Madrid, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands are leading the implementation of the Internet of Things in Spain. The three communities account for 46% of the connected devices, according to the first map of the IoT in Spain prepared by the French operator Sigfox, the world’s leading provider of connectivity for the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). The company claims that it has 40% of the market in Spain, according to data from the CNMC.
To carry out the study, the multinational has analyzed the more than 4.2 million connected objects that it has in Spain, which represent 23% of all those that Sigfox has worldwide (18 million). Its network, which connects objects and helps companies to use and obtain value from the data of their physical assets, currently covers 75% of Spanish territory and 93% of the population.
According to Rebecca Crowe, head of Sigfox in Spain, the map shows that Madrid accounts for 19.3% of all devices, Barcelona 15% and the Balearic Islands 12%. They are followed by the Valencian Community, with 10.7% and Andalusia with 9.5%.
The analysis reflects a great inequality in the implementation of the IoT in the country, since the first five communities agglutinate 2 out of every 3 connected devices (66%). They are followed by the Canary Islands, with 5%, the Basque Country and Castilla y León, both with more than 4%. In contrast, Extremadura, Cantabria and La Rioja have the lowest share of implementation of IoT devices. None exceeds 1% of the total.
In this context, Crowe highlights, “the efforts being made by some of the communities most affected by depopulation and the phenomenon of empty Spain stand out, as is the case of Castilla y León, which accounts for almost 5% , mainly in the agriculture sector, but not only. For example, in the province of León, the greatest use is destined to the sector of utilities”.
According to the Sigfox map, the most mature sectors in number of connected objects are agriculture and utilities, with 27.2% and 25.8% of the total, and facilities management, with 20%. Other activities that also stand out are the automotive industry (13.2%) and retail (8.5%). Crowe also highlights how the Balearic Islands have taken positions in the IoT thanks in large part to the horeca sector. “Many projects with sensors against Covid-19 have been launched there in hotels and restaurants.”
The directive emphasizes that another very important area of work is the tracking of assets: cars, in the case of Seat and BMW (two Sigfox clients in Spain), postal shipments (in the service they provide to DHL throughout Europe) or cattle, in the case of Digitanimal. Its clients also include Stechome (for energy monitoring of homes in the Basque Country), the Madrid City Council, which has sensorized buildings to monitor CO2, and the Catalan company Systam, which has sensorized refrigerators to control the temperature of vaccines against the Covid for the Institut Català de la Salut.
Crowe points out that the map they have drawn up shows “the maturity of the IoT market in Spain, where European recovery plans have focused on the need to advance in the digitization of territories and improve our connectivity and capabilities through technology ”.
Sigfox had a turnover in Spain of six million euros in 2020, one million more than the previous year. In the country, the company has a team of 12 people and It has an alliance with Cellnex, which is in charge of the management and maintenance of its network.
“To grow, we are also doing joint Venture and riding startups around use cases that we identify with some clients ”, says the directive. Sigfox created the SafeCube company in 2019 together with Michelin and Argon Consulting to commercialize a solution to locate shipments and track their transport conditions (temperature, humidity, shocks, etc.). “We do not have joint ventures like Michelin’s in Spain, but we are trying to close agreements for the market of utilities, infrastructure and agriculture, ”continues Crowe.
The head of Sigfox in Spain believes that recent months, with the pandemic, have shown that companies must be flexible and use new technological proposals, such as low-frequency and low-cost IoT, to change their business models and be able to attack new ones markets. Thus, he gives the example of a French insurer that, thanks to sensorizing the use of cars and homes, has begun to charge its clients under the pay-per-use model and not a fixed one as up to now.
The executive acknowledges that there are risks associated with the IoT such as privacy, cybersecurity and the environment. Regarding the first two, he highlights that Sigfox’s network technology is European and “our servers and our cloud they are in Europe ”, where the data protection regulation is very severe. “We also have a back up in Spain for clients who want absolute control of their data ”.
Regarding the environmental issue, Crowe admits that this has always been an IoT challenge, because connected devices require batteries to function. “Our communication technology requires very little battery, but we are also working on solar solutions and others that do not require batteries to function.”
When the general director of Sigfox in Spain is asked why the deployment of the IoT is not going as fast as expected, she acknowledges that it has not been difficult to mature the IoT in the technical field, but it has been difficult for it to become something core for companies and to be able to launch it en masse. “Everyone knows that they have to do it to improve their current business and even create new ones, but day by day it seems to have led them to prioritize other things. Despite this, we are now seeing how the situation in recent months with the pandemic is accelerating digitization programs and, within these, those of IoT, because it is increasingly visible that these projects add value ”.
Sigfox recently closed an agreement with Google Cloud to scale its cloud infrastructure and expand its portfolio of IoT services.