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Internet of Things could save lives during Antarctic expedition

The Belgian Antarctic expedition will use Sigfox's wireless tech to ensure they don't get lost in snowstorms.
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Can the internet of things do more than just let your phone control your home's lighting and temperature? It's an idea that Sigfox is putting to the test after revealing that it's equipping an Antarctic research base with its low-power wireless network. Rather than being used to run the facilities' creature comforts, the tech will be used to connect personal GPS trackers onto the team stationed there. It's hoped that the system can be employed to prevent personnel getting separated from each other in the harsh blizzards encountered during expeditions. The only thing we're wondering is how come it's taken until 2016 before someone's been able to get a system like this working in such a dangerous environment.

Equipping a remote area with wireless gear is hardly exciting, but Sigfox has been able to do it with just two antennas. That's because the company's low-power, ultra-narrow band signals that can travel up to 40 kilometers in open space. Such equipment is ideal for critical but low-data tasks in barren wastelands like the Antarctic. The system will be tested by the 2016-16 BELARE expedition, a Belgian expedition to the region, at the Princess Elisabeth research facility (pictured). The first results of the project will be published in March, and if successful, Sigfox might find its gear in demand for projects more exciting than making sure your lights work.

[Image Credit: Philippe Siuberski/AFP/Getty]

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