Kyocera launches low-cost IoT services in Japan, in partnership with Sigfox network

April 6, 2017
New LPWA service is now available in Tokyo, to be rolled out nationwide by 2020, and will contribute to the advent of a safer and more comfortable society, contend the companies.

Japan's Kyocera Corp. announced that its subsidiary, Kyocera Communication Systems Co., Ltd. (KCCS) has started providing Internet of Things (IoT) network services in Japan based on the Sigfox global IoT network. The service is now available in Tokyo, Kawasaki City, Yokohama City and Osaka City, to be further planned for Japan’s 36 major cities by early 2018 and nationwide by 2020 with an annual sales target of JPY10 billion by FY2021.

The IoT market continues to grow worldwide with the number of connected devices estimated to reach around 53 billion by 2020, according to figures by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. However, there continue to be barriers to mass adoption for use in locations with no electric power source, especially for applications such as sensors with extremely low data volumes. In order to address those issues, KCCS is deploying the Sigfox LPWA [low power wide area] network which the company says "brings a breakthrough IoT solution with the lowest costs and longest battery life — two barriers to entry for many companies in Japan seeking to leverage mass IoT."

According to a press release, the Sigfox network will be targeting the following IoT services and applications in Japan: "Utilities - Remote meter reading and water leakage detection; Retail - Remote monitoring for vending machine repair and restocking; Environmental -Monitoring for temperature, precipitation, wind, and river levels; Logistics & Transportation - Container, pallet and chassis location information management; Assets - Tracking and tracing rental equipment in case of loss or theft; Medical - mHealth applications such as data collection and monitoring, and monitoring of the elderly, children and pets; Agricultural - Monitoring of greenhouse temperature and humidity, soil condition monitoring and machinery management.

The service has already made an impact in Japan with a variety of applications deployed or currently being tested. For example, for a smart parking system with OPTEX Company Limited, coin-operated parking spaces in Tokyo use smart vehicle detection sensors connected by Sigfox. Each parking space has OPTEX's vehicle detection sensor, “ViiK,” to directly notify the cloud server of its usage and vacancy. "Eliminating work associated with trenching and cabling underground, the parking management system can be installed with less cost and less time," contends Kyocera.

Similarly, for a temperature monitoring platform with Ai-Cynap Co., Ltd., Kyocera says that a temperature monitoring case study of a local home delivery pizza chain is being performed. Especially, the temperature of refrigeration and freezer facilities and working spaces are being monitored; by performingtemperature monitoring more closely, it becomes possible to maintain higher food quality. Temperature data, such as pizza dough, is sent to the cloud every 15 minutes and monitored with a special application.

The partnership marks the first availability of the Sigfox network in the fast-growing Japanese market, which is the third largest IoT market in the world behind the U.S. and China, according to Machina Research as cited by Kyocera. KCCS has formed partnerships with around 70 companies from various fields such as device makers and IoT service providers.

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