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Sigfox’s Christophe Fourtet talks IoT and cooperation with Taiwanese companies

吳晴中

Sigfox CSO and cofounder Christophe Fourtet recently came to Taiwan to talk about his vision for the internet of things (IoT). Attending the National Development Council’s “Visiting Entrepreneur” event series, Fourtet also discussed future cooperation with Taiwanese enterprises and his respect for the island nation’s excellent hardware and software environment.

The purpose of the “Visiting Entrepreneur”events is to invite industry leaders to Taiwan and provide them with a platform where they can share their experiences with the public. Beyond that, the series aims at improving the island nation’s industrial ecosystem by connecting it to global trends.

The coming age of IoT

In recent years, IoT has been gradually transformed from a mere buzzword to an actual future industry. Be it highly visible tech outfits like Google or Amazon, or infrastructure providers like the French Sigfox, tech companies are pushing to universalize IoT in our lives.

However, despite the recent developments, for many actual progress in IoT is still happening too slowly. Gartner’s Dean Freeman, for instance, opined that IoT would take at least 10 years to become a mature business.

AdvanTech’s Chaney Ho, too, described the development of IoT as similar to “building a forest,” hinting at the patience that is required for investments in this future market.

Sigfox: Silently powering the IoT ecosystem of tomorrow

Christophe Fourtet’s Sigfox was founded in Toulouse, France in 2009. Besides its headquarters in France, Sigfox also has international offices in Boston, San Francisco, Munich, or Singapore, amongst others.

The company specializes in building wireless networks, with their trademark low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) set to become an industry standard.

Having raised over $300m from investors such as bpiFrance, Sigfox is actively expanding its standards internationally to power emerging IoT networks.

The technological advantage of Sigfox’s LPWAN technology is its capability to provide high capacity per MHz with low cost hardware.

Since stable network connectivity and minimum hardware requirements are basic necessities for IoT tech, LPWAN is an ideal solution for IoT’s infrastructural requirements.

On the one hand, Sigfox’s solution allows connections to multiple networks and works even across national borders.

Additionally, LPWAN does so without incurring costs for IP fees, while furthermore keeping the electricity burden down thanks to its Ultra Narrow Band technology.

Growing partnerships with Taiwan

Thanks to Taiwan’s reputation as world class locale for hardware, Taiwanese companies are naturally predisposed to be central players in the IoT segment. Unsurprisingly, as Fourtet points out, Sigfox is thus actively seeking to build partnerships on the island nation.

For example, automation computer systems company AdvanTech has been a supplier for Sigfox since 2015. Amidst Sigfox’s recent expansion, both sides are set to deepen their already profound cooperation in the future.

Asked about Sigfox’s plans in regard to Taiwan, Fourtet highlighted that while Taiwan and France share many similarities, Taiwan in fact boasts a much better integration between software and hardware.

Since France is lacking in this regard, one of Sigfox’s goals is to expand its cooperation with Taiwanese companies.

Indeed, he is hopeful that these partnerships can boost global IoT developments, allowing the tech to enter our lives much faster than analysts would predict.

Feliciana Hsu
English journalist and PR for Global Affairs

Feliciana gained her MSc of Media Power and Public Affairs from Royal Holloway, University of London.

After graduating from London, she started her career of being journalist at Business Next Media and Meet Startup @TW Website, and specializes in interviewing about innovation and technology.

Within her career, she has interviewed various experts in their field, including Mr.Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Fleur Pellerin, former French Minister of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Sir Christopher Pissarides, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economic in 2010.