There were approximately 3.9bn connected objects in use worldwide in 2014. This figure is expected to increase to 25 billion by 2020
There were approximately 3.9bn connected objects  in use worldwide in 2014. This figure is expected to increase to 25 billion by 2020
There were approximately 3.9bn connected objects in use worldwide in 2014. This figure is expected to increase to 25 billion by 2020

In Europe, French utility company Engie (formerly GDF Suez) has launched an Internet of Things (IoT) platform in partnership with Sigfox, which will install, operate and maintain the cellular network in Belgium.

The IoT platform will be used to deliver low-cost machine-to-machine (M2M) communication services to its Belgian customers.

The utility company believes that IoT will open up opportunities and new fields of development for utilities.

Belgium-based energy corporation Electrabel, also a subsidiary of the formerly known GDF Suez, will also examine opportunities to integrate the IoT within its B2B and B2C solutions, providing value for money to its customers.

Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ENGIE commented: “We want to take a strong position in the Internet of Things industry.

“The creation of this new company “ENGIE M2M”, which represents 4 M€ investment, demonstrates also our commitment to Belgium, an historical market for the Group”

IoT driving efficiency in metering and buildings

Engie had participated in a Sigfox’s recent €100m (US$115m) round of funding, money it will use to build out its network in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

Global provider of cellular connectivity for IoT has already expanded its operation in France, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and has plans to deploy its network in the US.

In May this year, another subsidiary of Engie, Cofely Services, announced a partnership with Sigfox, integrating its ultra-narrowband network to drive energy efficiency in buildings and smart metering.

It took the decision to integrate SIGFOX’s wireless, ultra-narrowband (UNB) network to offer all types of buildings follow-up services, management and smart metering to optimize their energy performance.

Through the implementation of the IoT network, Cofely Services plans to connect over 100,000 objects within a three year period.

CEO of Cofely Services, Jean-Pierre Monéger said: “With SIGFOX, we open the field of possibilities. Gains in terms of installation and implementation are indeed significant, allowing us to offer our services to new buildings, such as multi-site, or buildings that are difficult to access.”

Engie hopes that by lowering the barriers to more widespread implementation of IoT connectivity, Belgian customers will be able to connect to billions of devices.