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This blog post is part of a serie of three. They aim at showing you what are the kind of tools that will be available for the event and how to get ready to use them. This first one will talk about the Starter Kits. The second one will present the SIGFOX technology that you will have the luck to try out during the weekend. The third one present the 3D Printers from Dagoma that you will learn to use during this weekend. Also, we know you can’t wait for the event, and so do we. We had so much we wanted to talk about that we are going to blog about it all week long ! LET’S GO !

This post will try to give you all the informations you need about SIGFOX & the Akeru boards. I’ll be happy to discuss any SIGFOX related questions with you on friday night & during the weekend.

See you there ! 🙂

Nicolas, Dev & Maker Evangelist @SIGFOX

TL;DR

SIGFOX allows you to send 12 bytes message, up to 6 times per hour.
Processed messages are forwarded to your application using an HTTP callback or a REST API.

Ready-to-use Akeru boards (Arduino + SIGFOX module) will be available for you during the event.

They come with a tiny Arduino lib exposing a Akeru.send(‘whatever’) function

You’ll also have access to a wide range of ready-to-use sensors to build your project: temperature, distance, humidity, light, .. plus breadboard & wires.

sigfox-strategy

SIGFOX is an operated network, using the ISM band (868 MHz in Europe).
SIGFOX uses an Ultra Narrow Band modulation, optimizing the efficiency of emission & reducing the possibilities of collisions. This technology offers both a wide range of reception (tens of kms in line-ofsight), and a very low energy consumption (~15-25 mAh in TX).
The protocol is designed to be able to handle a lot of devices, be robust against interferences, and to make man-in-the-middle attacks more than hard run.
There is no notion of pairing or declaration on the network. The devices simply power on, emit, optionally wait for a response, and go back to deep sleep.

Network

France-coverage

 

SIGFOX operates its own network, meaning that you don’t have to handle all the communications issue.
Basically: you send a message, it’s received by 1+ antennas, processed & forwarded to your application.
Current coverage is nationwide in France, Spain, Netherlands.
The 10 biggest british cities area already covered too.
Rollout is in progress in Portugal & California.
Deployment in other countries will be announced in the near future.

Dedicated to the IoT

The protocol has been designed to address the specifics of the Internet of Things boom :

  • Focus on the energy efficiency
  • Ability to use a limited number of base stations to cover a great number of devices

The energy efficiency is key, as most devices wil need to be live on their batteries for months & years.
To address this,  SIGFOX allows you to send short messages, up to 12 bytes.

How to get started

You need two things to get started :

  • A SIGFOX modem
  • A subscription to our network

The easier is to use plug-and-play boards or development kits, as they come with a 1 year subscription.

Hardware

SIGFOX isn’t a hardware vendor, but has a wide variety of partners offering solutions to connect to our network.
You can use Arduino boards, like the Akeru that will be available during the Startup Weekend.
You can also use Arduino Shields (like the Atmel Atak55002 or the Akene, or RF modules Telecom Design or Telit for example).

Akeru_b3.3_Top_enFondSite-1024x593

 

During the startup weekend, you’ll have access to Akeru boards (with a valid SIGFOX subscription), plus the content of the Akeru starter kit.

  • Câble USB
  • Breadboard 400 points
  • Encodeur rotatif 24 positions (breakout board)
  • Capteur de distance à ultrason Type SR04
  • Clavier souple 20 touches
  • Capteur d’humidité du sol + câble
  • Contact magnétique de porte connecteur central
  • Kit 10 cordons 6″ M/M (x2)
  • Kit 10 cordons 6″ M/F
  • Potentiomètre rotatif linéaire 10K
  • Photorésistance 4mm
  • Capteur de basculement
  • Capteur de température et d’humidité DHT11
  • Résistances de travail

Check the previous post for full details about the available starter kits.

Getting Started with Akeru

A basic Arduino Sketch is available on github : https://github.com/nicolsc/akeru-first-message.

Basically, all you need is to call Akeru.begin(); during setup() then call Akeru.send(&data, sizeof(data)) during loop. Check the Akeru.isReady() to make sure that Akeru is ready to send data.

Retrieve your data

First step: you’ll need access to the SIGFOX backend. The available Akeru boards are already linked to activated accounts.

Contact Nicolas to get the credentials matching your Akeru.

To retrieve your data, use any of these 2 methods

HTTP Callback

  • The most efficient, as incoming data is pushed to your own app
  • A quick node+mongo bootstrap/demo app is available on Github

REST API

  • Documentation available once logged in.
  • A Postman collection will be available too.

That’s it !

Tomorrow is coming so fast ! Next post coming soon !

Damien Cavaills



  • Yule

    Very good !