Thinxtra, the Australian startup backed by NZX-listed technology company Rakon that is rolling out a low powered wide radio area network for the Internet of Things has scored a global contract from Australian company Silicon Controls to monitor up to one million LPG tanks around the world.
Thinxtra is rolling out networks in Australia and New Zealand based on the proprietary Sigfox technology. Its contract with Silicon Controls will see it earn fees for services provided on these network and, through roaming agreements, on Sigfox networks elsewhere in the world.
Rakon in April invested $A5.8 million ($NZ6.0M) into Thinxtra and has an option to invest an additional $A3.0m. Thinxtra also has a partnership with Kordia. Kordia is rolling out its network in New Zealand and is reselling services on the network.
Silicon Controls presently monitors about 134,000 LPG tanks and cylinders around the world using its proprietary Gaslog technology, which operates over cellular networks. It is now also moving into the monitoring of industrial gas storage tanks and expects to increase the number of tanks on its network to more than one million over the next three years.
Silicon Controls’ CEO, Mike Neuman, told Computerworld that the company expected the Sigfox technology to dovetail with cellular “Where there is Sigfox that would be the preferable network,” he said. “Sigfox is really the only truly global IoT offering. So this deal gives us the ability to execute in all the countries where Sigfox is deployed and will deploy.”
He said that, in addition to coverage, the company saw the main advantages of Sigfox a being lower capex cost for devices, longer battery life and network longevity. “When you have tanks that are in place for 10 to 15 years you are looking for a network that lasts 10 to 15 years,” Neuman said. “Whether any cellular operator will commit to hold a 3G network for 10 to 15 years is anybody’s guess.”