Taichung mayor aims for ‘smart’ ties on France trip

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Jun 20, 2017 - Page 3

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), who is on an official trip to France, invited French Internet of Things (IoT) developer Sigfox to set up a research and development (R&D) center in the city, the Taichung City Government said in a statement yesterday.

Sigfox’s presence would help Taichung accelerate its efforts to rebrand itself as a “smart” city, Lin said during a visit to the company’s headquarters in Toulouse in southwestern France, the statement said.

Lin’s visit to Toulouse, his first stop in the European nation, focused on exchanges relating to city governance.

Sigfox has embraced advanced IoT applications, and Taichung could work with the company in both software and hardware development to meet the needs of a “smart” city, the mayor said.

The city government plans to establish a “smart” industrial park in Shuinan District (水湳) that would focus on low carbon emissions and innovation, and lead the city’s adoption of IoT, Lin said.

“Smart” city efforts are to include the installation of “smart” electricity meters, “smart” traffic control systems and a “smart” street light network, while providing “smart” medical services to residents, the mayor added.

If Sigfox opens an R&D center in Taichung, the company would be able to work with many tech firms working on IoT development, paving the way for the city to embrace a wide range of applications in big data and cloud computing, Lin said.

Toulouse is also home to Airbus and Sigfox provides the plane maker with production software, maintenance and logistics.

Taichung specializes in machinery production and a possible cooperation with Sigfox would improve the city’s industrial development, Lin said.

The company utilizes IoT technology to develop low-cost and energy-efficient products, and has a presence in the global market, Sigfox executive vice president of networks and operators Rodolphe Baronnet-Fruges said

He said the firm is looking forward to working with Taichung.

Sigfox has about 360 employees, half of which work on R&D, and is working with telecoms and governments in more than 30 nations, the company said, adding that the number is expected to rise to 60 by the end of next year.