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Wireless carriers, such as Verizon and AT&T, have dedicated most of their resources to building advanced cellular networks that are designed to carry huge amounts of data to and from smartphones. Maintaining a connection to these networks burns through batteries, and wireless operators charge large sums for monthly data plans.
“The connection solutions we have today weren’t built for the Internet of Things,” says Thomas Nicholls, head of marketing for Sigfox. “They were built for smartphones.”
For so-called smarthome devices, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth are reasonable substitutes. But a different solution is needed for a company trying to gather small amounts of information on a regular basis from, say, thousands of solar panels in remote locations. Sigfox is a start-up working to connect these kinds of devices. It has already built nationwide networks in France and the Netherlands and is working on one for the San Francisco Bay Area and another for somewhere on the East Coast, although it won’t specify where.
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