Someday soon, you may be able to buy a network-connected dog collar made by Atari.
Atari announced today that it's partnering with Sigfox to get into the Internet of Things business. Together, they intend to create connected home, pet, lifestyle, and safety products. Work on the new products will begin sometime this year; there's no date yet for when they'll begin to roll out or exactly what products we might see.
While it may sound strange to hear that Atari, the classic video game company, is now making smart home products, it's not quite as weird as it sounds. That's because Atari isn't necessarily going to be all that involved in the development of these new devices. Instead, Atari is going to be the brand name under which Sigfox will create and sell its own IoT products, offering it better name recognition with consumers.
These will likely be low-power products that aren't constantly connected
All of these IoT products will connect to Sigfox's wireless network, rather than to the internet directly. Sigfox's network is designed to handle small chunks of information being sent out infrequently — it's currently used for things like electricity meters. That means we'll likely be seeing low-power products that don't need to check in online very often.
Then again, Sigfox is promising something far more groundbreaking out this partnership: "Our network bridges the virtual and physical worlds simply, reliably, and inexpensively, and this collaboration will launch a new dimension to gaming, while supporting features that are limited only by the imagination." That seems just a bit far fetched, but maybe I'm underestimating how cool a dog collar can be.
Sigfox's network is only available in parts of Europe right now, though it claims a launch is underway in the US and Australia.