Plastimo, a specialist in safety equipment for recreational boating, and the IoT operator Sigfox are rolling out a global geolocation solution (available from 2020) that will cover all the world’s oceans, with the aim of improving safety at sea.
“Our challenge is to improve safety at sea, by using the potential of connected solutions, and make our products accessible to as many sailors as possible,” explains Frédéric Blaudeau, Marketing Director at Plastimo. “By combining the expertise of our two companies, we can offer the boating industry an integrated, complete and innovative solution.”
The partners’ goal is to embed connected technology into Plastino’s safety equipment to enable sailors and seafarers that go overboard or are ship wrecked to be located faster, more reliably and at an affordable price. For the solution to be viable, the life jackets have to be comfortable, as well as efficient, and easy to use. Given the use case, it’s also important the equipment does not require heavy or bulky batteries.
The answer is to connect the Plastimo life jackets and rafts via Sigfox’s terrestrial network (which will work for locating sailors that are tens of kilometres from shore) or via its network of nanosatellites (provided by Eutelsat) for those in the wider oceans.
Commenting on the partnership, Patrick Carson, MD of Sigfox France says: “Today, Sigfox is able to meet the demand for both innovative and affordable connectivity solutions. Based on Sigfox technology, Plastimo can now differentiate its products for general consumers, while also developing high-end equipment for increasingly demanding professional markets.”
This deployment is a great example of a practical application of IoT technology that is typical of Sigfox. Many of its existing use case are around tracking and tracing valuable objects. With this use case it is extending geolocation, track & trace to life jackets and life rafts (and by extension the people in them).
Its LPWAN technology is ideal for IoT scenarios that require long battery lives, low-cost connectivity but accurate geolocation. Its 65-country footprint and ability to provide seamless terrestrial and satellite connectivity means that it is well placed to support this type of IoT application that requires a global connectivity solution.
This solution has potential to be expanded – for example to the cruise ship industry to improve safety as a low cost to the company. Cruise ships, in particular, often have trouble locating passengers that go overboard, which not only has tragic consequences but also damages their brand. It also points to a whole market for tracking and tracing humans participating in leisure activities such as hiking, climbing and other sports in remote locations.