Designer of Ireland’s first internet of things network, VT, raises €1.2m

25 Jan 2016

VT Networks has raised €1.2m and says it is on target to connect 1m devices by the end of 2017

VT Networks, the company that has deployed Ireland’s first nationwide dedicated internet of things (IoT) network using Sigfox technology has raised €1.2m and says it is on target to connect 1m devices by the end of 2017.

VT Networks has raised more than €1.2m this year from entrepreneurs including Suretank founder Patrick Joy (EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2013) and Dara O’Mahony of Dome Telecom. Both of VT’s founders, Mark Bannon and Will Ferguson, have won the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur regional competition this year and last. VT has also been supported by Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme.

VT Networks has set up a cellular network in Ireland very similar to that of a Vodafone or Meteor network. Unlike those networks, which are used to handling vast amounts of 3G and 4G data traffic, the VT Networks’ Sigfox network is designed to handle tiny amounts of data coming from electricity meters, kettles, washing machines, oil tanks and even doorbells.

The Sigfox Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) allows stable connectivity for millions of objects, sensors and things for the first time in Ireland, explained co-founder Will Ferguson.

Sigfox network technology was created by a French start-up of the same name and, last year, Sigfox raised $115m in investment to build an IoT network that would connect multiple devices in more than 60 countries over the next five years.

Sigfox’s low-energy wireless network connects to electricity smart meters, washing machines, thermostats and so on that are capable of emitting a small amount of data at a time.

So far, more than 7m objects are connected to the Sigfox IoT network. This includes 5m apartments in Spain in partnership with Securitas Direct.

In Ireland, VT has been rolling out the Sigfox network with RTE subsidiary 2RN.

The network currently covers 72pc of the population and 62pc of Ireland’s landmass.

“We are an innovative company working on some highly disruptive technology solutions with customers in the utility, rural crime prevention, security, insurance and healthcare sectors,” the company explained in a briefing document.

Internet of things home image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years