Using a sole communications technology doesn\u2019t make sense in many Internet of Things (IoT) implementations, says connectivity vendor Sigfox.\nIn fact, the company, which provides Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks,\u00a0says one could use a hybrid that includes an unlicensed LPWA network along with a licensed, cellular LTE narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) or LTE Cat M1 network solution instead. That way you can support cheap, unlicensed IoT short messaging close up, as is offered by Sigfox and others, and then offload the sensor traffic to more expensive, licensed LTE cellular mobile networks as the devices move off home base, such as what happens in asset tracking, Sigfox says.\n\u201cOne size fits all is no longer valid,\u201d said Ajay Rane, vice presdient of mobile network operator business development for Sigfox, speaking at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles last week. Sigfox says a new duo chip \u2014\u00a0a multi-mode, hybrid, LTE LPWA microprocessor created with GCT Semiconductor \u2014 is now available for integration into IoT modules, and some manufacturers are in development with it.\n\nWhy hybrid IoT communications is best\nRane says many IoT communications projects are over-specified using only cellular and that Sigfox\u2019s 12 byte message limit, with transmissions at most every 10 minutes, offers significant cost, weight, and power advantages if all you\u2019re doing is sending a short message, such as a temperature or position.\nRane acknowledged during his presentation, however, that Sigfox\u2019s LPWA network isn\u2019t as far reaching as cellular networks \u2014 hence the radical Sigfox geo-fenced optional offload to LTE from the duo-network chips. That combination will save money over a dedicated NB-IoT cellular solution, Rane says.\nLicensed NB-IoT networks are coming on stream now. T-Mobile launched a national network in July, and AT&T said it will launch one in 2019. Verizon is also working on one, and Dish Network\u2019s is due in 2020, according to AGL Magazine. All of them, including Sigfox\u2019s unlicensed LPWA network, offer low data throughput with good power management \u2014 well suited for many kinds of IoT sensors.\nBut for tracking, cellular networks have widespread, national connectivity, unlike Sigfox\u2019s network running on the unlicensed Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) 915 MHz band. While a global network, Sigfox\u2019s U.S. base stations are predominantly around major airports.\nPower use, though, is one of Sigfox\u2019s primary differentiators. \u201cHow much energy will you expend when you send a message?\u201d Rane asked at the show. It\u2019s important \u201cbecause that will determine how long your battery will last.\u201d Sigfox claims it offers the best battery longevity \u2014 in part because of its limited message size.\nAnd power and weight go hand in hand because when power requirements are low \u2014 as Sigfox says they will be while on its network \u2014 the battery can be small. That weight and physical size can be a big issue in applications like healthcare, where a person might carry the battery-containing sensor for long periods, or in the aforementioned tracking, where one is paying a shipper by the ounce.\nSupply chain and logistics is an area that French company Sigfox says its network is suited to, as is transportation maintenance. Growth could be significant, with 500 million things expected to be tracked by 2023, according to\u00a0research by ABI released last week.