. If connectivity lapses on one network due to an outage or other technical issue, HELIOT can roll over to another network to ensure no disruption of service to their end customers.
To achieve this, HELIOT needed a back-end cellular connectivity solution that could provide secure, reliable coverage in all of the countries they serve, at a price point that would integrate well in their existing service.
HELIOT’s experience working with multiple wireless providers helped their network team to recognize very quickly the advantages that Soracom offers. Global multi-carrier coverage was an obvious selling point, along with Soracom’s rapid deployment capability and Sigfox integration – no other IoT cellular provider offers direct access to self-service Sigfox directly through the User Console. These capabilities allowed HELIOT to quickly provision over 225 Sigfox base stations across Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.
Given that the Soracom IoT SIM is provisioned specifically as a failover resource and should ideally be used only rarely, Soracom’s pay-as-you-go pricing model was especially appealing. As HELIOT Network Operations and Pre-Sales Engineer, Gildas Seimbille explains, “The Soracom pay-as-you-go model fits our business case and operational needs perfectly.”
Managing a multi-national wireless network takes a lot of work. A partner like Soracom that can be relied on to provide simple, reliable, high-quality connectivity that works across national borders makes a meaningful contribution. In addition, the Soracom management console and API help to improve transparency and give the HELIOT network team control over every SIM at all times.
Over the next two years, HELIOT will successfully supply Sigfox coverage to 85% of the population in Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
In addition, with growing global demand for Sigfox IoT connectivity, HELIOT is aiming to expand their operations to other countries, providing new markets with strong and reliable connectivity that can help IoT projects thrive.