Internet of Things network to cut energy use


Australian company Thinxtra has received $10 million in funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to help scale up a new Internet of Things (IoT) network focused on cutting energy use.

Thinxtra is deploying the world-leading Sigfox Low Powered Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology, which is part of a global network connecting billions of devices to the internet while consuming as little energy as possible, as simply as possible.

CEFC chief executive officer Ian Learmonth said finance for Thinxtra would help build essential support technology set to play a key role in transitioning the Australian economy to net zero emissions.

“Australia is a vast country with a scattered population. A large amount of energy is expended in physically monitoring millions of pallets, waste containers, gas canisters, farm gates, livestock and more,” Mr Learmonth said.

“By providing a low-cost solution for tracking and monitoring these assets, we can save a huge amount of emissions.

“We’re talking about the potential to operate smarter cities, more energy efficient and liveable buildings, better monitoring of environmental assets, better health monitoring and more sustainable agricultural practices.”

Thinxtra chief executive officer Loic Barancourt said the company is on track to have a network that covers 95 per cent of the Australian population by the end of the year.

“We will be the low power wide area network of choice for IoT and we’re aiming for 17 million objects connected by the end of 2022,” Mr Barancourt said.

“Thinxtra’s IoT network provides the lowest device-to-cloud connectivity, at the lowest level of energy consumption and is complementary to Bluetooth, RFID, 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi technologies.

“Our network has been designed with IoT in mind. It is open and an extension of the global Sigfox network, based on antennae and base station infrastructure that is independent of existing telco networks.”

The CEFC’s $10 million commitment, through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, is part of Thinxtra’s $20 million Series B capital raising.

CEFC Investment Development director Blair Pritchard said a whole range of devices already on the market – including GPS locators, temperature sensors and water meters – can be operated more efficiently through the LPWAN technology.

“The proliferation of devices that enable remote monitoring, tracking and operation is transforming the way we live,” Mr Pritchard said.

“However, connecting them to existing internet services can be a bit like using a four-lane highway when a footpath would suffice, or hiring a whole bus to send one person to the shops.

“Thinxtra’s LPWAN technology requires far less power and provides much longer battery life for devices that only require the transmission of small amounts of data and intermittent internet connectivity.

“This low-cost technology will make it economically viable to connect a vast number of lower-value assets to a network over great distances. We see it as an important addition to the rapidly developing IoT ecosystem.”

More than 150 local businesses have already partnered with Thinxtra to leverage its network technology to create operational efficiencies in a wide range of industries.