Building automation startup steps in the game of IoT networks
Last June, the company had secured a 10 million Euros investment round from Ouest Croissance, Go Capital, BNP PARIBAS Développement and Pays de la Loire Developpement to bring this public network to life.
Very much like Sigfox and based on its own R&D efforts, the company has developed a proprietary ultra-narrow-band radio protocol that supports very low power and very long range (50 to 60km in rural areas) bidirectional connectivity.
Initially, the radio protocol was solely developed to address the company’s customer needs and was integrated into the products it sold for building automation. But strong from its international experience, with 99% of its revenues from exports and products shipping to 40 different countries (the company says it has deployed 18 private networks abroad), Qowisio realized they too should provide country-wide IoT networks. With an estimated turnover of 15 million Euros for 2015, the company believes it could almost multiply its turnover ten folds within the next five years.
When confronted to the IoT networks marketing battle that Sigfox and Semtech LoRa have engaged, Qowisio’s co-founder Guillaume Houssay admits the decision to enter the IoT network infrastructure market was not an easy one.
"We already have customers using our connected products, and what we are doing is expanding the service we can provide them through a wider networking infrastructure", he told EEtimes Europe when presenting his company on CES Unveiled Paris’ startups exhibition floor.
"I don’t think that a data subscription services per device per year necessarily makes sense for connected objects, especially for new emerging needs such as the deployment of ephemeral sensors that may only operate or be in use for a few weeks or a few months. Licenses should be tied to the connected objects themselves, based on the value they can bring to our customers, not based on the data they generate.
Because we sell connected objects, the connectivity solution should almost come free to them, and in that sense, running our own IoT infrastructure will make our products even more attractive", Houssay said.
"Of course, large groups want to rally around standards early on, it may be fine for Bouygues or other telecom operators to have already chosen another IoT networking technology for their large-scale smart-city projects, to achieve economies of scale across very large installations, but there are many small and medium IoT devices and service companies for whom such network operator models may not prove cost-effective. Remember how, within a few months of its announcement, Free’s business model had completely disrupted the telecoms market", he concludes.
Nevertheless, early October the company has joined the LoRa alliance, announcing the integration of Semtech’s LoRa technology into dual mode UNB/LoRa gateways that will equip its public IoT network, so it would not lock its customers into its unique proprietary solution.
In the future, the company also has the ambition to deploy its own 5G cellular technology, claiming it could give better visibility to IoT device creators with regard to the economic model of having their devices connected.
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