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The Internet of Things Is Getting Its Own Wireless Networks

The Internet of Things enjoyed a large growth spurt last week with a little-noticed announcement that several million home-security systems in Spain will soon connect to a nearly completed network built by Sigfox. The startup specializes in understanding the particular communications needs of water meters, electronic billboards, and burglar alarms. It’s the kind of work likely to become common.

There will be over 20 million devices designed to automatically relay information over the Internet by 2022, according to Machina Research. For most of these “Things,” traditional wireless Internet networks will be a pretty poor choice. Wireless carriers such as Verizon and AT&T have dedicated most of their resources to building advanced cellular networks that are designed to carry huge amounts of data to and from smartphones. Maintaining a connection to these networks burns through batteries, and wireless operators charge large sums for monthly data plans.