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Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity provider Sigfox will team up with GPS supplier Sonsolus and the Belgian government to provide a low-power, ultra-narrow band (UNB) network to Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth Research Station in Antarctica. The network will improve the safety and security of the scientists at the station, as well as support their research work.
The two companies were recruited by Belgium’s Polar Secretariat – the government body responsible for the Antarctic base – to support the 2015-16 Bekare expedition, which is studying climatology, geomorphology, and glaciology with the aim of improving our understanding of climate change.
The Princess Elisabeth base, which is located more than 200 km inland in a 2.5 million square kilometres region of Antarctica called Queen Maud Land, which is claimed by Norway, has been operational since 2009.
It is the only carbon neutral base in Antarctica, running on wind power and supplemented with solar energy, according to the Belgian government. The base can support a team of up to 40 people during the Antarctic summer. During winter, temperatures can reach -90⁰C, and due to its location, winds around the base can attain speeds of up to 250 km/h.
The Belare expedition will be supplied with 45 ruggedised StickNTrack GPS sensors with two long-lasting batteries each, that will connect to a low-power network through two antennae located at the stations. Sigfox’ UNB technology can deliver a signal range of 40 km in unobstructed space.
“This partnership will allow us to test technology that could be useful for the safety of our operations in Antarctica,” said Rachid Touzani, director of the Belgian Polar Secretariat. “However, the security of women and men we send to Antarctica to implement key scientific projects for the preservation of mankind is a top priority for the Belgian Polar Secretariat.”