Belgium now fully covered by ENGIE’s IoT network
This is a first in Belgium. ENGIE estimates that within 5 years, 10 million objects in Belgium will be communicating via its network.
The ENGIE Group is stepping up its transformation to become a leader in the energy transition. ENGIE intends to play a key role in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the digitalisation of energy applications. In this connection, in June 2015, ENGIE announced its intention to become involved in the IoT in Belgium. A year-and-a-half later, ENGIE’s low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) now covers all of Belgium. Based on Sigfox technology, ENGIE is the exclusive operator running Belgium’s IoT global network via its subsidiary ENGIE M2M.
The strength of ENGIE’s network is that ENGIE M2M can support national and international projects for its customers at a very low cost. The Sigfox network is already operational in more than 20 countries. The absence of roaming within the Sigfox network is an advantage of this technology, with no additional cost being charged to the customer for sending data across Belgium’s borders. No technical measure is required to communicate when abroad.
The objects that communicate via the ENGIE M2M network do not require a SIM card or gateway. Finally, the connection proposed by ENGIE via Sigfox needs between 200 and 600 times less energy than conventional mobile networks. Objects working on batteries can therefore have up to 20 years of autonomy!
The IoT is already a reality for many companies. For example, in the Waterlink pilot project in Antwerp, intelligent water meters simplify the monitoring of consumption, can detect leaks and facilitate both the maintenance of installations and sustainable water consumption. If the test is conclusive, nearly 205,000 meters will benefit from the application this year.
Other customers (companies and local authorities) are currently testing an array of applications: smart parking meters, smart energy meters, smart water meters, track-and-trace solutions for following high-value goods throughout the supply chain, smart parking signs, access control applications, smart dustbins, air-quality sensors, leak-detection systems, oil and water tank level sensors, smoke detectors, alarm systems, motion detectors, etc.
TankU: launch of an application for connected tanks
In 2016, ENGIE Cofely decided together with ENGIE Lab and ENGIE Electrabel to develop an IoT application called TankU, which uses the Sigfox network to measure the contents of oil tanks without the need for manual intervention. Intelligent gauges have been designed. Equipped with a Sigfox network card, they use ultrasound to measure the level inside the tank. The resulting measurements are sent via the Sigfox network to a platform developed by ENGIE Lab, where the data are converted to indicate the number of litres in the tank.
The IoT application offers multiple benefits. Automatic, daily measurement enables a better follow-up and much quicker interventions in the event of an anomaly. The lids of the tanks don’t need to be lifted to take any measurements, and the technician no longer comes into contact with the oil. The application also enables the inclusion of automatic alarms, for example to indicate when a tank reaches a critical level. It also automatically generates reports, giving the customer a clearer overview of its monthly consumption.
The application was tested at the Coxyde air base and is now also being used at the Lombardsijde military base, as well as in tanks of chemical products in some swimming pools, to measure their levels. This success will serve as a basis for the development of volume measurement applications in other types of storage facility, such as water tanks.
ENGIE Electrabel recently launched Nexxtender Mobile, a mobile charging system for electric cars. This is a totally unique, smart, mobile charging solution that uses Sigfox wireless technology to communicate with a management platform, which allows the user to consult all the information relating to the consumption and recharging of his/her vehicle. Sigfox technology enables the storage and transmission of all data, even when the vehicle is recharged in difficult places such as car parks or cellars, where there is often no Internet connection.
ENGIE M2M is also interested in autonomous smoke detectors that communicate with the Sigfox network. Thanks to the signal sent to Sigfox by the smoke detector, the user can be warned in real time as soon as smoke forms, and in the manner of his/her own choosing (a phone call, text message, e-mail or notification), all without the need for a text message subscription. The technical characteristics of Sigfox even enable the signal to reach places with no Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or GSM coverage, as well as in the event of a power failure.
Blue also uses Sigfox technology. This is a Belgian product designed to ensure the optimal quality of water in swimming pools, monitoring water temperature, pH and salt level or chlorine values. An app on the smartphone allows these data to be followed in real time and to suggest solutions in the event of an anomaly occurring.
Applications offer countless possibilities. In addition to applications for large companies, towns and municipalities, ENGIE M2M also develops apps for residential customers.
ENGIE M2M estimates that within 5 years, 10 million objects in Belgium will communicate via its network.
ENGIE press contacts:
Anne-Sophie HUGE (fr)
Tel.: +32 2 518 60 20
Geetha KEYAERT (nl)
Tel.: +32 2 518 65 04
Brigitte LAGROU (ENGIE Services)
Tel.: +32 478 82 35 02