Internet-of-things firm Thinxtra has been handed $10 million by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to complete the roll out of its Sigfox low powered wide area network (LPWAN) technology.
The investment is part of a $200 million Clean Energy Innovation Fund that was established by the federal government in 2016 to support technologies that would help meet its emissions reductions targets.
Thinxtra, which is backed by New Zealand-listed tech company Rakon, has been for the last 18 months rolling out its LPWAN technology aimed to support a growing ecosystem of low-cost IoT solutions to track and monitor equipment, replacing the need for industry and government to physically monitor and manage devices.
Thinxtra ecosystem vice-president Renald Gallis says the LPWAN technology was designed to complement Bluetooth, RFID, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi technologies and could drastically improve energy efficiency at a fraction of the price.
“Much like a 3G network, we install base stations on rooftops [independent of existing telco networks]. But the difference is that [the LPWAN technology] can cover a very long distance of 50 kilometres and it’s very low power friction, 100 times less than a 3G network. Also each small device is about $20 and lasts five years, and it’s used to send data through the network,” he said.
Mr Gallis said the additional funds, which are part of Thinxtra’s $20 million Series B capital raising, would help finalise the roll out of the technology over the next nine months.
“The whole idea is to finish the network so it’s fully completed. If you compare it to something like the NBN that’s not going to be finished for another 10 years, but we are working a lot faster…and we are more confident in finalising the project now that we’re fully funded,” he said.
The company claims the technology is already being used by more than 150 businesses across the country including smart water meter service companies using it to detect water leaks; those in the agriculture sector to provide data on soil, weather and environmental monitoring; and logistics firms to track and reduce food wastage.
The efforts so far by Thinxtra put it on track to achieving its goal of connecting 17 million objects by 2020 and providing its network to 95 per cent of Australia’s population.
It has so far been rolled out to 70 per cent of the Australian population and 92 per cent in New Zealand.
Other firms that have so far been granted investments under the Clean Energy Innovation Fund include WattWatchers, GreenSync, Carbon Revolution and Clean Energy Seed Fund.