Interview : Maxime Schacht from Sigfox’s Hacking House
The Hacking House is a three-month program in which entrepreneurs, freelancers and students solve concrete problems for sponsors. To achieve that, the participants develop IoT solutions.
To learn more about it, we interviewed Maxime Schacht. He is Business Operations Manager at Sigfox. Maxime explained the concept of the Hacking House. He also highlighted Wisebatt’s contribution to this year’s promotion.
- Could you introduce yourself? What are your missions at Sigfox?
I am Business Operations Manager for the Sigfox adoption team. The team’s mission is to encourage the adoption of Sigfox’s technology at universities, with developers and start-ups that make IoT. I am the right-hand man of the Chief Adoption Officer. I coordinate all the activities related to the adoption, and I volunteered to launch the third Hacking House of Sigfox in Paris.
2. On the Hacking House’s website, you point out that the purpose of the program is to solve problems that do not have an existing solution. Can you give us examples of problems that you are trying to solve?
Many major companies know that IoT can solve their problems. But they do not have the ability to develop IoT internally. One of our sponsors at the Hacking House this year is Total. The company is asking us to help them improve the control of their logistics. Our students will look at a draft solution to offer them. They will then get feedback from the company to develop the best IoT solution for this specific challenge.
“One of our sponsors at the Hacking House of this year is Total. The company is asking us to help them improve the control of their logistics.”
3. How does the Hacking House Intensive Program goes, and what are the disciplines on which you train the participants?
During the onboarding stage, we introduce them to Sigfox. We will also give them various trainings such as design thinking and fast prototyping, as well as power management through Wisebatt. We also have partners such as STMicroelectronics, that will teach them the Microprocessor and sensors parts, a must in IoT. Following that, students will have an appointment each week with a mentor.
These experts are mainly part of the “IoT Agency”, our internal team. We help students acquire an approach focused on ROI. They mostly have a technical background. So they are not necessarily business-oriented when starting this type of project. The real challenge is to have a technical solution at the right price.
4. In terms of prototyping, what are the technologies that you use at Sigfox ?
The technologies we use affect the entire IoT value chain. It starts from the electronic aspect with semiconductors. There is also a radio aspect that is essential to communicate with the Sigfox network. We are increasingly trying to promote technologies around energy harvesting.
One of the biggest challenges in IoT is battery life. Even if we reach a lifespan of several years, we want to push it even further.We also use various technologies around data processing. All that is related to machine-learning and artificial intelligence.
5. Wisebatt is a partner and sponsor of this year’s Hacking House. What will the company bring to the participants?
It is not easy to exactly measure the power consumption of an IoT solution when it is developed. And the battery life has an impact on the maintenance cost. For the final consumer, the financial impact is different, whether it be an IoT device that lasts two years on the field or five years.
It’s important to know about this early on when designing a solution. We can still change the parameters and components to achieve the battery life expected by the customer. And that’s where Wisebatt steps in. Wisebatt allows us to estimate battery life at the beginning of the design cycle.
“What I liked most about Wisebatt is the fact that libraries are very comprehensive. They include all the possible components that are used by Sigfox.”
6. What features of the tool will be most useful for the program participants?
What I liked most about Wisebatt is the fact that its library is very comprehensive. It include all the possible components that are used by Sigfox. Wisebatt worked closely with our adoption team. And over time, Wisebatt sourced all the necessary libraries for the Sigfox development. We promote it within our business ecosystem.
The feature that we will mainly use during the Hacking House is the battery life estimation. I know that this aspect is very critical in IoT, both at the technical and at the business level. It impacts the maintenance that we will have to do on the field. Changing batteries on a device that is very far from the headquarters of a company will cost a lot of money.
7. How do you see the future of the Hacking House?
Today, the three Hacking Houses that we organized in Chicago, Paris and Taipei are used as showcases, but we want to make it a franchise model. We already have interested actors in various countries who want to replicate the success of the Hacking House.
This concerns any company or province that intends to have a pool of innovation or startups that emerge around these issues. At Sigfox, we will give them the complete recipe for the success of the Hacking House. We will make our trainings and the program available so that they can replicate the success of the Hacking House in their country or city.