Why a tobacconist from Britanny (France) decided to sell fake cartons of cigarettes?
Inside, Thinxtra Xpress, a discreet tracker gives the GPS position of the loot that has just been stolen. Vincent Letoqueux wanted to do something, “the James Bond way-” to thwart the tobacco thieves. The Tifiz solution (Xpress tracker and Ticatag platform), which he has been selling since the beginning of the year, could prove to be much more than an electronic gadget. “I had the revelation in 2017 when we were robbed at the cafe “Chez Lulu”, in Larré,” says Vincent who is a collaborator in this Breton bistro “With my wife, we live upstairs. The thieves were then fleeing quickly but they still had the time to take nearly 3,000 € worth of cigarettes. In the neighbourhoods, – in Arradon, Arzal, Ambon, Grand-Champ – other confreres got robbed. To 8,50 € the pack and soon 10 €, the value of the stock can quickly reach 50,000 to 100,000 €. We feel like jewellers,” he says.
Vincent Letoqueux therefore created the company “Inogen lab“ and approached brands of cigarettes. Some local growers provided him with real packaging to develop his system. Inside the carton, nine packs contain fake cigarettes of substantially the same weight as the real ones. The tenth has a small ultra-low consumption GPS tracker of the company Ticatag, based in Lannion (in Brittany too).
As long as the plotter does not move from the tobacconist’s shelves or back store, it does not switch on. When it crosses a perimeter chosen by the merchant, it sends a SMS to the tobacconist. He then accesses an Internet platform that gives him the GPS position of the stolen package, every five minutes, for up to 72 hours. All what remains to do is to alert the police.
“When Vincent came to see me with his project, I found that our Tifiz Xpress solution (Thinxtra Xpress tracker + Ticatag Geolocation platform) matched his project. It only required to change the casing”, says Yann Mac Garry, director of Ticatag. The Sigfox telecom network is suitable because it covers the whole of Europe, it is very low cost and devices consume very little energy. The Xpress tracker can stay for a year on the tobacconist shelves without being discharged.
“After one year, we make a product recall and we recharge,” reassures Vincent Letoqueux. His solution costs 300 € (AU$500), to which we must add 3.50 € (AU$6) per month for the subscription to the interface and connectivity to Sigfox network. Part of this cost, however, can be covered by Customs subsidy.
After a conclusive testing phase, Inogen Lab has equipped some fifteen points of sale in Morbihan and Ille-et-Vilaine states.
With 24 000 tobacconists, just in France, TiFiz Xpress could be a hit!
Published by Sylvie Ribot – Ouest France Newspaper 20/04/2019 – translated & adapted by Thinxtra
Ticatag, a French start-up founded in 2013, competes in the market of connected objects and the Internet of Things focused on Location Based Services. Spin off from the Alcatel-Lucent Telecom supplier, Ticatag has gained comprehensive experience in various communication technologies that enable it to develop a range of products and a complete solution system (including device and platform).
Thinxtra was founded by IoT and network experts who share a common passion for connecting things to improve business processes and people lives.
Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Asia Pacific by deploying the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as building a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services to enable the non-connected to connect.
Thinxtra is backed by NZX-listed high-tech company Rakon Ltd, which has a history of innovation in communications technology going back some 50 years as well as the CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation), an Australian Government fund with a mission to accelerate local transformation towards a more competitive economy in a carbon constrained world.
Contact: Renald Gallis – VP Marketing +61 404 894 960 [email protected]